eBay UK Responds To Seller Concerns Over Ongoing Strike Action at Royal Mail
eBay UK has been listening to its concerned sellers over the continuing strike action taking place between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
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As a quick recap, there is still ongoing industrial action planned at Royal Mail over the coming weeks and months over a pay dispute between the letter carrier and the CWU. This dispute has been going on for a number of months now with no side looking to give way to the other side’s demands.
This has been causing a lot of stress for sellers across the UK and of course international sellers who sell into the UK and utilize the Royal Mail network.
eBay UK has already announced that it will be putting seller protections in place for its sellers that end up negatively impacted by the continued strike action, however, this has not fully put some sellers at ease.
eBay UK has been listening however and has today released a statement detailing its replies to the most common questions and concerns they have seen in recent days and weeks.
eBay UK’s Advice Regarding Royal Mail Strike Action
“Q. “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.”
A. 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.
Q. “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?”
A. 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 on 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 eBay UK 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 eBay UK strike page.
Q. “Why can’t eBay just add more time to the estimated delivery dates?”
A. 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 UK 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.
Q. “I haven’t seen any evidence of eBay UK seller protections yet.”
A. The protections aren’t applied immediately. It can take up to 10 days for the automatic protections to take effect.
Q. “I’ve only ever used Royal Mail. What else can I do?”
A. In the survey responses, we also saw examples of what other sellers were doing to minimize 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.
In the meantime, we thank you for your continued patience and ask that you keep checking our Royal Mail Industrial Action page for the latest updates and information from eBay UK.”
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Dave is a Co-Founder of eSeller365. For over 10 years he has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant, he built an education platform called UnderstandingE that showed the world how to utilize Magento as the “Third Generation of Multi-Channel software”.
Dave has also created a YouTube channel dedicated to entrepreneurship and eCommerce as well as a podcast dedicated to mental health awareness. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include learning and playing Chess, researching the Crypto and NFT space, and trying to find the nearest beach.