eBay delivery estimates mean your Poppy will be late

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PoppyKen has been an eBay seller for many years and had his fair share of issues with selling on the platform. He’s had eBay remove his Robinsons Jam metal signs because of the gollywog, they took down his Confederate pin badges that he sold to line dancers, they have taken off his Palestinian pin badges and this year removed his Irish Republican pin badges. He sticks with it though and carries on taking the knocks on the chin.

This year Ken’s been selling Poppy lapel pin badges. We all put our donation into the collection tin and receive our paper and plastic poppy, but some people also want something a little more substantial to go with their Sunday Best for Remembrance Day, which this year falls on Wednesday 11th November, and there are plenty of options to buy on eBay. Ken’s had a cracking weekend of sales which shows the demand.

Here however is the problem, For buyers that purchased on Friday morning of last week eBay gave an estimated delivery day of Wednesday (2nd class post) fair enough and all of Saturday was the same even though there are no Royal Mail collections after 12 noon (Not forgetting that most sellers do not post on a Saturday in the first place).

eBay also gave them buyers an estimated delivery day of Wednesday (2nd class post) all day on Sunday. Now we know that Royal Mail say that “2nd Class mail will deliver your letters and parcels in two or three working days” so anything posted today (Monday) should arrive on Wednesday or Thursday. eBay take the most optimistic estimate of two day delivery, but even then my post doesn’t arrive until around 1 or 2pm these days so that’s a bit late for the 11am minutes silence.

Ken tells me that over the week-end he sold 150+ poppy pins that buyers want/expect to have for Wednesday and here’s the problem – eBay will now be asking those buyers ‘was the item delivered on time’ and the answer will possible be “No”.

Ken says that “In my opinion eBay should keep their nose out of delivery times as they nor I can control it but of course it is my fault when an item is not delivered promptly even though I post every single day without fail with the vast majority of my items being low cost large letter packages with no tracking info“.

Of course there are things Ken could have done, such as changing postage options to force buyers to choose 1st Class postage or removing the Pins from sale over the weekend. The reality is however that eBay, in his opinion, have a very optimistic view of delivery dates and that’s what’s stitched him up. Do you agree, or are eBay’s delivery estimates a reasonable reflection of Royal Mail’s performance?

28 Responses

  1. I am actually thinking of removing the 1st class postal option from our ebay listings.
    I originally thought, give as many as possible.
    Free (Included) 2nd Class, 1st class, Signed for and Special Delivery.

    Some people pay the little extra and want 1st class EXPECTING it to be next working day.
    Although probable its also possible it won’t arrive and as ken has said, with the metrics etc being based on ” Did you get your item by the XXXX(Date)” there’s going to be some upset customers.

    One of the things some may not have realised is that you can set your order cut off time so that if a customer places an order after the cut off then it’s the next day. If I understand the option correctly.


    I set mine to 00:15.

  2. Ebay give an ESTIMATED delivery time and then both buyers and ebay treat it as a GUARANTEED delivery time , thats the problem

  3. EBay doesn’t have a clue. Some of my recent purchases made on Friday evening had “your item will arrive before Sunday 12pm” remimders in every email that eBay sent even before seller marked it as despatched.

  4. We have been checking our seller dashboard and probably 80% of the new defects there is nothing we could have done. We shipped the item on time using Royal Mail 48 but the customer has said it did not arrive on time. Whether this is Royal Mail or not I do not know.

    I have two massive issues with this new system.

    The first is if a item is carded and the customer collects the item from the post office a few days later, when asked did you receive the item by or before a set date, the answer will be ‘No’. If a customer has 3 or 4 items to collect from the post office at the end of the week, how are they supposed to keep track of things, let along give Ebay accurate feedback.

    The second is the unrealistic expectations Ebay has of couriers. Royal Mail says 93% of 1st class mail is delivered on time. That is still a massive 7% that will be late. That is not good enough for Ebay and you would loose top rated seller. Other couriers have even worse rates. Yodel 24 is around 84% or something.

    Ebay really doesn’t understand how things work in the real world, and I see this move as Ebay’s attempt to shrink the amount of top rated sellers and boost their profits.

  5. ~
    eBay have created what will become a ‘running sore’ with sellers of letterbox items where buyers simply do not want either to receive or to pay for a fully tracked service.

    Each time sellers of those items look at their dashboard they will see a report of ‘Transactions that weren’t posted on time’ and have to live with the knowledge that they actually were ALL posted on time.

    Any business that creates a ‘running sore’ with their users will eventually lose out.

  6. Fully support the views here. Ebay’s estimate shouldn’t merely be a “reflection of Royal Mail performance” as you put it. It should be a measurement identical to Royal Mail’s expected performance. So if Royal Mail say 5% of 1st class will not arrive next day, that is what Ebay should measure.

    I looked at my projected rating on the Seller Dashboard, and there were 5 transactions that apparently arrived late. 1 was my fault. 1 definitely didn’t arrive until 3 days late because of Royal Mail. So there are 2 problems. Item 3 the buyer told me he had ordered the wrong thing and asked for an alternative. I didn’t send, and it took the buyer 1 week to sort himself out – and then marks it as not delivered on time! Fortunately Ebay removed this.

    The crux really are the other 2, both delivered after 2 days rather than next day. On my quantitiy of shipments that is within Royal Mail’s expectations, but not good enough for Ebay. This is where ebay are so wrong.

    As others say, it is a running sore that ultimately will bite Ebay back, and may already be doing so. As others say also, ebay slides the meaning of estimate to guarantee, and encourages the buyer to do the same.

  7. I have already fallen foul of these new metrics – an item purchased on Sunday, posted 1st Class Recorded on Monday, tracking# uploaded to eBay on Monday then delivered by Royal Mail on Friday! I got an “item not posted on time” black mark for that.
    Another item was reported by the buyer as not delivered on time, yet their feedback said “quick and easy” and was left on eBay’s own expected delivery date – how can a buyer be allowed to mark an item late before the expected delivery date was passed? eBay may well gain a few quid when sellers lose their Top Rated Seller discounts, but this will be a very short lived as they seek alternative platforms to sell on.

  8. I dont think ebay will save much from all the sellers losing top rated status.
    ebay spent years encouraging buyers to look for top rated sellers, now theres none left, buyers cant get an item from someone they trust, so they go to amazon.

    all stick and no carrot makes for sore sellers.

  9. Oh no! Just sold another poppy pin – just hoping that eBay hasn’t given him tomorrow as the ‘estimated’ delivery day.

  10. Royal Mail made “proof of postage” compulsory last week. This means you get a receipt with a destination postcode on it. If it gets lost RM compensate the sender. I don’t understand why eBay will not accept this receipt as proof it was sent. It’s a double slap in the face when RM lose your mail & eBay give you a defect or deliver it late. I always refund a buyer if RM lose the mail but why should I suffer a slap in the face for doing so! I have also had several signed items go missing & I still had to refund & could still get a defect.

    DSR ratings for “How quickly did the seller dispatch the item” Is relying on the buyers memory up to 8 weeks after the purchase. Getting a defect for the under performance of Royal Mail is just eBay scapegoating the seller. It helps nobody at all. Asking a buyer to leave feedback 2 months after a transaction may well result in a defect due to a buyers poor memory. Maybe eBay have shares in Royal Mail & want us to put our postal prices up…after all they take 10% of it.

  11. ,
    Sadly ebay will likely ignore most recommendations on here, as it would mean they would have to loosen their grip of the hands around sellers throats. not gonna happen….!!

  12. same here I am thinking to remove 1st class postage option from my listings as well because it gives an estimated delivery date for next day.However we are facing the same issue as KEN and after we had a word with eBay they blunty said offer second class and send 1st class in that way buyers will get their items on time and will leave “YES” .which is on record on eBay call and when I asked them its not possible because we cant afford 1st class on all parcels and that eBay should correct their estimated delivery date glitch and they said we are aware of this and our technical team is working to resolve it but you should save your self and you have to meet the estimated delivery dates . we are now starts to choose the postage option ( other courier 3-5 working days ) with 1 working day dispatch to stay top rated and give reasonable estimated dates on our listings .

  13. We found if you put a BT post code as your item location, with Royal Mail 2nd class or 48HR, Ebay allows 2-3 days. If we put a mainland post code, Ebay only gave us two days.

    I think a lot of people will end up advertising 2nd class but sending items 1st class.

  14. eBay have really done it this time.

    Which idiot thought- I know let role this out just before Christmas because Royal Mail always deliver 1st and 2nd class on time.

    The service updates from royal mail I receive daily say it all

    “Another busy night for royal mail”

    “capacity issues at our nation mail hub” meant some (ALL) mail could not be processed and may not be delivered today.

    I use Linnworks for back end processing and I notice notice how many 1st and 2nd class signed for’s are late by carrier. We send every day on time.

    I now will be altering the format of the tracking number so eBay system will not be able to automatically see if it late or not. But the customer will still have the code transmitted to them.

    My projected defect rate is 3.76 % and I am top rated rated (for now)

    I think eBay believe royal mails estimated time is a true reflection of actual service which it is not. They need to be adjusted back 2 years when they were more accurate.



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