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|Wed Mar 26 2014 16:16:31|
eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desired
Just got off the phone with postmaster here on tracking. My complaint was that I put items in the box yesterday (they are charging 1.10 for the items to be scanned at post office) at 9:00 am box before the 11 am pick up at our post office. I wanted to see if what eBay claims is true; that they have real tracking at USPS same as FedEX or UPS. Nope, just showed label was generated and now it also says "in process" so it does not appear that I shipped the items for all of the items except one (more on that later)
I decided to call, got a supervisor who told me that there is not tracking on delivery confirmation or signature confirmation until it reaches its destination. This is not what eBay and Griff say so she got me the Postmaster. I explained to him that they are supposed to have "real time tracking" and that eBay uploads the tracking info as a metric of how fast we actually ship based on this assumption,
He said the only way to be sure it is scanned is to take it to the post office and have them scan it and if the label is pre-printed there is 1.20 charge to have it scanned. He said that the carriers that pick up the boxes do not scan; they are supposed to scan at the processing center postal location.
He said though sometimes they are not scanned at the processing center either. It will depend upon if the scan portion of the package is facing up or down on the belt. If it is facing down if they are busy, it will not be scanned until it reaches its destination. So one should consider putting labels on both sides, kill some trees or cough up an extra $1.20 to have it scanned and go to the post office if one is concerned about ratings, exposure in search and 20% discount.
Another change: Some may recall seeing the term "missent" on the packages when they went to another state instead of the processing center in your own state? Any errors will only be visible internally. The postmaster said that the tracking that they have in their office or 800# shows all this info but these details have been removed from what the public can view. In fact he could see that one of the packages made it to the processing center by the time we were ready to end the call but I still could not see it. I guess the others were facing down on the conveyor belt!
I really was amazed and appreciative of his honesty. It solved the mystery. It is a high volume post office and it is not too busy this week. eBay via Griff states that there is tracking now on USPS like FEDEX, UPS and that eBay only contracts with services that has real time tracking. Yes if you want to stand in line which adds to costs and add 1.20 to your postage which is more than the priority discount.
This is what they mean by stream-lining their operations. Why pretend that there are no problems with USPS tracking and confirmation systems? There is no uniformity. It depends where you live, who you talk to and what the area or district manager tells them to do. Sellers will be subject to a metric where the items may arrive at the same time from two different sellers going to the same destination, one will have had tracking uploaded at the receiving post office and the other not until it reaches its destination and the first seller will be dinged although they both shipped on the same day.
Update 4/2/14: USPS spokesperson Roy Betts sent a letter to the editor clarifying the issues raised in this letter, see April 2nd post.