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eBay monitoring USPS delays and looking for low cost alternatives.

By Chris Dawson August 13, 2020 - 10:30 am

We should be pretty grateful here in the UK that Royal Mail recovered rapidly from the Coronavirus pandemic impact and, with the exception of some sporadic local issues, is back to pretty much business as normal across large parts of the country. Yes, there are localised delays and they are still not collecting signatures due to social distancing, but it’s nothing compared with USPS delays in the US.

The US have failed to get a grip on the pandemic, although their deaths per million head of population are less than the UK (508 vs 688), their new infections are still being measured in the 10s of 1000s. eBay report that the USPS continues to be strained, and we realize the burden this puts on our sellers. Delivery and scan delays persist, and eBay are monitoring not only the USPS delays but also ongoing negotiations in Washington.

The situation with USPS delays is so dire in the US that eBay have announced that they are actively looking for affordable alternatives which can offer a more reliable delivery service for their American sellers and buyers.

“We are continually monitoring shipping developments and USPS delays. We are working on other affordable, more reliable delivery options for sellers. Stay tuned for important developments in this area in the coming weeks.”
– Marni Levine, VP of Seller Operations and Engagement, eBay

eBay steps to address USPS delays

Handling time

eBay are automatically extending estimated delivery dates as necessary to give buyers a more reasonable expectation of when their items will arrive. They recommend that you don’t extend your handling time as the eBay extended estimates should give you enough buffer, and additional handling days could lead to the appearance of your items shipping slower than they actually are.

Seller protections

Last month, eBay announced seller protections against shipping defects through to the 31st of August and they will continue to extend these protections as long as strains on carriers affect delivery dates.

“Item not received” cases

If a buyer opens an “item not received” case, and you provided valid tracking and shipped the item within your promised handling time, eBay will wait to evaluate the case until after the extended estimated delivery date.

  • eBay will recognize that you uploaded valid tracking and met your handling time commitment, and you can still qualify as a Top Rated Seller.
  • If the item shows up late because of a carrier delay, eBay will remove the shipping defect for late shipment.
  • If the item is delivered after the extended estimated delivery date, eBay will remove shipping-related negative or neutral feedback on your behalf.
  • Courtney
    1 year ago

    The problem with our US postal system isn’t because of COVID, it’s because we have a corrupt president who is trying to disrupt mail so that people can’t vote by mail. Because if they do, they are most likely to vote for his opponent.

  • BFT
    1 year ago

    Royal Mail recovered rapidly from the Coronavirus pandemic impact? Not here!

  • BFT
    1 year ago

    I have just received a return because Royal Mail took 9 days to deliver and the customer no longer wanted it. The return has just arrived having taken 13 days to get back here. Both journeys were 2nd class, but it is still not good enough! The claim that “Royal Mail recovered rapidly from the Coronavirus pandemic impact” is utter rubbish – they are still terrible far too often in my opinion.

    • Alan Paterson
      1 year ago

      @ BFT , at the moment that is the exception to the rule. During the initial lockdown some 2nd class mail was taking over 2 weeks to arrive – despite Royal Mails claims to the contrary.

      I noticed a pattern in certain towns – towns who’s delivery offices must have had a backlog (remember first in last out policy regarding backlogs).

      However I have seen this gradually improve over the past couple of months. My clients have big enough accounts that it becomes evident from their metrics. Yes, you are correct – there are SOME areas in the UK where 2nd class mail is STILL taking as much as over a week to deliver. However, the examples of this is now quite rare.

      It would be nice for ebay to look at extending the coverage to sellers for both late delivery defects and service metrics.

      Chris is bang on with his article – it seems to be now only some sporadic local issues (if I can borrow his words).

      if you are basing your opinion on just one (or even a few) examples of items arriving late this is not a true example of how Royal Mail are performing at the moment.

  • 1 year ago

    Still only two hours from 7am to 9am for picking item up from RM callers office in our town.

    Get the feeling that companies and banks quite like these reduced hours and will try to keep them after covid.

    Agree with Alan Paterson about patchy postal delivery times. Not the fault of posties who do a good job. But still not back to normal and nowhere near Ebay’s grotesquely unfair delivery metrics, which cannot be met without building in massive handling times to compensate.

  • victor
    1 year ago

    have to say ebays delivery metrics are a necessary evil,
    to compete with amazon et al sellers need to be on their game.
    pointless promising fast delivery s, then it taking a week or more,
    sellers need to be pragmatic and realistic
    if royal mail cant cut the mustard, use other delivery options

  • trumpton
    1 year ago

    I changed my handling time to 3 days months ago because ebay are so ineffective at reacting to situations.

    Sales haven’t changed much and I’m no longer on tenterhooks with ebays harsh on sellers punishments and metrics.

    I’ll be keeping it on 3 days for as long as i sell on ebay. I really cant be bothered with their bat crazy metrics anymore.

  • Ann
    1 year ago

    eBay need to get their estimated delivery times correct !!! Telling a buyer who purchased on the 10th Aug that their parcel would be delivered in the US by 3rd sept.
    CRAZY, no wonder buyers are opening cases, as item not received.
    Parcels from Europe to the US are taking a minimum of 6 weeks, one took 9 weeks !!

    • 1 year ago

      Ann, if you can switch to ebay GSP, then it’s ebay’s problem if the buyer opens a case due to a delay on the international leg of the delivery. Or, if you want to keep shipping yourself, consider temporarily blocking USA. It might be a big market for you, but is it worth it? Keep a spreadsheet of your losses and weigh it up against the profits, not forgetting to factor in your time.

      I only ship via GSP these days, and while the sales might be lower, I don’t care, because I have never lost money on it and very rarely get anyone asking where an item is.

    • NorthCrystal
      1 year ago

      We also stopped the international deliveries long time ago. Not worth my time to chase up all enquiries about “item not received” etc. eBay GSP is quite good, however we get a lot of messages from buyers and it looks like eBay is not clear with their message to buyers that the international is eBay responsibility and not ours.

      I would also re-check the FVF on GSP if you’re on MP as the fees have increased compared to not having MP.

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