Buying on eBay & Amazon: Tracking

From the more recent purchases made on Amazon and eBay only a couple shipped from Amazon and one from eBay had tracking. All the purchases were relatively low value so really didn’t justify paying for tracking, but some sellers have some surprising tactics in their attempt to stop us “stealing” their items.

As reported earlier this week, one seller marked a DVD as “faulty returns” in the vain hope that neither the postie nor my neighbours would purloin the item. Having marked the parcel as faulty, they then emailed to explain that whilst the item definitely wasn’t faulty, it was marked as such to ensure it was safely received. That’s a really confusing buyer experience. They also said that it was tracked which it wasn’t.

A second eBay seller who shipped an item second class post had a fake “scanned on delivery” sticker on the back of the parcel in yet another attempt to ensure I didn’t claim non-delivery.

In both these instances can’t help wondering what the sellers would say if I claimed that the parcels hadn’t arrived.

It’s a lot easier for sellers who ship heavier items, as soon as you ship by courier you’ll automatically get tracking thrown in, but for Royal Mail it’s an additional cost of £0.95 for the Recorded Signed For service. For many products tracking would make the total product price uncompetitive.

I’m certain that tracking means that you’ll get fewer “lost” items. I remember one case where a buyer rang up asking where their Cisco Router was and as soon as I told them it was tracked and signed for a couple of days earlier they said “Oh, I bought one a few days before and thought that was first to arrive, if I’ve got yours it’s the other seller’s router that missing”. Without tracking I’d probably have been facing a lost item claim.

Tracking is an expense through, it’s notable that none of the 15 DVDs we purchased recently had tracking paid for. Do you ship items on a tracked service and if so which postage methods do you use? If you don’t ship on a tracked service do you use tactics such as false tracking barcodes in an attempt to deter fraud? As a buyer what’s your impression of a seller that thinks you may be dishonest?