How eBay are responding to feedback on postie strikes

eBay have recently announced their response to feedback from sellers on the strike action happening at Royal Mail and Parcelforce. Below are the responses to some of the most common concerns.

As a small business owner, I feel unable to get my voice heard by CWU, Royal Mail or Parcelforce. I want them to understand the impact on businesses like mine.

To help get your voice heard by the senior management teams of all parties involved, we contacted The Times on behalf of our sellers. Last Thursday, an article titled “Postal strikes are body blow to small firms, warn business groups” was published along with a letter to the Editor from Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK. This week, Retail Week published “Murray Lambell: ‘Strikes will be the grinch that ruins Christmas for retailers’” (register for free to read).

We’ll continue to do what we can to ensure your voices are heard at the highest levels.

– eBay responding to feedback

I don’t think buyers are fully aware of the knock-on effect of the strikes. I wish they’d wait longer before opening an “item not received” request. Can’t eBay do more to tell buyers what’s happening?

When the strikes began, we added a message to the tracking page to update buyers their item might take longer than usual to arrive. A message also appeared in the page used by buyers to report an “item not received”. Based on your feedback, it’s clear some of you would like us to do more. So, we’ve also added messages about the strikes on the parts of the site where buyers go to check information before contacting you, for example, the Community (e.g. the Member Support board), and several Help pages (e.g. Check the status of your return or missing item request). We’ve also updated the Information for buyers section of the strike page.

– eBay responding to feedback

Why can’t eBay just add more time to the estimated delivery dates?

Despite this seeming on the surface as quite a simple fix, in practice it’s not that straightforward. For instance, the impact of the strike isn’t being felt consistently across the country. Also some sellers have temporarily changed delivery service without updating all their listings. That said, we’re working closely with all carriers to regularly monitor when items do actually arrive, based on tracking information. We use those metrics to add time to buyer-facing delivery estimates when necessary.

We know it’s not an exact science, so we’ve focused on providing protections to all sellers, regardless of the carrier you use. As a reminder, eBay will automatically protect your performance until Friday 9 December for:

– Your late delivery rate, which will be removed for transactions with estimated delivery dates until Friday 9 December.

– Your “item not received” count in your Service Metrics dashboard will be automatically removed.

– We will also remove any negative and neutral feedback relating to or arising from late or non delivery during this period.

As always, please upload tracking details when you dispatch an item. This helps to keep your buyers informed, and adding tracking details when you dispatch gives you additional protection.

– eBay responding to feedback

I haven’t seen any evidence of seller protections yet.

The protections aren’t applied immediately. It can take up to 10 days for the automatic protections to take effect.

– eBay responding to feedback

I’ve only ever used Royal Mail. What else can I do?

In the survey responses, we also saw examples of what other sellers were doing to minimise the impact. We appreciate these won’t be right for everyone, but they might be useful to consider:

– Using a fast, fully tracked Royal Mail service such as Royal Mail Tracked 24 or Special Delivery.

– For time-sensitive items, switching temporarily to a tracked courier service.

– Rather than trying to negotiate a contract with a new carrier, temporarily buying labels one at a time from Evri, UPS, DPD and DHL on eBay delivery powered by Packlink.

– Proactively messaging buyers on eBay and using social media channels to let them know about possible delays.

– Putting a message on their Shop about possible delays.

– As a last resort, turning on Time Away settings to give more time to catch up on customer service queries.

Amongst the hundreds of survey responses, of course there were more points raised. We’re working through them all to identify those we can take immediate action on.

– eBay responding to feedback