eBay recently put out an update on the eBay tracking policy. Put simply, as of the 26th of September 2018 sellers are required to upload tracking to eBay before the estimated delivery date. This means if you’re shipping via a next day service tracking has to be uploaded on the day of shipping. Opt to ship via 48 hour services and you’ll need to upload tracking by the end of the day after you ship.
eBay say that this is so sellers will be protected if buyers open an Item Not Received (INR) claim. Uploading the eBay tracking after the buyer has opened a claim will impact your seller metrics but if you upload eBay tracking prior to the delivery taking place eBay will be able to see (on supported carriers) that the item has been despatched and delivered. On carriers with whom eBay don’t have an integration, eBay support staff will be able to at least check on the relevant courier website that the item has been despatched and delivered.
eBay specifically point out that sending buyers tracking numbers via email won’t protect you from INR claims. For most sellers using software solutions to produce their shipping labels (or using eBay Delivery Powered by Shutl) tracking numbers will automatically be uploaded when the label is produced.
eBay INR Tracking Policy Update announcement
We want to make selling and buying on eBay a fair process so we’re updating our tracking policy. Starting September 2018, you’ll be required to upload tracking in the structured data field before the estimated delivery date has passed. This is so that eBay can protect you if a buyer claims they haven’t received the item. Sending the tracking number to the buyer via email won’t protect you from a claim. We always recommend you upload tracking information as soon as you have dispatched the item.
The eBay team
Cynical sellers might say that the reason for this is more to track late deliveries rather than protection from INR claims. Indeed, eBay will be able to see if an item is despatched late if you upload tracking but in reality it’s more likely you’ll get an INR claim on untracked items which are impossible to defend against and certainly you’ll be able to communicate with buyers more easily if you have surety that the item has been delivered than for untracked items.
It’s worth remembering that for sellers with a very high number of INR claims for a particular postage destination when compared to their peers, eBay may extend the estimated delivery time for that postage destination.