eBay Order Details Page Leaves Buyers in the Dark

Posted on August 10, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , |


Our company uses the eBay system, specifically Selling Manager Pro, to keep buyers informed about their order.  When we receive payment via PayPal, the buyer receives an automated email letting them know that payment has been received and reminds them about a few of the terms in the auction.  When we ship a buyer’s order, an automated email informs them that the package has been shipped.  Because we know that eBay buyers receive quite a few emails from everybody, we educated buyers about how they could always go back to the eBay ORDER DETAILS page from the original auction description and the date of shipment would be shown. 

A few weeks ago I noticed a substantial increase in the number of eBay buyers who emailed us to inquire about their order status.  What I learned through my communication with one buyer who traded screenshots with me, was that the shipping date was showing on the seller’s side of the transaction but was not viewable on the buyer’s Order Details Page.  A few days later I noticed that no Shipping Date was being shown on the Order Details page for me either.

Previously, the Shipping Date appeared on the line right below the shipping cost (where the red block is on the screenshot below):

When I saw that the Ship Date no longer appeared, I thought that eBay was experiencing another glitch, one of several new glitches that occur daily.  I waited a few days and when the glitch continued, I called eBay Powerseller Support.  What I learned was that there was no glitch but rather a planned eBay change.  eBay removed the Shipping Date on the Order Details page EXCEPT for sellers who print labels using PayPal.  

I don’t know many Powersellers who use PayPal to print labels because of the many limitations of using the Paypal shipping system.  Our company uses Endicia to print labels because we can create first class international labels and we can save considerably on shipping insurance through Endicia.  So, while we mark eBay orders as shipped after we print an Endicia postage label, there is no way now for the buyer to determine whether the order has been shipped when they go back and review the details.

I can see from my side of the transaction (as a seller) that the item has been shipped (notice the box icon, circled below, which indicates the item has been shipped):


But the buyer can only see whether the item has been paid for and whether feedback has been left and / or received for the transaction:

And, given that the eBay Order Details Page shows the Ship Date ONLY when labels are created through PayPal, buyers are confused now.  Buyers are not aware of the change which prevents sellers such as ourselves from using the eBay system to show the buyer the Ship Date.  When I pointed out the “problem” to the eBay Powerseller Rep and asked why eBay would purposely make this change, she said that it had something to do with eBay checkout but she admitted she was fuzzy on the details. 

One has to wonder if this new programming change is made for a specific reason which eBay hasn’t revealed yet.  Perhaps eBay is planning to REQUIRE sellers to use only PayPal to create and pay for shipping labels.  If that is not the case then why else would eBay make a change that would lead to decreased buyer satisfaction?   It doesn’t make sense otherwise since, as the Powerseller Rep told me several times, the eBay decision makers are really smart which I assume means they would not intentionally change a system so that it decreases buyer satisfaction.  So I’ll just have to believe that eBay has a “plan” that will reveal itself some day soon, probably without any advance notice or formal announcement.


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7 Responses to “eBay Order Details Page Leaves Buyers in the Dark”

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They are really “smart” intelligent, but of course that’s all relative.

Deliberately removing the shipping details from anything other than PayPal purchased postage – would certainly result in increased dissatisfaction of buyers. Does eBay want this? Yes they do! With eBay’s DSR selling battering tool they know that if sellers see their stars fall and think buying postage through PayPal will make the difference between 4.6 and 4.7 it won’t be long until the masses begin to print postage through PayPal.

The question I have is what benefit does eBay/PayPal gain when postage is bought through PayPal? Personally I believe they have negotiated bulk rates with usps but are not kicking down the discount. It also increases the number of transactions occurring through PayPal – each “stamp” is a separate transaction. Maybe all of the people who use the service you do are smart enough to have a PayPal debit card hooked up for payment and they are losing 1 to 1.5% that they would not if you used PayPal shipping? Maybe they want the opportunity to spread the PayPal name further because its brand is on the shipping label? Maybe they want to appear more reliable to customers relative to other service methods such as the one you use – really if all those buyers contacting you to find out the details of shipping because it is not on the details page but they find out that a seller who buys postage through PayPal has the shipping date electronically available and now yours doesn’t. Of course you and I know this is just another eBay manipulation, but never the less it will make PayPal appear as a superior product. We will probably start seeing advertisements for PayPal shipping and special PayPal shipping signatures for sellers who ship through PayPal- the safest postage purchasing service available LOL.

maybe I’m just paranoid 🙂

No Mechelle you are not paranoid. PayPal needs the numbers and eBay is assuredly getting a kickback/discount from UPS and FedEx.

This is just another not so subtle carrot (dangling just a bit too high) which forces sellers to choose between a superior & more convenient non eBay provider, endicia, and the limited benefits of PayPal shipping paired with buyer visible information in the Order Detail Page.

An added value with endicia is that the merchant has the option to add their own promotional message on the package, including a website address if desired. Preventing this is assuredly added value for PayPal too.

Food for thought, very soon the anonymization of communication between buyer and seller will be in place, eventually all communication will be monitored and censored by eBay bots, not just pre-purchase queries. Naturally sellers will not be told what words will be flagged or cause email to be dumped which will lead so some interesting communication DSRs

Remember, the people who run ebay are “smart, really smart people”. Smart enough to remove a piece of information that favors Paypal users and disadvantages non-Patpal users.

Smart… Truly smart!

[…] NOTE: my previous blog post about the eBay Order Details Page can be read in its entirety by clicking HERE […]

[…] “eBay Order Details Page Leaves Buyers in the Dark” which can be read by clicking HERE  .  In that article I […]

i am against it. i hate to ask a seller if they had shiipped my item or not. i hate to bug them. i loved it because i knew if seller had gotton my payment, and has shipped my item. im viewing order details and it only says how much it is and estimated delivery but does not say whether the buyer had received my payment, or has shipped my item yet. this is wrong. i hope they fix this. i hope we can do something so that it will be fixed soon. i am a buyer and i dont like bugging the seller. i hope they change it back. i have no idea if payment has been receieved or if seller has shipped my item. this is frustrating. they might be in for a lawsuit if this new look continues.

im not a pay pal user. no bank account etc. dont trust it, never will. i always pay with money order. but they need to change this back. its frustrating.

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