EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
Your emails to EcommerceBytes
For consideration, send your email to ina@auctionbytes.com with "Letters to the Editor Blog" in the subject line! Remember to include your name as you would like it to appear in the blog.
Sun July 17 2011 15:25:27

PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Dear Editor,
Just a heads-up to let you know (and to alert your readers) of a PayPal bug that can have potentially devastating consequences on eBay DSR scores.

Even though I cut-and-paste the customer's address directly from my PayPal email notification, in the past week, I've had TWO items returned to me by the USPS because of incomplete address information.

When the items were returned, I wrote to my customers and asked them to confirm their address (or provide an alternate address). In both cases, they let me know that I was missing the information they had provided to PayPal for the "address line 2" field.

Generally, the "address line 2" field includes important information like "Suite 123", or "Apartment 456", or "Mail-drop 789", or "Fourth Floor", or "ATTN: Shipping Dept", etc.

At first, I thought that this error might have been limited to email notifications only. However, when I checked my PayPal transaction history online, it also displays incomplete address information.

In my case, I was very fortunate to have very sympathetic customers who understood the mistake was not my fault. But I wonder how long it will be until I encounter a customer who isn't as understanding.

PayPal's assurances that the address is "confirmed" and that it's "OK to ship" are meaningless unless this error can be resolved. Even though the majority of my customers do not use the "address line 2" field, there's absolutely NO WAY for me to know which ones do, and which ones don't.

Until then, it will probably be a good idea for me to add ANOTHER STEP in my shipping routine. Before shipping anything, I'll have to email EACH CUSTOMER to get confirmation of their correct--and complete--shipping address. This is an extra hassle for my customers, and it will delay each item being shipped by the amount of time it takes for each one to respond. (There goes my quick-shipping DSR scores!)

But I suppose that a day or two (or three) delay is preferable to having the USPS return items to me because of insufficient address info.

The amount of time for a package to make a round-trip is at least 8-9 days PLUS the amount of time it takes to arrive the 2nd time. (That's not "5-star" worthy, is it?)

In addition, there's the consideration of my having to PAY AGAIN for the 2nd round of postage! Of course that's an expense that I must absorb (asking the customer to pay for PayPal's error is the same as asking the customer to give me "1-star" in the Shipping Cost DSR.)

Everyone loses! Customers AND sellers!
Anonymous Annie

Note from the Editor: Sellers discussed the same issue in this eBay discussion board thread on June 30, it appears the problem has been happening for some time.



Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: Money

Sun Jul 17 15:55:35 2011

What about the ebay ship-to address?

My system gets all of it's addresses from ebay, which I cross verify with the paypal email receipt.

I've went through all of my sales since 6/30, and had plenty of address line 2 data - and all of the paypal receipts had address line 2's that matched the ebay ship-to addresses.

No doubt this is happening - but it's not universal.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: JB

Sun Jul 17 16:30:59 2011

We never used pay-pal on our website. Only problem free Google checkout.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Sun Jul 17 20:55:26 2011

''No doubt this is happening - but it's not universal.''

The intermittent bugs that don't happen to everyone... and that don't happen consistently, are the WORST kind of bugs!!

Not only are they difficult to track down and squash... but because of their inconsistent nature, and the fact that it's not widespread... I'm pretty certain that this will be a VERY LOW PRIORITY item and we can expect it to continue indefinitely.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 17 21:46:40 2011

...besides...its a handy glitch for getting rid of more sellers ;-)

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Jul 17 22:13:11 2011

Another in a perpetual series of PayPal IT glitches with absolutely no announcement from PayPal.

PayPal should be issuing refunds for duplicate postage costs as well as refunding transaction fees when their system glitches out like this.  Sellers should contact PayPal and request refunds.

eBay  needs to review the criteria for feedback removal and DSR removal.

Sellers should qualify for automatic removal of feedback and DSR ratings when system glitches such as this are the cause of buyers dissatisfaction.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: John

Mon Jul 18 06:28:59 2011

I remember when a glitch causing problem which effected sellers auctions ending during a certain time of that glitch were refunded WITHOUT having to ask eBay.

That was when eBay was still building their platform and needed sellers.

Once they transcended beyond that level they stopped  automatic refunds to sellers. I don't have this current  problem, because I don't accept pay-pal.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: Charlie W
Web Site

Mon Jul 18 09:31:33 2011

I've also had this problem. It's been intermittent and unpredictable.

The *only* pattern or common-link that I can find is that the ''line 2'' information is missing whenever a Buyer has *recently updated* their shipping address information, or if they have *recently* created a new PayPal account.

The ''line-2'' information continues to be displayed for Buyers who entered their information long ago, and who have not changed it recently.

It appears that the ''line-2'' address *is* included when that info is found in the database. This suggests to me that the error is not caused by the program that creates/sends the emails. Instead, it's because the ''line-2'' data is missing or has been misplaced (ie: recent changes/corrections were NOT properly saved to the database.)

This is just a guess on my part. It helps to *explain why* the error is happening (and maybe PayPal can use this to zero-in on fixing it).

Unfortunately my amateur analysis does nothing to help us determine which addresses might be affected. For repeat customers it's easy to see if the address differs, but for everyone else, I'll probably have to do as suggested in the OP and just email to confirm.

Comparing the PayPal address to the eBay address is a good start, but it's not a foolproof method. If the two addresses are an exact match, there's a good chance that nothing is missing (but it's no guarantee) and if the addresses are different, the only one that matters is the PayPal ship-to address.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: jyb

Mon Jul 18 09:56:02 2011

I don't recommend using the address from the email paypal notification.  those can be spoofed so always login and use the information listed there

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 18 12:20:47 2011

It takes extra time, but I ALWAYS look at both the buyers's eBay address AND their Paypal address.

At least once, those addresses were different cities (the customer had moved, and forgot to update one of them, I don't remember which one they said was correct).

Also, it has always annoyed me that Paypal does not require, and supply to seller, the buyers phone number. eBay does not require phone either, but, if buyer has entered their phone for there eBay ID, I can at least get the phone from the eBay record so that I can place it on the shipping label for the UPS driver (were they, for example, need to call to find it ... not too likely nowadays with GPS ... but still, nice to have on the label, were it needed).

AND, btw, phone number is required by both UPS and USPS for international bound shipments. But neither eBay or Paypal require buyer to supply phone number.

I have never once used a phone number to call a buyer, but I do like to include it on the shipping label.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jul 18 12:21:20 2011

''those can be spoofed so always login and use the information listed there''

It's always wise to be aware of the possibility of spoofed emails. Unfortunately, when the address information is missing from the emails, it's ALSO missing from the confirmation that's available on PayPal.com too. Logging in to PayPal.com wil verify that the email was not spoofed, but it won't help with regard to the incomplete address.

PayPal's error, and SELLERS suffer the consequences!

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: PM

Mon Jul 18 14:17:20 2011

Having been the victim of buyer fraud on more than one occasion, I have resorted to using Google Earth to verify addresses. Several times I have found that the so-called paypal verified address was an apartment building or a strip center or even an empty lot!  Luckily, the postman often knows what apartment a particular person lives in, so before I started using Google Earth, I probably dodged a bullet more than once.

For domestic shipping, it helps also to use a postage service that verifies addresses.  I use Endicia and it will flag an ambiguous address and present you with a list of options, such as suite or apartment numbers. Ebay and Paypal's shipping services are garbage and are no better than the garbage data they contain.

BTW, the USPS doesn't require a phone number on international shipments except to a P.O. box. They, and I, do recommend it though.  I have, however, found that it's not always easy to pry an international customer's phone number from him unless you lie and tell them that it is required by law. Then, you're liable to get a phony one anyway.  Some nationalities seem worse than others in this regard.  IME, Germans want to give you a hard time, while Aussies are easy. No matter though. Due to their ridiculous customs delays and Paypals practice of issuing INR refunds for items as they sit in customs, I'm done with Germany anyway.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: Lawrence A Dickerson

Mon Jul 18 15:06:49 2011

@ PM:The information used on Google Earth is not up to date therefore you are using a source that can be inaccurate which can lead to your suffering consequences on your DSRs not to mention a potential loss of a customer base

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jul 18 17:43:08 2011

Google earth and Google maps do have a lag-time with up-to-date accuracy. A search of MY address has pinpoint accuracy, but a search of my mother's home is off by about three houses. A search of my father's home is 100% on the mark, but the old satellite photo shows nothing but trees: a time before the neighborhood was completely developed. (In contrast, a Bing maps aerial photo shows everything... right down to the brick exterior, green shutters, and the little shed in the back yard.)

I wouldn't rely exclusively on either of these options when trying to verify the address (especially when something about the transaction strikes you as being suspicious.) However, in spite of their flaws, any mapping tool or address verification tool can be worthwhile when a Seller is trying to come up with a clearer picture of what they might be getting into.

They all reveal small pieces of the puzzle, and with enough pieces (even if some pieces are missing) Sellers can make better informed decisions and choose to abandon the sale, or to take prudent steps to minimize the risk and possible loss.

Perminate Link for PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info   PayPal Providing Incomplete Shipping Address Info

by: PM

Mon Jul 18 18:07:06 2011

@Lawrence A Dickerson
I do not rely on Google Earth entirely. It is additional to the address verification of my postage provider.  Nonetheless, what I am interested in is the nature of the structure(s) that occupies a given address. Excepting the case of an empty lot, timeliness is not a significant factor and accuracy to within a couple years is generally close enough.  Rarely is an office building located in the middle of what was a resident.  Rarely does an address that belongs to an apartment complex today belong to a single family residence next year. Rarely does an address that is a single family home today, show up on a 2 year old Google satellite view as a trailer park.



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, 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.