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Tue Feb 13 2018 10:08:20

eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Standards

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
eBay touts fast and free shipping, and many sellers are now part of the Guaranteed Delivery Program. Shipping has become a huge part of sellers' performance.

I have more than one eBay account. Recently, I saw a fall in sales. (Who knew that it could fall further.) I looked at the Seller Dashboards on all accounts. Each account has a "Late Shipment Rate" of more than 7%, with an alert.  

My "Tracking Uploaded on Time and Validated on Time" ratings are above 98%. I ship same day or morning after. I fall just short of begging USPS to scan my packages, but they always insist that I leave them on the counter and they promise to scan them in a timely means.  

I am at the mercy of USPS - they are a huge part of this delivery equation that I have no control over. Snow, thunderstorms and flooding can create havoc for USPS and their shipping partners.  

Meanwhile, eBay communicates unrealistic delivery times to buyers.  

While I am sure that these delivery expectations by eBay are to motivate sellers to ship quickly (which I do), I'm guessing that this is also done to impede sellers from achieving the TRS status and having to honor discounts that come with that status. Sellers who are on the East coast and the West coast are at a huge disadvantage, as they ship orders to opposite coasts. Please note that I only ship domestically, so this is not related to international shipping.

I spoke to several eBay CSRs recently. (It takes this because they all tell you something different. You have to do your due diligence.) More than one CSR suggested that I change my handling time from 1 day to 3 days, but to still ship same day or next morning. I think that I have no choice but to do this.  

I was Top Rated Seller status since it was implemented, but I saw this change last summer. As small sellers' sales drop precipitously due to eBay's gaming algorithms, maintaining the percentages that you need to achieve TRS has become quite difficult. It is the Late Shipment Rate that kills it.

I think this is a no-win situation. Late Shipment Alerts on your Seller Dash Board likely drop you in search. A one to three days handling time likely does too.
Steve

Comments (28) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 13 10:42:36 2018

I would accept the advice of the CSR who suggested that you change your registered shipping time. That has worked for me, and I get favorable feedback about the swiftness of delivery. (Most of my items are shipped within one day.) I am not nor do I aspire to be TRS. I ship first-class flat, which benefits the buyer because of low shipping cost. My aim has always been to keep the process as simple as possible -- hand addressing, no printing of labels, etc. -- no ebay gewgaws and extras.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Feb 13 11:15:54 2018

Of course the eBay reps told the OP to change their handling time to three days- it would disqualify the seller from the program.

It certainly takes a great deal of luck (and a post office which has employees who do their jobs) to navigate the many ''hoops'' and maintain TRS status.

As much as they try and rid themselves of Top-Rated sellers and drop our discounts in half, the fact is that eBay still is not bringing in the revenue that they should. Taking away perks from their best producing vendors has not accomplished anything for the site.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 13 11:40:11 2018

Steve - use a scan form

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 13 12:00:43 2018

Unless you want to deliver your packages yourself you are better off changing shipping time to 3 days and quit jumping for the carrot stick. Its the carrot that is hurting your sales.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Feb 13 12:42:18 2018

I have 2 selling accounts

I am TRS on both of them

My late shipment rate is: 0.91% & 0.67%

My mailman scans EVERYTHING I put on the front porch!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Feb 13 12:57:57 2018

Changing your handling time to 3 days does not disqualify you from achieving TRS.  But it will prevent your listings from being TRS+ so that you receive the discount.  For some sellers the discount is not important enough to them to do the one day handling time and for others it is.  You need to chose what is best for you and your selling account.  There is no right or wrong answer.

Steve
Your problem is clearly with your local PO.  You need to take this up with your local Postmaster / Manager and if that doesn't fix your problem with the lack of scans, go to the USPS website and send in a complaint.

The website is a good source and lodging a complaint there, being as specific as you can, will enable them to service you better.  In my experience they have been responsive and forthcoming.  

It is important to remember that USPS WANTS to be able to compete with other carriers.  They know to do that they have to up their game so to speak.  And they want to do this.  It is their responsibility and part of what you pay for to get those scans done.  An occasional fail is to be expected, but not on a steady basis.  You can get this fixed, you just need to get active and professionally lodge the appropriate complaints.

As to your dashboard.  ALL sellers should be watching their dashboard numbers far more frequently than many do.  As you have found out for yourself, it can be costly to ignore the dashboard for a prolonged period of time.  At the very least, every seller, whether they are TRS or not, should be checking it on a weekly basis.

For example, about 3 weeks ago I had 4 item showing under the late shipment rate and they weren't late.  I called, and got them removed.  It takes them a couple days before they are actually gone, but they are now no longer there.  Then last week there were two more that didn't belong there as a Late shipment.  I called again and got them removed.

We shouldn't have to do this, but the reality is that we do.  To ignore these types of things is only to hurt yourself.  Take the additional time needed [which is not much] to review your dashboard at the minimum of weekly.  If you do that, you may be able to fix or correct stats important to the health of your account.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

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

Tue Feb 13 14:00:29 2018

Marie is correct.

The problem is with the local post office. File a complaint, talk to the local post master and it will be resolved.

As for eBay, their Guaranteed Delivery Program is flawed. I signed up right away last summer. For the most part it was relatively benign. I didn't see a change in sales up or down. Items reached their destination as expected.

However, once the program was fully implemented, I noticed a number of problems. The first being, the estimated delivery days became longer. My items would ship 75 miles in 4 days. Something to the east coast would take a week. I am near Los Angeles. Historically, nearly all of my first class packages will deliver within 3 business days, no matter where it's going. That is the estimate that previously appeared on my listings. I began to notice my sales falling and orders west of the Rockies dropped by over half. Seemed odd.

I made the decision to opt out of Guaranteed Delivery. Guess what? Orders returned to their historical pattern.

Ebay was constantly changing the delivery calculation. Because they offer the guarantee, they merely extend the amount of time for the item to arrive. So it doesn't appear to be a benefit at all.

I think they are constantly messing with the shipping features in their system. Every so often, a couple of late shipments will pop up, then disappear. The percentage on time will change yet the underlying orders were handled on time. I have maintained 100% for well over a year. It's all very odd, and all very eBay.

Like Marie said, check your metrics regularly.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: cardfinds This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 13 14:47:07 2018

I sympathize with what you have to do to get your metrics up to ebay's standards. I too have to be diligent with getting my scans done on my shipments. I have a great relationship with my mailman (highly recommend this) so he knows I have to get my items scanned right away. I also wait to have my items scanned when I have to go to the post office. It sucks but that's what it takes to jump through their hoops.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Feb 13 17:14:04 2018

We all have "hoops" we jump through in our lives for different things.  They are choices.  You don't have to do them, but you choose to so that you can achieve some status or level in all kinds of different things.

Those that work outside the home for another employer may have certain levels they need to achieve in their jobs to reach a pay grade.  Or at school.  There are certain things you need to do to achieve a certain grade for the class.

Most here talk about "hoops and/or "carrots" as if they are a bad thing, when in fact they have been part of our lives since most likely the beginning.

Yes, Ebay requires certain things to achieve each level offered for a selling status.  If Ebay did not have these levels and if all sellers could do as they wished, then it would certainly create a whole host of different problems that the site currently experiences.

It isn't that I like or even agree with the stats that Ebay tracks and/or applies to sellers, that isn't my point.  My point is life is full of "hoops" and "carrots" on and OFF Ebay.  It is your choice whether you want to try and achieve different things in life or just let the chips fall as they may.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Feb 13 18:52:58 2018

@Marie

Well Said.

I have found that if you treat others the way you wish to be treated, your chips will usually fall into place.

Also, if you can keep the things you CAN control IN control most of the time, life is pretty good.

And we all can agree that being penalized for things we cannot control is somehow not right.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Feb 13 18:56:58 2018

@extinctBay

I completely agree with you as well.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 13 23:16:53 2018

Reaching for the carrot, sidestepping the stick.  Yea, verilly, such is life. Obstacles abound, always have.

Yet, many were overcome.  Outmanuvered.  Some even adapted to; the stuff of nature, leaving no choice save to perish.

And some, due to clear ineptitude, or unfairness, or unnecessary redundancy, or sheer tyranical despotism in their germination or application, require elimination.  Especially if there's no disagreement with that assessment.  And they can be eliminated, because of nothing more than their being a man-made, thus actionable, obstacle.  Hurtful, unnecessary.  Just ask your founding fathers - they were counseled to accept the inevitable too.  Or else.  

Now fast-forward.  Seem familiar?

Sure, a 'choice' can still - always - be made to accept anyway.  A lesser of two evils perhaps.  But don't label label that choice as something to consider accepting because the only other choice is oblivion, or the obstacle insurmountable.  

Because if that were true, we'd all be still trading axe heads for animal skins.  Progress IS overcoming and eliminating obstacles, when the status quo is destructive, or encourages stagnation.  If for no other reason than to make a better world for those to follow, or at least be remembered for trying.

Incidentally, perhaps some of you can think of another previously popularly held sentiment that also involved choosing to employ methods of 'acceptance' in order to deal with an 'obstacle' that's been newsworthy recently - and for good reason, long overdue.  Yeah, #metoo.



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by: margo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 00:37:51 2018

I would never leave my packages on the counter for usps to scan in their timely means and not get a receipt. I wait in line to have my packages scanned and get a receipt. My son use to take his packages and just hand them over and leave until one day a $150.00 item came up missing and with no receipt he could not prove he mailed it as it was never scanned. So now he waits in line and makes sure he gets a receipt.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: Redlion This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 01:06:18 2018

I am a TRS+ on my account and have a 1/4th of 1% late shipment rate... The USPS scans each and every package I have without a single complaint, some days there are over 50 of them.  The problem IS your local post office.

I believe that Ina covered this back in 2013
https://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/letters/blog.pl?/pl/2014/4/139645
6422.html

I
would suggest you get in touch with the USPS corporate communications office

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by: Redlion This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 01:34:03 2018

Eh?  I guess it was 2014

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta   eBay Seller Describes Catch 22 of TRS Shipping Sta

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 02:57:13 2018

@Geoffrey Mason>> My aim has always been to keep the process as simple as possible -- hand addressing, no printing of labels, etc. -- no ebay gewgaws and extras.<<

I guess I am missing something here in what you said. How can hand addressing and not printing labels in any way make your process simple? Without e/postage you can't get automatic tracking D/C. You would have to buy that at the PO or do you just forego that and never have any proof to customers that you shipped?  Printing labels via software like endicia, simplifies greatly the postage process for me. I can't conceive of hand writing out addresses. One of the last things I ever bought on ebay came addressed to me with a near illegible scrawled out address, no return address, and no packing slip of any kind, which meant I had to figure out who sent it for FB plus if something had happened to the addres such as getting caught in the rain, their would have been no way to continue the package on its way, OR send it back!

Hand addressing instead of printing is not an 'ebay geegaw'. It is a valid, sensible way to handle postage and address labels when selling on line at any venue. But when I was willing to sell on ebay they didn't have a printing program, so I don't know what trouble it might have, but I know I prefer using endicia for doing my postage and it is very simple.

I know you mentioned First Class Flat - but I was just checking at usps.com to see what that might mean, but anything much bigger than a regular or business envelope that is more than 1/4" thick has to go as a FC package, so that the simplest way to do their postage is via the on-line postage labels. I know that because the majority of my outgoing mail is FC package.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 03:02:14 2018

I do agree with the others, that the best thing you can do is try to develope a good relationship with your mail person and your PO.  My mail lady mentioned one day that she liked the way I sorted outgoing mail for her (hubby tosses it in willy-nilly so I try to have them in order when handing them off to her). I sort everything outgoing by Priority mail, international mail, first class mail, and within those groups by size as well. I assume it makes it easier for her to scan it all and sort it when she gets back to the PO. Most of my outgoing orders are via FCM so it is easy to do this, but I'm sure if I was shipping a bunch of Priority boxes, Priority envelopes, and FC plus international, keeping everything in their group is helpful. Just one of those small things that she appreciates and is easy for me to do.

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by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 04:03:21 2018

If the 10% saving on a 10% fee is curcial to your profits then I would just increase my prices by 1%. Ask yourself...is that 1% worth all the hoop jumping? NO!

eBay are just shooting themsleves in the foot. I changed my shipping times from next day to 4 days as almost every shipment to Australia was marked as a late delivery by the customer. Now I don't have to worry any more. Believe me it's a better life. The perks for TRS are imaginarry.

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by: CA This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 14 07:26:35 2018

If you use stamps.com - you can print a scan form after you print your postage.  When you go to PO, do not leave until the scan form is scanned.  (it scans all your packages at once).  

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This user has validated their user name. by: RavenNightMyst
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Wed Feb 14 08:02:07 2018

I order a free USPS pickup from my home online for next day pickup. You have until 2am Central Time of the pickup day, I think. They changed it a year or so ago so you don't have to have at least one Priority Mail piece. First Class only is okay. I see slower services on there now, too. I don't know if only Media or Parcel Select is okay. I have two BIG signs on my porch that says "USPS Please Scan My Parcels For Acceptance". If you get that first scan, downline scans will show. Without that first scan, it's a nightmare. I have had basically the same carriers for years and they're well trained :) I haven't seen the inside of a P.O. in 20+ years.

I always ship the same day or the very next day, depending on the payment time. I prefer next day, so I have a record of that USPS pickup with the number of pieces, however. When I was on eBay, I chose "Economy" shipping as the type, and selected no specific service. I don't now if that's still an option, but I'm in Alaska, and it's sometimes a day longer for Priority Mail, and at least a day longer for First Class than the norm for the Lower48. eBay didn't recognize this, so I leveled the playing field. My TRS was 100% (with all 5 stars) across the board including shipping.

I have had ZERO returns since leaving eBay 4 years ago, BTW. I never had many on eBay, maybe 3-4 in almost 15 years, but I could see the trend building from talking to my "friends" selling the same high end items. I also went from selling $200-$400 items to mostly samples to reduce the buyer's urge to steal. My stress level is virtually non-existent. On eBay it was horrible near the end, especially after that last Fall Seller Update that was the final straw for me.  

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