Should eBay suspend the despatch time DSR?

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I appear to live in the only part of the country where snow hasn’t fallen on my driveway, but that’s not the situation across much of the rest of the country. People have been stuck on trains and on the roads overnight and are still trying to get hom. There are delays on roads and railways and airports including Gatwick being closed there’s very little moving around many parts of the country and that includes Royal Mail and couriers.

Royal Mail say that although they have contingency plans in place: “We’re sorry there may be a small, unavoidable delay to items posted in and out of those areas in which the severe weather conditions persist.” They have also suspended the Special Delivery guarantee until the weather improves and they’re able to restore normal service.

Last year during the postal strikes eBay temporarily suspended the despatch time DSR, and in the snowy weather at the beginning of this year they placed a message on the feedback page to remind buyers that their item may have been delayed due to the weather.

What do you think eBay should do this year? Should they leave it to sellers to keep their buyers informed as to delivery delays or does the weather justify suspending the despatch time DSR? Are there other steps that eBay should take to assist sellers while the country is affected by snow?

96 Responses

  1. I’ve not had any post since Friday.

    As a seller we are proactive and have been advising buyers about delays but it doesn’t mean the buyer won’t take out there frustration on me so I say, yes, eBay should suspend it, after all any bad marks I get I am stuck with them for a full year.

  2. On the whole, customers are fairly understanding. There are, however, a small contingent that don’t appreciate how external forces may affect the arrival of there item.

    In that sense eBay should suspend the dispatch DSR.

    Having said that, it’s a “dispatch” DSR, so if a customer buys an item on the Tuesday night and we dispatch on the Wednesday, we should be scored highly. The time it takes to be delivered is outside a seller’s control, but customers do not seem to appreciate that.

  3. The time it takes to be delivered is outside a seller’s control, but customers do not seem to appreciate that.

    …absolutely, this is down to buyer education, which eBay should do a lot more work on.

    Any info coming direct from the seller is often seen as excuses by the buyer, which can just make the situation worse.

    eBay should suspend it, yes. Along with all the other ones, for good. 😉

  4. How about adding a DSR for “something else went wrong with my transaction which wasn’t the sellers fault, but made me grumpy as a buyer”. Perhaps one for search as well.

    At the moment, buyers are venting all of their frustrations on the seller in an indelible, business-damaging way. And despite talk of seller protection, I’ve yet to see a buyer-requirements field which allows me to block anyone who is persistently unlucky or grumpy and leaves a lot of 1s and 2s.

    Perhaps this will also highlight the apparent gap between marketplace approval and seller approval. How can everyone have 99% feedback and yet eBay have an NPS in the 70s?

  5. Shall i be proactive and write to my customer in Canada telling them their order might take a bit longer because of the snow ? I think they might have a good chuckle at me.

  6. I think eBay need to take a long hard look at DSR’s overall. Is it achieving what it set out to actually do? Not in my opinion, all it’s doing is creating an air of distrust amongst sellers against customers. That’s no way to do business.

  7. There is a point about the current bad weather. It has only just turned December. Usually we do not get the really bad weather until after Christmas. This year it has started over a month early. Bad weather can last until the end of March and even into April. Indeed Gardeners will tell you that Frosts can happen even into May. So we could have months of this to go, So ebay should certainly closely examine just what effect such a prolonged period of bad weather will have and suspend the despatch time DSR

  8. I would guess that there are eBay terratories where every winter they are snowed in for months on end. It would be interesting to see how DSR scores stack up in these countries relative to the UK and how they compare for the Summer and Winter seasons.

    Surely eBay themselves chart DSR scores and they are bound to know how these vary from season to season. There may well be sellers that do this charting. And if they do vary from season to season then this would absolutely support any claim that the eBay DSR system does not work!

    If scores are lower in the Winter then eBay should make allowances for this which they don’t!

    What is the betting that more sellers loose TRS status and fee discounts in winter than in summer. And that it is easier to gain TRS status in the summer months.

  9. I do mine via auctions — and when I have trouble this way DSR-wise it is not for items that I placed and then problems happened because I actively avoid placing items to go off during major weather issues.

    Where it causes a problem is with the person who buys an item in November — waits over three weeks to pay at the same time the snowstorm hits on say December 21st and then gets really upset that his item did not get there for christmas and dings you badly.

  10. At any rate — if the buyer takes over 5 days to pay for an item then they should not be able to leave other than a 5 for the DSR star for dispatch so long as the seller did not take an even longer time to send the item from when it was paid.

  11. Personally I would say yes it would make sense to suspend the dispatch time DSR.
    In Lincoln today even the Post Office was closed due to snow fall, no post left us today and even the sorting office was closed so we had no option but to not send over 200 orders.
    We have added a warning on all our eBay listings advising buyers of potential delays but I can see a rash of low DSRs if eBay do not take action, Sean

  12. Come on people, eBay only suspended the dispatch DSR last year after the DISPUTE was made offical.
    They knew all along that there had been wildcat strikes all over the UK fon & off for months previously, but typical ebay did nothing.

    So, probably like the winter fuel payments to older folk who get more if it’s cold for so many days, Ebay will say when the tempreture drops to below -10 then we’ll suspend if it’s like it for 5 days or more.

    If you are waiting for them to do it, think next Winter>>>>>>>………..!!

  13. Feedback, DSR are total bollocks. eBay could have sorted it a decade or so ago, no chance now.

    According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index the best eBay ever achieved was in 2006 with a score of 84%, with that score eBay would not be allowed on eBay. Apple scores best on ACSI by far, “Apple outranked other PC makers scoring better than ever at 86 “points” on a 100-point scale, up 2% from last year”. Sorry Apple you can’t sell on eBay, nor can any other computer manufacturer.

    Close the company down and give the money back to the shareholders (Michael Dell).

    The worst sellers on eBay are powersellers, or TRS, TSA, TSR or whatever it is called these days. Get more than a thousand and a few negs makes no diff. Those bad TRS have a DISPROPORTIONATE NEGATIVE EFFECT on all sellers.

    What benefit do you get from struggling to reach eBay’s artificial benchmarks that THEY HAVE NEVER REACHED THEMSELVES? A few percent, if that matters to your business don’t give up your day job.

    I am still amazed at how many people think they are businesspeople when all they do is buy from a handful of wholesalers and put it/them in their stores, websites, Amazon, eBay etc and expect real people to just hand over a good profit for them. Might as well be a newsagent, or landlord of a tied public house. Depend on eBay (or any third party) and you don’t deserve the title businessperson but something like middleman, salesman. I’m with norf, eBay works for you use it otherwise don’t.

    Ignore what eBay says, respond to what your customers say (and more do for few say but all do).

  14. Methodology

    It is usual to include both ‘satisfied’ and ‘very satisfied’ customers as positives in surveys and these combined make up the score. Different weighting is applied by different surveys and responses will vary based on the questions and the way they are presented. eBay’s scoring and feedback systems are clearly flawed for they achieve numbers not heard of in any field of human endeavour. For example Amazon third party resellers appear to score on average a little over 90% – a quick look around the site reveals a range from 83% to 97%. They mostly sell brand new boxed goods or easily distributed items like books, these are far less prone to the description errors, misunderstandings, packaging and delivery problems etc than the wide variety of goods sold on eBay by ordinary folks.

    It is clear that eBay’s feedback and ratings systems are not credible, eBay are disingenuous for promoting it as such. Furthermore in every way eBay uses PSYOP (look it up) to influence customers’ reactions and feedback. Take a look at the way eBay presents their graphs, the mid point on the star scale is nearly four, in reality the mid point between 1 and five is three (the mid point between zero and five is 2,5), take some time to understand the implications. There are myriad examples found on eBay (and PayPal’s) sites. Want to say something postitive, the link button is big and bold and just the colour you would expect it to be. Want to say something negative, scroll down the page, click through to another page, and then click the wrong button for the colour of the button you expect to return ‘yes’ actually is a ‘no’ button. There are so many examples, want to send a complaint to eBay, you can only do so through their web site, you can’t send a copy to your email address and are limited to half a standard page. eBay is totally obnoxious in how they deal with everyone.

  15. * How accurate was the item description? Accurate gives four out of five or 80%, that’s failure and suspension
    * How satisfied were you with the seller’s communication? Satisfied gives four out of five or 80%, that’s failure and suspension
    * How quickly did the seller dispatch the item? Quickly gives four out of five or 80%, that’s failure and suspension
    * How reasonable were the P&P charges? Reasonable gives four out of five or 80%, that’s failure and suspension
    * Only one category has to fall below 4.25 (85%) for suspension.

    Accurate description, satisfied with communication, quickly dispatched and reasonable P&P charges, that’s not good enough for eBay who never reached that standard themselves. Educate yourself, what is the game about? – don’t fight a strawman.

    eBay was birthed in Clinton’s downsizing of the military releasing thousands of intelligence/PSYOP staff in to the private sector. It was about a lot more than selling off The Presidio for a nice capital gain but seeding the newly formed WWW with (**********) personnel.

    … nothing is accidental. If something happens, be assured it was planned this way.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

  16. eBay has made all its sellers and indeed themselves hostage to fortune.

    The Christmas message ’54 days to go’ (now 23) and the latest ‘Express Delivery’ features are not encouraging ‘eBay early for Christmas’.

    To many buyers 23 days is still a long long way to go. And of course at 2 days to go it will be too late.

    Two things for eBay to do.

    1) Take advice from the major mail carrier and suspend the Special Delivery advisory time in listings.

    2) Make a note for the planning of next year’s campaign. Predicate it on shopping for the early bargains.

    ‘eBay early for Christmas’ is not a bad first stab at a slogan.

  17. email received today

    “hi, i am expecting this to arrive all day but still hasnt, i honestly hope to avoid the nuisance of having to trace this, will you do so for me if necessary? if you have sent this by special delivery guarantee next day, you should make a complaint?? ”

    sometines I could just cry

  18. Finally got some post! had a chat with the postie about it, he said the health & safety officer made them stop working at the week end and has only allowed them back to work today, my postie has 17 bags to deliver today, the poor sod looked half dead.

  19. Found a Post Office open today , but he hasn’t had a collection for 2 days.Don’t expect he’ll get one until a snowplough comes this way.
    Local Postie in our village sent home , because no mail is coming out of the sorting office. So Ebay , don’t tell me that most post is getting through, it isn’t.
    No chance of couriers deilvering either , spent the best part of an hour digging a gas van out so he can get some poor souls heating back on.

  20. Our Royal Mail PPI account has had 3 emails now over the last 3 days. Each is saying ‘limited service, no mail being delivered. Check with your local sort office for update’…..

    So, frankly, what’s next, no dispute this year, but the weather just replaced it.

  21. Added to our winning buyer + payment received & dispatch emails:


    What more can you do!!.

  22. Awaiting 2 couriers deliveries and no Royal Mail post for 3 days, and we’re in South East London on the outskirts of Bromley.

    It’s affecting everywhere, eBay won’t do anything against it, remember the lower your DSRs are, the less discount they have to pay out for.

  23. Snow has had no effect here.

    Mail getting collected as normal.
    Deliveries as normal.
    Couriers working as normal.
    Post offices open as normal.

  24. Hey guys, lighten up.

    All this bad weather means folks aren’t getting to the shops so much, they are spending more online. Don’t worry about the TR5 bonuses skidding off on the bends, rake in the profits anyway.


    I was up in Doncaster/Sheffield yesterday, well rather more out in the sticks actually. An Eddie Stobbart truck was off the road at Woodhead Pass, heaviest snow for 45 years minimum I am told. Made great time despite the delay, so many people moaning and staying at home the roads were free of traffic!

  25. I was watching Channel 4 News last night. They had a helicopter out and found a postie up to his ears in snow trying desperately to get his post round. Looking at the snowfield he was in I would not have gone there except in a 4 x 4 he was trying(and just about succeeding) to get round his route in an ordinary Post Van. He deserves a Medal. Now all we need is for the Health and Safety Officers to give full support to the drivers who can get round rather than obstruct them.

  26. In Derby the snow is not bad, about 4 to 6 inches where undisturbed, but all the main roads are completely clear and well gritted. The post office tell me there has been no deliveries since 30th November and certainly we have not had any but I know people in the town center who had deliveries yesterday.
    I have been waiting for a crucial Special Delivery which should have been delivered on 1st Dec, the tracking tells me an attempt to make delivery was made on the 2nd and they left a card. Royal Mail are leaving these lying messages accross the board in order to appear they are trying to make deliveries. This message is given out on the public website but Royal Mail’s internal website gives out a completely different message. It states no access could be gained to the property and therefore no delivery could be made.
    This was translated at the callers office to “no deliveries have been attempted because no drivers have left the depot for 3 days”
    Attempting to pick up the special delivery from the callers office was fruitless. The manager has locked the safe and would not be available to open it. They said they might be able to open it this morning 3rd Dec at 8.30 but could not guarantee it. They also said there would be no deliveries until at least Monday.
    My milk has been on my doorstep everyday – the reason – My milkman would not get paid if he didn’t deliver the milk, and if he genuinely could not
    deliver it he would not tell huge porky pies.
    This bit of snow is showing Royal Mail to be a completely incompetent organisation. I am not blaming individual workers but the management of Royal Mail and perhaps the unions are also playing their part in encouraging the disruption, although that is just a guess.

  27. ROyal Mail even supply chains for your shoes to posties, so the expectation is there for them to get out.

    Our kids go to 3 different schools, all closed due to the snow? H&S risk averse numpties!

  28. I think posties do a great job. In fact, I now wish I had booked my 2 parcels with Royal Mail this week. It’d be halfway to its destination by now. I had booked with a *large* courier company who advertises that they do a good job for eBay sellers. But for some reason this company thinks it’s ok for weather reasons not to come out of their snowed-in depot to service an area – for 4 working days straight no less. (Really, SW London is not that bad weather-wise) Very interesting position since I received a parcel from their competitor today. Wonder if my *large* courier company needs to buy a snow shovel and snow tyres from eBay to get their business moving.

    So, one week after I booked the collection, my parcels “might” be collected – on Monday.

    What’s terribly unfair is that I will cop a poor rating on this, and having to be accountable for circumstances beyond my control. And yes, I have been keeping the buyers informed. By the way, don’t ask me to go to CS to try to remove the inevitable poor rating on dispatch time, because I simply don’t have the energy to fight yet another battle to which I know the answer already.

    So, I hope eBay will do the right thing eBay and suspend dispatch time feedback. Everyone else is using bad weather as an excuse not to pick up or deliver on time. But right now, eBay sellers have to be accountable for both Mother Nature and delivery companies who aren’t accountable to service standards.

  29. For buyers who may be living in or are expecting deliveries from weather affected regions we encourage you to reach out to your seller by phone or email if you have concerns about your item. You can request contact details for your seller here.

    We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our sellers the best very best during this difficult weather period.

    The eBay Team

  30. Mounty can say different (and frequently has) but I sell posh crockery and IMHO Royal Mail’s Standard Parcels service is hard to beat.

    The lo cost services are slow even in the summer so you are always taking a risk with your DSRs when you use them.

  31. Just to cheer you all up, The weatherman says it’s not getting better soon & hey ho, only 21 days to go…..

    “All together now”

    On the 20th day of christmas, my buyer said to me,…..Where’s my F**King parcels,la, la, la.
    (keep in tune pleae @ the back please)
    On the 20th day of christmas I said to he, It’s the posties bag & he’s at homeeee..lala, lala, la.

    On the 21st day of christmas that buyer said to me, where’s my Money back, lala, la, la.
    On the 21sr day of christmas I said to He………In the bahamas…..with me, lala, la,la,la.

    On the 19th day of christmas…..Oh, I’m going to the pub now…


  32. We have had rain today(only light stuff but rain). So I wonder if the thaw is here and will it spread across the country before our traditional Winter starts. If it does perhaps just perhaps it will give all the Couriers and RM a chance to clear the decks.

  33. On a serious note, (I think).
    We took our bags to the Sorting office tonight, They took them, But said they won’t get looked at till ‘maybe’ Tuesday……

    Oh,(Feelings of) Great Joy……


    ***Severe weather in the UK and Ireland – Effect on Deliveries***

    01 December, 2010 | 02:43PM GMT

    The severe weather conditions affecting much of the UK and Ireland may cause delays to postage deliveries over the coming days.

    We’ve been in contact with delivery providers and they have informed us that they are doing all they can to ensure that deliveries are getting through. You can keep up to date with the latest service information from the Royal Mail here.

    In the meantime, in order to manage buyer expectations, we encourage our sellers to keep buyers informed of when an item is dispatched and tell them when there may be a delay due to the weather. This is especially true if you are dispatching to an international buyer who may not be aware of the adverse weather in the UK and Ireland. We’ll be reminding buyers when they leave feedback that they should take the adverse weather conditions into account when rating sellers on dispatch time.

    For buyers who may be living in or are expecting deliveries from weather affected regions we encourage you to reach out to your seller by phone or email if you have concerns about your item. You can request contact details for your seller here.

    We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our sellers the best very best during this difficult weather period.

    The eBay Team


  36. Im very proactive with shipping time DSR, usually maintain a near 5.00 until mid to end of november every year, last year was nerve racking watching it plumet down to 4.4 as christmas approched, this year, same thing but worse, its at 4.7 and falling fast, its only December 5th. Its come down to, do I shut down for the holidays to avoid account suspension? they have to fix this issue.

  37. Re; DSR 4.8
    BTW Cheap P&P used by some sellers to excuse other shortcomings.


    OUR dsr FOR p&p IS 4.8, BUT THATS NOT GOOD.

    Our packing is A1, sealed up to the eyeball. Proper PRINTED LABELS with PPI.

    Top quality products @ great Prices (because we import ourselves & serve the PROPER trade @ good discounts).

    MOST item are Lge letter in the 100g weight @ .50p, & 100-250g @ .72p

    Nothing to hide there, just good prices & FAIR P&P

  38. I dont see why they should suspend it.

    everyone is pretty much in the same boat therefor the effect will be the same across the board.

  39. I dont give a bugger if they suspend DSRs from their nuts,

    DSRS are a way of helping ebays business not ours

  40. come on Ebay play the game

    if your post is in a Royal mail truck stuck on the M8, on its way to Edinburgh Airport that is closed
    how can your DSRs reflect the quality of service

  41. If you lose TRS and your sales go down as a result, and you start selling your whole range of items on Amazon and your own website. Your then making an alternative to eBay for your products. eBay has two sets of customers, buyers and sellers and eBay needs to look after both of them. The more you think about TRS and the negative side of this for your business if you lose it. The more eBay seems to be digging a whole for themselves as its only driving sellers to expand elsewhere to gain sales. This takes sales away from eBay as the competition gets bigger. Is this what eBay had in mind with TRS?

  42. Sell approx 2000 items a month and have had trs from the day ebay introduced it. Close to losing it for December. Special deliveries sent last Thursday still not arrived. Buyers constantly phoning and emailing. Few understand, most don’t. It’s ridiculous that ebay have not suspended dispatch dsr. 2nd class mail sent to Glasgow 28th Nov still not arrived. What am I supposed to do!!

  43. Same issues here, like last time with the strike, stuff sent since getting through but stuff posted during….well, your guess is as good as mine.

  44. Received an item yesterday. It was not sent by RM but by a Courier. Somewhere on its journey it had got wet. Luckily the contents were not ones that could be damaged or destroyed by water. But I sell Books and a lot of others sell items that can be damaged or destroyed by water so look out for lots of reports of damaged goods when all the mailbags and couriers get themselves sorted.



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