To under promise and over deliver is bad service

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I placed a £50 order on eBay last Thursday confidently expecting that as the seller offered 2nd class postage it would turn up in plenty of time before I fly off to Scotland for the iwoca meetup this Thursday. I’d like the item before I go.

eBay happily promise me delivery on either Saturday or Monday (although I know that eBay underestimate quite how long 2nd Class Royal Mail can routinely take, so I’m thinking more like Monday or Tuesday!).

I decided to check on the order this evening as it’s not arrived and the first shocker I have is the actual delivery timescale. My mistake, it was never going to arrive this weekend on the 20th to 21st October, it’s not even due to arrive next weekend on the 26th to 28th October. The seller has a 10 working day despatch time for items supposedly in stock ready to despatch and I should expect my order to be delivered next month between November the 2nd and November the 4th.

Estimated Delivery Time

I know not everyone needs items tomorrow (and I was quite happy with 2nd class postage, but honestly a three week delivery timescale for a routine purchase is ridiculous!

However it’s a typical case of the seller under promising and over delivering. They’ve added a tracking number and have actually shipped my item. That’s the good news, the bad news is they’ve shipped it with myHermes instead of Royal Mail 2nd Class.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my local myHermes delivery driver, Annie. She’s superb, but the online tracking gives no indication of when I might receive delivery of my parcel and if it’ll be before I leave for Scotland. The seller hasn’t told me if they opted for the 2 working day or the 3 working day service so the rather enigmatic “Hub Sorter Receipt Scan” means nothing to me.

Parcel Tracking

Of course I could (and probably will) phone Annie and let her know I’m going to be away and see if I can get my parcel a day early, but how many people have every local courier’s telephone number programmed into their mobiles? Not many I’m guessing!

All this seller needed to have done is have a sensible despatch time and then actually ship the item using the courier that they said they would in their item description. The really sad thing is that they’re actually a great seller – they ship really fast and are using a trackable service and they offered a postage discount. If they just tweaked their listings to reflect their service it reflect so much better on their reputation.

I have to ask, is shipping with the courier you said you’d use and listing accurate despatch times really that hard to get right?

11 Responses

  1. Sending a £50 parcel un tracked through the Royal Mail.

    Business suicide on eBay.

    Agree. 10 day dispatch time is a little bit 1990’s.

    100’s of items delivered by the Royal Mail via our website sales. loss rate is so small we don’t even bother.

    100’s of exactly the same items purchased via eBay and sent by Royal Mail. loss rate is huge. scammers galore.

  2. A very valid point, and this may be a case of trying to keep a good ebay listing current.
    It would be very helpful if ebay could offer an “out of stock” facility to businesses which do not damage your selling history record by having to end a precious listing.

    This would create a better service to all customers and not disappoint with long shipping times.

  3. Where an item is manufacturered / created by the seller, then a longer dispatch is understandable (sometimes “good things are worth waiting for”). Where it is merely an off the shelf item, speedy dispatch is expected these days.

    Overall though – buyers should get what they pay for – and that includes the delivery that is promised in the description.

  4. For many purchases – not all agreed – delivery time is not the only consideration.

    Seller behaviour to under promise is unfortunately influenced by eBay delivery estimates that tend to be optimistic for some standard services with sellers mindful of their DSRs.

    One under promise to balance one overpromise.

    I use as examples:
    eBay’s ‘on or before’ delivery estimates where before is patently impossible bearing in mind the time of order and the service offered.
    eBay’s 1-3 days for Airmail Small packets to Western Europe. It is just possible to get next day delivery in a few places in W Europe. I have had it happen in Belgium and also Nimes (France) – the latter being a mail hub. Next day delivery in W Europe remains the exception and should not be proffered as expected.

    eBay themselves should simply be realistic, sellers would be more inclined to follow.



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