eBay on-time shipping metric flow chart

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eBay’s new has been the topic generating most emails to Tamebay HQ in the last few days. Readers are asking a ton of “What happens if…?” questions so we thought to try and answer some of them we’d create a flow chart of the process.

Basically the good news is that pretty much the only way a delivery can be considered as late is if they buyer says it was late. If you’re using tracking then the buyer’s input won’t even be considered unless there was no acceptance scan and no delivery scan or the delivery scan shows the item was delivered late.

Good news

If you ship untracked if the buyer doesn’t leave feedback the transaction will be ignored in calculations, which is pretty much the status quo for the despatch time Detailed Seller Rating!

More good news

If you ship untracked the buyer will be shown the estimated delivery date and asked if the item arrived on time. We know there’s a lot of concern regarding eBay’s estimated delivery dates but it’s probably an easier metric to get an positive result from than asking the buyer if you despatch quickly.

And yet more good news

Even if your tracked courier missed the acceptance scan and shows a late delivery but your buyer still says the item arrived on time then you get an On-Time delivery credit!

eBay’s On-Time Delivery Flow

If you’re still unsure when you’ll get an on-time delivery, when it’ll be discounted from calculations and when you’ll get a late delivery here’s a flow chart which will hopefully answer your questions:


47 Responses

  1. The changes to the way defects are being handled by ebay are overall positive, but i just ask myself why!

    Why are ebay still meddling with sellers in this way and trying to play god, they are not even a retailer themselves, we have people in an ebay office basically trying to justify their job by coming up with these ideas, at least Amazon are a retailer and actually can say they understand all the issues related to online selling. Selling on Amazon is so much more pleasurable for sellers, if a customer has a problem they email you, you resolve the issue by email, end of story, no naughty boys step system, or at least a much more seller controlled process.

    Over promising the estimated delivery dates and making them sound like a guarantee is the biggest cause of our queries on ebay, and this is caused by ebay, ebay are creating these unhappy customers by over promising, again not an issue on Amazon, they provide a more realistic window for delivery and when 99% of our products arrive early the customer is happy and we get almost zero contact from buyers asking where the order is.

    I believe that if ebay extended delivery times by even 1 day for Royal Mail it will cut queries for delivery by about 70%, a massive difference to the defects on sellers accounts and costs in handling these queries.

    I do believe that customer problems on ebay are created by ebay themselves, ebay create the unsatisfied customers and we get left to deal with it, it costs more to sell on ebay than other platforms when you factor in the higher level of customer support tickets we get on ebay compared to any other platform and the higher level of fraud compared to anywhere else, again i believe ebay essentially encourage fraud with their resolution systems.

  2. Whenever this subject comes up for discussion there are always possible reasons for Late delivery. These include such as Bad Weather and Industrial Action etc. But never does anybody mention Ill Health. I work alone in my spare bedroom. However consistently for several years I have enjoyed, if thats the word, ill health. Usually I can get around this when my health is particularly bad by getting my Daughter or a Neighbour to take the post to the Post Office.

    In the near future my Daughter and her Fiance will be moving and the Neighbour is not always available. So I am going to have very real problems. It looks as if the New Rules are almost designed to exclude from ebay anybody with health problems.

  3. I don’t think the flow chart is correct, sorry to disagree, but the FAQ seems to indicate that if a buyer leaves feedback but doesn’t answer the ‘did it arrive by…’ question, then it’s not classed as a late delivery.

    Your chart says ‘bummer’ if a buyer leaves feedback but doesn’t tick to say it arrived on time.

    The FAQ says ‘If an item doesn’t have tracking information and the buyer doesn’t respond to let us know whether or not the item arrived on time, the transaction will not be used to calculate your on-time delivery rate.’ – it doesn’t mention feedback.

    Even clearer is the eBay community manager who has repeatedly confirmed that if a buyer leaves feedback but doesn’t answer the question, eBay will presume everything was ok.

    See here for an example https://community.ebay.co.uk/t5/Business-Seller-News-Autumn-2015/Updates-to-seller-standards/td-p/4399536/page/18

    ‘If the buyer doesn’t answer the question or doesn’t leave feedback at all, we consider the buyer satisfied = no negative consequence for the seller. ‘

  4. Brilliant flow chart! Sorry to be ‘that guy’ but could you clarify if my assumptions are correct…

    Did the buyer leave you feedback > YES > Did the buyer confirm delivery on time > NO (they actively clicked no to say it didn’t arrive on time) > “Bummer! Your delivery is considered late”

    Did the buyer leave you feedback > YES > Did the buyer confirm delivery on time > NO (they neither clicked yes or no, they left it blank) > Does this still result in a “Bummer! Your delivery is considered late” ??


  5. Its arcane ebay nonsense to penalise sellers for things out of thier control. If you have proof of postage, job done. If ebay insist on this nonsense , then at least they should accept the real world postal service.


    If the buyer doesn’t answer the On Time question, eBay has quite clearly stated that it will not be considered late.

  7. jeez people. ebay give us plenty reason to complain on a daily; this isnt one of them.

    all of this is a vast improvement over previous.
    it may not be “perfect”, nothing is, but its a damn huge step from where they were before.

    previously ebay punished sellers ad-hoc, whether this was constructive, useful, productive, profitable, or exactly the opposite.
    it wasnt fair, it want just. now, its a lot better.
    so why all the whinging?

    i really cant see how anyone can expect this to be fairer to sellers. you post on time, you get proof, you’re covered.

    you dont post on time; you’re probably getting a defect, simple as. you dont deserve any further protection from yourself.

    nobody forces you to select same-day despatch with next day delivery. you can choose a 5-day despatch lead time, if thats how long it’ll take you, thats the one to choose.

  8. I had a sack of just over 60 LL rate of post go “Missing” from Royal Mail.
    I knew something was up when there was no feedback left for those items and in around a week it started “Where’s my item”.
    I got in touch with each and every one of them to say RM had lost a sack and so went ahead in replacing the items around 10 days after I posted the first lot.
    The “Missing” post turned up around 2 weeks after I first post them first class….No explanation, no excuses RM just didn’t know where the sack had been.
    Am I a bad seller ?
    Was I in the wrong ?
    NOPE yet eBay want to tar me with the same brush as the cowboys.
    If it happened today I would be looking at being kicked off ebay after 13 years with over 78,000 items sold….5 stars across the board and 100% feedback
    So I ask again, Am I a bad seller ?

  9. It says something about how badly this stuff is put together when a bunch of eBay veterans are struggling to make sense of it.

  10. By acceptance scan…. do you mean the initial… hand it over at PO and they scan it into system, eg in front of you, the day they print the reciept, to show you were handing it over in person?

    OR accepted at local sorting hub, for onward posting

    OR accepted at buyers house, eg, handed over to them?

    sorry if its a silly easy question, but i still hand over my mail at a PO, and just wondering at which point in my parcels / letter journey is the OK point for it not be classed as late, as in the chart.



  11. Hey Chris,

    Still seems to be a bit of confusion about how this new metric is calculated. Unsurprisingly, CS give different answers.

    (Note: the figures below are plucked from the air!)

    Say a seller sends orders to 1000 buyers, all untracked (i.e. no scans to confirm dispatch)
    Only 50% leave any feedback (500 buyers)
    Of those 500 who leave feedback, 50% don’t answer the ‘on time’ question (250 buyers)
    Of those 250 who DO answer the on time question, 225 answer yes, it was on time, 25 answer no it wasn’t on time.

    How does the formula work? Which number is used to calculate the %age?

    (25 / 1000) * 100 (the total number of buyers who were sent parcels)?
    (25 / 500) * 100 (the total number of buyers who left feedback)?
    (25 / 250) * 100 (the total number of buyers who left feedback and answered the on-time delivery question)

    Obviously they all give very different answers.

    Best Regards

  12. ~
    There is much confusion on the PSB at the moment, in particular a concerned seller who has spent (wasted?) much time on the phone to CS.

    The answer confirmed by CS after supervisor referral seems to be against all reasonable logic:
    (25 / 250) * 100 (the total number of buyers who left feedback and answered the on-time delivery question).

    This just has to be a CS foul up else eBay will soon be bereft of large tranches of inventory as buyers of small (size/cost) items will simply not pay for a tracked service.

    I hope that Chris and Dan can quickly sniff/snuff this one out.

  13. It is my understanding that this would be 25 in 1000 as is disregards those that have not answered, or left feedback.


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