Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 21 2015 22:54:06

eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay uses tracking information provided by shipping carriers to judge sellers' performance. But sellers say it's unfair to judge them for factors outside their control.

An eBay seller sent us an example of how sellers can get dinged for wayward shipments, writing in their email to us, "This is one example of why eBay's rules DON'T WORK!!!"

A customer purchased and paid for an item on June 30th. eBay displayed on the seller's listing, "delivered by Mon. July 6th."

The item was picked up by USPS on July 1st from Texas destined to a customer located in North Carolina. But, "It went to North Carolina by way of Baltimore, MD???," the seller asked incredulously.


The customer contacted the seller on July 10th, concerned because eBay had said it would be delivered by July 6th and they still hadn't received it. The seller sent another item on the 10th to appease the buyer. 

The first item arrived on July 13th, almost 2 weeks after being shipped. To add insult to injury, eBay didn't recognize the uploaded tracking information on the package until July 10th, so the top rated seller was penalized for not uploading tracking within 24 hours.

eBay is full of horror stories about the challenges of meeting its expectations around shipping. "This is a documented example," the seller said. "It is not the first time I've been in this situation by any means."




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Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jul 21 23:21:53 2015

Anyone with their eyes open will soon enough realise that eBay is full of horror stories, period ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 21 23:54:08 2015

These Control Freak Stupid Idiots, are out of their minds,

After we left ebay, we went back to how we use to do it, we simply email the customer the tracking number, they have access to the REAL delivery estimate.


Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

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

Tue Jul 21 23:58:42 2015

The good news for "tracking defects" is that they are updated by eBay from time to time, that allowances are made, and that the defects, real or imagined, dissipate after 90 days - presumably to make way for more imaginary defects.

The most predictable way to have packages scanned in as "accepted" is to hand carry them into a USPS retail branch and ask for a printed receipt. Without a receipt that tracking data could change significantly depending upon whether the USPS package is Media Rate, Priority, First Class, or Parcel Post. Media Rate doesn't seem to be marked as "accepted" until it reaches a USPS sorting center. Priority seems to move through the mail system rather swiftly. First Class sometimes languishes in USPS sorting centers for 3 or 4 days at each end of the route.

Many of the "old timer" USPS employees still see "Tracking" as merely "Confirmation" and they won't scan pick-ups. Some employees see the initial scan as an attempt by USPS to track them as mail carriers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 02:10:22 2015

Another problem....

If ALL 1st class mail includes tracking WE HAVE TO RELY on the individual postal carriers to scan each and every 1st class item at their truck, as DELIVERED.

Now, we REALLY are relying on the carrier- will each and every one of them scan each and every 1st class item- I doubt it.

Talk about at the MERCY.

Mass Howler

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 06:44:17 2015

I would guess if you were a carrot jumper and adhered to Ebay's every demand the shipping carrier's lack of efficency might hurt you.

The rest of us don't really worry about it as we have 3 - 4 days extra built into our shipping schedules. We don't run to the post office twice a day to make sure Fleabay gets their precious tracking number.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 22 07:00:58 2015

eCrater allows me to ship when I am ready to ship.  We still ship quickly, but I am under no pressure.  And on eCrater, I have never had one customer complain about the shipping time.

Thank you eCrater!  Thank you for being "just a venue" and letting me run my business as I see fit.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 08:27:57 2015

At this point, there can't be anyone surprised by an eBay policy that paints a target on sellers' backs saying: "Hey, Buyer! Ding my DSR's and destroy my business!"

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 08:51:32 2015

ebay is basically pulling a delivery date out of a hat, not based on real data, they do this because the majority of their sales are now coming from their Chinese sellers, which the majority have NO tracking, and the one's that actually have tracking, are false numbers, that cannot be used,

So in short, ebay makes up the date, they are really lying to the buyer, and at the same time they get the buyer to blame the seller, when their FAKE delivery date is missed.

That is also what I suspect they are doing with the extra questions about delivery on feedback, because .....

On average 30 percent of my purchased items from china, do not make ebay's FAKE delivery times, which enable me to open a INR case against the seller  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 09:29:45 2015

Like Rexford,  I have no issues with my other venue Etsy.  I can even update the ship date if I am running late for whatever reason. I have never had a customer angry over ship times.  

I LOVE Etsy, and absolutely Hate, despise, and loath Ebay for what its become.

I am checking out Ecrater soon....sounds like a seller friendly place.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jul 22 09:41:55 2015

Like OP, I have had a package take the Looong scenic route to a destination - and refunded buyer. Thankfully it has been rare.
More common is the ''out for delivery'' - not really - issue.


If you buy much, and monitor your tracking for those items daily you will see first-hand just how much of shipping is out of any sellers control. Listen up, eBay:


Our local USPS has horrible reviews on Google.  One Star on the best of days.  So I started paying attention to the tracking of my purchases.  

Common findings:

1) ''out for delivery'' packages get lost in delivery vehicle and get found when back at the USPS.  Or

2) ''out for delivery'' packages were picked up by another carrier by mistake and won't get back to the USPS until they are done with route.

3) package sent to wrong USPS unit with small difference on zip code.  Will show ''out for delivery'' in the wrong city!  Takes a couple more days for that item to show up in proper unit.

4) Items scanned as ''delivered'' are NOT in box until hours after they are scanned as such.  


If number 4 is happening - you should call the local delivery unit as I'm told this is a big NO-NO. Not supposed to scan as ''delivered'' until an item is actually delivered.  After I called it stopped.

Apparently, new scanning equipment is much different than old and it was more efficient to scan everything as delivered and then deliver. (Ina has an article link somewhere on this new USPS equipment)

On numbers 1 and 2 - At the end of the day, when finding they had undelivered ''out for delivery'' packages, some carriers were applying an incorrect scan of: ''Notice Left (No Secure Location Available)''  

This looks like the addressee is somehow at fault that item was not delivered - and, could affect an insurance claim (or claim with seller) if an item is truly LOST.
Phoned and explained why scan was inappropriate and did not reflect the truth.  

Now - undelivered ''out for delivery'' packages stay that way and usually arrive the next day.  


If you stay on top of scans as a BUYER, you'll see some of the things YOUR buyers may be experiencing.  If USPS are using a scan wrong, don't hesitate to call and politely explain your position.  You may get better results - even from a one-star rated USPS that appears to be trying to improve.  


One final note - for clothing, first class is not always the value it once was.  The fact that Priority mailers are free and INSURED has me using them 90% of the time.  Great new choice is the Priority Flat Rate Bubble Mailer!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jul 22 10:11:28 2015

95% of my packages are delivered BEFORE the date eBay has given the customer.

But I ship most of my items priority mail the same day or the next day at the latest.

I'm happy with the service the US Postal Service provides.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jul 22 10:19:41 2015

Bottom line is that sellers are not at the mercy of shipping carriers, they are put in jeopardy by their fee collecting trading partner.

eBay claims that they are contractually bound to display delivery time frames based on carriers own internal metrics, and that they are prevented from showing longer time frames by their agreements with the various shipping carriers.  The fact is that given how consistently inaccurate these estimates prove to be, eBay would be better served by not displaying estimated delivery dates at all instead of blaming sellers when carriers fail to meet their own target goals.

eBay management is to blame for the many perils sellers face, the company simply prefers to ignore their part in the massacre. These seller perils are the primary factors that is causing eBay's pathetic weak sales.

eBay refuses to consider that the Can't See Me search engine is fatally flawed, instead they want to blame sellers for not providing sufficient data such as UPC codes etc...

eBay does not want to consider that their decision to intentionally hide certain listings from buyers while giving preferred vendors prime listing visibility has failed as a strategy to grow sales.

eBay firmly refuses to accept that their inability to serve listing descriptions to buyers using mobile devices is the root cause of dissatisfied buyers.  eBay prefers to keep their head buried in the sand, and blame sellers for being at fault for the high rate of returns.  

I could cite more examples, but what is the point when this company flat out ignores the fact that THEY are the party responsible for their own failures and defects.  Blaming sellers for site weakness is much easier than admitting that management strategies and decision making processes are misguided.

Until eBay management wakes up and realizes their own failed management teams are primarily responsible for the failures eBay faces as a marketplace, nothing will improve.


Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 10:31:12 2015

op this is freebays way to compete with amazon prime, unfortunate as it is. freebay always promises that an item will be delivered by x day, the post office knows that this poses a problem generally they route packages thru several hubs when we are selling we are in Florida, the packages went up east coasty before going to calf it is impossible for anyone to ship within their parameters when I addressed this with freebay they suggested that I ship by priority mail , first class is faster generally. of course I gave free shipping so this made no sense. the beatings will continue until every bands together and tells freebay to stop their nonsense

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jul 22 11:11:25 2015

@maxmad

"On average 30 percent of my purchased items from china"

How can YOU complain about chinese sellers when you yourself are buying from them?

I have bought ZERO items from chinese sellers! My son bought some Rayban's from a chinese seller, I scolded him for months over that. Told him to never do it again if he's living under my roof!

Do America and Americans a favor
DON'T BUY FROM CHINESE SELLERS!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 11:35:55 2015

Their estimates were always wrong. Screwed me royal. Defects have to be addressed within 90 days, or it sticks. They stay a year. EBAY IS THE DEFECT.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jul 22 11:58:55 2015

@gizmo

Defects only stay a year for low volume sellers.

From eBay:

"Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months are evaluated based on the past 3 months and sellers with fewer than 400 transactions are evaluated based on the past 12 months."



Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 12:50:17 2015

defects are 13 months example jan 2015 to jan 2016 13 months your seller status is evaluated every 3-12 months meaning top raided seller or gold silver bronze however defects are not status and stay no matter what 13 months not 12 as you are told

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jul 22 13:09:19 2015

Ebay has absolutely nothing interesting anymore.
Haven't bought a thing in months.
3% take rate would solve that.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 14:33:29 2015

Another point. The discrimination between High volume & low volume. Small sellers are getting waxed. One of the points everyone here has made. Ebay cheerleaders should adhere to their own words.

I dont have the time to dedicate to deadbay , it is useless. They have proven themselves to be unworthy , un-trustworthy. If you discriminate against low volume & high volume , you are likely discriminating in more than one way. And have been proven too be. A venue who does such , should be eradicated.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers   eBay Sellers Are at the Mercy of Shipping Carriers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jul 22 15:08:07 2015

@ajeweler

"defects are 13 months example jan 2015 to jan 2016 13 months"

That would only be 12 months

Jan 1st 2015 to Jan 1st 2016 is only 12 months.

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