eBay Black Friday delivery experiences

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As has become my habit, I made a number of test purchases on eBay and Amazon over the Black Friday weekend. Some of the purchases were genuine for Christmas presents, others were made purely to check the service and see how the two marketplaces compared and if they could maintain their normal service at the busiest time of the year.

I should emphasis that I purchased from a variety of sellers, many of whom were not a part of eBay’s promoted Deals program.

eBay Deliveries

On eBay I made nine purchases over the period and wasn’t expecting any to be delivered before Tuesday this week at the earliest. Unlike Amazon who have their own courier it’s unreasonable to expect eBay sellers to despatch until Monday for purchases made at the weekend.

The surprise was the first purchase made on Friday arrived on Monday – one seller was working overtime and must have despatched the item on Saturday. Two other items (from different sellers but the same order) are yet to arrive.

One seller from Scandinavia has bizarrely managed to deliver quicker than many UK sellers, but another supposedly coming from Barking has a five day handling time plus a five day “Other courier” delivery promise. In 2015, 10 days to deliver an item seems more than a little excessive!

Of the remaining six items, only one arrived the following day (although that item was estimated to be 3-4 day delivery). Most had an estimated 3-4 day delivery promise but two lowered expectations to a 7 day and 8 day delivery estimate.

It would appear that eBay sellers are being overly cautious in their delivery promises and most (but not all) aren’t over delivering, they really are taking a couple of days to despatch and then using slow delivery service.


One thing that does constantly surprise me is the number of items highlighted on eBay deals which break eBay policies. Some are very obvious such as eBay’s picture policy which says “Don’t include borders, text, or artwork on the picture”.

iphone Linx Bag

Other Deal have bizarre terms such as “Postage and insurance charge is non-refundable for all items”. Outgoing postage must be refunded if an item is returned, although return postage may be the buyer’s responsibility. What makes this clause especially noteworthy is that the Deal comes with free postage so it’s not only illegal but also irrelevant.

eBay Black Friday delivery summary

It’s somewhat annoying to still receive emails regarding deals which break eBay rules, especially when it’s as obvious as text and decoration on images which can instantly be spotted.

Overall eBay sellers appear to have performed pretty much as expected over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. We didn’t expect eBay sellers to out perform Amazon as they don’t have access to the same delivery networks and generally can’t despatch at weekend, but deliveries have been trickling in, some much faster than promised and indeed faster than any reasonable buyer would expect.

Other sellers have long despatch and shipping times which appear unreasonably conservative, it will be interesting to see if this continues into 2016 and if it becomes the norm to eschew fast shipment and next day delivery in favour of more affordable services and an attempt by sellers not to over promise on service.

You can also read our Amazon Black Friday/Cyber Monday round up here.

40 Responses

  1. QUOTE : “It would appear that eBay sellers are being overly cautious in their delivery promises and most (but not all) aren’t over delivering, they really are taking a couple of days to despatch and then using slow delivery service”.

    . . and with eBay so willing to punish them for a mistake made by ANY courier can you blame them for putting some slack into what they type into eBay?

    Suppose an eBay seller tries to take on Amazon? He dispatches his order the very same day he gets it by the quickest courier he can afford, then he proudly tells the buyer he should receive it within 48 hours . . only the courier hits a snag and it gets there one day late. Our sellers reward? They get punished by eBay!

    Saddest thing is the potential sales eBay sellers risk to those on Amazon by being cautious with delivery times, yet I’ve almost always noticed identical items are more expensive on Amazon.

  2. A quick perusal of the Ebay seller forum will show you that many sellers plan to extend their dispatch times in an attempt to counter the new delivery metric when it goes live next year. Such is the law of unintended consequences – I imagine this is the complete opposite of what Ebay hoped to achieve. It’s totally unfit for purpose in the UK where tracking makes no business sense for lower priced items.

  3. Why would anyone selling on EBAY display their expected delivery. As soon as any courier hits a problem you are punished. Under promise and over deliver is the only way EBAYs policy can be worked to.

    The question is does under promising push sellers to other sites.
    Just another example of where EBAY haven’t got a clue.

  4. Talking of items breaking ebay policies……..
    There’s a business seller on ebay (name available if requested and permitted) with 7,000 listings, who for several months at least has had a large percentage of their pictures with the name of rival website delcampe clearly printed below them – customer service said there was nothing they could do as the seller is registered in Italy, and to report the problem to ebay Italy myself !
    Is it any wonder ebay sellers are suffering ?

  5. I cant understand why any eBay seller takes more then 1 day to dispatch an item (Excluding weekends) It should be same day dispatch wherever possible.

    Buying online is meant to be convenient and fast. If I order before 3pm on a weekday, then I expect the item to be sent the same day. Their is no excuse for not doing this. If you cant manage, hire more staff. If you have an exceptionally busy week, put in more hours. I get fed up with ordering items on eBay with 1st class post and then waiting several days before they can be bothered to dispatch it. If you cant pull your socks up and adapt then your in the wrong game.

  6. Hold up one minute-

    How about the good sellers who live in REMOTE AREAS?

    How the bloody hell can I ask Parcelforce or any other courier to collect when I say? They give me a collection time- not the other way round.

  7. “big business online are pushing for same day / next day delivery.”
    we think the main reason rather than customer demand ,
    its become the only thing they have left to barter with, not because customers want or need it,
    nothing wrong with offering next day delivery , but to take the stance that someone who dos not, is somehow offering an inferior or substandard service is quite wrong

  8. McDonalds, KFC, Burger King. All the Giants of the food industry realise that customers want food fast, now, yesterday even. they want it cheap and they want it fast.

    therefore, theres no excuse for a steak house not pre-cooking the steak and leaving it sitting under a heatlamp for hours, just waiting for soemone to walk in and order one.

    one size does not fit all LJ.

  9. To the guy that thinks that sellers should move mountains just so that he can get his goods as close to instantly as is possible….
    Have you ever run a business? I mdoubt it very much. I can only imagine that you are one fo the buyers that throws his toys out the pram whenyou leave something to the last minute and for whatever reason it arrives 10 mins late….
    I run a online business and i can tell you that dispatch is the hardest bit of it! On Ebay we have increased out dispatch time from 1 to 2 days not because we are lazy, but because it gives us one more days grace for when Royal mail or our courier fail to deliver on time. If this happens and the customer complains then ebay punishes us quite severily. Yet it is beyond our control? So our actions are as a consequence of ebays short sightedness now our laziness.
    Our sale are never predictable as we are very much season and weather led… as such we don’t have the option of having extra staff just waitng to be called in a short notice. Add to that our royal mail collection is at 3.30… because of this we have a 12pm cut off for orders as they have to be accessed, printed off, sorted, picked, packed andbooked on… so im sorry but your ‘if i want to order it by 3pm i can’ clearly shows that you have little knowledge of mass sending. We arent all as lucky as Tesco to get a special collection at 9pm. Oh and our courier reuires items for that day collection to be booked on by 12.30!
    So already i see your demands failing att he first hurdles because you have no idea about online retailing… You just have demands that everyone should meet because you want it when you want it so there…
    I could go into much more detail but i find your arguements muchg that that of a spoilt child and I thankyou for the insight into the mind set of the few customers we get that abuse us because they ordered at 7pm on monday and it wasn’t with them by tuesday morning even though they paid for 24hr courier! Yes we get them……
    If customers were more understanding when things happen out of our control instead of lauching insults and making false claims then maybe sellers would be more likely to take the faster dispatch risk… if ebay didnt punish us for failures by the postal service then maybe we would be more willing…. If ebays dispatch estimates were actually treated as estimates not estimates with cast iron guarantees on date ( kind of defeats the use of the word estimate)… then again we would be more willing….
    But sadly this is not the case and we sellers arent all tescos etc sending tens of thousands of things every day getting special personal collection times etc…
    But hey, who cares… if this guy wants something we should all work late, employ extra, change working practices etc just for him…. after all its what he wants.

  10. The No 1 thing I get said to me when I deliver is :-

    “crikey I wasn’t expecting this so soon”

    ( ok , so its not always crikey )

    Trust me, you guys dispatch too quickly if anything.


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