eBay On-Time Delivery Metric: What eBay sellers are telling us

Next Saturday, the 20th of February eBay’s new performance standards come into play, are you ready for the changes?

The most significant is the reduction of the number of ways you can get a defect and eBay’s new On-Time Delivery metric.

Sanctions for failing to meet eBay’s new On-Time delivery metric

It’s important to remember that a late delivery under eBay’s On-Time delivery metric is not a defect. Currently eBay have merely said that to maintain eBay Top-rated seller (TRS) status you can’t have more than 4% late deliveries (minimum 6 before you lose TRS) and to remain Above Standard no more than 9% of your deliveries are late (minimum 9 before sanctions kick in).

What we’re hearing from sellers

We’re hearing a number of concerns from sellers and seeing some sub-optimal (but perfectly understandable) strategies taking place.

Recipient was out

Top concern is late delivery marks for when the recipient wasn’t at home to sign for the parcel. eBay are clear that an attempted delivery should be considered as delivered on time and undertaken to resolve the issue.

Carrier doesn’t get a signature

We’ve all seen deliveries which should be signed for being popped through the letter box. Sometimes there just is no online record of the delivery.

Royal Mail Signed For lacks acceptance scan

We’ve heard from many sellers complaining that Royal Mail don’t have acceptance scans for Signed For items if they’re collected on a business account. Yes if you drop items at a Post Office they should be scanned, but if you have a business collection the first scan may well be at the point of delivery.

Late scans for items despatched on time

Sellers are telling us that many items which were despatched on time don’t receive a scan on the day of posting. If the carrier scans your shipments for the first time at a later date then everything you sent that day appears to have shipped late. We’re hearing that this is often the case with Royal Mail Tracked 24/48, some delivery depots (according to our readers) don’t scan parcels and it’s only when they get to a regional delivery centre that the first scan occurs.

Readers point out to us that sometimes the acceptance scan for a Tracked 48 parcel occurs on the same day as delivery. That just doesn’t make sense.

Many carrier aren’t integrated with eBay

eBay have integrated some of the most common carriers, but if you use a mail partner other than Royal Mail or a courier not on eBay’s list than there are no acceptance scans and no delivery scans. Your only hope is that they buyer tells eBay the delivery was On-Time or doesn’t answer the question.

What sellers are doing which hurts everyone

We are hearing of sellers adding on an additional day to handling times so that there is more time for an acceptance scan prior to the expected despatch date, stating that shipping will be a slower service than actually used, or even not bothering to upload tracking numbers to eBay as they simply can’t see the point if acceptance scans are showing a later date than the date the items were despatched.

None of this is what buyers want. Buyers sometimes want an item in a hurry and they want to find a seller that can ship fast. eBay know that fast shipping is desirable. No one wins by saying it’ll take two days to despatch a product or that you’re shipping via 2nd Class mail when in reality you send 1st Class.

I can understand not bothering to upload tracking numbers if you’re shipping Signed For from a business account or if you routinely see late acceptance scans for Tracked products – It really is a case of “What’s the point”. Some sellers simply respond to the few buyers who ask where their item is and others are bizarrely emailing the tracking numbers directly to their buyers off eBay.

In truth many couriers will keep buyers updated with expected delivery dates via email or text message so long as the seller adds the buyer contact details to the courier booking. There’s no need for the buyer to receive the tracking number through eBay, but it doesn’t make sense for it not to be there.

No one is winning

We applaud the intent of eBay’s On-Time Delivery metric. If everything worked and acceptance scans were recorded on the day of despatch it would be brilliant for sellers as it would count as an On-Time Delivery.

If a buyer doesn’t leave feedback and there’s no tracking than the transaction isn’t counted in eBay’s On-Time Delivery calculations and anecdotally we’re hearing that diminishing numbers of eBay buyers are leaving feedback. It’s a bitch to leave multiple feedback on the eBay Mobile app so I tend to believe buyers just don’t bother, in which case maybe it doesn’t matter if tracking isn’t added when items are marked as despatched.

It’s not a perfect world but we had high hopes that eBay’s On-Time Delivery metric would assist sellers. Currently however there seem to be a lot of instances where sellers are doing everything perfectly but not being rewarded at the acceptance scan stage. Is it any wonder that sellers simply give up and either under promise or just not bother adding tracking?