Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Dec 8 2019 20:08:32

Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

By: Ina Steiner

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As reports of some shipping delays continue into this week, sellers are reporting another problem - not all of their packages are being scanned by carriers, which is the only way sellers can prove to marketplaces like eBay that they shipped their orders on time.

A Top Rated eBay seller informed us that she's being penalized for packages that the USPS failed to scan between November 15th and November 30th. She was told by an eBay representative that it was a known glitch.

However, the rep said eBay would only act to protect those sellers who contact the company proactively. "They said they were writing tickets up to exempt those that contacted them about the problem," the reader said.

She was writing to us to advise readers to check their Seller Level Forecast for the month of December at the top of their eBay Seller Hub page.

"I have been a top rated seller with 100% feedback for several years and mine popped up last week saying I would be dropping to above average. When I checked it showed we had nearly 20 packages that were not scanned between November 15th and November 30th."

The consequences of being demoted from a Top Rated eBay seller to Above Average are significant, impacting listing visibility and selling fees. 

Shipping and scanning problems are not isolated to eBay. A seller on Etsy said the Postal Service was not scanning their packages, and the comment was left in a thread on the Etsy boards about postal delivery delays.

"OMG this has been the worst week by far," wrote another Etsy seller. "I mailed several packages Priority Mail over a week ago and only a few have been delivered. One of them was going to a city 2 hours from me and it still has not made it there!!! It’s been over a week. I could have walked it there faster! One customer left me a one star review saying she never got her package even though tracking showed it was in her town but had not been delivered yet."

Another wrote, "It's that season! I've been pleased that only in the last few days I've been seeing longer delivery times and less scanning...it might get worse before it gets better!"

One seller pointed out that Canada Post is warning its customers with a prominent message on the top of its website: "High seasonal volumes are delaying some deliveries. We apologize. Please track your package using our tool on canadapost.ca."

As we reported on Wednesday, even Amazon, which has robust logistics operations of its own, was experiencing some delays after a "record-breaking start to the holiday season" and winter storms that "extended delivery times in some areas."

It's early in the season for carriers to be experiencing delays, and sellers may well be wondering if things will get worse in the run-up to Christmas.



Comments (26) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Dec 8 21:14:58 2019

I got a question today from a potential buyer on the East Coast wanting to know if she purchased a particular item "right away" that it would arrive before Christmas. I get the same question every year starting the second week of December. I told her that while the package should arrive in time, I could not absolutely guarantee when she would receive it. As I was writing this post, I got a message that she had placed an order.  

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 02:15:13 2019

@Iheart, you probably have to ship all your packages Priority or Priority Express (and charge the customer) if you want it to arrive "in time."  Customers should know by now that it's Holiday season and there are delays galore.

I got a new one for you.  I shipped a package on November 13.  12/9 the package is in "transit" and held up at the Distribution Center.  I got an email from Ebay about a week ago that I owed the PO $1.88, and that I needed to link my bank account to Ebay to resolve the matter.  I did.  Still no package movement.  So I sent a check and a nasty letter to the PO about the delay because of the $1.88 (I assume that EB didn't forward the money to the PO).  I also wrote Rep. Mike Quigly of the USPS Committee.
This is ridiculous!  The PO used to send a post card out to the seller/sender that they owed the money and we/I would send a check.  Now they just hold the package, no notification.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 03:16:10 2019

these so called venues are the ones that need to be punished for making up impossible rules just to hurt sellers and steel more fees. everyone knows that you can't control the weather or the shipping delays that the shippers face. these thieving , lying , CEO'S are the ones that need to be in prison and destroyed. if only the law would do something good , and not protect criminals like it does. of course , money talks and the law turns it's back on the victims. all we can do is keep reporting them to the proper authorities until someone stops them.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 09:50:14 2019

I ship 99% Priority Mail. My mailman scans packages at my front door on pick-up.
My only problem is when I get a sub...they don't always scan, and occasionally the post office in turn fails to scan.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 09:52:13 2019

I drop my parcels off at the back of my local post office. Last month the clerk scanned my order as delivered instead of accepted. The very next day I had 2 cases opened in eBay about non delivery and a 3rd who just messaged me about the issue. Although I blame the PO for creating the error, I am struck by how many people have nothing better to do all day but constantly check tracking numbers. Over the years I have bought hundreds of items myself off eBay and have never once checked early tracking.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 09:54:45 2019

Almost all my stuff is of a size and weight that can not be shipped cheaply. All goes calculated, buyer pays, priority mail year round.  All goes out in 1 to 3 days. I offer guarantees only that the item is what I say it is and will ship on the day I state.  I also tell customers that not anything a venue might state or indicate, changes the above and that whatever happens within the US Postal Service is beyond both of our control and we will solve any issues if they occur.

I use a similar statement for all venues, edited to fit each specific venue. I also tell customers that All returns (regardless of venue, require a Return Authorization Number from me.

Does all of that turn away some customers -- of course, probably.

Is some of that, above, against the spirit or rules of some platforms -- yep, certainly.

But, I'm of an age where I don't give a rats a..,

I do recognize that most sellers are not able to, or desire to, follow such a procedure. But, I can and do, and I have less than a small hand full of problems each year. I do not offer any variance of the above procedures due to any holiday, nor accept any requests for expedited service above what I offer.

I can get away with all of that because I do not sell anything that might be regarded as a consumer product that is in production now or in any recent year.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: Mango This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 09:59:41 2019

"The consequences of being demoted from a Top Rated eBay seller to Above Average are significant, impacting listing visibility and selling fees."

The demotion has no impact on selling fees. It does have in impact on shipping cost (loss of 3% discount) and Priority Mail insurance (drops from $100 coverage to $50 coverage).

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Dec 9 10:14:24 2019

Sellers including me experienced the same thing with scans several years ago and ebay CS actually told me I should have picked a different carrier and the defect will remain. I imagine now what actually happens depends on the Philippine cube dweller you get, his mood that day and the kind of script on his desk.

And the end of the day, sellers will be stabbed in the back by ebay like always. Call or not, those statistics will never be removed so ebay can collect their 5% extortion vig.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 10:51:37 2019

Slow USPS shipping shouldn’t cause a seller “anything”.

It’s beyond absurd that eBay can financially hurt sellers - it the piggish, thuggish San Jose mafia at it again.

All metrics except initial non shipping should be waved Thanksgiving to the week after New Years specifically because it’s totally out of a sellers control

eBay sux as always

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Mon Dec 9 11:39:43 2019

I can't believe eBay is stating they will only assist those who contact them about non-scanned items or delayed items due to this back up. Decency says that they should ignore metrics and performance standards regarding unscanned items and items delivered late when they do the December performance standards.

It's painfully clear why they won't do it otherwise. They have no mass way of dealing with it. Ebay's platform and management working at it's best. 😒

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 12:05:26 2019

well with the exception of 1 item shipped on the 6th - all are scheduled to be delivered today - so far this season everything for me has arrived on time. That said I will check my metrics today just to be sure.

I learned a long time ago - do not depend on other people to run your business.  I go directly to the PO each and everyday and stand in line like every other po customer. I want that paper receipt in my hot little hand.  I understand that option is not available for everyone and I sympathize  with you.

Here's another tip: after 20 years of doing this I found that first class packages get there in the same amount of time that priority does. Honest to god it's true for me anyway. I haven't shipped a priority package in years.  I did discover however that a larger first class bubble mailer rarely gets lost in transit.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 12:17:56 2019

For starters, eBay should DO AWAY with all penalties for late scans and deliveries. USPS in particular makes more errors and mistakes than most people realize. There is no way for eBay or sellers to insure absolute compliance from any carrier. So to have such a measure and expectation of perfect compliance is unreasonable. (NO eBay, it is not enough to say, "all sellers are impacted the same so it's a wash". BULL...that is lazy policy.)

Nothing is gained through these penalties other than the monetary benefits to eBay. I think the visibility impacts should be penalty enough. Assuming there is an impact on visibility. I say that because visibility effects, good and bad might be as real as the tooth fairy. Myths in reality as I no one can really qualify them one way or the other. I see too many results with less than perfect sellers at the top to believe that better sellers realize any meaningful benefits for being "perfect". I can say it is a fact in the categories that I sell in.

My shipping scans and late deliveries are currently zero. The only time anything has been late or not scanned timely...100 percent the post office. Missed scans, missed pickups, slow deliveries. I have made changes as a result. I no longer use  drop off  locations. I ship same day if possible. Nonetheless, I am fortunate; my carrier scans right away, my post office scans every package I drop off. I am able to ship more than half of my items the same day. Many are labelled within minutes of sale.

I am certain my visiblity and sales have not increased much, if at all despite those efforts.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Dec 9 12:38:03 2019

@Mango  ''The demotion has no impact on selling fees.''

I would think that to be incorrect.  If you lose your Top Rated status, you can't post Top Rated Plus listings, and you lose the 10% discount on Selling fees.  That's an impact.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 13:39:06 2019

@Lightening - the 10% discount is only if you're a top rated PLUS seller (offering free returns and one day shipping). Top rated has the benefits as stated by Mango.  

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 13:58:45 2019

eBay is being run by inept stooges, they have no idea what they are doing except defrauding sellers as fast as they can on sponsored listings and GTC fee generation with their fraudulent automated renewal script.

When you look at a mobile search, the first 6 results on every page are all sponsored listings, this means that sellers inventory is devalued by eBay executives unless you pay an extortion fee.

This is why eBay Gross Merchandise Volume continues to fall and why they are depending on their fraudulent programs like sponsored listings and the GTC fee generation script to make money.

I send more time ending listings and pulling inventory from eBay than I do listing new inventory, the executives running eBay are very dumb criminals, this defective scanning will simply put more sellers into the increased 5% Final Value Fee category and that is what eBay wants.

But all these things are going to cost eBay millions of long time sellers and even more inventory loss which will further cause more GMV losses.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 14:45:12 2019

Amazon has a deal with all of its shippers to guarantee a shipping time. That's why Amazon packages are a priority for USPS and they deliver on Sundays, no extra charge.

Ebay could have this same deal, they could use their volume to leverage USPS and other shippers, but their shipping team sits on their hands with their thumb pointed up. How can eBay push Guaranteed delivery, when they have no guarantees from the shippers?

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Dec 9 15:10:05 2019

@BargainzBabylon
If you are a Top Rated Seller, you have the option of offering the 1 day shipping and 30 day returns to become Plus for those listings that you set up that way.  You don't have to do it, but you don't get the 10% discount on listings without those attributes.  You don't have to go 100% in either direction, but most people do.  Some blend it, depending on the nature of the item being sold.  

By being a Top Rated Seller, at least you can choose to save money on Selling Fees or not.  Being demoted, you lose that choice, lose that money.  That's why I say the demotion CAN have an impact on Selling Fees, which was the point in question.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: bd greatbuys This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 15:21:39 2019

i got late shipment rating from eBay
the order was September 10 Sep 10, 2019 18:49  & we shipped the next business day September 11
as promise the order will be delivered at September 16 we do so and USPS have delivered the item  at September 16 1:08 PM see below



Bought by farming_18 ( 1 )
Order number: 09-03855-82268
Delivered on Monday, Sep 16, 2019- Hide shipping details
✓ Shipping info received✓ In transit✓ Delivered
Time and date Place Message
Monday, Sep 16, 2019 1:08 PM KANSAS CITY , MO DELIVERED IN/AT MAILBOX
Monday, Sep 16, 2019 8:38 AM KANSAS CITY , MO OUT FOR DELIVERY
Monday, Sep 16, 2019 7:47 AM KANSAS CITY , MO ARRIVAL AT UNIT
Friday, Sep 13, 2019 8:20 PM KANSAS CITY , KS PROCESSED THROUGH USPS FACILITY
Friday, Sep 13, 2019 8:18 PM KANSAS CITY , KS PROCESSED THROUGH USPS FACILITY
Friday, Sep 13, 2019 8:13 PM KANSAS CITY , KS PROCESSED THROUGH USPS FACILITY
Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 9:44 AM BROOKLYN , NY SHIPPING LBL CREATED USPS AWAITS ITEM
Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 9:34 AM BROOKLYN , NY PRE-SHIPMENT INFO SENT USPS AWAITS ITEM

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Dec 9 15:34:58 2019

@bd greatbuys
It's possible that you got a late rating because the package was not scanned accepted prior to the handling time expiration.  

You got the order 9/10.  If you have 1 day handling, you have to have an acceptance scan on 9/11.  If you have 2 day handling, you have to have it by 9/12.  The first physical scan, according to your upload, is in KC on 9/13, so it would be considered late for 1 or 2 day shipping.  I don't know what you have locked in for a handling time, but that may be the trigger.  No one in NY scanned it in.  The 2 line items in NY show ''awaits item'', not item accepted.

Perminate Link for Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties   Clogged Shipping Leads to eBay Penalties

by: bd greatbuys This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 9 15:47:00 2019

dear Lightning
yes
i have 1 day handling on ebay ,it was pick up by usps at date of Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019, i have a video  of the pick up, at that date (we do not have a option to upload  here a jpg shot..) and  i got a rating on the order that the  Transactions that weren't shipped on time:
as promise the order will be delivered at September 16 we do so and USPS have delivered the item  at September 16 1:08 PM

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