eBay vs Amazon – Where would you buy?

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Last Sunday I made two online purchases and with the choice of eBay vs Amazon I had a decision to make. I ended up spending £50 on Amazon and only £7.99 on eBay.

I checked out the price of the £50 item on both eBay and Amazon, but as I wanted the item relatively quickly and there was only a 26p difference (eBay was cheaper) I opted for Amazon, even though delivery times were roughly the same – an expected delivery date of Tuesday. Both items had free carriage but, to be blunt, I didn’t trust eBay to deliver on time and I definitely wanted the item on Tuesday. Amazon delivered on time.

Before you shout that you are a great seller and if you say it will be delivered on Tuesday that it will… I believe you! It’s just that so many sellers have let me down in the past and Amazon (almost) never does.

The second item wasn’t so time critical so I purchased it on eBay without even checking the price. The delivery estimate was Tuesday to Wednesday but even here eBay give pretty lax information.

The delivery service was offered as a 48 courier

The delivery estimate was Tuesday to Wednesday

… but when you looked at the tracking on eBay it said there was no chance of getting the item on Tuesday and it would definitely arrive on Wednesday. What was even worse is that the seller uploaded a fake tracking number which was no help whatsoever. This looks like a failed attempt to keep eBay happy by uploading tracking but as a buyer I’d be better off without it and certainly it was never going to get an automatic tick for their On Time Delivery metric.

Needless to say the item failed to arrive on Tuesday and it didn’t arrive on Wednesday either. Late on Wednesday I contacted the seller and they told me it had been shipped by Royal Mail 2nd Class which Royal Mail describe as a 2-3 day service and sure enough, having been posted on Monday, the item eventually turned on on the 3rd day but this was Thursday.

eBay vs Amazon

As a buyer this has just reinforced the notion that if you want something delivered on time then Amazon is the place to buy. Why would a consumer trust eBay if a delivery promise isn’t met. Why do eBay suggest an item might arrive on Tuesday if the seller has clearly specified a 48 hour delivery service which pretty much guarantees that it was never going to arrive before Wednesday. Finally, why would a seller cross their fingers that 2nd Class post might deliver within 48 hours when it’s a 2-3 day service?

Just to rub salt into the wound, when I was gathering the screen shots for this article, I stumbled upon the same product on Amazon… offered by the same seller. If I had purchased on Amazon I could have bought it for £3.49 instead of the £7.99 I paid on eBay. That’s probably an anomaly but it didn’t make me feel any better about eBay.

I find this incredibly sad. I like eBay and I feel guilty when I don’t purchase on eBay. All I want is a delivery promise that’s kept and to be secure in the knowledge that if eBay indicate an item will arrive by Tuesday that it will arrive by Tuesday. Is that too much to ask?

The net result is that eBay lost out on about £5.00 in fees. A fiver isn’t much, but they soon start adding up. I’d love eBay to put proper delivery options in place that I could trust and stop me buying on Amazon. In the battle of eBay vs Amazon, I’m sure I’m not the only consumer that thinks this way.

42 Responses

  1. This website is merely anti-eBay. This is such garbage and is entirely coming from a foundation of hatred towards eBay and none of the information presented here is without bias.

    “Both items had free carriage but, to be blunt, I didn’t trust eBay to deliver on time and I definitely wanted the item on Tuesday. Amazon delivered on time.”

    Opinion with no foundation in reality. Obvious bias.

    Also, we remember the last time you tried to post something like this a couple months ago and the readers caught on to your blatant lies and then you tried to excuse your lies? Funny enough it looks like that article was removed from the site.

    You literally didn’t even talk about the Amazon shipment or the process after stating you bought an item there. You solely used this “article” as a place to shit on eBay for one order that was delivered a day late which entirely falls on the responsibility of the seller. And that’s only assuming all of the information given here is actually true. Great journalistic integrity not including the specific item purchased, the actual tracking number and actual information about it. You don’t even mention the date you actually purchased the item.

    Somehow the seller posted a fake tracking number, but the sentence before that you state the tracking information told you it would be delivered late. Can’t even keep your lies straight.

    Amazon has late deliveries all of the time to the point that they’ve had to change their Prime delivery service guarantees because they were dishing out too much money in credits to make up for the late deliveries. There are thousands upon thousands of examples of this and you act like they don’t happen because you purposefully found and ordered an item that ended up being delivered late.

    At least you didn’t make the same mistake of giving us the tracking number so your blatant lies could be revealed this time.

    “I like eBay” is your biggest lie yet.

    You guys have guest posts from “professional eBay sellers” that write articles based upon a tactic that is entirely untrue.


    Removing this site from the RSS reader I use. It’s absolute garbage and there’s nothing of value here. You’re running a site about eBay and it’s obvious you guys hardly use eBay and sure as hell don’t actively sell products on the platform. And the way you have full page ads within the white space with no indication that an ad is being clicked on to increase your clicks is so ridiculously scummy it’s crazy you’re on some sort of high horse regarding anything on the internet.

  2. Fair points about the ebay delivery. That is poor. Ebay shouldn’t be treating a 48 hour courier service as 1-2 day delivery. Nor should the seller be selecting 48 hour courier for a 2-3 day service on Royal Mail.

    However, I have an ebay purchase on the way via 2nd class post, but I’m not getting the same misinformation. It is correctly identified by the seller as 2nd class post and the estimated delivery date provided by ebay reflects that, with a 2-3 day date plus seller handling time.

    As for the other item, was it Amazon (Prime), Amazon FBA, Amazon SFP, Amazon marketplace? It makes a difference. If you’re buying from Amazon marketplace or even seller fulfilled prime, there is no reason to expect a different delivery service from the same seller, whether you buy from them on ebay or Amazon.

  3. Interesting that we sell on both eBay and Amazon and as a seller we find it more important to deliver eBay orders on time as Amazon are not as strict. However, regardless of where you order both the price and delivery time would be identical – always as fast as we can.
    The growth in sales over the last 12 months for us has been much higher on eBay than it has on Amazon – possibly because we are constantly competing against Amazon themselves who also buy from some of our suppliers.

    It is very easy though when listing product with different delivery policies (i.e. DPD or Royal Mail 2nd Class post) to have selected the wrong one on the odd product – in fact we have just had it ourselves and the customer marked us for late delivery because it went by post (low value) and was listed as using DPD. Our mistake of course and we didn’t spot it.

    Oh and George – there is no need to be so rude, you can have an opinion without being rude – if you don’t like the site articles, don’t visit the site. There is far too much of this type of attach online and it just isn’t necessary. You could have just said “I don’t agree with your article because…”

  4. Yes I think George was probably a little bit strong but it shows what distrust many of us have with the articles on this site.

    “Both items had free carriage but, to be blunt, I didn’t trust eBay to deliver on time”.

    Firstly eBay, unlike Amazon do not sell anything, I thought you would be aware of that, so delivery is down to the seller, which you have the choice of. How experienced was the seller? Did they have good feedback etc.

    Why / how would you expect a buyer to deliver an item on Tuesday that would not be posted till Monday with 48hr delivery time? That does not make sense. Had you have wanted it on Tuesday you could have upgraded to paying for 1st class postage.

    The tracking number is wrong, but you appear to make accusations rather than finding out the truth, which is often different to what you write.

    The truth is that when the item arrived it would have had a RM tracking number on it, so no reason for the seller to lie, they could have simply put that info on eBay, so why didn’t they?

    Was it a simple mistake? Maybe they used an online postal service that gave them a reference number and they did not understand the difference. The seller was obviously responding to your messages so you could have asked.

    Unfortunately posting on a Monday with RM items can often not be delivered until the Thursday, a day later than you would have expected it, but that is not down to the seller. Many items posted on a Saturday using RM48 are delivered on a Monday.

    I am not sure why ebay would show Standard Delivery (Other 48h courier) as a Tuesday delivery, obviously a glitch in the system, one of many, but common sense tells you that is not right. All items using RM48 postage seem to show a Wednesday delivery.

    You say that you found the same seller on Amazon, but do not mention the advertised delivery options, which are usually worse than eBay for 3rd party sellers.

    As for the cost of the item being cheaper on Amazon, eBay have no control of that.

    But, what would your experience have been had you have brought from the same seller on Amazon? That would have been a true comparison!

    This article is a total “Lets Bash eBay” at what point in the article do you mention the Amazon purchase & delivery as a comparison? Did you buy from a 3rd party seller, FBA or Amazon itself? Are you a Prime member on Amazon.

    Maybe next time you should replace one of the boxing gloves with the eBay logo and put your name on the other glove.

    Over all another very poorly written article with very little true detail.

  5. I sell on both channels but much prefer Amazon for reliable delivery and if prime then half decent aftersales. Only time I buy on eBay is low cost items and/or significantly cheaper than Amazon.

    No idea why people would prefer eBay over Amazon frankly but glad they do for business purposes!

  6. I like ebay shutl service its so much easier buying a label through ebay then its in amazon MF, However FBA still beats ebay. I only liquidate FBA returns on ebay

  7. What a poor written piece.

    What you actually said was i did not buy from Ebay because i dont trust “them”. Well the last time i checked a person never buys from eay as they do not retail.
    When you buy from us on eBay it has nothing to do with eBay so therefore if it was us on amazon it would have been the same. You then say you bought off Amazon meaning you would rather give your hard earned cash previously taxed at source to help fund your countries NHS etc and give it to Amazon hiding all assets offshore and paying less than a premier league footballer in taxes.

    Also this both were carriage free What rubbish what you are saying is both had the carriage built into the price.
    As for sellers letting you down the feedback system is there for all to see and yet many buyers do not take any notice. We sell a same item as someone with 24 negative feedbacks on average per month and yet people buy 4 to 1 in their favour so serves them right. The feedback is right in your face so buyers need to use it to force change and lift standards.

    I purchased from Amazon at Xmas on 24 prime and got email it was dispatched then next day it was delayed and would be tomorrow and then another saying sorry the next day again.

    Oh and yes that was from Amazon the super duper site that does no wrong.

  8. Well, when the seller says the delivery time should be 48 hours, in this case, you need to look at the despatch time. If you item can be despatched within the same day, then for example if you purchase on Sunday, it should be post out from Sunday and it should be with you on Tuesday. But if it despatches on Monday, then you need to add one more day which Wednesday is almost right. Amazon fails to delivery on time for many times in my experience, I believe this is really needs to be compare case by case. Some of the seller are really good and some not, both in ebay and Amazon.
    If you really despreated to get your item within a specificate day, chose Amazon, if not, chose ebay as the price between prime and normal ebay is bit different.

  9. Surely it’s the sellers fault if items are late – not ebay

    I send out the majority of items free postage – Royal Mail 2nd class. They almost always arrive the next day!
    If the buyer wants guaranteed next day I give an option for them to purchase that
    Poorly written article in my opinion

  10. Also, don’t forget u pay 79 pounds for yearly fee to Amazon, if you buy only one item, which means you pay 79 pounds postage for one purchase? lol

  11. Unfortunately the shipping times on eBay are often falling short and its down to eBay.
    They will discount and expose your items if you meet the hops they want you to jump through in your listings.

    So some sellers take a gamble that they will be able to meet the criteria every time. whether it be time to pack it if busy or able to get it shipped regardless of issues that may arise during the day.
    All our items offer 3 selections of shipping and all are on a 1 day handling. This is because eBay say the Royal mail 48 means 48 hour and royal mail 24 means 24 they do not show it how the actual Royal mail system does.
    That most are delivered in that time but not all and the 48 is actually shown as 2 to 3 day service and the 24 is a 1 to 2 day service (thats the figures from the actual company offering it)

    But eBay state this as fact (maybe to claw back your Final value fees discounts. Surely not)

    So we put a 1 day handling on all our stuff except ready packed items although 98% of all purchases leave us the same day.
    Just so eBay cannot smack us.

  12. we put a three day handling time to avoid ebays wrath, though generally dispatch the same day,
    then the insulting bit , the constant emails bombarding us with we could gain from the fast and free option,
    too effin right we could, if ebay were more realistic

  13. Chris is right about RM delivery targets. Even if they met them, which they don’t, you would fall far below Ebay’s metrics, which cannot be met without gaming the system.

    Hence we advertise 2nd class post with 1 day handling, but post 1st class same day.

    Result, we stay just inside inside Ebay’s metrics, but the customer is misled.

    Why can’t we have a fair assessment system? I think this at the root of the problem about why customers can’t get proper delivery estimates off Ebay.

  14. The question is where would you BUY…Amazon or eBay…( or personally I try and go direct to a retailers OWN site)…Other week I had to buy a certain type of battery and had to go to eBay, dispatched on the Friday rmg 48 arrived the next Thursday, that is just eBay…slow.
    Everyone buys on Amazon now simply as they have the logistics and Prime ( even though that can be misleading)…
    eBay because they do not have the logistics are only ever going to be 2nd choice.
    Also when I buy on Amazon unless I know the retailer I only buy from Amazon themselves. Far to many Dodgers and counterfeit on eBay and Amazon less so .
    There is a myth eBay is cheaper, vast majority of items I check out it is more expensive. That battery was £5.99 my only eBay purchase this year, and last week spent £148 direct with retailer., who are always better priced direct than on eBay or Amazon..and £20 on Amazon was spent last week also, and 56quid with Sainsbury for the shopping.
    eBay sellers just including myself cannot guarantee a delivery time with the services available because they do not exist in any sort of economical form. People will not pay for next day courier services etc, so you have to just send fail mail…

  15. Surely common sense should tell you only to use sellers who provide next day courier delivery if you want an item quickly ? I sent around 200 parcels out today using Parcelforce next day and other than the odd one or two that will go awol I’m quietly confident every parcel will be delivered tomorrow. All the information you need is on eBay for buyers to make a decision. The majority of items I sell are with the customer in less than 24 hours from ordering. I think eBay could make it clearer to buyers which sellers ship same day for next day delivery.

  16. Ebay need to allow buyers to filter on first and 2nd class postage options.
    There are so many sellers who post 2nd class and there adverts are ahead of mine in bestmatch….note we only send 1st class post

  17. The postage options for first class and 2nd class are hidden. So how can a buyer choose which one to buy.
    I would always buy from a seller sending first class if you could filter on this search.

  18. The biggest flaw in the delivery metrics on eBay is asking the buyer to select “did it arrive on time” when leaving feedback.

    We get loads that say no yet the tracking when we waste loads of time checking show it was actually early as we advertise a 1 day handling yet ship same day so nearly always are in front.

    So i rang a customer and the discussion was very eye opening.

    He left feedback 38 days after receiving the item and the discussion with his wife was as follows.

    “Can you remember if that item was delivered when it said it would be love”
    “oh i don”t know it seemed like we were waiting ages”
    “oh right it should have been 2 days”
    “Oh i am sure it was longer than that”
    “just say no then”

    the delivery shows bought at 4.1`5pm on friday the 21st, shipped on Friday 21st delivered and signed for on Monday the 24th.
    Estimated delivery date when purchased was the 26th.
    As dispatch by 24th (we beat that) delivery the 26th on the 48 service.

    So what a mess but are eBay bothered NO!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. @Jay

    No proof whatsoever but when you think about it

    We know Royal Mail on time delivery rate is better for 2nd class than 1st class

    Best Match is supposed to reflect many factors including the performance of a seller so therefor..

    A seller that has more items arriving within their advertised time is performing better than a seller who meets their advertised delivery time less often.

    Put 2 sellers against each other, one using and advertising 1st class and 1 advertising and using 2nd class, the seller using 2nd class will have a better on time delivery score than the sellers using 1st class So if every other factor ie price, handling time etc was the same the theory should be that the seller using 2nd class is more likely to get best match, despite the fact the other seller advertises a faster delivery service.

  20. Chris, can you tell us whether the £50 item was:

    actually from Amazon themselves, or from an Amazon marketplace seller?

    was it Amazon prime, FBA, seller fufilled prime, or other shipping method?

  21. The problem with express postage options on eBay is that buyers do not know how to select them. eBay sets the postage to your default standard service – if the buyer wants to change to an express service, at the checkout there is a tiny little arrow they have to click on to see all of the services available.

    We constantly have customers ask “I need this tomorrow can you send it today” we advise them to choose express delivery. Invariably the message comes in “I cannot see express delivery” and we have to send them a screenshot and set of instructions on how to change the delivery option. This is completely daft – I don’t understand why eBay doesn’t just show the delivery options available via radio button list and the buyer selects the one they want.

    Some buyers even purchase just to get the order in and ask us to send a PayPal invoice for the express postage!

    As has been alluded to above, yes Amazon Prime does generally deliver on time and if I need something on a specific day, I know 9.5 times / 10 they will get it to me on time however you do pay through the nose on Amazon nowadays. If you have flexibility in delivery times and shop around, I generally find items cheaper on eBay and even cheaper still directly from the retailers site. We have always positioned ourselves in a similar fashion, setting Amazon as the highest price and our site the lowest so it does pay to shop around.

    Things will get more interesting next week on Amazon when they disable expedited shipping for sellers. If the item does not have a Prime offer, this will leave buyers with two options – standard delivery (a good 5 working day timeframe) or premium – next day or 2 day. The problem here is that the metrics required to offer premium options are set at a high bar and you can lose eligibility off the back of 1 failed order unless you have a significant volume of premium orders. Amazon’s shipping bots that monitor premium deliveries aren’t as good as Amazon think they are – they regularly penalise valid tracking and on time delivery in error and then it’s an email over to Seller Performance and crossed fingers to hope the generic reply is a positive one.

    IMO this change likely to leave many items devoid of a fast delivery option which would play nicely into the hands of retail sites and eBay if they could only sort out their own way of presenting fast delivery options at the checkout.

    We have no problems with meeting the delivery metrics on eBay – we’re always under 1% late delivery. I think sellers can be caught out by the same day shipping settings which I believe default to 1pm. We changed this to 9am when the orders are printed to be on the safe side. Obviously any express orders are printed off during the day and dispatched the same afternoon. Buyers then receive the item the next day and 1 day ahead of the estimate.


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