Actions taken to stop eBay Item Location Misrepresentation

Buyers should have complete information about an item’s location so that they can be aware of all the costs associated with purchasing the item and avoid any misunderstandings, unexpectedly high postage costs for buyers, and longer than expected delivery times. That’s what eBay’s Item Location Misrepresentation policy explains and today, in what will undoubtedly be welcome news, eBay are announcing new enforcement measures against listings and sellers who do not comply with the eBay Item Location Misrepresentation policy.

eBay say that it’s important for sellers to accurately state the location of their items so that buyers can use eBay’s search filters to correctly select listings based on location. When this doesn’t happen, it creates an unfair marketplace for sellers and a disappointing experience for buyers.

eBay have also said that they are grateful for the feedback received from the seller community about Item Location Misrepresentation. They’ve been listening and now they are acting. Today’s new eBay Item Location Misrepresentation policy enforcement measures aren’t exactly new – they’ve already told Chinese sellers in no uncertain terms to comply or be banned from selling on eBay.

Shipping method must match the Item Location

Having reviewed the policy eBay have made some changes which should help prevent sellers from providing inaccurate information about the location of their items. They’re now required to select a postal option that matches the item’s location. In addition, from today (28 March 2019), sellers won’t be able to create new listings or revise listings where the item location and postal service don’t match.

What this effectively means is that overseas sellers claiming their items are in the UK will have to select a UK carrier. For instance the table below sets out carrier choices for Chinese sellers which are now banned under the new regime.

Banned shipping options for Chinese sellers

Delivery Estimate

UK Other Courier 5
Other Courier 5 Days 5
Collect+ Economy Tracked 5
BPost International Parcel 7
TRAKPAK from outside UK 8
Standard Shipping From China/Hong Kong/Taiwan to Worldwide 19
Economy Shipping From China/Hong Kong/Taiwan to Worldwide 35

eBay will also be reviewing any international sellers who state their item location is in the UK, but have excessively high dispatch times resulting in extended estimated delivery dates. Their teams overseas continue to work directly with international sellers on policy education and enforcement to ensure compliance.

eBay will continue to take further steps to enforce this policy, including removal of listings, restricting a seller’s trading activities and, in the case of repeated policy violations, account closure.

Chinese sellers on eBay

We’ve written numerous times of Chinese Sellers on eBay bending (or outright breaking) the rules and effectively lying to buyers. Now it looks like this will come to an end.

Here at Tamebay HQ we’d like to make it clear that, just as UK sellers sell on overseas eBay sites, there is nothing wrong with Chinese Sellers listing and selling on eBay UK. The Internet knows no country borders and eBay is a global site. All we ask is that it’s a relatively level playing field and that on eBay Item Location Misrepresentation is stamped out once and for all.

Don’t think that this policy only applies to Chinese sellers – if you list and sell on overseas eBay sites then it equally applies to you. If you have an item location in a particular country for a listing then your stock really does need to be there and you should easily be able to ship via a local shipping method.

The full eBay Item Location Misrepresentation policy can be found here.

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so if i buy an item from a seller who is listed in the uk and that item has an advertised delivery time of 5 working days (with a uk postal service) and that item arrives from say china or hong kong within the advertised 5 working days, exactly how will ebay know that the item has arrived from china or hong kong and enforce this new policy?

bryan • 28th March 2019 •

The fact that eBay can track despatch dates from most carriers including Royal Mail. A Chinese seller shipping from the UK won't be expected to use books of stamps - if a fulfilment house is doing their despatches then almost everything including large letters will carry a barcode that will reveal late shipments. If they can't despatch within two days with tracking they're likely to be caught :-)

Chris Dawson • 28th March 2019 •

@Chris Dawson - Only issue is Royal Mail don't track the Large Letters (unless you pay for tracking / recorded delivery) - the default barcoded large letters are not scanned at the doorstep and click and drop doesn't upload the barcode number to eBay as its not used in their (Royal Mail's) system. Trust me I've moaned to RM about it a lot of times as 90% of my items are low value Large Letter and have a barcode on that is not used...

Stephen Wright • 2nd April 2019 •

@Stephen Wright I send out many items in large letters through Royal Mail using the click and drop system. All items have a tracking number that is uploaded to eBay at the time of printing the label as well as marking the item as being dispatched. Below is the tracking details shown on eBay for an order placed on the evening of the 6th March and posted on the 7th March Tracking #: 3204778390000xxxxxxxx Courier: Royal Mail DELIVERY RECORDED Mar-09-19, 10:15 AM ITEM SCAN Mar-08-19, 08:34 AM My Late delivery rate is currently @0.64% indicating that items are being scanned at the point of delivery.

tyler • 2nd April 2019 •

@ Stephen Wright Maybe not all types of large letters are tracked, but Click and Drop RM24 & RM48 large letters are scanned (most of the time anyway) and uploading details into ebay can always be done manually. Ebay will recognise them. I get all tracking uploaded and have done sample checks on them before and it worked out they were scanning about 80% of the time, which is pretty poor, but I guess I can understand why. If they have a 2 tier system where some large letters are meant to be scanned and some aren't, it's going to cause confusion at the letterbox. Room for improvement, but the service is available.

Gav • 2nd April 2019 •

'If they can’t despatch within two days with tracking they’re likely to be caught ?' the only way to prove an items actual journey is to have tracking on every sale with a carrier located in the country advertised on a sellers listing (uk seller, uk location, uk carrier). but ebay don't require tracking on every sale. and there is no requirement to ship within 2 days anyway as sellers can still list items with up to 20 working days (i think) handling time. so as above, if an item arrives untracked within the advertised schedule how will ebay know if it came from china or not? they won't.

bryan • 28th March 2019 •

More detail on the directive eBay China published: eBay will assess Chinese sellers claiming their goods are in UK warehouses on: - 80% of orders must be despatched within 2 working days of the order being received - 80% of orders must ship on a 3 day or faster courier service - 50% of orders must have a delivery scan no more than 5 days after payment So... half of all orders must have a delivery scan which means eBay can also check the date the item entered the delivery network. Also they're obliged to specify a UK carrier and it's hard to find one that doesn't have tracking and acceptance scans have to be within two days of purchase. eBay might not catch them all, but if they start shutting down accounts as they do catch those breaking the item misrepresentation policy it'll soon make a difference. The first assessment period for Chinese sellers is the 6th April... watch this space!

Chris Dawson • 28th March 2019 •

thanks chris that makes sense for chinese sellers! i guess what i'm trying to point out is this: i'm in the uk. and i buy a freepost item on ebay uk from a uk registered seller with a uk location advertised on the listing with a uk postal service advertised. it arrives from china without tracking and within the delivery schedule i paid for. so how will ebay know about that scenario?

bryan • 28th March 2019 •

You can always report them for location abuse. The real issue isn't sellers pretending that they are UK sellers as HMRC will be on their (and eBay's!) back for VAT. The issue is Chinese sellers used to locate their stock in the UK and not pay VAT, they've had to move their stock back to China to avoid paying VAT but pretend it's still in the UK to win sales. The new steps will hit these guys.

Chris Dawson • 28th March 2019 •

@bryan I am not really seeing your point, if you order an item and it is delivered in the correct time frame what is the problem? Does it really matter where it is from? I thought the problem with the abuse was not delivering in the time frame or am I wrong? Yes it is annoying when you are looking at listings and you have to trawl through many to find a seller that is not taking 15 days to deliver, so rather than fix that problem eBay choose a harder method. How does the problem arise? Buyers will often select UK Only when looking for an item but find overseas sellers listing with long delivery dates. Surely the easiest solution is rather than choosing a location: UK Only European Union Worldwide You choose from a selection of delivery dates Next day 3 days 7 days anytime The above is what we really need and I am sure in the time they have messed about with the new rules this could have been implemented and would actually work.

tyler • 29th March 2019 •

I will wait with anticipation. These Chinese sellers destroyed my Xmas sales with there lies about item location. The below accounts have about 20 accounts all with different name, but its the same person. Both accounts still saying items are in the UK with Chinese addresses . Lets see how this pans out 1) = browneagle18 2) = paiforward April 6th is approcahing fast my china friend

Derek Duval • 28th March 2019 •

Now the next move I am expecting from eBay is to give buyers the filter option to choose the fastest shipper from the same or different country. Please Tamebay can you write some articles about this too? While I am working very hard to provide same day dispatch so I can provide faster services, sellers who dispatch the products a day or two later get the same credit and get it fast badge as I am. I mean eBay should give little extra credit for the fastest dispatching sellers by at least giving a filter option. I have a strong believe if tamebay makes this a new agenda eBay maybe notice this beautiful feature beneficial for buyers, sellers, and eBay. I am optimistic this will happen one day I hope it won't take long as I was waiting for the location abuse correction by eBay

Billy • 28th March 2019 •

No problem at all Billy, come back at 11am tomorrow morning and it'll be published :-)

Chris Dawson • 28th March 2019 •

Hi, I am seller on ebay, I have warehouses in bradford and wolverhampton. The item location is in bradford but mostly we dispatch from wolverhamtpon and sometimes from bradford by myhermes. Will that be a problem?

Gurmit Pannu • 28th March 2019 •

No, it's intended to catch out sellers claiming items are in the UK when in reality they're in China. Just because you sometimes ship from a different UK warehouse won't matter as they'll still arrive in the same time with valid UK tracking numbers.

Chris Dawson • 28th March 2019 •

I spoke with eBay this morning as i have found 3 accounts now in Ireland. Maybe they think the lead times are less from there. They were quoting Royal Mail as delivery service though. eBay informed me they would pass on the account details to the team dealing with this issue. That means they have a team specifically for this.

Julius Oliveti • 29th March 2019 •

Recently bought something claimed to be in Switzerland - it came from Hong Kong with a RM48 sticker over a Hong Kong Post coded label. Just looked at an item claiming to be in Jersey, but business is Chinese in China. I guess if they are forced to stop claiming UK location, the Channel Islands and European locations will now blossom.

BFT • 29th March 2019 •

The system will need a lot of work and a lot of reporting to solve the issue. If you buy a parcel from the numerous students living i the UK and operating an eBay account for overseas chinese sellers. That dispatches freepost and no tracking it needs you to report. However we purchased an item that was £149 in the UK and found another selller from Portsmouth doing it for £86. we bought it. Then 26 days later we received a letter from Fed EX asking for £6.95 import tax on an item. I realised we had been duped and asked what happens if i refuse they said we will ris ethe issue with our debt collection agency. I asked about not taking delivery and they said that was not an option as we were a live trading company within the UK that meant they could recover their money. So you cannot send back free and ripped off for money and eBay did not want to know.

Mark • 29th March 2019 •

'You can always report them for location abuse.' + 'and a lot of reporting to solve the issue' and that's just ridiculous. it shouldn't be down to buyers to do this work for ebay! ebay created the problem. they should fix it. and fix it without relying on buyers to report/police it. if they want our help then do the decent thing and pay for our efforts.

bryan • 29th March 2019 •

Delivery times are one problem, quality is the other - I'd prefer not to buy knock-offs from China if at all possible. A lot of the registered sellers that have their business address in China don't show as overseas because they have a UK VAT number, and there are several hundred using the same accomodation address in Manchester where there is a business specialising in providing them. Maybe when they've sorted this one out, they can get onto the MVL abuse - a 99p widget getting expensive stuff to the top of search.

Peter Stevens • 29th March 2019 •

"Maybe when they’ve sorted this one out, they can get onto the MVL abuse – a 99p widget getting expensive stuff to the top of search." This is another very real/major issue on eBay with whole categories of items all listed at 99p, then when you go into the listing the 99p option is a "Staff only" or something unrelated to the item being searched for. I have concierge service on my eBay account and threatened to spend 10k on all my competitors listings who are doing this and then open INAD on all of them, that quickly turned things serious and I've had call backs from many different departments for further information but so far nothing has come of this or changed. It would be great if Tamebay could highlight this issue through articles, a great start would be to index MVL by the highest priced item - this would clean up the issue up real fast.

Dave S • 31st March 2019 •

Could somebody please clarify the exact process for reporting them on ebay Im ready to go with about 10 china sellers to hand. I want shut of them. Been ripped of 3 times since xmas

Derek duval • 29th March 2019 •

Hi on eissue is people seem to think everything from China is knock off. This is not the case as we sell lots of item that are from companies around the UK Australia Poland Italy and the USA. They are all well known brands and all are manufactured in China. Then the issue comes when the factory is asked to supply another company something similar and they supply exactly the same but with their company name on it . One example was a pump sold by SEIO in the Uk and then Croci trading or Wave as they were known (from Italy) sold the same with the name Marea all over the box but the pumps plastic body had Marea all over it. So who is wrong the Chinese factory or the Italians or what.

Mark • 2nd April 2019 •

The click and drop is appalling for tracking. If a customer is not in the system on ebay shows it as delivered the day the buyer chose to go and collect meaning we have a defect for 5 or 6 day delivery and we have to ring up ebay to get it corrected.

Mark • 2nd April 2019 •

I bought a noise meter last week on Look up noise meter by best match, filter for UK only, new. Set it to display 25. There's only 1 actual UK seller in the top 25 displayed results! All the rest are Chinese, Hong Kong, Singapore businesses, often getting their listing in twice via sponsored listings. Claiming UK stock but that takes 7 days to deliver? Yeah right. I decided to try the only Chinese seller claiming premium service, because it looked like they were actually playing by the rules and I was curious to see if they were. With 1 day picking plus 1-2 day delivery via Royal Mail 24, that sounded to me like they might actually have UK stock (hey, it is possible) but this proved to be a lie. Ordered 11:30am 28th March. They messaged on the 29th March to say it had been dispatched, yet on the 1st April, when it was supposed to be delivered by according to the ebay estimated delivery, a Yodel tracking number was only just being uploaded. Later in the day, it showed it got collected by Yodel at 6pm, by their Jersey centre. So they lied about dispatch date, courier and Jersey isn't even in the UK, so it is location misrepresentation too. If this was a first impression of ebay for someone, you could understand why they might shop elsewhere in future. I hadn't realised how bad it was with some products, but based on this, I think ebay will need to do far more to sort this mess out.

Gav • 2nd April 2019 •

Usual eBay tactics. Acknowledge the problem after long time. Fix it by writing a "policy" sticked at random place. I sell on there as business and they haven't informed be about this at all. Learning from 3rd party. And stop cheat yourself - it's a big problem with big money (big sale fees) so ebay won't let that dissapear.

NorthCrystal • 4th April 2019 •