eBay Gives Conflicting Information to Buyers about Sellers’ Shipping Time

Posted on October 3, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , |

eBay asks buyers to rate sellers on their Shipping Time.  Sellers are required to include their “handling time” in each listing.  The handling time tells the buyer about how long it will be before a seller ships their item once payment has been received by the seller.

The post office office is open Monday through Friday and in some cases half day on Saturday.  FedEx and UPS accept items for shipment Monday through Friday.  Therefore, sellers state their handling time in terms of “business days” because that is when shipping can occur through all major carriers.  Business days are defined as Monday through Friday.

At the bottom of an eBay seller’s listing, the handling time is stated in terms of business days.  For example, a seller may state that they ship within 5 business days of receiving cleared payment.  That would mean that the seller ships in one calendar week (5 business days) or less unless there is a holiday.  If a buyer pays on a Tuesday and there is a holiday on the following Monday then 5 business days from Tuesday would actually be Wednesday since Saturday, Sunday, and the holiday are not considered to be business days.





Given that most buyers already have trouble understanding 5 business days means a full calendar week, it is even more frustrating that eBay now gives the buyer conflicting information.  When a buyer receives an invoice and/or looks at the order details page of the listing, the original handling time of “5 business days” is shown only as “5 days” which the buyer assumes is 5 calendar days.  So a buyer who purchases an item on a Tuesday believes the item will ship by Sunday, the 5th day from the date of payment.

So, imagine a seller who states they will ship within 2 business days and the buyer pays on a Thursday afternoon.  The buyer would expect their item to be shipped by Saturday, 2 calendar days later.  However, the seller intends on shipping the item no later than Monday which is 2 business days from the date payment was received.  

Setting buyer expectations is important.  If a buyer expects their item to be shipped by Monday and it is then they are satisfied but if they expect their item to be shipped by Saturday and it is shipped on Monday then they are dissatisfied.  And the time it takes for eBay sellers to communicate individually with each buyer to explain the handling time concept is not a productive use of time.

For the record, I state emphatically that it is eBay who is actually responsible for creating much of the buyer dissatisfaction on eBay.  Giving the buyer conflicting information about sellers’ shipping time is but one of many examples of how the eBay system itself works to undermine the sellers’ ability to satisfy customers.  Just imagine how truly great sales could be for eBay sellers if only eBay would remove all the impediments, get out of the way, and let sellers do their job.

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8 Responses to “eBay Gives Conflicting Information to Buyers about Sellers’ Shipping Time”

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You’re so right! If eBay would just concentrate on being an online auction site and let sellers concentrate on selling, there would probably be a lot more happy eBay buyers and sellers out there.

I recently bought something on Amazon’s Marketplace. It arrived within the seller’s timeframe and was overall a very good transaction. When I went to leave the seller feedback, a window popped up to ask if I had received my item before Sept 12th, which was the last date of the seller’s specified timeframe. I had, so that cleared up any perceived problems about the item taking too long to reach me. eBay should do the same, and educate buyers about what that star really means – if a seller has shipped an item within his specified timeframe, that’s what s/he should be rated on .

Buyers forget when they purchase items, or that they took a week to pay, or the sellers’s stated shipping terms, or that it’s been sitting awaiting collection for 3 days. And in Australia we have the added problem of distance – it can take 10 days for a letter to reach its destination if it’s posted from a remote part of the country, and there’s a lot of them!

I think if you just ship right away like a good seller, then you wouldn’t have to nit-pick every word ebay says.
A good seller ships within 24 hours of payment. If you can’t manage that, then you should re-evaluate your operation.
I shop on Zappos.com almost every day and it’s a million dollar online company — even they ship within 24 hours of payment!
Helloooo out there…
You are the solution to your own problem if you just realized that maybe you would get out of your own way.
just my opinion of course 🙂

In my opinion, a “good” seller ships when they say will ship and packages the item well to arrive intact. What good is it to ship fast if the item arrives damaged? According to your definition, a buyer who purchase an item on Saturday evening from a “good” seller would expect shipment no later than Sunday evening. I disagree with your definition.

I do partially agree with you – we ourselves (the sellers) have the ability to solve THE problem – but the problem is not “our own” problem; it is an “eBay” problem. If eBay wants to spend their energies creating their own problems then so be it … I will create my own solution.

We have re-evaluated our operation and we have solved the eBay problem – we are moving away from eBay and more to Amazon where when we say we ship in 2 business days or less then that is what the customer is told and what they expect.

That’s it, brews – the best way to solve ‘The eBay Problem’ is to stop selling on eBay. So sad, but so true.

In October alone, I’ve had 6 times the number of sales on my own website as I’ve had on eBay, at over 10 times the dollar value. That tells me that the buyers are definitely still there, but they’re not shopping on eBay any more.

I knew they were going to do that as soon as a read in mentioned somewhere a few months ago.

I love how they let us know that the seller will reply within 24 hours. I don’t know of any eBay seller that waits 24 hrs to reply to an email, but given their record they have a lot of damn nerve to dole out the expectations for us.

ur bring me down

That is absurd- and how dare you say I am not a good seller because I don’t ship daily. You are making an assumption that same day shippers rate better than within 3 day shippers, but comparing myself with all the sellers I read constantly upset about their shipping time score because they ship same day or the next day- why are my DSRs and feedback better?

A friend of mine ships next day and always has and her DSRs hit 4.68 – mine have never hit the .6 anything.

The problem is Donahoe is creating a culture of fast & cheap little to no cost shipping and half-assed out the door shipping. I remember watching the video when he let loose the bombs of January to Top sellers he repeatedly stated best and lowest prices free shipping/ or low cost, and a seller corrected him saying – no best value. He said yeah right the the lowest prices and the seller said no the best value for their money.

John Donahoe doesn’t understand human behavior or our culture. People don’t get excited because they paid 3 dollars for anything they get excited when they got a great deal on an item that would have cost ? but they only paid ? this much. As outrageous as it seems shipping is the same. We all know how expensive shipping costs but buyers typically don’t, and when they put out 3.50 and their item arrived in a yellow padded envelope 3 to 4 days later they are not seeing value. They received a flimsy padded mailer with their item tossed in it with a few stamps slapped on- that doesn’t scream 5 to me either. I can’t stand when my items arrive in a freaking padded or bubble envelope, or even some oddball box the seller is reusing. I always give fives because I don’t think that makes them a bad seller or one that needs punishment (eBay’s thinking), but I know I am better and am perceived as better by customers.

Ditch the first class crap get your boxes free from USPS so your customers can receive a clean fresh branded by the courier not general mils box that shows them you respect that they shopped at your store and you acknowledge they are trusting you to protect their item. The quickest way to turn a customer off from returning is for their item to arrive in a condition that gives your customer the perception that you could give a crap- money in hand Kiss .. …! that is how a lot of eBay sellers are viewed unfortunate but true.

Back to what I think Brews point is
eBay is out of line transmitting any information setting expectations for my customers. They are not the seller and they are not my employer. The only people eBay should be communicating with in regard to my transactions is me. They need to mind their own business and do something that would help like fix the screwed up site system. That would be a much more productive task for them to pursue.

Aside from that – their little messages that are intended to crack the whip on our backs will only increase “bad” buyer experiences when the buyers find themselves consistently disappointed because they took eBay’s little message to be actual instead of the seller’s stated handling time and shipping service. They are just so stupid

I was really just saying that I never have to worry about what ebay says my shipping time is..
I just ship everything within 24 hours, use mostly Priority Mail flat rate boxes, and packages get to my customers in about 2-3 days. My feedback is 100%, over 4,000 of them so far, and shipping time is a 4.8

my point being.. just run your business the best you possibly can and it will pay off

I do sell on Amazon and my own website and packages still always go out in 24 hours

My feedback on Amazon is 100% too and I’ve been selling there for years..

thank you for allowing me to give my opinion and help make a healthy conversation-

here is the thread that I asked about this issue on Ink in July and never received any reply


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