Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Dec 27 2019 21:44:19

When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

What happens when two challenges online sellers face collide on eBay? On a recent discussion board post, a seller said they were getting some claims for item not as described (SNADs) because of late delivery (arrived after Christmas), regardless of the estimated delivery date eBay displayed at the time of order. "Sellers aren't supposed to get SNAD penalties for "late items" right?" the seller asked.

This holiday, shipping carriers got backlogged over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and there were reports of delays all the way through Christmas Day. And returns are always an issue for sellers, especially around the holidays. So it's not surprising to hear that some shoppers would want to return items if they arrived too late for gift-giving.

The discussion board thread shows that the problem is compounded by confusion over eBay policies, which have become more complex over time.

There was back and forth among sellers about whether late delivery was a valid reason for a "Not as Described" claim. Whether or not a seller offers "free returns" is also a factor in how a seller should handle such a claim, according to one seller who said, "The Return System changed significantly in October of 2018" and pointed to a page on eBay describing "simplified returns." 

The seller also pointed to a page on eBay that describes new seller protections for Top Rated Sellers who offer a minimum 30-day return policy that took effect on October 1st.

On page 4 in post #64 of the thread, an eBay moderator chimed in with information about buyer protections, called the eBay Money Back Guarantee, and also threw in another factor: eBay "Guaranteed Delivery":

"A buyer is eligible for protection through the eBay Money Back Guarantee if an item arrives late. The estimated delivery date is considered a part of the item description, and a seller can make changes to the shipping services they offer if they find that their deliveries are not arriving on time consistently. Many shipping couriers do factor holiday delays into the estimated delivery date that is generated so while there may be an increase in these types of return requests at this time of the year, there are steps taken to help minimize such occurrences.  

"For Guaranteed Delivery shipments, we do provide additional protections which can be reviewed here. Additionally, we do offer certain protections if delays are due to natural disasters, widespread weather events or other service outages that are outside of a seller's control (details available here)."

And in post # 72, the moderator added:

"eBay Guaranteed Delivery will show to the buyer if the item is estimated to arrive within 4 business days. This is calculated with factors such as the item location, the shipping location, the shipping service selected, and historical information."

Believe it or not, the thread is now on page 6, for what had appeared to be a simple question about what a seller could do if a buyer claimed "not as described" because an item was delivered "late." 

Whether or not an answer about a policy is palatable to sellers, it should at least be clear.



Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 10:40:32 2019

How can something be part of ''my'' description that ''they'' add without my consent or approval as to accuracy, etc.?  This moderator is saying their delusional shipping estimates, which I have no say so in one way or another - and cannot prevent them from displaying, are part of MY description?!?  That...is nuts.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 11:47:29 2019

What eBay moderators never mention is the FACT that eBay makes up their own estimate, regardless of what the carrier tells them. They make up short deliver dates, thinking this is competing with Amazon's Prime service. But they fail to remember Prime is not free, its $120 a year. Also Amazon has contract with all of its carriers to deliver fast, even on Sundays. Does eBay use its package volume as leverage to get this same guarantee from carriers? No, they do not. Probably because their crack Shipping Team is based overseas and have no idea how to negotiate such contracts.

Then their stock answer, which I'm sure they spent weeks around the table coming up with, is if your carrier isn't meeting the eBay made up date for delivery, then switch carriers. How disingenuous and condescending. How does no one at eBay understand an estimate is not a guarantee? An estimate is a guess, most of the time a shipment will arrive on Wednesday, but sometimes its gets there on Tuesday, or Thursday. And, by God, sometimes it gets there on Friday, but the world will not end. If you really need something today or tomorrow, go to the store and get it, or step up and pay the $40 to overnight it to you.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Sat Dec 28 12:56:08 2019

"The estimated delivery date is considered a part of the item description, and a seller can make changes to the shipping services they offer if they find that their deliveries are not arriving on time consistently."

The arrogance of this statement really shines through. It's like fining the baseball players for a rain out.  

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 13:39:10 2019

eBay's delivery dates are many times different and more "optimistic" than the carriers. They can trick more buyers into buying that way! On top of that, this whole Guaranteed Delivery thing is a sham. A gimmick and nothing more. How exactly can eBay guarantee delivery? THEY CAN'T. Does eBay ship anything? NO. Does eBay have a shipping network? NO. Does eBay have warehouses? NO. It's smoke and mirrors like everything else they do. Sellers should NOT be using Guaranteed Delivery because in fact that is limiting your exposure. Buyers outside the range of where eBay thinks a delivery could be made within the Guaranteed date won't see your items. eBay will hide them so the chances are less they won't have to compensate if a buyer made a claim. Lesson here is don't believe anything eBay claims is good for you. Because it's not. And eBay likes to lie.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 28 14:20:41 2019

I don't like those ETAs at all either.  

For me, I mostly ship via USPS.  And what I've found is that Ebay's ETAs are in line with what USPS states their times are.  So for me, the problem lies with USPS as they are a bit off IMHO.  

https://www.usps.com/ship/mail-shipping-services.htm


So
when I set up my listings I will use Standard Shipping or some other setting that provides me with a more realistic time frame for delivery.  But as far as Ebay goes, they are just using what USPS says their delivery time frames are.  

I don't know about other carriers as I don't use them.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 14:43:34 2019

I dont know why, but my estimate is overstated. Usually off by 2 days. I dont know why, but my items usually get to the customer at least 2 days before it says on ebay. My handling time is 1 day.

I am sure it hurts me in search results. I just dont want to call ebay to figure it out only to have them lie to me, or tell me something that makes no sense. May have something to do with about 1/3 of my listings having calculated shipping. I know they dont like that.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 28 14:55:16 2019

@geetar

Check the method of shipment you are using when you set up your listings.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 15:10:08 2019

humm good thread - something interesting happened to me just this week - buyer wanted to return a high end charm bracelet - bad news for her is she completely dismantled the bracelet - removed the ones she wanted and photoed the ones she didn't want all detached and sent the picture with her return claim.

Humm ok - does stupid as a bag of rocks describe her?

1st call to ebay - who automatically approved the return - how did this even get approved? Answer by rep because your on eGD.  Huh? no I'm not. Oh yes you are. Humm agai - let's walk thru this shall we?

She guides me thru settings and somewhere else - can't remember now but it took us to a page that stated that I was opted into 1 day shipping and guaranteed delivery.  Seems ebay decided that since I'm such a good seller I should be there. I didn't do it they did. And did they notify me that I was such a wonderful seller?
You already know the answer - made her immediately disengage me from that little thing.

My heads up to you is you all should check your setting.  So meanwhile if I get a return from a buyer who didn't get their package on time who's fault is it?  Mine? I think not.

Americans are basically stupid - didn't know Christmas was coming? Sneak right up on you? It's the same date every year - even if you live under a rock that little hysterical black Friday should have been your big clue it was coming - we've become a society of immediate gratification  - geez remember when we actually made our Christmas presents?

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 15:12:58 2019

one more thing - interesting too - on my website (had one for 15 years) I never had a single unhappy buyer for any reason.  If there ever was a problem I'd make it right without someone else sticking their nose in my business and telling me how to run things.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 28 15:15:43 2019

@whatever

The CSR was simply wrong.  The auto approval had nothing to do with Guaranteed Delivery.  The issue at hand for your buyer had nothing to do with the delivery.  

Ebay started Simplified Returns the fall of last year and that is why it was approved.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 15:36:27 2019

@Marie

I ship using first class, with the option of priority.

@Whatever , returns are automatically approved now. Theres really nothing you can do other than no returns (and then you will be buried at the back of search or hidden). Otherwise, they will send back.

Honestly, unless its a very high dollar item dont bother fighting it. You will just be wasting your time. This is why sellers in my category selling guitars upped and left, and went to Reverb to sell. Had little to do with fee's. Sell a $2,000 guitar, pay  $100 shipping both ways. Thats ebay. Even with no returns, that doesnt matter because there always SNAD.

On the other site reverb, there really are hardly ever returns. I think I got 2 or 3 in 4 years. I know I dont sell any where as near the amount as on ebay, but I also
dont have the amount of items listed.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: unsuckEBAY

Sat Dec 28 15:49:04 2019

Ebay likes to use the concept of 'retail standard' when justifying and encouraging sellers to adopt things like "Free Shipping".

This eBay notion that "estimated delivery date is considered a part of the item description" is one of the more ridiculous and absurd ideas eBay's asset-light wanna-be tech company lacking institutional expertise how most retail (or transportation) companies function.

The item description is a discrete user-created text field in a listing. The delivery date is not part of this field.

More importantly, after searching and scouring eBay's (busted) 'help' system and Money Back Guarantee pages, I couldn't find any documentation stating the eBay-created delivery estimate is considered part of the seller-created item description.

If nothing else, eBay should be responsible for ensuring this fallacious concept is clearly captured in their money-back guarantee policy, as well as their UA.

Since it's not (again, that I can find) sellers that experience punitive effects from this this practice (particularly if you get bumped into below standard) should consider making a *really big* stink about it.😠

If anyone finds where this is clearly documented, please do share.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Dec 28 18:31:03 2019

When Reality and Sanity Collide on eBay

Both of those words have no place in the "eBAy universe".

eBay, run by people who have ZERO scruples, business knowledge and are just "theft-tastic" in their dealings - have no clue how business works.

The main dope in charge (DW) left, and now theres a new one - meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Like returns, shipping & handling has nothing to do with the Walkers West drunkards in San Jose.

As long as the item shipped out on the day YOU SAID IT WOULD - thats IT.

It came late? Sorry - its XMAS. Its been this way for MANY years - and it will be this way NEXT year too.

MAYBE lower your vig on shipping (since you dont have any reason to collect it anyway) and then MAYBE sellers will up the shipping from FCM to Priority (which isnt guaranteed anyway).

All Shienkle/Smeckle (what ever) knows about ecommerce comes from his 12 yr old daughter buying Demi Lavato songs off Amazon Prime. Beyond that - hes brain dead (and I dare him to sue me in open court).

Yes, eBay has the audacity to say that THEIR estimates are YOUR description.... WOW, Just WOW - the San Jose Mafia rides again.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 29 10:26:48 2019

The thread has gone on 6 pages because of a poster - who is only a buyer - by their own admission in previous threads - does not know seller's policies and way laid the whole discussion with inappropriate treatment of the OP in the situation. Then it was compounded by others and their discussion on legitimate vs false SNADS. In eBay's eyes - as one poster said - there are no false SNADS - all SNADs are legitimate to Ebay and sellers know that. The ones affected by false SNADs are sellers - but Ebay doesn't acknowledge them. So much for Ebay looking at the seller's history and protecting us.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 29 12:00:23 2019

Marie, it doesn't matter what type of shipping is in your listing, you could post Shipped Tied to a Snail's Back, and eBay only goes with your history in making up their fake estimate. List something as Media Mail going to Hawaii, 6 days from the east coast. No matter that 4th class mail like MM gets put on a container ship and only goes when its full and your package could sit there for weeks, nope, 6 day estimate is now guaranteed.

You see all of their leadership's small brains could fit in that snail's shell, they have no clue how the real world works. They only want to copy Amazon's success, but have no idea how they got it.  The first part that they will never be able to get past is Bezos demanded that things be done right at the beginning. Ebay can only lie to their customers. If any eBay employee told me the sky was blue, I would have to assume the sky is now red.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 29 13:31:15 2019

Wish I could rep you Shanna. This is exactly what many of the posters don't understand. Ebay looks at your actual past ship time to calculate their estimates and not the handling and ship time that a seller puts into their listing. Funny that they use a seller's history to their benefit but won't look at a seller's history when it comes time to determine who is most likely telling the truth when a case is opened.

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 29 13:36:48 2019

“ So for me, the problem lies with USPS as they are a bit off IMHO. ”

Due respect to opinion inferred as influenced by unfortunate experiences, here are some statistics to cogitate. Perhaps they lack meaning to those who truly are impacted by ineptitude - kaka occurs - and when that happens to anyone, well let’s just say air safety stats are moot to plane crash victims. But like air travel, zero error tolerance has been an active objective of the USPS too, and for twice as long.

The USPS has maintained an average of about 97% on time (or earlier) by estimate delivery rate for the past three years or so. Advances in applied scanning and geo-location technology synergies continue to provide tools for both internal monitoring to improve accuracy and timeliness as well as provide the public with almost instantaneous knowledge of package location and status. They’re even taking selfies of the letter mail now and eMailing them. Which is kind of ironic, no?

Delivery delays that are caused by natural and insurmountable events (like those described by The Weather Channel, or say, any news broadcast) do occur. But of that 3% late and lost, less than 3 in 10 are either snowbanked or internally snafu’d. Though it doesn’t ‘snow’ that hard that often or ‘everywhere’ of course. But it is a national network, and it’s a big nation with lots of nooks and crannies.

Which brings up the bulk of those delayed. By incorrect or insufficient or outdated addressing. Something simple as a dyslexic house number or zip code or missing apartment number perhaps. How ‘bout them dirty printer rollers, eh? Nothing like a missing or blurred swatch across a label to wrinkle a brow. Or when perhaps, in a bit of a rush, there’s a bit of a wrinkle in that tape over the barcode. Or more likely, that buyer moved three months ago and “forgot” to update anything.

Those boxes have their ‘clock stopped’ and are ejected into the ‘manual handling’ post office vortex. For when the other stream (which rarely slows and never stops) leaves time. Clearly, some delivery units are faster than others, but there are goals to strive for, and consequences for negligence. Worst best case scenario it makes it’s way home eventually, but most do find the intended end, in reasonable, if not ‘expected’ time.

By the way, good rule of thumb - if it shakes, it breaks. And that gift wrap is pretty, but it goes inside of the box if you want Aunt Betty to appreciate it too.

This “peak season”, the USPS experienced an almost 40% YoY increase in parcel and spur volume. They adjusted their “seasonal help” plan accordingly. Delay’s still occurred by sheer volume though - there are only so many trucks, and so many even for rent. One can only ‘handle’ so many per minute. But there were even city Postmasters delivering overnight express on Christmas Day. Presumably, most understood there was both a 123 East and 123 West Main st. (etc.) here and there.

But if not, they can these days better and faster fix that, and you get a no question’s asked refund on the postage. That’s the only service ‘guaranteed’ though. As a business, that’s their choice to make and make known to please a customer. Perhaps seller can then offer the buyer that refund as ‘compensation’? Or better, terms up front reflecting reality instead of false promise? That would be seller’s choice.

Unless somehow otherwise ‘mandated’. Then there is no ‘choice’, save abandoning that overseer.

Which is a pity, considering that if left to “choice”, - and not just about return terms - and if left to natural marketplace influence (consider the above - the ‘competition’ is doing those things too), those who now become embroiled in the monetized by design confusion would be able to attract the niche customer base now lost or driven away by eBay ineptitude. And those buyers are commodity consumers too. eBay are dumb.

One more thing - the USPS doesn’t pay - in fact, prosecutes; will help you prosecute - false claims proven so by evidence. Customers are free to seek an alternate carrier that pays thieves, but good luck with that. It’s kind of an...industry standard.



Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Dec 29 13:52:44 2019

@lancecorp

You may have viewed the wrong thread.  The OP in the thread that is linked in the article above is a pretty good size active seller.

@Shanna

I was pretty specific in my post.  I was only speaking to USPS and I provided a link to the dates they claim are appropriate.  Which are the same that you will see on Ebay.  I too don't necessarily agree with some of them, but it is what USPS states at this time.  

As to other carriers, I have no information on them nor do I have very much experience with them.  So I was just sticking to what I know to be correct.  Your experience with other carriers may be different.  IDK, I just shared info that I do know about.

What this has to do with comparison to Amazon, IDK.  

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 29 15:12:28 2019

you are so right - it was the other thread you were on that was waylaid with the 4K purse where the OP was treated so rudely. My apologies!

Perminate Link for When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay   When Shipping Delays and Returns Collide on eBay

by: Iwishiwaskidding This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 30 02:43:20 2019

It sucks big time, but ebay has grown a staff that wants to be in charge of all the components of selling that they do not actually do the work for.  Shipping is one, and boy, are they great at screwing up the timelines without lifting a finger.  My solution has become to pick a slower shipping service and manually add the cost of the actual service I use (say, $8 priority flat rate but in the slowest parcel post service category).  It takes longer to list. Worth it for this hobbiest to cut down on returns.  

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.