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eBay UK extends Royal Mail INR policy amnesty. But until when?

By Dan Wilson April 20, 2016 - 11:05 am

Earlier in the year we reported that eBay would be exempting some Royal Mail tracked services from its sometimes rather punitive new Seller Standards. Tamebay wrote about it here. It was a moratorium with an indefinite time period attached.

The Royal Mail services that eBay exempted at that time were:

– Royal Mail 1st Class Signed For
– Royal Mail 2nd Class Signed For
– Royal Mail Special Delivery
– Royal Mail T24
– Royal Mail T48

As per that announcement, the exemption was supposed to last until May 20th. Now they’ve sent an update. You’ll find a screengrab below. It comes from a seller who received the email today.

As the eBay email says: “We let you know on 18 February that we’re protecting your account until 20 May from some late deliveries. This protection applies when you use Royal Mail Tracked/Royal Mail Signed For services, due to the fact that we currently receive complete tracking information for these services.”

But which date is correct? Is it the 31st of July or 31st August? Both dates are stated in the email. Do you know which? We don’t. In any case, it’s good the deadline has been extended.

Edited to add: We’ve had confirmation that it is indeed the 31st August

RM protections

  • Simon E
    10 months ago

    I spoke to my local postie the other day.
    She knocked on the door and had a couple of signed for items. She apologised that she had to go back to pen and paper as the machine had locked up once again.
    She said that the normal machine was locking up when scanning the 2d bar codes.
    I laughed and said when will they be getting the finger type ones ??

    She laughed and raised her eyebrows and said “Who Knows”.

    Firstly, if everyone were to start using the 2d barcodes then the postie is NOT going to have time scanning every single one of them.

    Secondly, how are they supposed to know that they need to be scanned apart from looking at every single packet and envelope.

    All this tracking is great in theory but it’s the front line postie that has to try and make it work and WILL get the blame when something is not scanned.

    Have Royal Mail produced any results for their 2d barcode tracking??

    • james
      10 months ago

      the thing with 2d barcodes, is that they have to actually be 2d to work.
      – thats 2d as in; completely without height.

      I’m sure they work fantastically when you test them out on a sheet of A4, or an empty envelope; but when applied to a real, 3-d object, such as the type of mailbag ebay sellers send out all day long, the barcode is no longer occupying a 2-d space, and they simply dont work in 3-d.

      if it were a reasonably concise barcode, then the built-in error correction could handle this, but they’re ridiculously over-complex, far more than they need to be, so the chances of the scanners correcting anything are nil.
      – coupled with the half-tone settings on most RM printers, they dont print flat and square in the first place, which is exactly the kind of thing that renders a 2d barcode useless.

    • james
      10 months ago

      in fact, a quick peruse of
      “14 things you should know about 2d barcodes”
      before entirely adppting a 2d barcode system, would have had RM making quite a few important changes.

      https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2066777/top-14-things-marketers-need-know-about-qr-codes

    • Kyle
      10 months ago

      @Simon Posties aren’t getting the finger scanners, those are only for the sorting centres. Posties are getting the Zebra Android scanner/phone hybrids that Tamebay posted about almost a year ago.

      @james You misunderstand how 2D barcodes work. Even laid out over a lumpy envelope they are still on a 2D plane and the plane is mapped using the finders around the edges and the grid of the pixels itself. Royal Mail are using the standard ISO Type 12 data matrix with the full 39% ECL. Their 2D barcodes are much more resilient than their 1D barcodes but the older barcode scanners most posties still have weren’t designed to scan them and do a bad job of it.

    • Simon E
      10 months ago

      Thanks Kyle.
      Just found it.

      http://tamebaynew.wpengine.com/2015/06/royal-mail-to-roll-out-zebra-2d-scanning-pdas.html

      What do you reckon, a massive rollout JUST before Christmas deliveries.
      B-)

    • Jon
      10 months ago

      At the post office they can supply a proof of postage with your receipt. This is proof of dispatch. It does the same thing when a customer gets delivery time wrong. Royal Mail compensate if the parcel gets lost. I don’t see what the difference is between tracked or proof. Ebay judge us on our dispatch time. NOT delivery. Proof of postage is proof when it was dispatched.This is just eBay being lazy & screwing a further 11p out of our postage cost if we use tracked service. Signed/Tracked is easier for them I know but a simple scan of a receipt of proof of postage should be good enough for eBay if it’s good enough for a claim with Royal mail. This year I have received 5 parcels without signing for them…exceuses were “I have forgotten my scanner” or “the scanner is not working”. If the buyer receives a signed for item without being asked for a signature what’s the point? I read a Tamebay post a few months ago referring to Postmen using cameras as proof of delivery. What happened to that idea?

    • james
      10 months ago

      @ Kyle

      Yes theres an error correction, and they’ll correct a not-quite-flat image. but there are limits, and trying to scan a badly printed, over-complicated, small barcode, on a roughed-up jiffy bag thats been through the wars, using an out-of-date scanner with poor resolution and no autofocus, is really pushing way past those limits in every direction.

      it cant error-correct if it cant find a straight edge to compare against. or identify the corners.

      a more concise barcode would be much easier.
      I dont know what other data they’re storing on that barcode, but i feel a 15 or 20 digit refernce would suffice, the size they’ve chosen could probably hold the full label’s info, theres really no need.
      – and if it was a 15-20 digit reference, you could manually enter it when all else failed.

    • Kyle
      10 months ago

      @james You still don’t seem to understand how they work. They don’t need a completely straight edge as they are mapped using the finders around the edge. You will also notice that Royal Mail’s 44×44 data matrix is divided into four data regions so really all a scanner has to do is scan four separate 22×22 matrices.

      Barcode scanners don’t have a concept of focus and Royal Mail’s 2D barcodes actually require a lower resolution than their 1D barcodes so what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. The reason posties have a hard time scanning them is that most of them still have a 9 year old scanner with ancient tech.

      I know exactly what data is in RM’s matrices as I had to integrate them with our system and I have the spec sheets from Royal Mail. I don’t see anything wrong with their implementation and it’s pretty standard stuff.

      There is a 21 alphanumeric reference that’s printed above the matrix which you can manually enter. It contains the source of the label, your account number, a unique hex string for each package, and a checksum. Pretty much all the other data in the matrix is intended for automatic sorting and revenue protection but there is a big chunk of currently unused reserved space and another big chunk of currently unused encryption.

    • Jon
      10 months ago

      This year I have received 5 parcels without signing for them…exceuses were “I have forgotten my scanner” or “the scanner is not working”. No pen & paper option was suggested to me. I read a Tamebay post a few months ago referring to Postmen using cameras as proof of delivery. What happened to that idea?

  • Steve
    10 months ago

    Has anyone told eBay signed for services are delivered the same way as normal mail so if they can exempt signed for they should just exempt all regular post as its the same thing.

    Ebay need to go back to feedback as a way to rate its sellers but they wont for one reason the sellers who would fail would be the big box shifters and outlets who have dozens of negatives a day and offer no customer support.

    EBay know the big boys can send everything tracked they know they will have set contracts with couriers so tracking costs them a lot less than the small and private sellers.

    eBay have changed the system to protect the big boys and hold back the smaller sellers the result is resentment from the small sellers who are also the very buyers eBay treasure so much and now they are looking at other venues to buy and sell on its another in a long line of home goals by eBay’s incompetent management.

    Jeff Bezos must be laughing his head off at every change eBay make knowing the effect will be an increase in Amazon turnover and not ebays.

    • Simon E
      10 months ago

      I have to say you are correct in that every quarter I look at my figures and see that Payment by paypal is a little less and amazon sales are up.

      I don’t like it as amazon has such a high comission, but that’s life.

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