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Fri June 30 2017 22:40:39

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I have recently had an involved interaction with eBay about losing my TRS (Top Rated Seller status) over late shipments and I've gleaned a lot of info from my own research that I want to pass along to others.

Many sellers know that the allotted time for on-time delivery is unrealistic, so the most important thing you can do is get the label scanned on time. If you do you are covered.

I generally do 1-day shipping and most often I take my 5 packages to a carrier truck in the neighborhood about 4 pm and have them scan them. The main PO is 2 miles away and very busy so they have put 2 big open bins for us sellers to dump packages in behind the counter, which is great except sometimes they don't scan them before they get shipped 50 miles to a distribution center where they usually get scanned after midnight Eastern time.

If someone buys something from me at 1AM on Wednesday, eBay calculates that as a Tuesday sale at 10pm using their Pacific time, but if I put the item in the bin (not being able to find a carrier on their route) Wednesday, sometimes it doesn't get scanned until 1AM Thursday and now eBay does not convert that to Pacific time, so even though it's been scanned in 24 hours, it gets marked as a late scan and now if it is going to the West Coast 1st class mail it has a good chance of not getting there in 3 business days, which seems to be the new penalty point. (you get 2 chances to avoid a delivery strike: Get it scanned on time or get it delivered on time).

But wait, there's more. When you select your handling schedule, you can pick same business day, 1 business days, 2 business days, 3 business days, 4 business days, 5 business days, 10 business days, 15 business days, 20 business days, etc.

I'm not trying to be wordy here. In a minute I'll show you how poorly this was designed and programmed. But first consider this about business days as programmed by eBay:

We are all schooled at counting like this: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7, etc, but if you sell something on Wednesday with same day shipping you are required to ship Wednesday (according to your cutoff time). If you select 1-day shipping you are required to ship Thursday. However if you sell something Saturday (not a business day), if you ship same day, you are required to ship Monday as you would expect, but if you select 1-day shipping you do not get to wait until Tuesday; you are also required to ship Monday, so there is an overlap for weekend sales.

That makes sense if the left hand knew what the right hand was doing but it doesn't. Now consider the possible handling times offered. Recently I went on vacation for a week.

(Did you know if you have a store and select the vacation setting, buyers can still buy and you will still get penalized if you don't ship on time? Anyways, why try to stop selling? Simply adjust your handling time and keep selling. You lose your 10% FVF discount for those items. No big deal.)

So I left on Saturday and returned the next Saturday, to ship the following Monday. Looks like the eBay programmer thinks like I do. There are 5 business days in a week, so I picked 5 business days handling time. No need to even offer 6 business days handling time, according to eBay. After 5 days they do it a week at a time.

So I sold some stuff both Saturday and Sunday. eBay started my 5 days handling time on Monday and when I didn't have any label printed or scanned by the end of Friday, I had missed my guaranteed get out of jail card. Now I was at the mercy of the delivery time which ran all weekend (what happened to the term "business day")? When my 40 items were scanned Tuesday (Turns out the Monday I returned was a postal holiday), eBay said I was 100+ hours late in shipping. Even so, the items were delivered only 1 day later than what their computer said was the max delivery date.

So what's clear is that eBay hasn't thought this out by not offering a 6 day handling time.

There's more: I've been looking at many items I have for sale to compare delivery times quoted in the ads. Currently almost all of the ads only state a delivery time in days or less. They don't often state the handling time. However, for the 5 day handling while on vacation shipping defects I got, it says (for the 1st class):

"Delivery:
Estimated within 7-11 business days  
Includes 5 business days handling time after receipt of cleared payment."

It seems eBay's computer thinks that if I had shipped on Friday, that Saturday and Sunday are no longer business days if the package is in the system, because if you count business days from the time the buyer paid until it was delivered, my packages made it in time.

I called CS with this screen for them to see and they agreed. I got the last 14 shipping defects removed. Not only that, but with 2 tries I got them to send a request to a department I didn't even know existed to get my TRS back for the rest of the month, as it doesn't do that automatically, and was successful.
H.




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: CNYC This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 30 23:16:26 2017

A word of advice if this is a business for you and not a hobby; ship every day that you can.  When it gets busy, ship twice a day during the week and once a day on Saturday.

Yes, you might be cursing under your breath at the thought.

However, your business will thrive for it and your late shipment rate will be near non-existant.  Your customers will leave better feedback because they are so happy with the arrival "before" the estimated date.

If it is just a hobby and you don't care then don't worry about it and don't look at your metrics anymore.

16 years, 4 different selling channels and ids.  For me, it is a business.  If an order comes in a 4pm I will do my best to see that it is out the door before 5pm whether its on eBay, Amazon or other.  My late shipment rate is always below 1%, usually 0.15 and only if something is hung up someplace.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Jul 1 03:26:41 2017

H.

Early last year Ebay changed how they eval if a shipment is late or not.  You are NOT just dependent on the carrier to scan the package when you mail it.  That is NOT the only way to get your on time shipping stat to stay in good shape.

"... sometimes it doesn't get scanned until 1AM Thursday and now eBay does not convert that to Pacific time, so even though it's been scanned in 24 hours, it gets marked as a late scan."  No it doesn't, not yet anyway.  There are now THREE ways in which you can get your on time shipping stat as on time.

1.  The package gets scanned by the carrier within your stated handling time on the listing.

OR

2.  The delivery scan happens within the stated ETA on the purchase.

OR

3.  When the buyer leaves FB they check the box that the item was delivered on time.

ANY ONE of the three things above will count as on time shipping.  You are NOT dependent on the pick up scan happening on time anymore.

"...it has a good chance of not getting there in 3 business days, which seems to be the new penalty point."  What new penalty point are you referring to.  There isn't some new penalty at this time.  

"...you get 2 chances to avoid a delivery strike: Get it scanned on time or get it delivered on time"  You actually get THREE.

"However if you sell something Saturday (not a business day), if you ship same day, you are required to ship Monday as you would expect, but if you select 1-day shipping you do not get to wait until Tuesday; you are also required to ship Monday, so there is an overlap for weekend sales."  YES because Saturday and Sunday are not considered business days.  I don't see anything wrong with this.

"(Did you know if you have a store and select the vacation setting, buyers can still buy and you will still get penalized if you don't ship on time?"  Of course, I'm not sure why you thought you would get special treatment.  What you need to remember to do when you set your vaca setting is check the box not to Hide and Block purchases.  Problem solved.

"Simply adjust your handling time and keep selling."  Yes you can do that, but you do risk issues with your buyers as they may not notice your 7 day handling time.  But if your willing to take that risk, it certainly is your choice to make.

It's not Ebay.  You just want the system to do something it is not designed to do.  YOu are much safer to just check the box to block sales when you set the vaca setting.

"Currently almost all of the ads only state a delivery time in days or less"  That would be because they are basing the ETA on your zip code.  It is basing it off YOUR account info since you are the one looking at it.  If you want to see what someone else might see as the ETA, get someone else to take a peek that lives somewhere else.

You got very lucky with the CSR you spoke with and I'm glad to hear it worked out for you.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 1 09:39:11 2017

Why does everyone insist in being a carrot jumper for ebay.

Do the 2 shipping and don't worry about what ebay does or doesn't think about it.

Sit back relax. Life is to short to be continually crying about Ebay and their moronic rules.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Jul 1 13:40:03 2017

@Marie,

How DO you remember all that stuff?  I gave up when I started to need a flow chart, a spreadsheet, and a stopwatch!  Sure, I could probably remember that much..... UNTIL you add the OTHER 678 rules besides the ''Shipping Rules''.

Used to be, I'd say ''2-3 Day Shipping''.  Shipped 99.9% in less than 18 hours.  Included packing slip with short handwritten ''Thank You'' note & FIRST NAME.  Taped brand new 1.00 bills to the invoice for shipping refunds.

Ebay got in the way of me having a nice friendly business.  Idiots.  I don't have time to be treated badly, just because they can't spend any money on real CUSTOMER SERVICE.  But instead poor algorithms that trap good sellers, and BAD CS that can't USUALLY fix it.

All the above still work GREAT. (Although not on Ebay)  Now I warn buyers it might be a few days.  There are NO delivery problems off Ebay or Etsy.

.....only opportunities..... to never have another one.










The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Jul 1 15:00:14 2017

@buildmyownsite

LOL  It certainly is a challenge trying to keep all the rules straight, that just can't be denied.  There are far too many, more than is needed for sure.  

Then there is the fact that Ebay will change some of these policies without any notice at all.  And you don't learn about them until the change somehow affects you.  Then you are left say What the Hell is that?  When was that changed?!?!?

As for Ebay's CSRs, you are certainly correct about that.  Usually it will take several phone calls to get to a CSR that knows what they are talking about.  What I do when I know the CSR is just blowing hot air, I have them direct me to the policy that supports what they are saying.  It is scary how many times the CSRs can not call up a policy for what they are trying to get you to buy.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Jul 1 15:26:35 2017

I sold there for about 17 years.  All I can say now is:

What company would ACT like this?

How sad.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 1 16:58:00 2017

After 15 years of serious selling, I refuse to jump through idiotic ebay hoops with customers who don't want to pay the true cost of Express mail. Life is much better with 3 days handling time.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 1 18:03:21 2017

Am I a poor communicator or is @Marie a poor comprehender?

Anyways, even with the recent 50% haircut on the TRS discount, the remaining 10% is real money to me, so I try to keep my TRS. As for being lucky with CSR's, I simply hang up and call back when I sense I'm talking to a tree. I've called so many times to win and reverse cases against me where I was clearly correct, I am saying that the CS department is improving all the time, and you can expect to win a few if you get a rep that isn't 'old school' from the Donahoe era.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Jul 1 19:20:32 2017

@ZZ

Chill !!  I take it you are the OP.

I said NOTHING about a TRS status.  While yes you can lose your TRS status because of too many late deliveries, I didn't say anything about that.  I commented specifically on the shipping timeframes you posted.

You seem to think that a 5 day handling time would or should have prevented late shippment issues due to being on vacations.  Your example of the item being purchased on a Saturday or Sunday w/a 5 day handling time should have prevented this.  

You stated you were going to be gone a week.  Therefore you would not have been able to ship anything out until the following Monday.  You called until you got a CSR to agree with you and you got LUCKY that they removed the infractions as you both counted the dates wrong.

Lets say you leave on Vacation Friday evening, you don't plan to be back until Sunday of the next weekend.  You put your store on vacation and put a 5 day handling time on your listings so you keep them active and available for purchase.

If you sell Anything on Saturday or Sunday, you can't meet your handling time of 5 days as that will end on Friday.  Monday through Friday is 5 business days.  

I'm sorry I offended you, but what I originally posted is correct.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jul 3 00:01:10 2017

It's even possible to do everything right and still get dinged.  I ship next day, no fail, always get my packages scanned at the PO counter and yet I recently spotted a ''you printed the label but it didn't get scanned'' ding on my metrics.  I dug out the Post Office receipt to reassure myself that yes I did, and the package was actually delivered before the promised date so I sucked it up and called eBay CS.  They agreed, yup, you're good, we'll remove that, anything else we can do for you?  Yes, I told them, explain to me how that could have happened.  Oh, that had to be some communication glitch between USPS and Ebay.  I agree, it had to be a glitch, but I don't think USPS had much responsibility there.  So that's just one more thing I now watch.  I shouldn't have to watch though.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 02:03:52 2017

''I've called so many times''

Really?  I ship about 150 packages a week and I may have called 3 or 4 times in the last year.  Seems like there are some shipping issues that need to be attended to.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jul 3 02:27:36 2017

>>As for Ebay's CSRs, you are certainly correct about that.  Usually it will take several phone calls to get to a CSR that knows what they are talking about.  What I do when I know the CSR is just blowing hot air, I have them direct me to the policy that supports what they are saying.  It is scary how many times the CSRs can not call up a policy for what they are trying to get you to buy.
<<

Reminds me of being in our local tax office where some old biddy was telling me I couldn't do something on my taxes that I knew I could. I told her, show me the rule in writing. Of course she couldn't, but kept hammering on that she had been doing this job for 30 years, blah blah blah. She had been accepting income tax money for non-income things like rental property, that my in-laws had been paying for years and only found out their error after she was gone. They got a couple of years refunded, but that was as far back as they could go. They probably had paid $1-2K that they didn't owe. Her salary was based on a % of taxes paid so of course she wasn't going to turn down taxes paid in error. Nepotism at its worst. Her brother was on the governing board of the town.

But one of the best ways to get those folks to pay attention is pulling the "show me the rule" card. If they start dancing instead ask for their supervisor.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: HardWorkingSeller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 02:48:09 2017

My understanding is that it is USPS national policy that packages are to be scanned at the point of entry into the mailstream.  If your post office is of the view that they are exempt from this requirement then I would ask the person in charge there for their position on this rule.  If they state that they are not minded to comply then I would file a report with the eBay shipping team providing the name of the person who thinks that policy is something that applies just to everyone else, and the office that they are in charge of.  eBay claims that that they are very effective at getting USPS leadership to place "coaching" calls to people with this career-limiting mindset.  Of course a charm offensive before you resort to the big stick may also pay dividends.

With regard to the handling time interval.  I've been burnt before for assuming that 5 business days equals a week in eBay land.  So I add an extra day in most cases, which unfortunately means having a 10 day handling time for the first day of my week away as annoyingly there is not 6 day option as you mention.

I believe that vacation manager may in the future be redeveloped to be smarter.  You will just enter the day that you return and the system will decrement the handling time each day rather than your having to do this yourself every day.

I don't think that supporting multiple timezones for shipping cut off is a high development priority for eBay.  They'd have to go into just about every system in the stack to change the code and there can't be a lot of incremental revenue at stake.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 09:49:41 2017

Good idea by @HardworkingSeller:

I believe that vacation manager may in the future be redeveloped to be smarter.  You will just enter the day that you return and the system will -adjust- the handling time each day rather than your having to do this yourself every day.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: The Not So New Guy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 20:21:31 2017

@Marie

""Currently almost all of the ads only state a delivery time in days or less"  That would be because they are basing the ETA on your zip code.  It is basing it off YOUR account info since you are the one looking at it.  If you want to see what someone else might see as the ETA, get someone else to take a peek that lives somewhere else."

Just thought I'd mention you can just go to the shipping tab for your item, enter the alternate zip code and it will tell you the correct shipping rate and ETA.

@ZZ
"Am I a poor communicator or is @Marie a poor comprehender?"

It fascinates me that when people here disagree they go right for the personal attacks. I can assure you Marie has perfect comprehension skills. On to your communication skills- You seem to communicate ok, you just have incorrect information, no worries, it happens.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 20:36:32 2017

"Am I a poor communicator or is @Marie a poor comprehender?"

It fascinates me that when people here disagree they go right for the personal attacks. I can assure you Marie has perfect comprehension skills. On to your communication skills- You seem to communicate ok, you just have incorrect information, no worries, it happens."

Really? She tore apart every sentence I wrote, line at a time. For the 1st one, here is eBay policy which I didn't include but she did:
"If the shipment doesn’t receive a carrier scan within your handling time and there's no tracking info available, we'll check with the buyer. If the buyer says the carrier delivered the shipment late, it will count as a late shipment."
To me that seems to be for people who put postage stamps on their packages and don't use tracking. Most of us do, so why complicate the important concepts? It certainly didn't have anything to do with my report.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: The Not So New Guy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 3 20:49:38 2017

@ZZ

"Really? She tore apart every sentence I wrote, line at a time. For the 1st one, here is eBay policy which I didn't include but she did:
"If the shipment doesn’t receive a carrier scan within your handling time and there's no tracking info available, we'll check with the buyer. If the buyer says the carrier delivered the shipment late, it will count as a late shipment."
To me that seems to be for people who put postage stamps on their packages and don't use tracking. Most of us do, so why complicate the important concepts? It certainly didn't have anything to do with my report."

Seriously, you took her comments personally, she was not being personal. She quoted the policy to be accurate. As you believe that to just be for stamps, etc., that would be a mistake, one she didn't want anyone to make. The fact is even if you miss the scan, even if the package is delivered late, even if there was no scan at any time, if the buyer says "received before x date" then no ding for you.

Marie is accurate, she is never condescending, or rude to anyone. Don't take it personal.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jul 4 02:44:51 2017

@ZZ

"She tore apart every sentence I wrote, line at a time."  I'm sorry you took it that way because it certainly wasn't my intention.

I do go sometimes respond statement by statement like I did with your posting when there is a lot of information to share or explain.  Nothing I said was a personal attack on you.  It was in the hope of giving you more clarity on what you stated were your concerns and why you felt things happen the way they did to you.

Some of the reasons you thought certain things happened weren't quite accurate and because of that you were reacting in ways that could have made things worse for you and possibly others.  So I thought I'd share more info to your for your consideration.

You got very lucky with the CSR you got to remove those dings on your account and personally I think that is wonderful as you did not intentionally ship late, you just made a math error when calculating what your handling time should be to keep yourself out of trouble.

I posted what I posted in the hopes you would gain something from it and others would not do as you did so they don't have the same issue.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 4 04:00:56 2017

''''If the shipment doesn’t receive a carrier scan within your handling time and there's no tracking info available, we'll check with the buyer. If the buyer says the carrier delivered the shipment late, it will count as a late shipment.''

Is there any reason not to take eBay written policy literally? What it says is, if there is no tracking info available, they will contact the buyer. Under what other circumstances would that happen that there is no tracking available? Have you ever had an item delivered that never got scanned anywhere along the line? The odds of that are at least a million to one to one. Maybe USPS or eBay computers lost the data? Another million to one.

What's left? Postage stamps, that's what, or not using the USPS, Fedex or UPS to ship.
I can tell you for sure that there was no delay waiting for buyers to confirm the delivery dates before I got all those shipping defects. You can download a spreadsheet file of all of them which includes the delivery date their computer had determined your package should be delivered. That's what is used to hand out the defects. In my case that date didn't jive with the # of business days quoted in the ads, and that's why I got the defects removed.

During one of my calls to an appeals department, the specialist told me that they had been experiencing problems with faulty data about expected delivery times given to them by the USPS, which is what they use in handing out the defects.
I think my conclusions were spot on: Make sure the packages are scanned on time because that's the only way to avoid getting these defects.

The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements   The Intricacies of eBay Delivery Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jul 4 13:00:18 2017

@ZZ

"...if there is no tracking info available, they will contact the buyer. Under what other circumstances would that happen that there is no tracking available?"  Yes, but how they contact the buyer is not as you may think.  It is stated in #3 of my first post here.  When the buyer goes to leave FB, they have a box they can check that says the item was received on time.

You didn't get the shipping defects because of anything Ebay or the carrier did.  You got the defects because you thought that 5 day handling would cover you while you were on vaca.  It was just an honest mistake you made and you were lucky enough to convince the CSR of that too.  Which I think is great.

As you stated, you left on vaca on Saturday to return a week from Sunday.  You sold a bunch of stuff while you were gone on the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend that you left w/ a 5 day handling time.

Five business days from a Saturday or Sunday is the following FRIDAY [not Monday].  

There is nothing in the rules that says that the purchase date will be the first business day AFTER the purchase.  Or Monday in this case.  You ignored counting Monday of the week you were GONE as being one of the 5 business days.

You are correct, Ebay does make mistakes from time to time on this and many other things.  In this case luck was on your side and that is a GOOD thing.

A seller with a 5 day handling time that sells something on Saturday or Sunday of any given week has until FRIDAY to ship it out.  That is five business days:  1. Monday, 2. Tuesday, 3. Wednesday, 4. Thursday and 5. Friday.

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