eBay: Where sub-standard & economy is the norm

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eBay have just announced an increase to the postage caps in line with the recent Royal Mail price increases, which came into effect on 4th April (or will come into effect in May for Royal Mail contract customers). eBay’s roll out for listings launched on or after the the 6th April 2011.

Sadly eBay have once again committed the cardinal sin of driving sellers to offer the worst possible service to their customers. They have based the new postage caps on where Royal Mail 2nd Class service prices have been increased to more than the current postage caps.

The postage caps are applied to the first domestic service offered, sellers are able to offer premium services at rates higher than the postage caps for additional delivery options. This effectively means eBay are encouraging sellers to offer 2nd class postage and the worst possible delivery time, with 1st Class postage or courier delivery as an afterthought.

It should be noted that by offering 2nd Class postage it will be displayed to buyers as an “Economy” shipping option – faster delivery options will be displayed either as “Standard” or as “Express”.

Pretty much the whole of ecommerce (apart from eBay) offers a “Standard” service as standard. Many also offer options to either upgrade to “Express” if you’re in a hurry or downgrade to “Economy” if you want to save money.

It’s time eBay guided sellers towards offering a “Standard” service as standard and to do this would take one simple change – Keep the postage caps, but please eBay, don’t insist that they apply to the first service offered. Allow sellers to default to at least an adequate or “Standard” service and then let buyers choose to downgrade to a capped “Economy” postage service if they want to save money.

Why eBay would want sellers to provide Top Rated or Above Standard services to their buyers and yet guide them to offering sub-standard or “Economy” services as the default. It just doesn’t make sense.

23 Responses

  1. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

    Nothing ever does with eBay UK, which is why the announcement is what I expected, typical couple of glasses of wine on the back of a beer mat policy making.

  2. I don’t know what is going on at Royal Mail but in the last 2-3 weeks several 2nd class packages have taken in excess of 10 days to arrive. eBay will have a record of the number of “Where is my item” messages being sent by buyers and it would not surprise me if this was on an upward trend.

    It is a pity eBay seem to be condoning the use of a 2nd class service which appears to be transmuting into a 3rd class service. Maybe it is a ploy by Royal Mail to encourage more 1st class use with the revenue increase that this brings.

  3. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

    Of course it makes sense.

    ebay know fine well that if you want decent ratings you have send by first class at least.

    so sellers either take a hit on the postage difference or build it into the item price

    if they build it in ebay gets more fees

    perfect sense, if you have a devious mind.

  4. We send everything 1st class [& only charge 2nd) but things still take ages to get there sometimes…

    Although we have started putting up P&P margins, as fed we’re up with the INR claims

  5. A lot of sellers complain about the unrealistic expectations of buyers re delivery times. Most items aren’t urgent, so why make the normal service one that delivers pretty well everything within 2 days?

  6. item undelivered. marked as returned to sender then never seen again
    is what pees us off with royal mail
    where do all these items go?

  7. If I were a Royal, I would hang my head in shame due to the state of the Royal Mail system today.

    Generally, they take no pride in their job, think they’re doing us a “favour” by delivering our parcels and no longer go that extra step to make sure the deliveries get through, to the right address and on time.

    Yes, I am generalising but based on my experience and that of others.

    In a way, I hope there are more strikes because then hopefully that will speed up the transition to a newer more efficient system, prices will rise of course but they should, prices for letters are far too cheap at the moment.

  8. If you are a business and shipping a min of 5000 units a year then you should use Royal Mail Tracked. Parcels go through the Special Delivery network, and you can nominate a ‘safe place’. Also stamps are generated via Despatch Manager online and you can add email and/or SMS notifications – this vastly reduces the “where’s my item you bastard” questions!

    Prices range from around £2.50 to £5.00, depending on volume and weight profiles (reviewed quarterly).




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