eBay make uploading tracking mandatory

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eBay have announced today that they will be making uploading tracking mandatory for items shipped via a trackable shipping service. This change applies to all sellers including business sellers and private sellers.

As of 4 March 2019, you are 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 shipped the item.
– eBay

Do you always get an acceptance scan for your on-time delivery metric?

It has always been recommended that uploading tracking at the point of shipment is best practise. Certainly uploading tracking before the estimated delivery date helps buyers but some sellers took the decision to only upload tracking if a buyer complained that the delivery didn’t arrive – this was in an attempt to avoid being measured on eBay’s on-time delivery metric.

We still regularly hear complaints that eBay’s on-time delivery metric only really works with Royal Mail for small sellers dropping parcels off at a Post office. Larger sellers who have bulk collections miss out on the acceptance scan or receive an acceptance scan at a later time (often a later date) than they day they actually despatched leading to their on-time delivery metric suggesting that they shipped late.

With the mandatory requirement for uploading tracking, let us know in comments below when (or if) your shipments routinely receive an acceptance scan on the day you ship. It will be interesting to gauge how many sellers still don’t see the first scan on the day they ship.

It is relatively unusual for eBay to announce a change like this outside their regular seller releases, but we’re guessing eBay don’t think it a major enough change to wait for the first seller release of the year to announce. We have no confirmation as to when a seller release may be forthcoming, but in previous years the first of the year has generally been towards the end of February.

58 Responses

  1. I have 2 issues with this,

    We send out around 1000 items a day with Royal Mail, bulk collection so no acceptance scan. Every single order goes out on time, however if Royal Mail have a delay somewhere in their network we get penalised as there is no way of us to proof they were sent on time.

    The second issue is, the “tracking” we upload (via Linnworks) isn’t actually tracking it is the 2D barcodes which have one scan and that is on delivery so it is totally useless to buyers. We get around 20 emails a day from customers saying their “tracking” does not work. eBay should not force sellers to have to upload these as it does not create a good experience for buyers or at least inform buyers that it is not an actual tracking number.

    Special Delivery, and actual tracked delivery is another matter of course, but for 2D barcodes and high volume sellers this new policy does not work

  2. I send low cost items with basic second class postage (no tracking). Do I now have to pay to track all my items?

  3. “It is relatively unusual for eBay to announce a change like this outside their regular seller releases, but we’re guessing eBay don’t think it a major enough change to wait for the first seller release of the year to announce. ”

    It was already announced in a previous seller update (last September?). This is just them adding it to the UA.

  4. “Certainly uploading tracking before the estimated delivery date helps buyers but some sellers took the decision to only upload tracking if a buyer complained that the delivery didn’t arrive – this was in an attempt to avoid being measured on eBay’s on-time delivery metric.”

    I’m a seller who doesn’t upload tracking unless a delivery doesn’t arrive and it’s not for the reason in the article. When we started uploading tracked we had a massive influx of defective (as opposed to INR) cases and had to provide labels for returns and no one really used them and if they did most returns were not the original item we sent out or returned in poor condition.

    The second we stopped uploading tracking the INR cases started coming through which we could provide valid delivery confirmation for 99% of them and win the case as opposed to dragging out defective item cases over weeks which I have to pay for return labels.

    I was told that if the buyer appealed the decision against them for the failed INR claim eBay would refund them out of their own pocket and I believe this is a part of the recent change they’ve made. I believe a brief summary of my situation should be included in your article.

    PS I post all of my items on time and have very little issues with delayed items.

  5. I sell low cost personalised items, which are sent 1st class post, untracked. We cant upload tracking for two reasons, the cost to implement this would mean zero sales as the item is then too high, and secondly, as personalised items sometimes we can be waiting days for a customer to send us the text or photo to complete the order, by which time it has already gone past the estimated delivery date.

  6. If you send items not tracked then there is not much difference. If a buyer tries to claim not received then you can’t prove it was delivered if not tracked. There are loads of sellers thou who do send tracked items but don’t upload tracking.

    My issue would be if I choose not to upload tracking and a customer says item not received yet it’s been delayed somewhere. Why should eBay be able to refund the order just because no tracking has been uploaded.

    The more they try to get involved in things the more problems they create for sellers. Pretty much all my items leave tracked, very few go via RM large letter. So not a problem for me. But once again eBay trying to solve problems that don’t need solving. Wish they would sort out the mess of a returns system they have first before they try to tackle anything else.

  7. I have to keep challenging false “late despatch” defects when tracked items are collected from a depot or delivery office, after delivery to the door has been attemped. For some reason, the Ebay system does not seem to pick up the initial delivery attempt and decides the eventual collection scan at the depot indicates late despatch. This doesn’t figure as the tracking invariably shows items have been despatched promptly in any case.

    What annoys most is that, if these are not picked up by sellers, these defects will remain on the sellers record. All the running has to be made by sellers to identify and then phone Concierge to get these things reversed.

    It is unacceptable for Ebay not to have sorted this out, as the consequences for a seller’s business can be severe.

  8. What Ebay should really fix is dishonest customers that say their items have not arrived. I buy stuff all the time on Ebay and I always receive it. When I try and sell on Ebay customers state they have not received their item. Figure that out! Buyers should only be able to claim ‘item not arrived’ so many times and then Ebay should kick them off! We wouldn’t need to track every little item then. Ebay lets its sellers down over and over again.

  9. Why is it also that the Late Delivery Metric doesn’t count ALL TRANSACTIONS but only those where a buyer has left feedback. No other metric is evaluated this way. This drastically sways the metric into eBay’s favour. Not too mention, If you post everything 1st Class, Royal Mail’s actual targets are 93%. So even if Royal Mail hit their targets, we still don’t hit our eBay targets.

    It’s an absolute shambles. Like telling a 5year old to put the chair in the corner of a round room.

    Hey Mr. Tempkin, are you reading this one by any chance?

  10. It’s pretty clear ebay are attempting to push sellers into higher late dispatch only to incur additional fees due to service metrics.
    Eventually as sellers will get fed up fighting incorrect defects due to time involved, they’ll just accept the extra fees.
    It’s an excellent way to blame sellers and charge them higher fees.

  11. I only upload tracking when a buyer claims INR, the majority of the time i never hear from them again. The eBay tracking system doesn’t take into account attempted deliveries or weather conditions, etc and will give me a defect because of this. I have now stopped uploading tracking numbers altogether as their system is useless. Upload tracking numbers, get defects on your account because the tracking system doesn’t work effectively, too many defects then pay a fee. Ebay as well as myself will also lose a premium rate service to the buyers, as well as retaining all the dishonest customers as i’m guessing they will catch on and take advantage of this policy. How about putting a tick box at the checkout so the buyer can tick it if they require a tracking number, it’s not perfect but it’s a lot bettter than the forthcoming changes.

  12. on smaller items I sell I never upload tracking, it is just a royal mail second class stamp, or a second class large stamp (I sell high volume)
    occasionally customers say they haven’t received there item, if this ever happens I tell them I have proof of posting and will head down to the post office and find out whats going on, this statement nine times out of ten filters out those who are trying to get another item off me for free.
    if they still say they haven’t received it, ill send a replacement but with tracking
    I literally can’t afford to send all my items tracked, it costs to much and would kill my profits

  13. We use Royal Mail and the tracking (2D Barcode) is uploaded to eBay on creation of the label for every order. The only scan we get is on the day of delivery.

    Our metrics for LDR are usually below 1% and briefly went over the 3% rate during the Christmas madness but we are still rated as TRS.

    Looking at my LDR metrics I see Transactions removed: 54 These being items that were marked as being late but have been removed due to the customer not being in and collecting or having a re-delivery.

    Royal Mail service on eBay for 1st or 2nd class is already set at a day longer, we offer next day posting but most days all orders before 2.30pm will be sent the same day.

    I do not see this as being a problem, just eBay making sure sellers do not cheat buyer by not delivering in a timely manner and all sellers being judged the same.

  14. Can you post the link to the progonal announcement please?
    Does anyone know if this applies to Royal Mail 24 / 48?

  15. Still Doesn’t make a difference scamming buyers can still abuse the system and say they haven’t received it and claim. Empty box and something not discribed never send expensive goods unless you know the buyer has proper good feedback and reputation

  16. I have had buyers report late delivery, even though I have shown the tracking number. My issue, as mentioned in earlier comments is that once it leaves my hands – on time every time – I have no control over when it will be delivered. So, even though I have despatched on time, I am still penalised on eBay stats because there has been a hiccup somewhere in the delivery system. Like others, if this becomes too much of a pain, for what I make selling stuff as a private seller, I just won’t bother. Before long eBay will be for traders and shops only. Shame but there you go.

  17. I’m still a bit confused…

    What would actually happen if you use a tracked service… but didn’t upload your tracking number to ebay? would it automatically give you a defect? even if the customer said it arrived on time? Or what about when a customer doesn’t answer if was arrived on time or not?

  18. I recently experienced a problem uploading tracking information to a second order where I had combined the order and sent as one, Click & Drop had already updated the first.. The system would not allow me to add the tracking to the 2nd order as it was a duplicate tracking number.

    Not sure if this problem has been resolved as I have been doing the above for the past 2+ years. I am able to add the tracking to two orders at the same time if done at the same time. I did this today and it worked but I did get a notification:

    “The information you have entered on this page will be sent over an insecure connection and could be read by a third party.”

  19. We have two issues with this:

    1) When a customer provides an incorrect address/postcode, our software will not automatically feed the tracking information back to ebay. If ebay could introduce a postcode checker for buyers, this would resolve this. Even small errors like O instead of 0 or vice versa, is not recognised as a valid postcode by Royal Mail and other carriers and will not generate a label.

    2) When sending items on 48 hours service, the parcels are only scanned for the first time the following day after collection, which would count as a late.

  20. I contact Ebay to discuss my concerns regarding this. I send low value items and it’s simply to costly to pay for tracking. I wanted confirmation that uploading tracking would be mandatory for all items and to find out if exceptions would be made.

    The manager I spoke to basically couldn’t answer any questions as he didn’t appear to even know this was being rolled out. He also confirmed that they had been inundated with similar calls to mine and that all feed-back was being passed on to senior managers. His view was that more seller information would follow.

    Let’s hope they actually listen to our concerns!

  21. We stopped entering tracking information automatically to protect our defect rate as so many items were delivered a day “late” by RM or were collected several days later by the customer, neither of which is our fault as despatch was same day. We’ve only been entering items which are shown as on time but I guess we’ll have to do this with every tracked item now and then spend time negotiating with CS over “defects” to be removed. We will also probably put despatch back to one day rather than same – is this what ebay want? This measure is counter-productive.

  22. One of the “glitches” with this system we experienced at Christmas. this was not bays fault but the carriers.

    Hermes opened a ‘satellite” depot to cope with the volumes of Christmas. problem was the satellite depot had no internet and often our packages were not receiving an acceptance scan. They were being physically scanned but the data was not being uploaded to the Hermes system.

    This – coupled with the extended delivery times at Christmas – uploading the tracking number was effectively CAUSING us late delivery defects.

    This happened in 5 hermes depots throughout the country. It is not wise to be uploading tracking numbers that are not receiving acceptance scans.

    This effected parcels from the 20th Nov right through to when they closed the satellite depot on the 7th Jan.

    To be fair to Hermes what was MEANT to happen was the scanner guns were meant to be taken down to the main depot (where they had internet access) and the data uploaded – however often this did not happen.

    I was sitting like a fool every night uploading tracking numbers that were showing ebay that I had sent the parcel out late (the first scan would be at Warrington the following day).

    I can see where ebay are coming from but the couriers need to understand how important acceptance scans are.

  23. So what is being said is that if you have a tracking number and do not upload it in time… ebay will not cover your for inr even if you then should it has been?Also that they will beat you for you?
    To be honest we use a mix of untracked and tracked and only add the tracking numbers at quiet times and when the buyer asks or a dispute is raised. It is simply not time effective to do it at peak times. We do a wide range of items and sometimes a non tracked item will go tracked simply because it is part of a multi order and so cheaper to do so, or the amount / value warrants it in that case. It is all very variable.
    Hence we dont upload automatically as sorting it out to upload automatically is not straight forward and spending extra time checking what is going where, when and how. We simply don’t have the staff time when busy.
    Most customers will see that the item has come by courier and know it has been recorded, so wont try and scam, the few that do, strangely always contact us outside of the ebay system….. at which point we send them the tracking number…. and it all goes quiet! So for us, if not uploading a tracking number at peak times means we aren’t covered… then the time saving will still out do the financial loss.
    Another case of ebays one size fits all answer to an issue they have created. The funny thing is, is that i swear blind that if you can present a tracking number, even after delivery, then ebay would be commiting a criminal act by taking your money? I know they believe they are above the law, but refusing to allow evidence technically means they are an accessory to fraud.

  24. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. this will only effect you if you have a case open and you haven’t uploaded the tracking. How many cases do you get open when the buyer claims not to have received the item when you HAVE sent it.

    This should not impact any good seller significantly (if at all).

    I am sure if there are unusual occurrences like the one I explained in my post above ebay will protect us (I got a letter from Hermes).

  25. There seems to be a lot of confusion on this topic about what is considered an allowed tracking.

    As far as I believe you can upload a 2d tracking from Royal Mail, you do not have to pay for extra tracking. If this is correct then you can either do this via using Click & Drop or you will get the code from the post office when posting using their system.

    You will not get a tracking number if you use stamps, although you may get one if you ask for proof of posting, but I am not sure.

    Most business seller would be using some type of system linked into carriers websites, surely uploading tracking data should not be a problem.

    Some sellers have said that their metrics are effected by people not being in and then having a re-delivery or collection, we have the same problem, but as I said above “Looking at my LDR metrics I see:- Transactions removed: 54 – These being items that were marked as being late but have been removed due to the customer not being in and collecting or having a re-delivery.” I am unsure how long this takes for eBay to do but I believe it to be quite quickly so should not really effect sellers metrics, unless there are other issues.

  26. @ Tyler, the problem is that 2d barcodes have no acceptance scan so nothing to protect you for “late delivery”. also, the way that the 2d barcode system works is that it often only gives one scan – and that is when the parcel is finally in the customers hands. if the customer has not been in or goes to collect it from the delivery office this can be days later – thus showing the item delivered late. Seldom does the 2d barcode record an attempted delivery of the item.

    we have only found the 2d barcode system reliable for items that are large letter (2d barcode does not work on normal letters) and thus are able to fit through the letterbox. The customer does not need to be home for this and this is the ONLY time we upload the tracking for a 2d barcode otherwise I risk giving ourselves a defect.

    If the package is not “letterboxable” the barcode does not get uploaded if its Royal Mail 2d. Its too risky.

    as this depends on the size of the package this is why some sellers experience problems while other sellers do not.

  27. @ Tyler, remember the 2d barcode only needs to fail and show a late delivery 1 out of 33 packages for you to be over the required 3% that ebay require for TRS.

    It doesn’t take much. I find that if the package is “letterboxable” the success rate is pretty much 100%. Good ol’ Royal Mail.

    I guess that your transactions removed 54 were over the Christmas period where ebay recognised that Royal Mail were taking longer and were pro-actively removing late delivery defects. Good ol’ ebay.

  28. Hi

    All very well telling us we have to add tracking numbers to our dispatches, but EBAY need to get their act together too.

    The “mark as dispatched” is separate from the “add tracking number”

    To make matters worse, the “add tracking number” link has not worked for many months

    Just when you thought that it could not get any worse, you then find that the only place you can get to the “add tracking number” link is on the Orders List page.

    So now you have to search through the orders page to find the right one and try to match it with your dispatch tracking number.

    Come on EBAY. Get your act together.

  29. Chris Dawson, so, can i just clarify this, if i don’t upload the tracking numbers within the stated time and the buyer claims INR but my tracking states delivered, eBay will go ahead and refund a scammer buyer? Really? So do i report you to trading standards for refunding scammers? I won’t be uploading tracking numbers as i’m fed up of phoning eBay to get defects removed when i do upload tracking as the system doesn’t take into account attempted deliveries, delays due to weather, etc., pretty poor tracking system you have there. I won’t be offering an eBay premium service anymore either as i want to keep my top rated status.

    Also, why are you letting sellers that have a poor feedback and service/product pay for sponsored listings so they can get their poor service/product to the top of the 1st page? Do you want to keep your buyers or would you like them to go to another buying platform? How about putting the top rated sellers on the first page in search so buyers are more likely to have a better experience, makes more sense right?

  30. Hi Chris, apologies, i thought you worked for Ebay.

    Regarding the tracking uploads, it’s not that i can’t be bothered, as i have explained, eBay’s system is very poor. I used to upload tracking but due to the amount of times i had to phone eBay to get the false ones removed i decided to not upoad them anymore, as i was spending around 20-30 mins at a time on the phone. I know the eBay system very well, have been constantly a top rated seller for nearly 10 years, know what works and what doesn’t and i can say eBay will get a lot of problems from sellers come March. My courier generally leaves a note when the parcel has been delivered if the buyer is not in so the buyer can find their parcel. Tracking numbers generally don’t say where the parcel has been left, as long as the courier leaves a note then there shouldn’t be a problem.

    My concern is will eBay be refunding buyers that try to scam and take advantage of the buyer’s that do not upload tracking as this is pretty much amounting to fraud when eBay rejects the tracking number as evidence that the parcel has been delivered and then steals the seller’s money to give to the buyer who is a scammer. If this starts happening eBay will be reported.

  31. There was a time when Ebay didn’t take into consideration the postage fees as part of their final fees – Amazon do this, they take a portion of the postage so it’s no surprise to me that Ebay would want sellers to pay more for a tracked parcel, under the guise of helping the seller. With this latest news of requiring tracking, I shall no longer sell low cost items on Ebay.

  32. Yet again backing timewasters instead of respectable good buyers.

    Price hikes mean some sellers will have to charge a lot more for postage that the buyer pays.
    Presume ebay don’t care so long as they get their commission.


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