eBay is steering sellers away from shipping via USPS, according to reports from several sellers. The messaging comes after the seller has made a sale when the shipping cost is already locked in.
A reader explained what he is seeing on his eBay shipping page:
"AFTER we've all setup USPS selections/rates (as recommended/pushed by eBay), after the sale is made, and we go to buy the shipping label. So, eBay is suggesting to sellers, after they've charged the lower/lowest USPS rate, to spend OUR money, and choose more expensive alternative shipping "to improve the buying experience.""
The seller included a screenshot of the message displayed on his shipping-label page:
"USPS is experiencing significant delays across their delivery network. Please consider using other carrier options that may provide a better buyer experience."
A seller on an industry board also wrote about the problem, saying he saw a "warning" at the top of the page when buying USPS shipping labels and asking him to please find another way of shipment.
Compounding the problem, according to another reader: eBay is hiding domestic shipping options he offers to shoppers - including FedEx shipping options.
"On the eBay Print Label screen it says "USPS is experiencing significant delays across their delivery network. Please consider using other carrier options that may provide a better buyer experience."
"Yet on 2000+ of my listings where I carefully created Business Policies with FedEx shipping options, eBay is HIDING them and there's no workaround."
That could be due to a policy eBay implemented last year
when it announced, "eBay will now only show the most cost effective shipping services for a given delivery speed, hiding higher priced options."
The practice was controversial
when eBay announced it in June 2019, but now it runs counter to eBay's own instructions in steering people away from USPS.
Sellers are also discussing the longer delivery estimates eBay is showing to shoppers - and they are divided about the wisdom of this move and the potential impact to their sales and potential customer claims.
Some sellers believe displaying longer delivery estimates will help protect them from unreasonable expectations on the part of buyers, who are always anxious to get their items quickly.
But others believe it will put their listings at a disadvantage, pushing shoppers to other websites promise quicker delivery times - even if those sites can't actually "deliver" on those promises.
eBay had advised sellers on August 11th that it would be automatically extending estimated delivery dates "as necessary" in order to set buyers' expectations, and advised sellers not to extend their handling times:
"We are automatically extending estimated delivery dates as necessary to give buyers a more reasonable expectation of when their items will arrive. We recommend that you don't extend your handling time. Our extended estimates should give you enough buffer, and additional handling days could lead to the appearance of your items shipping slower than they actually are."
In that eBay Announcement Board post
, the company said USPS delivery and scan delays persisted, and - as we previously reported - eBay said it was working on "other affordable, more reliable delivery options for sellers."