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):
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.