Update on eBay UK attempted deliveries counting as defects

By Dan Wilson February 11, 2016 - 7:01 am

Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from a number of eBay UK sellers saying that attempted deliveries of eBay goods have been counted as defects on their seller standards records.

Here’s the scenario. An eBay seller sends out the bought and paid for goods on time and as promised. The seller then provides the tracking details to eBay as is good practice. The problem then occurs when a delivery is attempted but not successful. The buyer isn’t at home, gets an attempted delivery card, but then the attempted delivery is counted as a failure. The attempted delivery was being counted as a defect despite the seller having fulfilled all of their duties and obligations.

Have you been affected by this?

eBay have kindly provided us with some clarification on the matter. In short, they are clear that an attempted delivery should be considered as delivered and no defect should be applied. It seems that there has been a technical error which has meant these attempted deliveries have been incorrectly logged as a defect.

eBay have told us that a small number of sellers have been affected and they are working hard to resolve that and if you have been impacted, then it’s worth contacting customer support to get the strike removed.

It sounds like an error is now being resolved and those sellers wrongly marked down can see those black marks removed. Hopefully soon and without having to pester eBay customer support. And that’s good because it’s not long now until the new seller standards will be coming into force on the 20th February. So hopefully all will be sorted by then.

I’m sure you won’t be shy about remarking on this situation in the comments if you’ve suffered from this problem. 😉

  • Andy R
    6 years ago

    What about the fact that Ebay can’t “read” Royal Mail delivery confirmations for signed for and parcels.

    This means that 80% of them are getting defects.

    The whole of Ebay is a defect.

    Wasn’t this new system supposed to be great for sellers? Yeah, right.

  • 6 years ago

    I’ve been in touch ebay CS once a week for a month watching this. I’ve been assured the bug is a high priority, but as of this morning I’m still getting defects for failed delivery attempts and RM delivered on time. I also get defects for untracked items where the buyer has left positive leaving feedback within the delivery window but for some reason has marked it arrived late (how can that even be allowed?).

    The issue is so accute for me that I calculate my current late rate of 9.6% will drop to 2.5%.

    It will take hours on the phone to ebay to get this manually fixed but it will be worthwhile.

  • Rachael
    6 years ago

    We use UK Mail who aren’t integrated properly with eBay’s systems. I currently have to ring them for each late delivery defect and they have to manually check tracking to see that the item had at least one delivery attempt within the estimated time frame. I’ve had 3 removed so far and all of them were delivered within the time frame.

    This leads me to believe that buyers either aren’t reading the information and are just ticking “Late” or they are confused by the process? Either way it’s not great and it meant that we were very close to losing our Top rated seller status before I got these 3 removed.

    According to eBay when I spoke to them, all couriers will be fully integrated and the system fully operational by the 21st February…I’ll wait and see, I don’t expect this to be the case at all!

  • Sophie
    6 years ago

    We don’t send many parcels tracked at the moment, but the ones we did send in Jan all came up as a defect. CS at eBay assured me it would be sorted by the 20th Feb. We will see!

  • Gemma
    6 years ago

    We have 119 of these and stand to lose our top rated seller status as a result.

    We have contacted customer support and have been told that the the “deliver by” date on the report is inaccurate, and in order to get these defects removed, we need to first manually calculate the delivery window, and then give customer support the date, item number and buyer id, as Customer Services have no way of viewing a list of defective transactions, they have to search manually for each one in our list of sold items.

    We were told that they are working on a fix, but that it would only apply to new transactions going forward and we will still need to report the incorrect ones. It’s going to take us hours and will then take customer services hours, hardly an effective use of resources.

    I fear that the majority of sellers won’t realise that there is an issue until they lose their TRS status on the 20th, and then will be forced to claim credits for the lost discounts that should have been applied.

    The whole thing is a fiasco. Given that eBay are aware that there is a problem, I don’t understand why they are not delaying the implementation of this until the issue is fixed. I may be a cynic, but the only logical reason is they stand to profit massively from this if sellers aren’t aware of the problem.

  • Steve P
    6 years ago

    “eBay have told us that a small number of sellers”… How can you trust anything that is stated from a company that has a longer nose than Pinocchio.

  • Chris
    6 years ago

    This ill-conceived and poorly executed metric should be scrapped. Ebay’s system is still not picking up the tracking records for shipping date, so everything I send out via Special Delivery (on time) is classed as late if an attempted delivery is made.
    This is NOT a measure of my performance, but a record of Ebay’s inability to get their system working correctly combined with a measure of Royal Mail’s performance.
    Let’s face it, Royal Mail’s stated target for 1st Class delivery is 93% on time. This leaves 7% late, even if their target is met. Ebay allows us 4% late deliveries – how can we win?

  • 6 years ago

    I spent a long time on the phone with eBay CS trying sort this out and ended up getting 20 “late” deliveries removed for this reason.
    On quite a few, they were unwilling to remove the defect as the tracking didn’t have any information until the delivery attempt. Normally there should be an entry to show the item was received by Royal Mail but this clearly isn’t reliable, and we have a collection manifest to prove they were picked up as scheduled but that isn’t good enough for eBay.

    It’s obvious that the method of calculating “late” deliveries is flawed as our national post service don’t have a good enough tracking system.

  • Andy P
    6 years ago

    eBay also give you a late delivery defect where the tracking clearly shows the courier was booked but failed to collect the outgoing item on the day. I have a defect for a UPS delivery that arrived a day late due to their pickup failure. I haven’t bothered haggling this with CS as my defect rate is low as yet.

    On a similar subject is there any way of seeing after delivery what eBays original delivery estimate was. It gets overridden by the delivery date and I can’t see a way to find it.

  • zena
    6 years ago

    I stopped entering tracking numbers months ago due to this. We were getting defects just because royal mail were late in delivering which is not our fault. We use 1st class mail and from experience it isnt always on time so we dont bother entering the information anymore. Its a waste of time with Ebay CS, you’ll get nowhere!
    Ebay really need to provide longer estimated delivery times for 1st and second class as buyers start demanding refunds if its a day later than the estimated date – they just cant understand the word ESTIMATED! It drives me mad.

  • Andy R
    6 years ago

    The thing what I have a problem with is all of my items are sent out on the same day as purchase (with a cut off time of 4pm) via 1st class delivery. Some are sent 1st class recorded depending on the value.

    Royal Mail clearly state on their website they aim to get 93% of these items there the next day. The problem that eBay don’t seem to grasp is they are telling 100% of customers their items will arrive the next day. So based on that logic my late delivery defect will rise to 7% though no control of my own.
    eBay should set more realistic delivery time frames instead of continually letting down 7% of customers, who’s orders do not arrive the day eBay promised.
    Literally every day I get at least 3-4 customers who ask where their item is because I did not arrive when eBay tell them it would. Within my listings I state delivery is 1-2 working days, the post-despatch email states 1-2 working days but the email directly from eBay still contains the date of the following day which as sellers we cannot control.
    I have stopped providing tracking numbers to buyers via eBay as a result of this attempted delivery glitch, which is ridiculous. I instead send an email direct which contains the tracking number.

    The only way to resolve this situation for me is to change the despatch time to 1 day instead of same day, but as with everything on eBay it just seems sellers are constantly having to find work arounds for problems that should not really exist.

  • Jon
    6 years ago

    This is the way Microsoft behave. “Lets test it on them before we’ve streamlined it & create unnecessary havoc in the process”. The amount of unnecessary work eBay create when they cock everything up & move the goalposts every week is costing them money/fees while we all waste our time phoning them to get this sorted instead of listing items for sale. Yet another embarrassing & predictable eBay developer catastrophe. I got two different answers from eBay phone support. I always get a second opinion or a third one just to be sure. They always differ.

  • Paul
    6 years ago

    My expectations of the 21st onwards…. wheels be comin’ off!

  • Jonah
    6 years ago

    It gets better and better-
    I sell collectables. Collectors like to collect- they also like to take advantage of my excellent customer service. They send me a note something along the lines of ” please don’t send yet, I’ve paid yet I am bidding on further pieces that we hope you will reduce shipping charges on should we win”.
    No problem I say- and thanks for bidding! Sadly this is picked up by eBay as being late delivery- so my excellent customer service is marked down with a big fat ding- and all for being so helpful as to reduce postage for my customers. They also require delayed shipping if they are on holiday- again that’s my fault they have taken a break as I get the naughty boy mark on my record for not posting. But this is where the problem lies- I phone UK help desk to get these removed- some are removed others aren’t. But if your customer is in a different country- then your in real trouble. I’ve been told UK customer support can’t remove defects from say American site users or Italian site users- you have to phone the relevant country help desk for this. I don’t speak French, Italian, German or Spanish. I also was passed pillar to post on the American help desk before being cut off through no fault of my own, without resolving a thing. I’m not bothered about top rated anymore- the time I would have spent dicking around speaking to eBay reps is now being spent on building my own website.

  • Matt
    6 years ago

    Same here about to lose TRS because of numerous attempt at deliveries, what I also think is wrong is where a buyer could buy multiple items as in our case 5 on one order, the delivery was attempted and buyer collected from sorting office 2-3 days later, this was classed as 5 defects, how is that fair?

    At least amazon class 5 items on one order as one order,

  • Andy
    6 years ago

    We stopped entering tracking months ago.

    It’s quicker in the long run to email buyers their tracking if it’s really necessary and leave it out of the ebay system.

    Luckily though ‘it’s only a small number of sellers’. What BS! It’s been going on for months and affects all 3 of our accounts.

  • DS2987
    6 years ago

    We have moved to Royal Mail tracked which is costing us more in ‘free delivery’ to jump through yet more eBay hoops and we are astounded to find we are due to loose our TRS not because of late deliveries, these are all within the EDD but because Royal Mail are giving eBay late information on the acceptance date making it look like we are shipping late when we are not! But guess who eBay believe, yep Royal Mail.

    So here is the scenario, nightly RM business collection and tracking uploaded to eBay via the RM API, parcels first go to local depot then to Mail centre during the night but in every case for Royal Mail Tracked 48 the acceptance scan is showing 2 days later than actual collection and in most cases the same date as delivery, so since when has Royal Mail Tracked 48 been a same-day service Royal Mail?

    We have hundreds of cases over the last 3 months and it is simply impossible to spend days on the phone to eBay CS quoting buyer ID, item number, tracking number for every defect, why cannot CS download the same report as sellers?

    We even emailed our late shipment report to CS who replied with the decision that non of the defects could be removed as the items have been dispatched late (according to Royal Mail) but the customers are all happy as they got their items on time….

    Oh how we wish we had not jumped through the tracked delivery hoop!

    This an absolute farce and needs to be postponed until all issues are fixed and every carrier is integrated. Then start a fresh 3 month evaluation.

    • jimbo
      6 years ago

      Why not go back to an untracked service?

    • DS2987
      6 years ago

      Pain in no easy way of updating thousands of listings mainly jimbo coupled with the fact proving the EDD was met has many advantages.

      But yes if Royal Mail are going to stitch us up with late acceptance scans dropping the tracked will have to be the outcome to protect our TRS status.

      But if the EDD was met why is anything else a problem?

    • Gemma
      6 years ago

      I’ve queried this with Royal Mail and eBay previously. This is a simple case of eBay not understanding how the Royal Mail Tracked service works.

      Not all Royal Mail depots have the facility to scan tracked parcels on receipt (which is why tracked parcels have to be collected and cannot be dropped of at a local delivery office). This means that the first scan of a parcel is made reaches the regional distribution centre. For Tracked 24 parcels, this is the evening that the parcel is collected, so that the parcel can forwarded to the inward distribution centre for delivery the following day. Tracked 48 parcels are lower priority, so they are not processed until following morning so that they can travel through the day and reach the distribution centre the following day, which when you think about it makes perfect sense and is an efficient use of resources.

      Given that it is a condition of the Tracked contract that pre advice is uploaded to Royal Mail on the day the parcel is collected, eBay should be using the pre-advice upload date (as long as there is a scan to say that Royal Mail have received it within 24 hours after that) to calculate if an item is posted on time, and in any event, if the parcel is delivered within the EDD, the acceptance scan is irrelevant and should not be counted.

      Please, eBay,if a representative is reading this (and we know they do), take the time to find out how a third party system, actually works, before basing an entire system on false assumptions that produce inaccurate results.

    • DS2987
      6 years ago

      I agree Gemma, only IF the EDD is missed should the trail start backwards, was pre-advice on time? Was acceptance scan late? Was their a delivery delay with courier? Was there a delivery attempt?

      Basically was everyone trying there best!

      Kyle, like Gemma says RM tracked parcels have their first scan at a mail center mainly. Ours are all in sealed mail sacks and our local depot are not going to empty sacks just to do acceptance scans and but them back in.

    • DS2987
      6 years ago

      ** Sorry typo’s predictive text 🙁

    • Kyle
      6 years ago

      Out of curiosity, do the late acceptance scans affect all services?

      We don’t track everything but that which we do gets an acceptance scan at 6-7pm. The new barcoding system + acceptance scans was only rolled out nationally on Jan 25th (according to internal RM announcements) so it’s possible that your local depot is behind.

  • james
    6 years ago

    i have about a dozen all showing perfectly, with tracking, as accepted / attempted / delivered on time, but appearing as a defect. attempting to have these removed now….

    Also has anyone in Scotland been getting defects due to 2nd January (4th this year, 2nd was a saturday) being a public holiday here?

    all our delivery estimates are based on the English holidays, but since most of our couriers didn’t pickup on the 4th. none of the expected deliveries on the 5th are ever going to be achieved, hence a bunch of defects i can’t do anything about.
    – I’ve asked ebay to remove any i have stonewall tracking showing delivery on the 6th, as they should be, but i’m not holding out great hope there.

  • Andrew
    6 years ago

    They wonder why sellers are leaving in droves – ebay simply can’t get anything right bumbling from one disaster to another

  • Jon
    6 years ago

    Ebay are really winding me up now. For the last few weeks I’ve been wasting more and more time trying to get defects removed where we’ve sent the items on time, but it seems that Royal Mail are taking longer to do the deliveries.

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