eBay Tracking Policy Update for INR Protection

By Chris Dawson October 8, 2018 - 10:00 am

eBay recently put out an update on the eBay tracking policy. Put simply, as of the 26th of September 2018 sellers are required to upload tracking to eBay before the estimated delivery date. This means if you’re shipping via a next day service tracking has to be uploaded on the day of shipping. Opt to ship via 48 hour services and you’ll need to upload tracking by the end of the day after you ship.

eBay say that this is so sellers will be protected if buyers open an Item Not Received (INR) claim. Uploading the eBay tracking after the buyer has opened a claim will impact your seller metrics but if you upload eBay tracking prior to the delivery taking place eBay will be able to see (on supported carriers) that the item has been despatched and delivered. On carriers with whom eBay don’t have an integration, eBay support staff will be able to at least check on the relevant courier website that the item has been despatched and delivered.

eBay specifically point out that sending buyers tracking numbers via email won’t protect you from INR claims. For most sellers using software solutions to produce their shipping labels (or using eBay Delivery Powered by Shutl) tracking numbers will automatically be uploaded when the label is produced.

eBay INR Tracking Policy Update announcement

We want to make selling and buying on eBay a fair process so we’re updating our tracking policy. Starting September 2018, you’ll be required to upload tracking in the structured data field before the estimated delivery date has passed. This is so that eBay can protect you if a buyer claims they haven’t received the item. Sending the tracking number to the buyer via email won’t protect you from a claim. We always recommend you upload tracking information as soon as you have dispatched the item.
The eBay team

Cynical sellers might say that the reason for this is more to track late deliveries rather than protection from INR claims. Indeed, eBay will be able to see if an item is despatched late if you upload tracking but in reality it’s more likely you’ll get an INR claim on untracked items which are impossible to defend against and certainly you’ll be able to communicate with buyers more easily if you have surety that the item has been delivered than for untracked items.

It’s worth remembering that for sellers with a very high number of INR claims for a particular postage destination when compared to their peers, eBay may extend the estimated delivery time for that postage destination.

  • Brice
    1 year ago

    Its just to track late delivery. Several times i have sent via Shutl on time but shutle delivered late and they put a mark against me. The buyet did not report late delivery just the tracking. Even though i sent on time.
    Just another way to hit sellers.
    Also the Royal Mail fails to deliver 2% of letter & large letter untracked mail and late delivers around 6% yet we het hit with that too. And to track that mail cost to much when selling volumes of low cost items.
    You cant win – or even break even with these policies

    • Dumbo
      1 year ago

      Just advertise economy and ship priority. I do this so in case the package gets delayed I have a safety cushion. Less than 1% of my packages arrive late now.

  • Leon
    1 year ago

    Of course it’s to batter us for late delieries. They think we’re all thick

  • 1 year ago

    Large letters by Royal Mail. All my items are are not recognised by Ebay even when using click and drop as they are large letters. I have used it, tested it throughly and items were marked as delivered by Royal Mail. No claims from RM can be made for losses even when delivered and Ebay do not regard such tracking as valid trracking. There is no alternative in the UK for large letter post as Royal Mail has the monopoly.

    When selling items of that size when under £15 recorded signed for would cost about £1.20 when profit is only 50p such as maps. Therefore the whole system is flawed. Cannot raise prices to reflect tracking as customers will not pay £1 more as just not economic. Customers do not want recorded signed for, for such items either.

    I am a top seller and currently not under threat but that is only due to a lot of hard work. I do not send anything tracked. Any items lost immediately replaced or refunded. Losses are rare.

    Ebay and Royal Mail need to resolve this before inflicting more unjust regulation

  • Toby
    1 year ago

    So what they are saying is the current system is not geared to protecting sellers against inr claims…. so the best way forward is to add further further constraints on sellers and add the side effect of making it more likely that they will lose the last remaining discounts they get in the process!
    The signs of blind, dying company are really showing through now. They will go on though…. this is a very long painful slip from grace.
    The funny thing is they still class it as dispatched on time… yet they measure it by when it is delivered! If i add tracking showing i dispatched on time, then the date it was delivered is irrelevent.

  • 1 year ago

    Tracking for my orders is uploaded automatically every night and makes absolutely no difference if buyers claim INR – still got to go through the same performance, even have to give the tracking info again! It is purely to track late deliveries – even when closed for holiday and the customer orders in advance knowing you’re away till such a date, eBay punish you for dispatching late!

  • Rob
    1 year ago

    ebays way it seems is to punish you. When asked what would be the best solution to stop the fraudulent returns, their solution sellers should offer free returns as their research suggests buyers are more likely to select the correct reason when returning an item meaning you are less likely to get hit with a service metric defect.

    So ebay’s way for sellers is a lose lose choice, would you rather give free returns for any reason or have customers pay for returns and more likely they will open not as described cases.

  • Katrina Hess
    1 year ago

    They may also be tracking clusters of fraud by buyers. In my trade specific zip codes have high levels of package theft and high value items going to those areas have to be shipped differently.
    I’m betting not only are we looking at eBay tracking sellers but also rings of fraudulent buyers. It would not surprise me if law enforcement wasn’t involved at some level. INR claims with tracking are probably a huge money sink as eBay is refunding items with delivered tracking. This may be 2 fold and I guarantee they will see clusters of fraudulent INR claims

  • 1 year ago

    I use Royal Mail click and drop for the vast majority of ebay and Amazon orders, a mixture of large letters and parcels, mainly sent on RM48 (2nd class equivalent) as the free P&P option. Tracking is uploaded as the order is packed, a simple task of copy/paste on both ebay and Amazon.

    No one has made a successful INR claim against my business this year, either because ebay, Amazon or paypal accepted the delivery scan as proof, or because when the buyer was shown the uploaded tracking details, the last scan showed that delivery was attempted and the parcel was now waiting at the local Royal Mail sorting office for the buyer to collect or rearrange delivery.

    In the ebay late deliveries report, there are 28 “late” items, all under “tracking indicates late delivery” Of these, ebay has removed (so far, they will get around to the rest eventually) 22 out of 28 from the actual count, because they know they were dispatched on time. They have done this automatically. I haven’t had to ask and it hasn’t mattered whether they were large letter or parcel.

    I don’t know what other people are doing differently, but it is working just fine here. Ebay are recording the late deliveries, but if they are removing them from the count, they’re not doing it as a way to punish sellers. At least not here.

    • 1 year ago

      @Gav You should not have to copy & past the tracking number to eBay & Amazon, Royal Mail C&D will do that for you.

      Go to Settings / Integrations

      There are two boxes to tick

      Mark orders as despatched on channel
      Upload delivery confirmation to channel

      Also make sure in Settings / Miscellaneous

      Mark order as despatched when label is generated

      Is also ticked.

    • 1 year ago

      cheers for that Tyler. I know about the channel option, but I’ve not looked at it since the start of the year, when for several reasons, I thought the manual way would work better here, which it seems to.

    • 1 year ago

      @Gav No probs, I have mine set up to auto update both eBay & Amazon and don’t have any problems. It updates the orders to packed and adds the tracking number for you.

      Job done!

  • Paul
    1 year ago

    Gav, are you getting all of your products scanned at the post office? You see, many businesses don’t get their items scanned and just hand over sacks of mail – like us. Therefore, even if we mark the item dispatched on time or upload tracking on time, that does not count as proof of dispatch.

    Therefore ebay instead look at late deliveries, and as we know, Royal Mail deliver more than 3% of their mail late. On top of that about 10-15% of their mail NEVER gets scanned on delivery, so if you upload tracking and have no dispatch scan they will count it as late.

    If you don’t upload tracking it’s only counted as late if the buyer says it was late (which they rarely do compared to the amount of actual late deliveries) so it is no surprise that many sellers won’t upload tracking.

    • 1 year ago

      Hi Paul

      No post office, it’s a Royal Mail daily collection. Perhaps that is the difference. There is a daily manifest which they scan, as well as a collection point barcode to show they’ve been on the premises. Maybe ebay put all that info together to conclude correctly that everything is being shipped on time, so remove late delivery defects.

      A collection can be free if you spend over £15K annually with Royal Mail, otherwise it is £787 for the year (all ex VAT prices)

      £787 might sound a lot if you don’t qualify for free collections, but if you divide that by 250 (very approx number of weekday collections you’ll have in a year) and it’s £3.15 a day. Depending on your circumstances, it can actually be cheaper to pay that than to go to the post office, if you factor in costs such as driving and the time someone has spent doing it.

      If you’re handing over sacks of mail at the PO, then it sounds like it would be worthwhile you investigating the collection option. It’s working well here.

    • 1 year ago


      Are you using Click & Drop?

      Like Gav we have a daily collection, but o the odd occasion that we miss it or on a Saturday when we do not have a collection we take ours to the local post office.

      Each bag has to have a copy of the manifest attached and now we also have to give the Postmaster a copy of the manifest to scan.

      The postman then scans each bag before taking it away.

  • 1 year ago

    @Dumbo not so Dumb after all…

    We use Royal Mail Click & Drop and we currently run at a massive 0.23% Late Delivery Rate, we are not the biggest sellers on eBay so this is based on – 2 of 875 transactions in the given period.

    We put a “Royal Mail Priority Mail” sticker on all our boxes, but I guess everybody does the same?

  • Gareth
    1 year ago

    I had a customer in the US who wanted me to postpone the sending of the auctions he was bidding on, so he could continue bidding and have them sent in one go. I do this for nearly 50% of my customers (many insist on paying without waiting, some because they don’t like the automated payment reminders).

    Only eBay make it difficult, because they impose when items must be sent, which they never used to do, so I have to mark goods shipped and tell the customer to ignore the shipping messages as I continue to hold as per their request.

    So I checked my dashboard recently to discover I suddenly had 8 late shipments for the US and my late shipment rate was about 8%… Turns out it was all for this one customer whose post I had been holding for around 3 months. It was an expensive order that I sent tracked and insured, and I learnt I should not add tracking in these situations through eBay’s system because they use it against you! I did manage to contact eBay, and got 7 of the 8 removed, but they cannot remove any over 90 days old. It’s a really ill-conceived system, that makes life much more complicated, especially for auction sellers trying to oblige their customers.

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