eBay have definitely had an impact on location abuse by Chinese sellers… in so far that many have changed their selling strategies. However it’s not perfect as eBay’s UK three-day courier option has left a loop hole that many are still exploiting.
eBay have done well in reducing location abuse. The issue is that there is so much money involved for Chinese Sellers that they’ll do anything they can to find a loop hole. If they can save pennies on each transaction, when this adds up to many tens of thousands of transactions huge sums are involved. Chinese Sellers don’t care if they are following the spirit of the eBay rules or even blatantly breaking the rules. All they care about is what is the lowest cost of doing business on eBay which meets the very minimum of metrics in order to carry on trading.
Is there a three-day courier in the UK?
We’ve checked just about every courier we can think of and there are none to our knowledge that offer a three-day service. Some, like Royal Mail Tracked 48 offer a 2-3 day service but there is no reason not to simply specify the Royal Mail service when selling on eBay rather than describe it as an anonymous three-day service. That is unless you’re deliberately doing so to try and game the system.
Pre-advice used to suggest items have been despatched from the UK
What appears to be happening is that Chinese sellers have to despatch fast and then deliver within three working days. What they are doing is printing a Royal Mail label, saying that they have despatched, uploading the pre-advice to eBay and then overnighting their parcels from China to be inserted into the UK mail system. The pre-advice enables them to claim that they have UK stock and that it’s been despatched on time whereas in reality some Chinese Sellers are still blatant liars and none of their stock is in the UK.
The reason the sellers are able to get away with this is by selecting the three-day courier option on their listings but using a two-day service once their parcels have been flown in from China. They can claim the goods are in the UK and indeed they appear to be despatched on a domestic UK service but the reality is that they are cheating consumers and gaining an unfair advantage over genuine sellers with stock in the UK – their costs are less and they’re delivering within the allotted time frame.
Unless there are some genuine three-day courier services available in the UK, is it time for eBay to remove the ‘three-day other courier’ option or at least to rename it as a ‘two-day other courier’ service? Why have a shipping option that simply doesn’t exist… especially when you know that scamming Chinese Sellers are making use of it for location abuse?