Some eBay sellers ship ‘Dirty’ goods quicker than jiffy bag stuffers

By Chris Dawson April 4, 2016 - 10:21 am

eBay are forever telling us that we need to deliver as fast as possible and we know that this isn’t always possible for goods which are heavy or oversized. At least it’s not impossible but it’s no where near as easy as goods which can be dropped into the Royal Mail delivery sack.

What’s reasonable will partly depend on your customers and of course in the logistic arrangements that you have in place.

Rabbit HutchHaving made two purchases on the eBay Flash Sale on Thursday evening, two sellers have demonstrated that large, heavy oversized products can be delivered fast. The first product was a 6 foot rabbit hutch with a 4 foot by 6 foot run. It came in two boxes, one of which weighed 36kg.

I made the purchase about 4.30pm on Thursday evening I was astonished that the delivery took place some time before I woke up on Saturday morning. I can’t tell you which courier was used as I didn’t see them, but when I got up the boxes were outside my front door. It was delivered some time around 7am in the morning less than 48 hours after I placed the order.

Fence PostsThe second purchase is even worse from a carrier point of view. I purchased six 4″ by 4″ 3 metre long fence posts. 3 metres is about as oversize an item as you can get but I’ve had notification that they’re being delivered at some point today, just two working days after the order was placed.

These two purchases are in carrier parlance about as ‘dirty’ goods as it’s possible to order on the Internet. No standard carrier would want to touch either delivery due to the weight and size and yet one order has already been delivered and the other is scheduled to arrive today. (Edited to add… they arrived at 12.30pm.)

If sellers of this type of product can despatch so speedily (and I didn’t opt for express carriage), then it begs the question as to why dropping something in a jiffy bag and popping it in the post sometimes takes much longer.

Whilst there’s nothing that can make a 48 hour courier deliver faster, the key is in the despatch time. It still amazes me that some sellers can take longer than a day to pick and pack an order. Shipping the day of the sale isn’t possible for everyone. Shipping the working day after the sale should be possible for almost all items unless they’re being custom made.

Is there any excuse for being slow to despatch? How quickly do you aim to despatch and are you shipping ‘dirty’ goods or products which go in the mail or via a standard courier?

  • Robert
    2 years ago

    Some sellers are small, some sellers don’t want to trapse to the post office every day just because they get an order. I make decent margins on my orders £15 per item 7-10 times a week. But it’s a sideline to my much larger online business that doesn’t use Royal Mail. I don’t want to be rushing up the post office just because I took an order that day. I go two or three times a week and send everything second class.

    Just because you can fathom a faster way for me to serve you doesn’t mean I should have to!

    Ordinarily that approach would put me at a disadvantage competitively but I’m the only seller of this product and I advertise my handling and shipping times accurately so customers know what to expect.

  • Rob
    2 years ago

    Also, some sellers may be drop shipping, may need to source the item post order and pre-fulfilment and some might not hold the stock in a physically near location.

  • Earl
    2 years ago

    In my experience over the last 10 years, couriers quiet often say they cant do this to one customer and do for another.

    Shipping spray paint been a prime example, if you can find an official yes we ship that you will be lucky yet there are sellers on eBay who shift thousands of units per month via royal mail who categorically refuse to ship spray paint or such items.

    Its one rule for one, one for another and all made up all at once with a liberal dose of breaking the rules.

    • Kyle
      2 years ago

      Aerosols like spraypaint are restricted by the IATA (a UN organisation) so they are not allowed on planes except under specific conditions such as exceptions for small amounts of toiletries or the airline has a dangerous goods license and the goods are properly packaged.

      The thing with Royal Mail is that not everything goes by plane. So send spraypaint from London to Birmingham and chances are it will arrive fine, but send spraypaint from London to Edinburgh and chances are it will show up on an xray at the airport and be destroyed unless it looks like a small can of Lynx. We have accidentally sent aerosols through Royal Mail in the past and probably 20% of singles were destroyed but 100% of packages with more than one in was destroyed (when they destroy packages they send you a warning letter). So to skirt the IATA rules you could only sell spraypaint that look like toiletries on xray and only send one at a time. Also if you were to send them from a PO rather than on an account then who would they send the warning letters to?

  • Stuart
    2 years ago

    From my point of view the rabbit hutch seller may online be shipping very few of these a day and the item is perhaps already boxed a ready to go.

    From my point of view as a ‘jiffy bag stuffer’ is that we may have 300-400 orders a quiet day so the volumes are often much bigger. You only need a bank holiday or staff off sick for this to start to take effect.

    I won’t even go into having to indivdually wrap items that take even longer.

    It’s all down to the type of business and I also believe volume of orders that a company receive and the price of the items.

  • steve
    2 years ago

    Lots of Sellers on ebay have better things to do than going to the Post Office every day. I just don’t get the need for speed – you have been your whole life without it, and suddenly you HAVE to have it by tomorrow? As an excercise, we emailed every customer for a week asking if they wanted to upgrade from the 2nd class option they had chosen – no takers, not one. So perhaps the need of speed isnt that important, apart from Amazon and Ebay having a war over it, everyone else seems to manage OK.

  • Kyle
    2 years ago

    If you already have a courier collection it’s actually easier to ship bigger items. They generally don’t need to be packaged and the customer is happy to pay for shipping. It’s the orders made of lots of tiny things and the customer expects “free” shipping that are the problem.

  • Robert C
    2 years ago

    As long as delivery estimates are clearly stated and accurate then there is nothing to moan about.

  • Rob O
    2 years ago

    Many sellers on ebay do so as an extra income and are not always sitting at their computer for an ebay/amazon message to appear to let them know they have sold something and it needs dispatching with in minutes. I work full time and run an ebay store with over 400 items, average day is 4 – 5 items. All are listed with up to 3 day dispatch and 3 – 5 day shipping. Realty is it is dispatched with in 1 – 2 days with 2 day shipping meaning customer receives much quicker than expected meaning they are happy.

    I use a verity of parcel companies, MyHermes for small/cheap items. UPS or DPD drop off for larger/heavy or expensive items as signed for or Parcelforce for much larger items. All very good and no complaints.

  • Joe
    2 years ago

    I could quite easily post everything within a day and even a few hours, but it’s my choice not to.

    I post 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a 3 day handling time and 2nd class by default with a choice to upgrade to 1st at a cost.

    My feedback is full of ‘very (very) fast delivery’ type comments and I have 2 ‘late’ delivery scores out of about 930 transactions.

    Not everybody wants everything yesterday and it’s not the end of the world, nor is it the mark of a bad seller, if something takes a few days to arrive.

  • Derek duval
    2 years ago

    Who the author of this report.

    Ebay or amazon…

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Quick delivery fails to improve the quality of a product? And will often increase the cost

  • 2 years ago

    Our products are handmade but we still ship same day or maximum 1 business day unless bespoke is chosen then 2 days. However, on eBay, despite buyers being advised exactly when dispatched and estimated delivery time – the majority select economy post – we still get marked down on ‘How quickly did the seller dispatch the item’ because for some reason nearly everyone expects it the next day. We have even had people who have ordered Friday night expecting delivery Sunday because it says RM48!

  • Jon
    2 years ago

    It would be nice if you could deliver your emails to us quicker Chris. Mine has only just arrived at 10.03 today. 5th. I see others have commented yesterday morning so I have to say Chris…It still amazes me that some messages from Tamebay can take longer than a day to arrive. And you still have not replied to the email I sent you 3 weeks ago that I resent again 4 days ago. I have liked you on Facebook as you said that was quicker than waiting for messages to arrive but I have not received anything from your Facebook account either.

    • 2 years ago

      Hi Jon, if you like the Tamebay page on Facebook you should be seeing posts regularly there, depending on your Facebook settings.

      I’m sorry but the daily email summary goes out at 10 each day but we publish stories throughout the day and if people visit the site directly then they’ll get the news quicker and can comment freely.

      Re your email, it’s taking some time to investigate.

    • Jon
      2 years ago

      Can you investigate why your emails are delivered late to my own webmail, Gmail & my Sky email? That’s 3 different service providers that have delivered your posts 24hrs late at exactly 10.03 am today.

    • 2 years ago

      That’s three different service providers that have delivered the posts we wrote on the 4th of April bang on time 3 minutes after Tamebay sent them at 10am on the 5th of April.

      We couldn’t send you that email 24 hours ago because we hadn’t actually written and published any of the content 😛

    • Jon
      2 years ago

      Others on here clearly commented yesterday morning at 10.37am up till the afternoon. Yesterday the 4th. how can they reply on the 4th if you say you only sent the emails on the 5th? Are you saying you post 24hrs before the emails go out? Why not send the emails when you post?

    • 2 years ago

      Jon any time you want to find the up to date news on Tamebay just type “” into your browser. We publish regular throughout the day, we don’t save stories up until just before we send the email!

      If you want to comment you can comment as soon as the story is published.

      Once a day (around 10am) we’ll send you an email with all the stories from the past 24 hours.

      If you check the email just beneath the title of each story we display the exact time the article was published (they’re in reverse order, newest first).

  • Jon
    2 years ago

    OK Chris now I understand. It seems I’ve completely misunderstood the way you publish your posts. Unfortunately I have too much on my mind to remember log in every day so I would forget without the reminder email. Here’s a suggestion… Could you not create an option to sign up for “live posts” for people who want to comment while the topic is still hot? We would have been able to take advantage of the eBay “Flash Sale” you reported last week if emails were instant. How would liking you on Facebook have made any difference to being informed earlier? I have yet to receive any reports since I liked your page 3 days ago.

    • 2 years ago

      Hi Jon, on Facebook you should see Tamebay stories in your news feed if you’re following our page.

      I’m sure others would also like to choose how often to get them (including immediately) but we don’t have that technology at the moment. Plus if we sent every time we published you’d be getting six, seven, eight or more emails a day which would equally annoy some people….

      Have you completed the Tamebay Survey? If not put a note in the survey suggestion box re ability to choose email frequency.

    • chrissieboy
      2 years ago

      surely it’s ebay’s job to let people know about the flash sale (an email would have been nice) and as usual made a muck up of that. Tamebay were merely “flagging” it up for us and very helpful it was that they did so bit harsh to blame tamebay. It was also all over twitter and facebook as the news took hold but really ebay should have given both sellers and buyers a better heads-up to be prepared.

    • Jon
      2 years ago

      Sorry if it looks like I’m not blaming Tamebay.

  • Jon
    2 years ago

    Sorry if it looks like I’m not blaming Tamebay. I’m not. I’m just making a suggestion. I have learned over my 14 eBay years not to expect the obvious from eBay as they are too big a company to know what they are doing half the time. Many times I have had different answers to the same question from eBay agents. I’m not blaming Tamebay just suggesting a setting for quicker notification. Yes I have completed the Survey Chris & mentioned that it would be nice to see an article regarding the complete farce RE the incompatible shopping cart which means nobody overseas can implement any of the sales eBay had us create back in 2011. It killed off tons of overseas trade for me. On eBay’s own FAQ page it sates the following….. Can I use the eBay shopping basket on other eBay sites like or
    At the moment the eBay shopping basket can only be used on for items listed on the site, or on for items listed on the site. (This is not true not cart on ebay .com unless you log into the US site) Items that are listed on other eBay sites and appear in search results can be purchased as regular Buy it now items……What?…. This was written way back in 2011! Those 3 words “At the moment” suggest they are going to change it. But how long do we have to wait? How long is a moment in eBayland? On rare occasions when a buyer decides to buy a few rare mags from me I have to refund the postage cost as there is no way they can buy several items without using the shopping basket. Why have eBay ignored this? Why have they given us an option to create sales for overseas customers when they have no way of applying the sale to their purchase. It’s just an insane exercise in wasting time…unless I am missing something? Please Chris…. can try to find out what they are planning to do about this or if it’s a way for them to make money from the postage cost or force us to use the global shipping program that only increases postage cost & removes the choice for standard air mail. How does making multiple purchases unattractively expensive for overseas customers translate into a good business move?

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