Royal Mail 2D barcodes could soon expose eBay to more Money Back Guarantee cases

By Chris Dawson June 26, 2017 - 7:20 am

A Tamebay reader has some interesting background information regarding eBay and Royal Mail tracking. It appears likely that eBay might be exposing themselves to a larger number of claims under the eBay Money Back Guarantee than in the past.

To understand what’s changing we need to look at how the sellers ships with Royal Mail and what’s changing. In the past this particular seller shipped the majority of their mail as Royal Mail Large Letters paying for postage and using PPI labels. This is an untracked service so if an item was reported as lost, with tracking they had to foot the expense of a refund or swallow the cost of replacing the item.

The seller recently switched to DMO which although sold as an untracked service comes with a 2D barcode so Royal Mail know if the item was scanned when delivered. Now, when the seller gets a customer say they haven’t received an item, they forward the details, including the 21 digit code, to their Royal Mail account manager who happily obliges with a report if delivered. They then screenshot this delivery proof and upload it to eBay messages.

The last time they did this they instantly won the case and the eBay resolution was closed in their favour – they kept their money and didn’t have to replace the item. However the buyer then got in touch to say that eBay were refunding them (eBay previously announced they’d make it right in edge cases with no impact on the buyer in such cases which is great news for sellers).

Our reader wonders what will happen when Royal Mail make the delivery confirmation for large letter items live and publicly accessible. More sellers will find that they’re protected as eBay will be able to access the tracking but will eBay suddenly see a huge rise in ‘lost’ untracked items which previously sellers were left footing the bill for?

Royal Mail are to be fair a fantastic service and it’s rare that they misdeliver. If they say an item was popped in a letter box you can be pretty certain that it was, especially if they scanned it at the door step. It would appear more likely, buyers (or someone in their household) simply put the item aside and forget it arrived or in rarer cases simply try it on to get products for free.

This begs the question, how many ‘lost’ untracked items do you have in a year and will you be switching to 2D barcodes or have already done so. It’s great to know that Royal Mail can already provide delivery confirmation if you have an account manager, but once the delivery confirmation information is publicly accessible it appears that you’ll be covered.

Where once you were hung out to dry if you used PPI and an item went missin, in the very near future when all post items carry a barcode it looks like the eBay will be stiffed with footing the loss. If Royal Mail lose an item that’s one thing, but if they say it’s delivered then the seller shouldn’t be held liable, but will eBay suddenly start getting tougher on buyers or will they continue to refund when they think the buyer is genuine and really hasn’t got their item?

  • Phil Brittain
    12 months ago

    As someone who transferred over to DMO when it was first rolled out some time ago, the issue i have found very frustrating is the fact that at the moment, the 2D barcode confirmation of delivery still has not been fully rolled out to include large letters. Royal Mail have been very slack in rolling the whole barcode system out (something well over 12 months from when they originally said it was going to be live).

    Ive also spent a massive amount of time backwards and forwards to Ebay and the DMO team trying to ascertain what i enter into the field box when you use the ‘add’ facility to add tracking information on Ebay. The best i can get is 1) copy and paste the 21 digit number into the tracking field WITHOUT spaces and 2) both DMO and Ebay suggested typing in ‘Royal Mail 2D Electronic Delivery Confirmation’. This also begs the question why Ebay hasnt got a selection from the drop down menu of the postage section of the edit item page.

    As of a couple of weeks ago, RM still couldn’t give a timeframe for when large letters were going ‘live’ although parcels have been for a while. At the moment im currently using the ‘signed for’ service which is costing an extra £1.10 per item which requires a signature, better to be safe until the large letter format goes live.

    As a tip, if you go 2D barcode with electronic delivery confirmation id suggest using a sticker on the parcel alerting the customer that the item is electronically tracked and also alerting the RM representative to ensure the 2D barcode is scanned prior to handing over.

    The above is my experience however id be interested to hear from anyone who has any further information.

  • Phil Brittain
    12 months ago

    Id also be interested to hear what your reader, or anyone else uses when selecting the postage service from the drop down menu and what they copy into the courier field when adding tracking for the 2D service.

    • Simon E
      12 months ago

      The majority of what I send is LL 2nd class and I upload via file exchange as STANDARD 2nd class and don’t enter anything as tracking.

      The way in which I use DMO is that I upload my ebay and amazon orders via csv.
      I then print the labels and apply to my LL items.
      I then do the end of day and print. I then download – export the csv with tracking numbers etc.
      I then run and excel macro that takes the file’s tracking details and applies to a spreadsheet and then it auto emails every customer with the Unique reference and all the other guff, to let them know it’s on the way.

      If I get an INR, as I CC myself with every dispatch email, I look up the dispatch email, email my account manager and she replies with the report.

      May seem long winded but works for me.

      For now, if I uploaded the tracking, I would only get more messages saying, it’s not working, so I will keep leaving blank until it goes live.

  • David
    12 months ago

    I think the issue is that Ofcom isn’t allowing Royal Mail to provide delivery confirmation for large letters, presumably because it’s anti-competitive.

  • Joe B
    12 months ago

    RM contact me every now and then to push 2D barcode/DMO on me. The majority of my items are large letters so it’s really not much use to me.

    It’s a great idea but it’s executed badly at the moment. Regarding eBay giving refunds, they seem to view buyers as some sort of gods so it’s not surprising they’re giving money out to people that have lost cases.

  • Ryan Carson
    12 months ago

    It doesn’t help that the RM API for 2D barcode (datamatrix) generation and sending is really sub-standard. Expect to have a “fun time” finding the right information then purchasing additional 3rd party tools.

    Additionally I’ve sent messages to RM regarding support and validation testing which have been left unanswered for weeks if not months regarding these matters and the time spent developing and then re-developing a solution has been longer than to be expected.

    It’s still a vitally important thing to have, but needs appropriate documentation, ideally code samples and on-line testing tools for web integration IMHO.

  • 12 months ago

    We also switched straight to 2D barcodes as soon as we had the option – as we were using both DMO and OBA to get our Royal Mail collections done. Now we just use DMO – which was initially a pain, but like all things you do get used to it. Although the actual tracking is not easy to get (as others have said) – our “INR” or claims for non-delivery rate dropped massively as soon as the barcodes appeared on the address labels… it was really significant and obvious form the first week even without any analysis. As for getting the details on to eBay we still upload the AA… number (just like standard airmail we delete the first A so it fits the tracking number format). This occasionally prompts the question form customers “…the tracking number doesn’t work…” – but the advantage is that eBay (and Amazon) do believe we posted when we said we did. We use standard First Class for either Large Letters or Parcels.

  • 12 months ago

    We use Linnworks and have been printing 2D barcodes for many months now, and you can input the 21-digit code onto the Royal Mail website track/trace page and see it for yourself, so there’s no need to contact your account manager.

    A slight issue for Linnworks users is that for companies still using the desktop version you have to reprint the label to see the 21-digit code.

    • Tom
      12 months ago

      Nope, you just need to use the new .net Royal Mail integration. You can still use desktop to do the labels, the delivery confirmation will be in the usual tracking column.

  • Mark
    12 months ago

    We have been using the DMO system and we ship using large letter 48 and 24 plus 48 parcels everyone of them has the 21 digit code.
    The only issue we have is when we download back from the DMO any 21 digit code that has just numbers and no digits returns as a scientific format and cannot be used without a bit of fiddling. Which our DMO team helped explain and its fiddly but simple.
    So everyday we upload all tracking to eBay 21 digit codes as well very easily.
    Our biggest issue is no buyers ever seem to check tracking so everyday we are getting buyers ask “has my item been dispatched” and “where is my item”

    you feel like saying “Oh ok i will go into eBay and check the tracking information just to save you the bother”
    eBay should spend a little more time educating buyers instead of keep messing sellers around.

    • Simon E
      12 months ago

      If you know anyone that can help re Excel macros then the best way, in my experience, is to ready the file in as a text file and import.
      With the code below I think it’s column 19 for us but could be different for you.
      You have to turn it into text.
      If you read in as a CSV then it’s already processed by excel and causes grief. but save the DMO export as a .txt and import as below and all works fine for me and then I email the customer.
      Not that they understand but I hilight the point that it’s “Royal MAil have given the packet a unique tracking reference of XXXXXXXXX”

      Workbooks.OpenText Filename:=”C:\Business\CSV_Uploads\” & aftership_trk_non_wb, Origin:= _
      65001, startrow:=1, DataType:=xlDelimited, TextQualifier:=xlDoubleQuote _
      , ConsecutiveDelimiter:=False, Tab:=True, Semicolon:=False, Comma:=True _
      , Space:=False, Other:=False, FieldInfo:=Array(Array(1, 1), Array(2, 1), _
      Array(3, 1), Array(4, 1), Array(5, 1), Array(6, 1), Array(7, 1), Array(8, 1), Array(9, 1), _
      Array(10, 1), Array(11, 1), Array(12, 1), Array(13, 1), Array(14, 1), Array(15, 1), Array( _
      16, 1), Array(17, 1), Array(18, 1), Array(19, 2), Array(20, 1), Array(21, 1), Array(22, 1), _
      Array(23, 1), Array(24, 1), Array(25, 1), Array(26, 1), Array(27, 1), Array(30, 1), Array(31, 2)), _

      End Sub


  • Sam
    12 months ago

    From my understanding it is a long way off for the 2D to work on Large Letters, as RM currently treat Letters and Large Letters the same, so they would have to split out Large Letters, and create a specific process for them.

    We have however found the number of “non received” claims has reduced, possibly through the tracking number being uploaded to eBay. So the customer believes it is being tracked!

  • Apple
    12 months ago

    I’m now using barcoded PPIs for letters/large letters, which I understand will provide some tracking information to Royal Mail, for non-signed for items. The barcode is incorporated in the PPI though, so not unique to each item. I’ve never yet tried to claim for a ‘lost’ item sent by this method – has anyone any experience of this?

  • SAM
    12 months ago

    Well they cannot make delivery confirmation quick enough for us. We spend a fortune on getting overpriced signatures due to the high risk of using eBay. Fraudsters have got away with it for years and practically encouraged to do so by a site like eBay, between RMG and eBay they have cost us a small fortune over the years. It is not RMG it is the main issue it is eBay, however neither have dealt with mail theft over the years.
    Nothing has ever changed with eBay in 10 years it is why they are falling off a cliff with sales and are no longer a viable platform, 10% of our weekend sales were eBay this is nothing and 70% on Amazon. 20% everywhere else.
    These two companies have taken that LONG to deal with the same issues that Amazon has taken them over and is now never going to be caught. Our RMG bill this month was a quarter of what is was even a year ago. Customers have gone to Amazon and so have the sellers. Anything with a 2d barcode should be scanned through the system by now, and when you get a INR RMG should deal with it.

  • 12 months ago

    DMO or Click & Drop, not sure what the difference is.

    We use Click & Drop and have been using the 2d bar code on parcels for the last few months with very few problems.

    The good news…

    When sending out large letters although there is a bar code printed on the label it does not show up in the system, when delivered it looks as though it could be tracked and we have not had any go missing since using the new system.

    The bad news…

    Having set up Click & Drop to update Ebay with the tracking details etc, we have found that our Late Delivery Rate has gone up from 0.25% to 1.85%

    On checking Ebay stats it shows that all but one of the late reports came from the RM system, Ebay also marked the item as late if the system shows they collected the item due to them not being at home at the time of delivery.

    I have now switched off the updates, Ebay / customers really only need to know tracking details if there is a problem, not that the tracking details help if the item has not been delivered.


    We currently use Royal Mail 24® and Royal Mail 48® for our parcels, we do not get compensation for lost items, but we get a saving of £4-500 per month and so far, in three months, no lost items

    For large letters we use the BPL service which seems to work out cheaper than Royal Mail 24® and Royal Mail 48® and also does have compensation to the value of £20.00

    Recently a parcel did go on the missing list, after 12 days the buyer asked for a refund, (£52) 3 days later the buyer contacted us to say the items had arrived and was happy to repay us the money.

  • James
    12 months ago

    Until April this year, we were able to get information for large letter items through the Live Chat. Then the information stopped, firstly with DMO stripping out large letter 2D codes disappearing from order history.

    Just checking if any of you here are still able to obtain large letter info? I think the answer is no but thought I would just check. Initially we were doing this last year via phone / or account manager. But then told to do via live chat.

  • Simon E
    12 months ago

    Never used the live chat but our RM account manager is more than helpful and says any tracking information I need, then just phone or email her.

    She has another customer that emails her 30 + requests a day so we are nothing compared to that.

  • Raj
    12 months ago

    Royalmail Delivery confirmation with 2D barcode is only for parcels.
    Letters and large letters sent on Royal 48 or Royal 24 still don’t have delivery confirmation

    • James
      12 months ago

      Thats okay, I just thought I would double check, yes I think they pulled all information for other formats apart from parcels. Since November we were using mainly for Large Letters. A few dozen tracks seemed to resolve issue where info was present, only two had to be replaced refunded. It was good while it lasted, and was quite an eye-opener with regards to items suddenly ‘appearing in porch’, ‘found at depot’ or, ‘I was on holiday, my mistake I found it’ comebacks once confirmation snippet was pasted in reply. So it seemed to work okay, albeit not official. As mentioned earlier, they say are rolling it out officially but they have no ETA. Probably best no to hold our breath though lol!

  • Lee Pearce
    12 months ago

    We are getting the tracking for Large Letter items now, started a couple of weeks back.

    For ebay, we do not enter the 2d barcode reference as most orders go without a hitch and if their is a query, we can enter it at this stage.

    Amazon is different story, as it needs to entered when marking the order as dispatched, so we use the report in Archive tab of DMO after running end of day and can upload all the 2d barcode references at the end of day, however it only gives us 3 days grace if an A-Z is opened as opposed to automatically granting it as no reference entered, plus Amazon do not accept it on orders valued over £10.

    My RM account manager visited a couple of weeks ago and i checked my “problem order” spread sheet and we have only had 4 INR’s claims granted this calendar year, all on Amazon, we did win 1 other INR claim on Amazon.

    There have been 4 ebay cases opened for INR and we won them all.

    Its definitely better, with the 2d barcode.

  • Paul
    12 months ago

    I think that it is likely that ebay refunded the buyer because on appeal because they didn’t have a tracking number. Those reps in Manilla see everything very black and white.

    In fact it is surprising that the seller won a case with a screenshot – I know of other sellers who got nowhere with that, as they usually say “tracking link or lose”

    I can’t see delivery confirmation on LLs costing ebay much more money because once they have tracking numbers that are usable they will consider it delivered as they do with other services.

    Remember when it came down to it, they realised that they didn’t have a usable tracking number.

    By the way, I’ve had live delivery confirmation on LLs for a couple of weeks now.

  • Paul
    12 months ago

    I’m not sure why ebay will be “stiffed” with extra costs when more people have live delivery confirmation on LLs – because most buyers won’t appeal cases that they lost, and those that do will ordinarily lose if the appeals team can see live tracking showing delivery.

    What has gone wrong here is that the seller in the article somehow won a case with a screenshot, which they would not normally accept of proof of delivery – the seller did not have a tracking number which was live.

    So if the buyer appealed and CS checked the tracking to see no delivery confirmation online – they would obviously refund the buyer.

    If the tracking in this case was live and they could see delivery online, I doubt that they would have.

    • James
      12 months ago

      Hello Paul. Sorry to bother you, I just wondered how you obtain delivery information for large letter please? Ours stopped mid april (although not official), but I contacted our account manager yesterday to see if maybe it is being rolled out gradually for groups of accounts.

    • Simon E
      12 months ago

      The screenshot is for the benefit of the customer to see their reaction, and also shows ebay in a “case” situation, that they can see communication.
      As LL confirmation is not live, as far as I have been told and I have tried many ways of using the unique 21 digit ID and the AAA reference, ebay have to phone Royal Mail to get their confirmation.

      I have had about 10 of these queries so far in the space of 2 months.
      If Royal Mail confirms delivery then I have NOT lost out on each occasion.
      If Royal Mail cannot confirm delivery then, yes, it’s down to me.

      One buyer appeared to appeal, by their reaction in messages, but ebay confirmed to me that although they cannot discuss the deal between the buyer and ebay, I as the seller would keep my funds.

      If anyone knows a way to track either large letter unique ID’s or the AAA reference then let me know please.

  • Phil Brittain
    12 months ago

    Ive just contacted the DMO team this morning and enquired to the ‘live’ date for large letters. They still dont know when its going to be rolled out!!!!

  • Paul
    12 months ago

    To the people asking how to track the Large Letters, the correct number to use is the 21 digit number and you put it in the normal track and trace page or click the POD button in your DMO archive if you use that…however…right now, for most people this does not yet give any tracking, it just says “tracking not available for this service”

    Mine used to say the same until about 3 weeks ago when they suddenly started working…

    I know of one or two others who have had the same happen.

    One thing for sure is that Royal Mail have been scanning large letters and collating the delivery information for over a year now, and I know this because I can see evidence through my DMO archive.

    I’m not sure if the reason that I and one or two others are now able to access delivery confirmation on large letters is because of an accident (it had better not be!!), because they are running a trial, or whether they are now actually rolling it out in groups of businesses, similar to what they did with parcels last year.

    I’m not getting too excited about it because at the end of last year I was able to access some delivery confirmation on some large letters (but mostly they said tracking not available) and then that disappeared completely for months.

    The worry is that I cannot find any official Royal Mail blurb whatsoever stating they are going to roll LL delivery confirmation out.

    What they giveth, they can easily taketh away.

  • 11 months ago

    We are now supplying ‘DMO Advisary Labels’ to those Sellers that feel they need to alert their buyers to the fact that the package has been Tracked and that Delivery can be Proved. The RM DMO Label doesn’t always show that the item is indeed Tracked. The Labels can be found in our eBay Shop and on our Website under ‘DMO Advisary Labels’ ….

  • Alan Paterson
    11 months ago

    We are having real problems with these 2d barcodes. A large percentage of them simply arent working. I talked to our postman who tells me that often they do not scan and some postman have already “given up” trying to scan them. This kinda confirms what i am seeing when they will not confirm delivery on the system

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