eBay UK has reconfirmed its commitment to protecting a seller’s reputation as a result of the Royal Mail postal worker strike as the situation intensifies during the holiday peak shipping season.
Background: More than 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers have been striking several days each month since August, demanding higher wages, better benefits, and job security.
The labor dispute between the Communication Workers Union (CWU) members and Royal Mail intensified over the past weeks, with the CWU planning to hold more walkouts during the busy holiday shipping season after rejecting Royal Mail’s “Best and Final” offer.
Royal Mail just a few days ago, even revised its last posting dates for packages and mail to arrive before December 25.
Even though new talks have taken place, the prospects for a quick resolution seem dim.
The CWU has been posting updates on its Twitter feed showing more and more packages and mail piling during this important shipping season for small business sellers.
eBay UK Initial Response: Since the strike actions began in August, eBay UK said it is protecting seller reputations due to late deliveries on orders shipped with Royal Mail.
eBay sellers voiced their concerns about the ongoing situation, and the company even offered up advice for sellers in October, before the holiday season started.
However, eBay sellers have complained that these safeguards are inconsistent and have resulted in excessive “Item Not Received (INR)” claims from Buyers.
What is eBay UK Saying Now?
The company released a new advisory this week — trying to reassure eBay UK sellers that it will protect them during this holiday season — and offered additional advice to manage the crisis.
“To help reduce the impact on your business, eBay will automatically protect your performance until 31 December,” the company said.
And addressing the concern about excessive and inconsistent safeguards, eBay UK added: “If you believe seller protections haven’t been applied to your account after 10 days, please contact us.”
It also warned that the last posting dates had been moved forward by Royal Mail, and suggests sellers look at the last posting dates by other carriers for more options.
eBay UK also said it is adjusting expected delivery dates automatically on active listings “in accordance with the updated last posting dates for Christmas deliveries.”
Dealing with INR Claims: eBay UK admitted it is aware of situations when buyers opened INR claims while the shipment was still in transit or showed as delivered.
The company offered the following suggestions to manage this situation.
Tracked: Sellers should respond to their buyer(s) and let them know that the tracking shows the parcel is still in transit and should arrive soon or has been delivered.
Untracked: eBay reminded sellers they must respond to the INR case by the buyer. But, if the shipment is not delivered within three business days of the buyer opening the case, they will need to refund the purchase.
Bottom Line: While eBay admits there are increases in INR claims and that the strike action is affection sellers, the company will only really help if a shipment was sent with a tracked service.
Therefore, sellers should avoid using untracked services as long as the labor dispute continues.
And when sending with tracked services, sellers should make sure they upload tracking information before the latest estimated delivery dates.
The latter suggestion seems to imply that a number of INR claims are being opened, but the sellers may have not provided tracking information in a timely manner.
Where To Get More Information
As the labor dispute continues and even appears to escalate further, eBay UK sellers should visit the company’s ‘Royal Mail Industrial Action‘ page for updated information, tips, and alternative carrier suggestions. In addition, Royal Mail maintains an update on the labor dispute here.
And of course, eSeller365 will continue to monitor the situation, providing relevant updates for online merchants and marketplace sellers, including how this impacts shipments coming into the UK.
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