Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 24 2014 21:13:01

eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's sellers have to work hard if they wish to retain Top Rated Seller status, so when it appears eBay is penalizing them for its own shortcomings, it's no wonder they're angry or concerned.

I've seen countless reports from sellers who say eBay shows no tracking on their shipments, while the USPS website does show tracking scans. (Sellers must upload a validated tracking on 90% of their orders to maintain Top Rated Seller status.)

With the new seller performance standards that went into effect on Wednesday, sellers say eBay is causing them to lose Top Rated Seller status because they don't meet its validated-tracking requirement. And they're spending hours on the phone to eBay customer service to try to rectify the issue.

For example, a seller wrote, "Just checked my dashboard and was surprised to see that my tracking number went from 99.8% down to 94%. I ship every day, and I watch my postmaster scan every package." When he wrote, he said was on hold with eBay customer service for over an hour.

Another seller wrote, "After fighting my way back to TRS after being slammed with negative feedback from two buyers of many items, I'm now slated to lose it again because only 83% of my items show as validated by the carrier. eBay provides a report of items not validated, and when I spot check it, each item on eBay shows now tracking, but when checking the number with the USPS site it will show scans all along the route and delivery.  Have you had other reports of this problem? I can handle a few percentage points, but close to 20% is unbelievable."

But is this the problem sellers think it is? One seller explained her understanding of the tracking scans to me and why it's causing so much panic. When you first go into the seller dashboard, you see a message that states, "X % of your transactions had tracking uploaded within handling time and validated by carrier."

That message is what has sellers concerned, but there are a few things that need to be considered when you are looking at that number, the seller said.

The metric indicates the performance to date - this is not the number that anyone has been evaluated on yet. "So let's say a seller got fortunate enough to sell about 50 items yesterday.  When looking at the dashboard the next day, that tracking percentage is going to go way down because the seller has probably not yet loaded tracking.  But even if they were that fast, there is no way eBay has been able to verify it.  So the percentage appears low. In my experience it takes eBay about 2-4 days to catch up."

Since the numbers are not used in an evaluation until Sept 20th, there is plenty of time for the percentage to correct itself as of August 31st, she said. (Although why eBay's system would take much longer than the USPS website to update is a mystery since it should be done through an API.)

To further clarify, she said, "It is extremely important to remember that evaluation periods are NEVER on the current month you are in. The Sept 20th evaluation would be based on numbers as of August 31st. So if you had a bunch of sales on Sept 1st through 19th, none of those numbers affect the Sept. 20th evaluation. They don't come into play until October."

There doesn't appear to be anyplace in the seller dashboard where eBay shows the tracking information that it will use in a seller's evaluation, and both the seller and I couldn't find where eBay explains this. She said, "It may be explained somewhere on eBay, but I haven't found it.  This is all something I figured out on my own after a few extra gray hairs showed up. I completely understand why this is confusing and concerning so many sellers."

And many sellers say they're spending hours on the phone to eBay trying to get the problem resolved.

Hopefully we can get eBay to nail down this issue for sellers, because this letter from a reader indicates there is a problem with the way eBay handles scans when evaluating sellers:

"I just noticed another consequence of the new eBay performance standards that punishes sellers for something they didn't do wrong.

"I noticed that my upcoming evaluation for "Tracking uploaded within handling time and validated by carrier" was at 82.06% which would put me below the required 90% and knock me out of TRS status which I have somehow, just barely, managed to hang on to. I knew this couldn't possibly be right so I did a little investigating. I couldn't do a report for the upcoming review so I looked at last months (May-July). I noticed that several items that were paid for on the last day of July were counted against me as not validated because they were shipped on August 1 and not validated by the carrier until August 1 or after. So if you get a lot of sales on the last day of the month and don't ship until the following day or the packages aren't scanned at pickup you will be penalized. It will be even worse if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday.


"I also noticed that one that was counted against me was a buyer that purchased on 07/30/2014 but their payment wasn't received until 08/09/2014 (a Saturday) so it wasn't shipped and scanned until Monday the 11th. So it appears that they start counting not from the date of payment but from the date of purchase. So if your buyer waits a few days to make payment you will be penalized for that 3 month period. As I understand it those will no longer count for the following review as long as the tracking was uploaded within 24 hours and it was eventually scanned but then August's end of the month purchases will be counted against you so it is a never ending cycle."

Sellers are discussing the apparent out-of-sync USPS tracking on the eBay boards as well, such as this discussion.

Let us know what you think!




Comments (59) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 24 21:21:23 2014

Leave it to ebay to lie about  tracking to save a few bucks.........

If they are not outright dishonest, then they have stupid execs and programmers.  I think it is intentional. All about the bottom line.

Totally dishonest company.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: MovinOn This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 24 22:28:12 2014

More smoke and mirrors from ebay. My percentage went way down on the Aug. 20 review, too, even though I shipped everything within 1 business day of the sale. I don't care, though, because I ended all my final listings on Aug. 20.

When they blame me for returns that the buyer requested, buyers that return items because they didn't read the description, buyers that use a Coach bag or designer jeans for a few weeks then claim they are fake to get a full refund for a used item, questions asked by the buyer about how to use the item, buyers asking where their items are when tracking shows they were delivered, then they close the claim a day or two later without explanation, deliveries that take a day or 2 longer than ebay's overly optimistic estimate, and a host of other situations totally beyond the seller's control, I won't deal with them any more. I'm done dealing with that dishonest company. Ebay doesn't meet my standards for honesty and integrity. I'm not MovinOn. I moved on.  :-)

P.S. Ina, can I change my userid here to MovedOn?

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Sun Aug 24 23:57:24 2014

The USPS is getting worst than before, we have to pay more but the Top executives don't make a budget to update scanners. The USPS staff is forced to work with scanners that do not work or are in very bad shape, eBay knows this and that is the reason why the tracking is so important in the new "Defective Ratings" system.

In our case, 30% of the items do not get scan at all, we only see an update that says at the recipient's post office and out for delivery, sometimes not even say delivered but we know packages are delivered because buyers leave the feedback.

eBay is trying to make it harder for sellers to get discounts, they should stop giving those million dollar bonuses to so many top useless executives and perhaps that could give them enough to honor discounts to sellers who earn it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 00:01:05 2014

Just another way eBay slaps us down. So glad I've already started moving on. I'll still sell on eBay as long as it is profitable but it is no longer my biggest money maker.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 00:01:20 2014

I'd just like to remind everyone that *over a year ago* Uncle Griff warned TRS's to not build the TRS discount into their business model, because it was probably going away.  He said if you get it, consider it a nice bonus/profit center, but not to rely on it for the survival of your business.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: fordat1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 02:02:13 2014

FYI, I never had posted tracking information through Ebay...I only do it on PAYPAL and I only use STAMPS.COM...So far that has worked out very well since if you post the tracking on PAYPAL they share that with eBay...You might try that approach to solve this issue.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: fordat1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 02:02:18 2014

FYI, I never had posted tracking information through Ebay...I only do it on PAYPAL and I only use STAMPS.COM...So far that has worked out very well since if you post the tracking on PAYPAL they share that with eBay...You might try that approach to solve this issue.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 25 02:47:57 2014

@freddy

Ebay is NOT lying about tracking to make a few bucks.  

When you go into your dashboard, it DEFAULTS to the current month.  That means the numbers you see before your eyes are for NEXT months evaluation.  It is to show you if you are on track for whatever status you are trying to achieve.  It has NOTHING to do with your current status or the eval that happened on August 20th.

The first section when you pop into your dashboard reads "Your Seller Level IS" and the one to the right says "Your PROJECTED seller level is"

That second one is what the dashboard defaults to.  If you want to see the numbers you were eval'd on as of August 20th, then click on that first section called "your seller level IS'.  Then the numbers will change to be what they were for the last eval period.

This is what is confusing many sellers.  The default is for the current month.  So if you sell a bunch of stuff today, load tracking tomorrow, your percentage of validated tracking is going to nosedive until Ebay catches up in a couple days.  

This does NOTHING to hurt you in searches, rating or anything else.  You won't be eval'd on these numbers until Sept 20th and Ebay will have them updated long before then.  Actually by early in the first week of Sept you should see the number become fixed and no longer fluctuate.

Just remember once you are eval'd on those numbers the process starts all over again.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: GypsyWitch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 06:29:30 2014

There have been MANY times (including recently) that the USPS did not provide tracking at various checkpoints, leaving me and the seller to wonder where the item is.

Keep filing complaints with the USPS - maybe one day they'll get it together - but consequences will have to be paid: they'll raise the rates AGAIN!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 07:58:38 2014

As we go along through this, it is clear that ebay is not going to count this right, they are not counting the handling time and delivery dates they show to buyers correct so I cannot expect them to do this.
I put a comment on here about a year ago as I noticed my items were not being scanned when I dropped the off at the USPS facility. I would drop them in the slot inside for packages and metered mail. I never paid attention until ebay started the their top rated seller slaughter but the packages were not scanned until the next day, I dropped them off an hour before closing. I always print my labels ebay most of the year but I do spend a lot of time away at a summer home during the summer months and I ship from there so sometimes I take the packages in to the counter.
I contacted ebay's customer service and I was stonewalled, summarily dismissed, as the old saying goes I might as well have been talking to a brick wall.
I simply do not care anymore, it is absurd, top rated seller in my eyes I am, but in ebay's flawed, buyer is always right system I am not now.
Ebay shrouds itself in a user policy that protects them from policies which are simply wrong and a system that cannot keep up with those policies, sure we need policing against bad sellers but to punish all the good honest sellers like this is just bull.
If you have lost your TRS, has cases files against you for not as described but they were clearly described, had cases files claiming non-receipt and it shows deliverd (ebay has the tracking) but still make you jump through hoops and they hold your money, if ebay has refused to listen to you when you are stone cold correct and you have the proof, join the crowd.
They have their 100% buyer guarantee and their user policy which enables them to use your money and side with the buyer even when you are right and have done nothing wrong. WHY? because ebay does not want to use their money, you have a CEO that believes the buyer is always right for some reason, as the retail industry suffers record losses from theft and customer fraud he is completely out of touch with reality.
Lately I have been getting more off ebay sales than ebay sales, I guess that was JD's intention, too bad for shareholders that are not paying attention.
It is probably somewhere in ebay TOS that protects him and his peeps that are afraid to stand up to him. He has fired or run off and replaced 75% of ebay's top management no doubt because they disagreed with the ill conceived policies.
The moral of the story is complain to the FTC and your states Attorney General and list your items elsewhere, build your business off ebay and protect your self because even id ebay is ever found guilty in court you will not receive anything but a couple of dollars and a coupon in any class action. You have file a lawsuit by yourself that is going to cost you.




 

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 09:16:29 2014

Even when you take your packages TO the inside counter and wait in line and make SURE your items are scanned---this only "covers"  you for the initial "Scan".

From there it is up to the USPS to CONTINUE scanning as the package (hopefully!!!)  moves along it path.

When the USPS loses a package or chucks it onto a conveyer belt for a MONTH (as happened to me recently)  or destroys a package (ditto)  then there is NO TRACKING--yet this is somehow OUR FAULT.  

And with the continued closings of Post Offices and Sorting Centers this is only going to get WORSE.  To get a recent package from my house  in NY to a town in Vermont--a distance of LESS than 40 MILES----the package was sent to TEXAS. Before it came BACK to Vermont.  Wonder WHY the PO is losing tons of money????

I find it hard to believe that ONE group (ie eBay Sellers)  can be SOOOOOO hopeless and inept as ebay claims we are.

Most of us are experienced at this game and have been shipping things for a LONG time--in my case over 40 years.  However somehow ebay has managed to convince themselves (ie The Ho) that not ONE US-based seller is capable of printing or writing a label and getting it to the Post Office in a timely manner AND keeping track of those paper receipts the PO gives you.

Nope.  We are just a bunch o' defectives and cannot possibly walk AND chew gum at the SAME time.

Wonder HOW ebay found ALL of us incompetent and corrupt sellers and convinced us to gather in ONE place???

Mind boggling.

The utter contempt ebay holds it's OWN customers in.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: DVDsandMore This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 10:31:29 2014

I'm one of the sellers quoted in the article.  I called eBay today and waited on hold since the time was down to 19 minutes from 48 last week. (I didn't get the option for a call back this time either. )  

I was told the number I'm looking at for the 83% is essentially "in progress" and reflects recent shipments.  The number should change once the month is over and the tracking catches up.  I ship a lot of items every day so there will be a number of packages out there without validated tracking at any time.  

It sounds believable, but I'll have to wait and see.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 10:52:17 2014

I am not surprised about EBay's stupidity or corruption, but I am outright mad that the writer in this story says that we will be dinged if we do not print the shipping label according to the "sale" date and not the actual "paid" date. I never print a shipping label until the buyer has paid because sometimes they never pay. This is ludicrous.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Aug 25 10:55:56 2014

Let's face it, with the prospect of PayPal being spun off, eBay is now more desperate to retain revenue than ever before.

It is clear that eBay's ethically challenged management is hell bent on herding sellers into their own demise in order to eliminate them from receiving or qualifying for the 20% TRS discount they work so hard to earn.

The defect program is rife with "gotchas" which management has baked into the policy.

I recently had the opportunity to learn first hand of another "gotcha" which eBay has not disclosed.

eBay/PayPal system glitches with regard to picking up tracking numbers also count as defects which eBay refuses to remove.

On a recent transaction shipped using PayPal multi order shipping, eBay failed to pick up the tracking number and apply it to the transaction.

The result was a defect for not uploading the tracking information.  I spent hours on the phone attempting to get through to the department that descores defects.

Once connected, I was matter of factly informed by a Peggy that it is the sellers responsibility to make sure tracking information is uploaded to eBay.

When I pointed out that eBay's system automatically picks up tracking numbers form PayPal transactions, Peggy denied that this process existed.

I pointed out that over two thousand transactions had been processed through PPMOS and that in each case the tracking number was picked up by eBay with the exception of this lone transaction that was scored as a defect. Additionally, I pointed out that two transactions processed through PPMOS that day were automatically picked up by eBay, but the facts were outright denied by Peggy.

Peggy continued to flat out deny that there was a glitch that caused the tracking number to not be picked up and parroted the blanket statement that it is the sellers responsibility to make sure tracking information is uploaded to eBay. No tracking uploaded equals seller defect.

This is another example of how eBay lies to sellers, denies facts which can be outright proven and strives to score defects against sellers at any and all costs.

This management team likely has more "gotchas" built into the defect system which will no doubt come to light as circumstances arise.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Mon Aug 25 11:01:46 2014

Just got off the phone with ebay customer service regarding the loss of my TRS status. After 8 years of excellent selling on ebay, all of sudden we are now considered a "defective seller" I explained to the gentleman on the phone that ebay's policies are detrimental to sellers and some are flawed, including penalizing sellers for shipping issues that the seller has absolutely no control over. HIS ANSWERS: "Things will get better" & "The business is changing, you need to adjust" His last statement "I am sorry you feel that way"

ebay's arrogance is obvious.

Then the same day, I got a survey asking me how happy I was with ebay....... must be some kind of a joke.

This is a calculated effort by ebay. They know they will lose sellers, that's why they are very aggressive in trying to get new sellers. This merry go round system is propping up ebay. They could care less about our loyalty. Unfortunately this system can never permanently succeed. The constant tsunami of bad publicity & policy WILL be their downfall. Constant outages, search broken, site flooded with junk and fakes, bad seller policies (sellers are also buyers), etc.

ebay is in such a mess right now, the end result is predictable. No wonder Amazon took over the number 1 spot in online selling platforms. The rest are just waiting for the perfect opportunity, Etsy, Bonanza, Alibaba, ebid, etc. It may not be overnight, but ebay will pay a hefty price for losing sellers. We are now shifting our focus on our own website and other platforms. We are taking our $3-5k in monthly ebay purchases elsewhere.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 25 11:12:38 2014

@tornadosrul

I think you misread something in the article.

@ric

You do not get a defect because tracking isn't verified or loaded in Ebay's timeframe.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 11:42:41 2014

I'm still wondering what happened to the package I sent to a guy overseas earlier this month.  It had 3 sale items (i.e. 3 auctions) in it.  I stood there watching the Postmaster scan it.  She said ''Looks good.''  Guy got the package a week later, left good FB.  Check eBay tracking report and all three items are listed as not scanned.  Check the USPS site, and nothing there either - no report of ''Acceptance at...'' which I usually get.  It showed up when it was scanned, then disappeared?  And eBay will penalize us for that...

@Marie -
Thanks for posting about the default view on the Dashboard.  I had missed that, and now that I look at it, that shows that I actually DID get a 3-month lookback on August 20.  I couldn't figure out why I was seeing 12-month, when there were 413 transactions for the 3 months.  Now I see that 12-month is for Sept 20.  But, that will change since I have about 70 transactions from last night to add onto August, which will boost me past the 400 again.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 25 11:50:38 2014

???? Marie, I didn't misread this:
"I also noticed that one that was counted against me was a buyer that purchased on 07/30/2014 but their payment wasn't received until 08/09/2014 (a Saturday) so it wasn't shipped and scanned until Monday the 11th. So it appears that they start counting not from the date of payment but from the date of purchase. So if your buyer waits a few days to make payment you will be penalized for that 3 month period."

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Aug 25 12:06:17 2014

@tornadosrul

My bad, sorry.  I'm the one that missed it.  It isn't correct, but I missed it.  They may have been looking at something incorrectly, it is hard to tell.  Ebay has never required not could they require sellers to ship before payment.

But I apologize, it was me, not you.  

@dans parts

Glad I could help.  The dashboard is confusing and concerning lots of members.  It really is displaying the same type of information as the old version did except in a different format.  

In the old version the upcoming eval period also appeared once we passed the 20th of any given month.    It is just this new version is bigger and bolder, so it is can seem more intimidating.

***************************

There verified tracking will catch up long before we are eval'd on those numbers, but when you pop into your dashboard and see that your tracking dropped by about 10 points it sure can send your blood pressure through the roof.

Just be prepared, from the 21st of any given month until the 20th of the next month, what you see when you come into your dashboard is your PROJECTED rating for the UPCOMING eval period.  So the numbers WILL fluctuate.

If you want to see the numbers that you were eval'd on for the last eval period, then click on the box that reads:

Your seller level is:
Top Rated
As of your Aug 20, 2014 evaluation

When you pop into your dashboard the default is to the PROJECTED numbers.

Your projected seller level is:
Top Rated
For your next evaluation on Sep 20, 2014

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans   eBay Sellers Fume over Out-of-Sync Tracking Scans

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Mon Aug 25 13:21:58 2014

You're all entitled to your opinions, but my TSRs don't change from month-to-month. They've been goose-eggs for years, except for 3 ''defects'' in January 2014 when no one at USPS reported for work for 3 days thanks to a severe ice storm that shut down this entire region. My packages were not ''validated'' by USPS so now I'm ''defective''. Calling eBay CS to claim the benefit of their Winter ice storm policy was a hoot! The poor dear said she wasn't aware of any Winter weather restrictions in spite of the fact that the iced roads in Atlanta were shown all over the world! It looked like abandoned car scenes in ''The Walking Dead'' ;-)  

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