Some eBay sellers ship ‘Dirty’ goods quicker than jiffy bag stuffers

No primary category set

eBay are forever telling us that we need to deliver as fast as possible and we know that this isn’t always possible for goods which are heavy or oversized. At least it’s not impossible but it’s no where near as easy as goods which can be dropped into the Royal Mail delivery sack.

What’s reasonable will partly depend on your customers and of course in the logistic arrangements that you have in place.

Rabbit HutchHaving made two purchases on the eBay Flash Sale on Thursday evening, two sellers have demonstrated that large, heavy oversized products can be delivered fast. The first product was a 6 foot rabbit hutch with a 4 foot by 6 foot run. It came in two boxes, one of which weighed 36kg.

I made the purchase about 4.30pm on Thursday evening I was astonished that the delivery took place some time before I woke up on Saturday morning. I can’t tell you which courier was used as I didn’t see them, but when I got up the boxes were outside my front door. It was delivered some time around 7am in the morning less than 48 hours after I placed the order.

Fence PostsThe second purchase is even worse from a carrier point of view. I purchased six 4″ by 4″ 3 metre long fence posts. 3 metres is about as oversize an item as you can get but I’ve had notification that they’re being delivered at some point today, just two working days after the order was placed.

These two purchases are in carrier parlance about as ‘dirty’ goods as it’s possible to order on the Internet. No standard carrier would want to touch either delivery due to the weight and size and yet one order has already been delivered and the other is scheduled to arrive today. (Edited to add… they arrived at 12.30pm.)

If sellers of this type of product can despatch so speedily (and I didn’t opt for express carriage), then it begs the question as to why dropping something in a jiffy bag and popping it in the post sometimes takes much longer.

Whilst there’s nothing that can make a 48 hour courier deliver faster, the key is in the despatch time. It still amazes me that some sellers can take longer than a day to pick and pack an order. Shipping the day of the sale isn’t possible for everyone. Shipping the working day after the sale should be possible for almost all items unless they’re being custom made.

Is there any excuse for being slow to despatch? How quickly do you aim to despatch and are you shipping ‘dirty’ goods or products which go in the mail or via a standard courier?

24 Responses

  1. Some sellers are small, some sellers don’t want to trapse to the post office every day just because they get an order. I make decent margins on my orders £15 per item 7-10 times a week. But it’s a sideline to my much larger online business that doesn’t use Royal Mail. I don’t want to be rushing up the post office just because I took an order that day. I go two or three times a week and send everything second class.

    Just because you can fathom a faster way for me to serve you doesn’t mean I should have to!

    Ordinarily that approach would put me at a disadvantage competitively but I’m the only seller of this product and I advertise my handling and shipping times accurately so customers know what to expect.

  2. Also, some sellers may be drop shipping, may need to source the item post order and pre-fulfilment and some might not hold the stock in a physically near location.

  3. In my experience over the last 10 years, couriers quiet often say they cant do this to one customer and do for another.

    Shipping spray paint been a prime example, if you can find an official yes we ship that you will be lucky yet there are sellers on eBay who shift thousands of units per month via royal mail who categorically refuse to ship spray paint or such items.

    Its one rule for one, one for another and all made up all at once with a liberal dose of breaking the rules.

  4. From my point of view the rabbit hutch seller may online be shipping very few of these a day and the item is perhaps already boxed a ready to go.

    From my point of view as a ‘jiffy bag stuffer’ is that we may have 300-400 orders a quiet day so the volumes are often much bigger. You only need a bank holiday or staff off sick for this to start to take effect.

    I won’t even go into having to indivdually wrap items that take even longer.

    It’s all down to the type of business and I also believe volume of orders that a company receive and the price of the items.

  5. Lots of Sellers on ebay have better things to do than going to the Post Office every day. I just don’t get the need for speed – you have been your whole life without it, and suddenly you HAVE to have it by tomorrow? As an excercise, we emailed every customer for a week asking if they wanted to upgrade from the 2nd class option they had chosen – no takers, not one. So perhaps the need of speed isnt that important, apart from Amazon and Ebay having a war over it, everyone else seems to manage OK.

  6. If you already have a courier collection it’s actually easier to ship bigger items. They generally don’t need to be packaged and the customer is happy to pay for shipping. It’s the orders made of lots of tiny things and the customer expects “free” shipping that are the problem.

  7. As long as delivery estimates are clearly stated and accurate then there is nothing to moan about.

  8. Many sellers on ebay do so as an extra income and are not always sitting at their computer for an ebay/amazon message to appear to let them know they have sold something and it needs dispatching with in minutes. I work full time and run an ebay store with over 400 items, average day is 4 – 5 items. All are listed with up to 3 day dispatch and 3 – 5 day shipping. Realty is it is dispatched with in 1 – 2 days with 2 day shipping meaning customer receives much quicker than expected meaning they are happy.

    I use a verity of parcel companies, MyHermes for small/cheap items. UPS or DPD drop off for larger/heavy or expensive items as signed for or Parcelforce for much larger items. All very good and no complaints.

  9. I could quite easily post everything within a day and even a few hours, but it’s my choice not to.

    I post 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a 3 day handling time and 2nd class by default with a choice to upgrade to 1st at a cost.

    My feedback is full of ‘very (very) fast delivery’ type comments and I have 2 ‘late’ delivery scores out of about 930 transactions.

    Not everybody wants everything yesterday and it’s not the end of the world, nor is it the mark of a bad seller, if something takes a few days to arrive.

  10. Quick delivery fails to improve the quality of a product? And will often increase the cost

  11. Our products are handmade but we still ship same day or maximum 1 business day unless bespoke is chosen then 2 days. However, on eBay, despite buyers being advised exactly when dispatched and estimated delivery time – the majority select economy post – we still get marked down on ‘How quickly did the seller dispatch the item’ because for some reason nearly everyone expects it the next day. We have even had people who have ordered Friday night expecting delivery Sunday because it says RM48!

  12. It would be nice if you could deliver your emails to us quicker Chris. Mine has only just arrived at 10.03 today. 5th. I see others have commented yesterday morning so I have to say Chris…It still amazes me that some messages from Tamebay can take longer than a day to arrive. And you still have not replied to the email I sent you 3 weeks ago that I resent again 4 days ago. I have liked you on Facebook as you said that was quicker than waiting for messages to arrive but I have not received anything from your Facebook account either.

  13. OK Chris now I understand. It seems I’ve completely misunderstood the way you publish your posts. Unfortunately I have too much on my mind to remember log in every day so I would forget without the reminder email. Here’s a suggestion… Could you not create an option to sign up for “live posts” for people who want to comment while the topic is still hot? We would have been able to take advantage of the eBay “Flash Sale” you reported last week if emails were instant. How would liking you on Facebook have made any difference to being informed earlier? I have yet to receive any reports since I liked your page 3 days ago.

  14. Sorry if it looks like I’m not blaming Tamebay. I’m not. I’m just making a suggestion. I have learned over my 14 eBay years not to expect the obvious from eBay as they are too big a company to know what they are doing half the time. Many times I have had different answers to the same question from eBay agents. I’m not blaming Tamebay just suggesting a setting for quicker notification. Yes I have completed the Survey Chris & mentioned that it would be nice to see an article regarding the complete farce RE the incompatible shopping cart which means nobody overseas can implement any of the sales eBay had us create back in 2011. It killed off tons of overseas trade for me. On eBay’s own FAQ page it sates the following….. Can I use the eBay shopping basket on other eBay sites like or
    At the moment the eBay shopping basket can only be used on for items listed on the site, or on for items listed on the site. (This is not true not cart on ebay .com unless you log into the US site) Items that are listed on other eBay sites and appear in search results can be purchased as regular Buy it now items……What?…. This was written way back in 2011! Those 3 words “At the moment” suggest they are going to change it. But how long do we have to wait? How long is a moment in eBayland? On rare occasions when a buyer decides to buy a few rare mags from me I have to refund the postage cost as there is no way they can buy several items without using the shopping basket. Why have eBay ignored this? Why have they given us an option to create sales for overseas customers when they have no way of applying the sale to their purchase. It’s just an insane exercise in wasting time…unless I am missing something? Please Chris…. can try to find out what they are planning to do about this or if it’s a way for them to make money from the postage cost or force us to use the global shipping program that only increases postage cost & removes the choice for standard air mail. How does making multiple purchases unattractively expensive for overseas customers translate into a good business move?


Tuffnells 'Big Green Parcel Machine' goes bust

Tuffnells ‘Big Green Parcel Machine’ goes bust


QZ Tray for Amazon Buy Shipping in Bulk


UK 80 parcels per person say Pitney Bowes


What’s next for the UK’s carriers?


Will Mr and Mrs Claus (carriers) cope at Christmas?

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars