eBay promise faster delivery in search than on the listing page

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eBay insist on making life as difficult as possible for buyers in a hurry to receive their item. Yesterday I was looking at packing tape to see how easy it is to get an item delivered next day. How hard can it be? The answer is ‘Very!”

Why eBay search just isn’t helpful

First off eBay have no way in search of finding items which can be delivered the next day. They do display “Fast and Free” qualifying items with an extra banner in search results but that’s not particularly helpful.

eBay’s Fast and Free means that whilst carriage won’t be charged your items can take anything up to a leisurely three days to arrive. This is 2016 folks, a three day delivery promise isn’t fast in anyone’s book. It might have seemed quick in 1999 but today a three day delivery is abysmally slow.

The second failing is to assume I won’t want to pay for delivery. If I’m in a hurry why not highlight listings which can ship today and deliver tomorrow even if it’s not a free service. Why does being free make an offering more worthy than being able to deliver when I need the product.

How eBay search is broken

So now I’ve hunted through eBay’s dodgy search results and I find a listing which promises to deliver for me tomorrow.
Fast Free Tuesday
It happens to be a Fast and Free listing and it’s clearly displaying that the vendor (actually those lovely people Gill and John Hewitt at Bamford Trading) can delivery by Tuesday the 6th of September.

Fast Free WednesdayYou might think I’ve now hit the proverbial jackpot and my cup overfloweth with happiness and joy. Not the case, you see the thing is as soon as I click into the listing itself everything changes. Where on the search results page eBay were promising a Tuesday delivery as soon as I click to the product page the delivery slips back to Wednesday the 7th September.

I’d like to emphasise that this is NOT Gill and John’s fault, they run a superb service. I didn’t even want the packing tape but having found the glitch I had to make a purchase just to see what happened. For what it’s worth the packing tape was delivered today, Tuesday. Gill and John probably didn’t even spot that I’d made a purchase from them (why would they?) but they fulfilled their obligations perfectly. This is eBay being obtuse and broken.

I did think that maybe I’d straddled Bamford Trading’s cut off point by accident, so I went back and refreshed both the search results page and the product page multiple times. Nothing I could do would make the delivery expectations match up.

Will this glitch impact your seller metrics?

eBay are promising me delivery the next working day on the search results page, but delivery in two working days on the product page. Which is right? I don’t know. What I do know is that if the packing tape hadn’t arrived today I’d probably have been blaming Gill and John and that really wouldn’t have been fair.

eBay need to fix this glitch. I’d also be interested to know what the On-Time Delivery expectation for seller metrics was for this purchase. Are you being unfairly penalised or is it just a display issue?

7/9/16 Edited to add: Apparently I found a very rare glitch. It only affects same day despatch items, and only if the seller has changed their cut-off time (which is very rare). eBay say that a fix will be in the place in the next few weeks.

25 Responses

  1. It’s not a “Glitch” Chris, it’s crap programming. Just like the 5 year shopping cart cock up.

  2. Hey,
    nothing wrong with the shopping cart.
    The cart only works in some countries and some items can’t be added and some items seem to be pay immediately or so some of my customers tell me.

    Nothing wrong with that is there.

    You can imagine what it would be like going round Tesco doing your weekly shop and someone told you, ” Sorry love, you’ll need to buy that separately” then you end up with 3 baskets at the checkout and although there should be one bag charge it wan’ts to charge you 3 times.


    Don’t even get me started on the new EBAY CS. I was so peed with it that I emailed Chris or Dan (Tamebay) to voice my appal. I have always had pretty good phone service from EBAY CS (Ireland).
    Yesterday I got a different accent and took me a good 5 mins for them to even spell my user ID correctly.
    One time passcode wasn’t asked for until the end.


  3. A lot of our products show we deliver on Sundays now when seen on the new style search pages, if you revert back to the old style search the correct date is shown. It’s actually causing us problems. Taking delivery of a bath normally means taking some time off work during the week, with a Sunday delivery most folk are enjoying a day off.

    Had at least a dozen messages requesting Sunday delivery, of course being eBay it’s obviously our fault when we inform them the customer we don’t deliver Sundays.

    First spotted this mid Aug, finally spoke to a human at eBay late last week. Expect a fix sometime mid 2017.

  4. Been highlighting Ebay’s broken checkout for years on this forum and elsewhere.

    If the very interface between the customer and the seller does not work, what chance does anyone have of making a decent living on Ebay, or customers of being happy with their experience?

    Add on the two partial outages yesterday on the 5th and the picture is grim (16 days of problems in August alone for Ebay – whilst Amazon had none).

    I’ve bought items on a Saturday evening with “confirmed” delivery on Monday via the checkout.

    What an absolute farce.

    Oi, Mr Wenig! Sort your cr*ppy site problems out!

  5. Thanks for the order and kind words Chris. I have seen this anomaly for years now and it’s clearly a mess. Given eBays main competitions reputation for delivery I really can’t understand why getting this sort of thing right isn’t a higher priority. Like you also I don’t understand why it isn’t possible to search for sellers who offer next day delivery.
    Thanks to our great team and our delivery company APC for getting this to you today.

  6. This is part of a wider issue on delivery that eBay need to solve:
    – Buyers should be able to search for Next Day delivery and the eBay messaging on the website needs to be consistent
    – eBay also need to be realistic about standard delivery times, for example Royal Mail Second Class is 2-3 days, therefore online eBay should quote 3 days, they actually quote 2 days
    – When judging delivery performance, for TRS, eBay must take into account Royal Mail performance rates. Royal Mail are one the largest carriers and their performance is as good if not better than the alternatives. If Royal Mail are achieving ‘next day’ 93% of the time it is clearly ludicrous for eBay to set the TRS standard at 96% as it’s simply not within our gift to achieve that level of performance

  7. We’ve been going on at eBay about this for years. It’s worse for auctions – we finish all our auctions on Saturday and Sunday evenings with a one working day handling time (i.e. NOT same day dispatch). Despite having confirmed with eBay that Monday is day zero (i.e. same day) for items finishing out of hours at weekends, all our items show delivery estimates for Tuesday. And we only use first class mail, which is defined as 1-2 working days…. We even had someone asking us why their item wasn’t delivered on Tuesday last week…. after the bank holiday Monday. Guess what? “EBay said it would be here Tuesday….!”.

  8. Wouldn’t mind but then their execs come out and say they have the best search engine in ecommerce…

    If only they’d got Google to do it several years ago instead of falling out with them, think where eBay could be

    Why are they focusing so much on machine learning etc when the basics don’t work!

  9. This on time delivery metric is a total farce -with excellent feedback going back over 10 years on eBay – in the first month on the new metric our “late” delivery metric was claimed to be 16.7% by eBay – after banging my head against the eBay wall i just decided to cut my loses and move all my listings across the river and have never looked back- with sales up over 500% in less than 2 years
    What saddens me is that we built our business with eBay and i still have an affinity for them – but will never return till this totally corrupt metric is ditched.
    What grieves me is that the statistics it provides mean absolutely nothing in the real world but as usual eBay hangs on like grim death to these badly thought out policies

  10. Looking for cheap sd micro card trying to avoid far east direct supplies plump for one with uk despatch and 3 day delivery promise arrived 10 days later via airmail neutral feedback generates plea for chance to put right to save rep how you gonna do that? Got an arrangement with Doctor Who think even he is going to struggle there

  11. Looks like they have broken it again cant search as I get is

    Service Unavailable – DNS failure
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later.

  12. There was a ‘Postage’ webinar on eBay uk today. The presenter, a member of the UK shipping team, asserted that it was inportant to offer express delivery because buyers liked to seach that way.

    He must be confusing eBay with some other site because eBay UK only offers search with filters for Free P@P and for Click & Collect.

    It does eBay no good when their own people don’t know how the site works. I have tried a number of times to tell them about IS and search in my category and it appears to me that they simply don’t want to know!!

  13. If they’re going to spend some time sorting out the search options so that sellers offering and buyers seeking next day delivery can benefit, they might as well sort out the other 2 things that can still mess it up:

    1) Give sellers the option of offering/pricing next day delivery by postcode areas.

    For example, if you’re using a courier to send a 10kg parcel next day to a buyer in Manchester, it might cost around £5 ex VAT. But if the buyer was in Northern Ireland or Scottish Highlands, the same courier might charge 2, 3 or 4 times that amount, or not offer next day delivery at all.

    Either the buyer pays extra or the seller takes a hit. Other than the listing text, there’s no way for the seller to inform the buyer they’ll want them to stump up more.

    It would be easier for the seller and a better experience for the faraway UK buyers if this could be sorted automatically pre-purchase.

    2) Use a proper editable address database.

    How many times do you get buyers who will put the building number that doesn’t actually appear on the building, but not mention the company name which appears on a massive sign above the door? Or they put the name they’ve decided to christen the house with but not informed Royal Mail of, and left off the house number that everyone else knows it by. Grrrr!

    The more accurate the address is, the better chance a buyer has of a next day delivery turning up, and the less detective work the seller has to do.

  14. There are many glitches on ebay. Some have been there yeers with nobody at ebay showing any interest at all in trying to fix them.

    As well as selling on ebay I also buy. I am currently involved in buying an important iconic building which will be developed into a Public Hall. We are currently dragging through the Legals which we hope will soon end and we can get the keys and start to work on site.

    We need masses of equipment and materials and obviously ebay is a possible source of some items. I was browsing for a piano which we will need when we get on site. Now I know nothing about pianos. I am not even certain where you blow into it and how do you tuck it under your chin(just joking).

    So I was browsing and then out of nowhere ebay announced that I had agreed to buy a piano. The screen had jumped and obviously yet another bit of ebays second rate programming had suffered a glitch.

    When I find the piano that I think may be suitable I have to put the details to my Chairman(he knows far more about pianos than I will ever know. Also until the legals are over and we get the keys we have nowhere to put it. I was just browsing yet ebay is so desperate for sales it will try to trap such as myself.

  15. eBay promise the impossible and blame others on their failings as usual notice the pattern

    I have a item with a Sunday delivery day I know it wont be delivered on Sunday eBay said it would now who do I blame the seller or eBay ?

    How hard can it be what next they forget Christmas again for the umpteen year on the trot incompetent it the only conclusion

  16. Exactly the same scenario here yesterday, for the same things. Packing tape and jiffy bags. ‘Fast and Free’ = second class post – might be here next Tuesday. Not just a few listings but every one I visited had some sort of spurious issue with delivery estimates.

    In my opinion, the root of the issue is the lame attempts to link visibility with performance – it’s simply too complicated and ebay will not let it go.

    It just erodes confidence. I keep being tempted to promote my products on ebay, and I keep having the same issues and same doubts about wasting my time and effort with the site.

    I have a competitor who has practically duplicated my website on ebay complete with my photos and descriptions. I am loathed to just let him have that business – but the reality is that if I take, say, 50% of it back from him, I’ll be fifty quid a week net better off and I just know that I will have to deal with heaps of problems.

    10 years ago the site wasn’t perfect. There was fraud. There were bad sellers and bad customers. But at least you could find things and enquire as to when you could expect them to arrive.

  17. The reason for fast and free 2nd class is because of Ebay’s unfair delivery metrics.

    Their metrics are unachievable, especially if you use Royal Mail.

    So you under-offer on delivery, specifying 2nd class to get the extra delivery days, whilst sending 1st class.

    That way you avoid the defects.

    You can even find some sellers offering a 15 day delivery service, presumably to avoid any chance of getting downgraded by Ebay.

    So Ebay’s crappy unfair metrics have resulted in the opposite to what was intended – slower delivery for customers

  18. Now that overseas buyers can’t order & pay later this poses a massive problem. eBay is slowly destroying itself. I had an item showing cancelled on eBay & paid on PayPal. I’m on the edge of leaving eBay to concentrate on Facebook. eBay are only interested in corporate companies now. Thats why half the time our stuff is invisible. This is interesting reading but it’s annoying that to see the the results of their survey mean paying for a bloody subscription! https://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y16/m09/i12/s01 Perhaps Chris dawson can find out for us. Or would it be illegal to publish results of someone else’s survey? Can we arrange similar a Tamebay survey Chris?


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