My 1st eBay shopping experience:
A 3 week delivery wait

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Edited to add: As can be seen from the many comments some clarification is needed on this story. We have published an update here

Following on from my last article Amazon vs eBay: why Amazon is winning the battle of the marketplaces, I decided to test for myself what is it like to be an eBay shopper. Having previously discussed my shopping experience with Amazon, I have decided to make first purchase on eBay.

My first eBay purchase was quite frankly nothing other than disappointing. I can understand why other shoppers don’t buy again if they have the same type of experience.

My 1st eBay shopping experience: The Purchase

My shopping journey on eBay began as I ordered a toothbrush charger. Looking at the advantages, eBay offered a vast selection of products to choose from and what attracted me the most about the item was the low price and free shipping.

While I’m aware that there is no such thing free shipping as sellers usually add the delivery fee into the products’ price. eBay’s understanding of ‘fast and free’ delivery is quite different from the modern standard of accelerated delivery that can take from maximum two-days to as little as two-hours or less. eBay’s ‘fast and free’ delivery can up to three working days after the order placed. With so much choice available online sellers need to deliver upon changing customer’s expectations and eBay isn’t letting them do this.

My 1st eBay shopping experience: The Delivery

The amount of time it took eBay to deliver the order, to put it mildly, was, extraordinary. Although I’m aware that it was really the seller undertaking the delivery, in my mind, I was buying from eBay.

I ordered the product on 7th January and received it on 26th January. That’s almost three weeks’ wait. I won’t go on about the importance of convenience and how shoppers expert it as a reward for their loyalty, but it was a ‘pleasant’ surprise to finally receive an order after I had forgotten about it.

It is not about the delivery wait, but the lack of a delivery promise that shoppers can rely on that is important. If sellers can’t deliver upon their word, it takes away the whole point of displaying predicted delivery dates. That is, shoppers are more likely to be frustrated by the delivery promise not being met rather than the wait. Shoppers order a product for a reason; sometimes they need it instantly, sometimes they can wait a week or two to receive it. Merchants need to match their product offering with customers’ expectations. Otherwise, the sellers risk cancelled items and losing consumers to the competition.

My 1st eBay shopping experience: Conclusions

However, what I enjoyed during my shopping on eBay is the ease of purchasing the product as a guest on the site without having to register. But, this means if I’m a returning customer I’d have to take my time to input my personal data again.

As a Tamebay editor, it is quite unfortunate that I had such as a bad experience, but how many consumers can be dissatisfied with the service and not write about it? I won’t tar all sellers with the same brush, as I know there are plenty of merchants who deliver an excellent service. Perhaps the seller run out of stock and waited to restock their merchandise, but failed to communicate the extended delivery wait. But in the retail field, it only takes one shopping experience to put a buyer off from shopping again with them.

As my fellow Tamebay editor, Chris Dawson said: “Please eBay, make 2019 the year that you display delivery promises in search results.”

51 Responses

  1. I have to ask, what was the expected – estimated delivery date, given by ebay – seller?

  2. Is that your real tracking number in the photo?

    I just typed it into Royal Mail website. Guess what it shows in the history?

    Tuesday 08 January
    Delivery Attempted – No Answer London Victoria DO
    Updated on: Saturday 26 January
    Delivered by London Victoria DO

    It appears the seller has uploaded the tracking number, giving control of the information to you (whether you choose to use it or not is up to you) and that Royal Mail has attempted delivery bang on the estimated delivery date (and not to mention NEXT DAY = FAST) so who is really to blame for your first ebay experience being as it was?

    It’s not the seller. They have not ran out of stock, nor failed to communicate. They have dispatched on time. They’ve done everything right.

    Can you blame Royal Mail? They have clearly attempted to deliver. But did they leave a card? They could have, even if you never remember seeing it. Such things can easily be missed, picked up with other mail, junk mail and takeaway leaflets, never to be seen again, just stuffed in the paper recycling.

    It seems to me that most, if not all of the blame must fall squarely upon your own shoulders. The seller had dispatched. Royal Mail tried to deliver. And even if RM didn’t leave a card (unlikely) you had the information available to pursue the late item, yet forgot about it.

    I think the lesson here isn’t anything about ebay or Amazon, or delivery speeds. It’s keep an eye on your purchases, wherever you make them.

  3. Then ask the seller why it took so long, not eBays fault.

    You can also leave relevant feedback.

    To blame eBay for the experience is just, well, wrong.

  4. You have obviously ordered off a chinese seller then. I am sick and tired of looking on ebay for something, selecting UK only for shipping and still having an array of sellers from China popping up on the list. The only way to tell is to have a look in the business details and even then some seem to be using UK addresses.
    Whilst I’m not particularly a fan of ebay (even though I’ve been selling full time on the platform for 6 years now) as an editor you should have known this so its really just a quick article to bash ebay in my opinion.
    How about you write more articles about how unfair ebay are towards business sellers and offer no help when something goes wrong.

  5. Sometimes it is the delivery companies at fault or maybe postman delivered to wrong address. You should not blame the seller all the time. Did you contact the seller to ask where the item was? Was it a British seller? Did the seller have good feedback. There are always some items that get lost or just delayed by third parties. This happens often when shopping on Amazon. I buy with prime, buying from Amazon and promises next day. I have often had the item cancelled by Amazon or delayed.

    You CANNOT judge anything by single purchases. It is not statistically sound at all.

  6. Gav: Exactly.. This happens so often that the customer does not call for item after a card is left or they are just not in. The seller then gets blamed.. This article is rediculous and false

  7. As someone who writes about e-commerce, you made your first eBay purchase in 2019?

    There’s just so much wrong with this article, I don’t know where to start.

    I’ll go with the highlight though ‘The amount of time it took eBay to deliver the order’. eBay don’t deliver orders, in your mind, or in real life.

    I remember when Tamebay had good articles from people who actually used eBay and knew what they were talking about.

    Guess what? I bought something ‘from eBay’ yesterday morning, and it arrived today. But I guess there’s nothing about that to include in a sensationalist piece.

  8. I really do hope the tracking number Gav has tracked is incorrect otherwise Tame at have made a complete fool of themselves, this only highlights the issues we’ve every day with buyers not tracking the parcel themselves and failing to follow up on missed deliveries.

    This article was clearly intended to bash EBay, Tamebay you have lost all respect I had for your articles being honest and impartial, just another online portal on Amazons payroll.

  9. I find this article compeltely flawed. To test Ebay and comare with Amazon having only used them once is beyond belief and to then write about is completely unfair. If you want to test something you test it over time and with many different sellers , as you would on Amazon. You are not buying from Ebay you are buying from a seller using this platform , yet you tar every seller with the same brush,

    Furthermore if the comments about the tracking (which I note the tracking number has now disappeared), if this is true then your article actually has a legal aspect to it as you are making false accusations.

  10. Say what! My eBay purchases routinely arrive within a day or two, and my customers usually get their purchases the next day too. But that does not make good headlines.

    I’ve just signed up to Amazon Prime as I had to make a few purchases, thinking I might get a better service. Joke! Not a single one arrived within two days. I’m still waiting for half of them and some won’t be delivered till the end of the month. In fact I can’t remember the last time I got a next day delivery from Amazon though I’m sure it does happen… but only if I pay an inflated premium.
    My conclusion: Amazon have an undeserved, inflated reputation re. delivery time. In the end the customer has to pay through the nose for a next day service that most eBay sellers provide as a given.

  11. TameBay you’re loosing credibility with articles like this one… Try to be at home/office next time you order from Amazon too 😉

  12. I have to say if a tracking number is provided and the item hasn’t arrived on time… I tend to check the tracking! Now at this point we have no idea why they weren’t able to deliver… wrong building maybe? Who knows… but it shows that it was dispatched on time, and delivery was attempted on time.
    Of some interest to me is why they then attempted redelivery 3 weeks later! normally if it is not collected from the sorting office it goes back to sender. I’m guessing there was no RTS address on it so they thought they would try once more?
    Either way if it hasn’t turned up on time, check the tracking and if there is none… message the seller. Items go missing in the post all the time, sadly the first port of call is to cry foul in most cases…. seller, ebay, anyone… but we must blame someone for failing to send it!
    Sorry but this article rather than highlight how sellers and ebay let down buyers, simply highlights the everyday struggle many sellers have with buyers who simply don’t check things or jump to conclusions!
    Humble pie time I think!

  13. I agree this is flawed. Makes no sense. Also, I don’t agree about speed of delivery on Amazon, or Amazon telling you an item has arrived. They only tell you if the item was tracked, and many aren’t. Sure you get it fast on Amazon if you have Prime, but if you don’t and opt for standard delivery it normally takes 3-4 days, just like Ebay, and sometimes much longer. It isn’t unusual on Amazon for a seller to take 3-4 days just to dispatch.

    Just like Ebay there are quick sellers and slow sellers on Amazon. And whatever the reason, don’t blame Ebay or the seller if delivery failed for whatever reason, and when it was late you didn’t bother to check the tracking which would have told you the whole story.

  14. In this case the buyer didn’t collect the item – simple as that. What more could the seller do than despatch on time? What further could Royal Mail do than attempt to deliver? I’ve just had exactly the same situation – buyer opened a case after RM tried to deliver on the estimated day – postman was told he no longer lived at the address – a flat within a house in London. In fact prior to despatch we got the address verified by the buyer as it seemed so vague. No doubt the item will be returned to us in due course but we sent a replacement to a works address anyway. So double postage cost for but we are a good seller.

    To condemn ebay as a marketplace on the basis of one badly flawed example is not good journalism. Ebay bashing.

  15. Though I think this article is clearly flawed, it highlights what a lot of good sellers have to put up with every day.

    Even if we post everything on time, as this seller appears to have done (I think I’ve worked out who was) whether it arrives on time or not is down to a combination of the courier (mostly Royal Mail, as it was in this case) and the buyer. Yet we still get the blame if it goes wrong.

    If the information is there for the buyer, whether it is a pinging app notification from Amazon, a sorry we missed you card from the courier, or having to physically log in to ebay to look at the tracking details, use that info. Don’t blame others for “oh, I didn’t check”

  16. Sorry I stand corrrected about my comment above , tracking number is actually displayed

    210280741000000134898 and clearly shows a delivery attempted on Tuesday 8th Jan.

    This article is completely false should be removed.

  17. As I read through this I am really disappointed that the author did not bother to check tracking and failed to point out the seller is not at fault here. Poor work showing no attention to detail making this whole article a waste of time…
    Please edit your article and come to the right conclusion. It’s not printed on paper – you can edit this!

  18. Hi,

    We shouldn’t let eBay off where there are flaws, I agree. It can certainly improve.

    However, why are you defending Sasha’s article? As a journalist/editor, she did not check the simple facts regarding the delivery history. Surely, this is the least we could expect from the article.

    It appears that Royal Mail went beyond their normal laid down standards. No second delivery would normally be attempted unless the customer arranged it. If Sasha didn’t do this, then it was a positive that they made another try instead of simply returning to sender.

    We all make mistakes, so hopefully, this is an embarrassing public lesson learned..

  19. B-)
    Oh dear, Chris gets another bashing !! (it’s all your fault, including Brexit)
    I would say though, a fairer test might be an Amazon third party seller and a purchase from ebay. But even then there are so many differences between sellers, whether ebay or amazon (third party)
    Maybe the same seller on both platforms.

    When I have a look on amazon, I always look at the other sellers selling the same item on the listing.
    I look at their feedback scores too.

    On both platforms, I have customers that ask questions and claim to never receive the responses.
    On both platforms we have INR claims.
    On both platforms they have scammers.
    On both platforms we have nice normal happy customers too.

    For me as a website owner, an ebay trader and Amazon third party seller, it doesn’t matter what platform a customer orders from us. They are treated in the same way and dispatched in the same way. We reply to their messages in the same way.

  20. Echo many of the comments here.

    Was an email address or phone number provided at time of purchase, as Royal Mail generally send our customers a notification on day of delivery and one if there is a failed delivery attempt?

  21. @Chris Dawson, please dont just assume (or indeed promote the idea) that every seller on Ebay uses a tracked service. I`m a small volume seller and postage costs form a high part of my overall yearly costs so as Royal Mail now registers every delivery I dont use tracking. I`ve never had anyone complain about this and it seems most of my customers are grown up enough to realise that they are the ones paying for any “enhanced” postal service.

    I`m not saying that Sasha has no right to be disappointed but did she even message the seller and ask them to chase up an order that was late? Is this too much to ask of an average grown up human being??

  22. Tamebay used to be a helpful tool and resource for sellers from all market places. It has turned into an anti-eBay, pro-Amazon propaganda tabloid, with fake news articles, such as this. Why?

  23. Some of these comments just illustrate the gulf that exists between customers and sellers. As a millennial born in the digital age, I have experienced consistently high service online from most providers and I frankly fail to see why the onus should be on the customer to chase up a delivery when it’s failed. Have you not heard of the old adage that the customer is always right? It’s just added irritation and those of you who are sellers should be considering the, yes, possibly high customer expectations.

    I’m reminded of Bertolt Brecht’s poem, which I will paraphrase here:

    “Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?”

    And cause I included the word millennial cue a load of comments from people born in about 1960 moaning about how I never had to fight in a World War.

  24. What happened to Editorial oversite?
    You published an article full of holes!
    How did such a naïvely written article get past even a casual review of facts?
    You admit that this was a new team member on your staff, that you encouraged them to buy on eBay for the first time and to report on it.
    As I read the article I kept looking for information that would allow me to review the facts of the transaction, but little factual information was available.
    What was obvious that there was no oversite or review of the article. Any critical review at all would have saved this writer the onslaught they are now experiencing, but what is more revealing is that this was published at all.
    I now need to seriously review any “facts” I may have taken from previous articles, and consider if I should follow your site at all.
    If you do not follow up this disastrous failing with a clear and honest review of how this happened and what will prevent it from happening again, i am sure I will not be the only one who unsubscribes.

  25. Oh dear, I thought the standard of journalism was improving on Tamebay. Apparently not. I would have thought that someone setting out to write an article would at least check their facts?

    There are lots of reasons to criticise eBay and it really isn’t hard to find them. This is not one of them. This has nothing to do with the seller or the platform. Expecting a seller to deliver on time when you aren’t there to receive the package is just insane.

    Chris says ‘at least this shows what eBay sellers are up against’. Stop swerving the ball Chris, eBay sellers already know what we are up against, a lot more that you are willing to publish on this site!

  26. And, further to me earlier comments, my wife ordered a book from Amazon recently which was never received. The seller claimed it “Must” have arrived and we just didn’t notice! Thus the “ebay bad, amazon good” mantra is ridiculous.

  27. As a business that helps a lot of small businesses with Fulfilment, this is something we’re very used to seeing. The reality here is that this is not a question of who is ‘at fault’ – the buyer or seller – it’s simply a question of finding the right tools for the job.

    By allowing ebay sellers to select from a multitude of carriers, some more or less suited to the task of ecommerce delivery, ebay are losing control of the most important part… the post-purchase customer experience (in which there are a whole bunch of emotions). And when it goes wrong it’s ebay who get blamed, not the seller.

    Royal Mail, for better of worse, is not a carrier that specialises, or is particularly suited to ecommerce. The level of in-flight tracking for the consumer is nowhere near as sophisticated as not just top players like DPD and DHL, but also more mid-level carriers like Yodel and UPS. The lack of sophistication is creating increasingly visible friction between consumers and sellers, this case is clearly one of those issues.

    Amazon in contrast recognized this very early on and took the decision to control as much of the logistics chain as possible – from manufacturing to delivery – and in doing so they can deliver a consistently seamless experience for the consumer, and thus corner the market.

    The ‘issue’ with this article? None as I see it. It’s not Sacha’s fault she wasn’t sent a text message to say RM had ‘tried’ to deliver and failed, or that she wasn’t sent an email asking her where/when she’d like RM to re-attempt. She was left in the dark. Equally the seller has done everything right…from their perspective.

    This is simply another example of how using the wrong carrier for the job results in confusion, disappointment and lack of business for anyone who’s not delivering Amazon-like experience (the bar has been set, and it’s high).

  28. OK lets get this clear, I am the seller of this item Electrospares.Net Ltd

    Firstly Sasha Fedorenko failed to give the correct postal address she missed the house number for the street address so this was going to make thing harder for Royal Mail.

    We are currently taking legal advise on this as it is a complete fabrication to the truth.

  29. Chris Dawson
    This was not a delivery to a Company address but Sasha Fedorenko home address. Which again I will say was not the correct Royal Mail address as missing the street house number.

    You are either totally misinformed or just blatantly dishonest.

  30. What a silly pointless article to publish, I feel like I have just wasted a few minutes of my day reading what I thought would be an interesting article, thought it was some kind of experiment and wanted to know what interesting facts and conclusions would be reported.

    I’m usually a big fan of Tamebay and feel like the site supports and offers a sympathetic ear for problems that sellers face. Instead, all this article left me thinking was “typical silly buyer”.

    I can’t understand why buyers are quick to try and blame everyone but themselves when things don’t go as expected.

    A simplified conclusion to this story would have been along the following lines.

    “After placing my first order on ebay I have learnt that I was a bit of an idiot for not keeping an eye on the tracking information or communicating with the seller, If I had done, I would know exactly where my parcel was and could have resolved any delivery problems quickly and easily”.

  31. The moment Tamebay got caught out! Time to unsubscribe from this fake news

    This is what i hate about eBay buyers. They order something to be delivered on said delivery date but are not in to receive the item. They expect the item to just be left without a signature or any protection for the seller.

  32. The problem here would seem to be lack of communication. If delivery was attempted promptly, it’s no use to the customer if they don’t know or are not informed. As a courtesy, we message buyers of tracked items to tell them when the item is likely to arrive and give them the tracking number in the message, as well as entering it on Ebay.

    It’s a lo-tech way of doing it, but the option isn’t there to keep buyers informed in real time, as Chris has pointed out.

    As someone who has bought on both sites, I have found Amazon’s items pretty much arrive next day, as advertised. Ebay’s items are much more variable. It may not be the fault of the seller, or the carrier, just a combination of factors contributing to a poor experience.

    So Sacha’s experience is still valid and not unrepresentative of the sort of things that can happen. I look forward to reading more of her pieces and welcome a fresh voice on these boards.

  33. Absolutely right hubert72. The buyer of my item opened an INR case because he could be bothered to follow the tracking or collect it from his local DO. In the end it was sent back to us but, being a good seller, we still despatched a replacement which was signed for. Then he had the gall to pretend that he didn’t know who had signed for it and still hadn’t taken delivery. I’d had enough by this point and rang ebay who closed the case in our favour.

    As for this “article” I’d only use the words “spoonfed snowflake”.

  34. As a follow-up point, it should be remembered that Amazon and Ebay operate in completely different ways.

    Much of what Amazon sells is fulfilled by Amazon’s own in-house despatch system., so it’s unsurprising that their experience is relatively uniform. Ebay on the other hand has millions of individual sellers, each dispatching using different services, packaging and varying degrees of speed and competence.

    Two completely different models. If you want something and need it tomorrow, you should probably buy from Amazon. If time is not of the essence, Ebay is perfectly fine.

  35. This has raised so many interesting issues and questions, that we are currently doing a debrief and are going to track through step by step and look at the learnings and the lively debate about addresses, tracking, carding, and what the customer considers delivered vs what a sellers’ view is, ie all the things that matter to our customers, so look out for an update post tomorrow.

    Thanks for the lively input so far


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