Kudos to eBay for trying to solve a problem for sellers with a unique approach - the eBay Standard Envelope. But it doesn't appear to be a completely foolproof solution when it comes to providing buyers and sellers with peace of mind and protection, in part because it doesn't come with Acceptance Scans from the US Postal Service.
eBay Standard Envelope is an "affordable shipping service for trading cards up to $20" that promises to give buyers and sellers the ability to track packages. Typically tracking through the USPS would cost too much for inexpensive, lightweight items that are mailed in an envelope, yet tracking is crucial for sellers so they can prove to eBay and their buyers that they sent their orders.
The eBay Standard Envelope option
promises tracking - but it only allows the buyer and the seller to track such items - and only through the eBay website. When buyers and sellers think of tracking, they think of traditional USPS tracking with door-to-door transparency.
During Wednesday's eBay weekly chat on March 10
, a participant asked about the relatively new shipping option: "Could you explain how tracking works with the new eBay Standard Envelope? And what seller protection is available for INR claims and INR chargeback complaints?"
The eBay moderator did some digging and pasted what they found:
"Tracking for eBay Standard Envelope is an agreement set up with several of our partners. It is not a USPS tracking number, and is only trackable via the eBay website (via a buyer's Purchase History or a sellers Order History).
"While you shouldn't expect to see an acceptance scan from USPS at the counter or by the letter carrier, there are systems in place to ensure that, as a seller, you get credit for shipping items on time and with a valid number."
The moderator also found an answer regarding protections for INR situations (Item Not Received claims):
"eBay Standard Envelope doesn't provide any special protections when it comes to INRs or payment disputes. However, the standard protections will apply - if the item scans as attempted or actually delivered we would find in your favor in the case of an INR. Since payment disputes are decided by the financial institution we cannot promise that it will always be found in your favor, but we will always work to provide the institution with the evidence of deliverability. If you encounter an INR payment dispute for an eBay Standard Envelope item please consider contacting Customer Support so they can review your options with you."
That sounds less than reassuring, and a seller responded
by pointing out buyers would expect a USPS acceptance scan and asked, "shouldn't there be a bit of education by eBay to THEM? Might forestall THEIR questions to sellers."
On Friday, March 5th, a seller wrote, " I stopped using standard envelope. Tried 3x. Tracking showed no progress. One 3 oz envelope I got to pay $3.54 as the buyer was charged for insufficient postage. So far it was a failure for me."
And on Monday, a seller wrote, "I have had two that say it has been delivered and it has not. Buyer has not received. Any help would be great. Any ideas?"
eBay Standard Envelope promises to fill a crucial need for certain types of items, and sellers really want it to work - but if it doesn't, they will likely ask themselves why they are paying extra for the service.