In December, eBay released a new shipping service called ‘eBay Standard Envelope’ that enables sellers in the trading card categories to ship low-value orders (under $20) for $1 if they don’t weigh more than 3oz with USPS tracking.
Some sellers are reporting on Twitter that the U.S. Postal Service has returned some of these shipments to sellers requesting additional postage. There has also been some discussion on this new service in the eBay Community Forums.
One of the sellers went to his Post Office and they told him that this was a mistake and marked the shipment as “postage confirmed,” trying to help get the shipment through.
Some sellers in the Twitter threads have brought up the possibility that the U.S. Postal Service is flagging shipments in brown, more rigid envelopes. The eBay information regarding the mailer to be used specifically says “Envelope thickness should be uniform, no thicker than 0.25 at any point, and not too rigid.” But what does “not too rigid” actually mean in USPS terms…? Ironically, eBay’s suggested mailer on its site appears to be the type of mailer the U.S. Postal Service is flagging for returns.
It seems some postal employees are either not fully informed about this program and may reject mailers that normally should go through or they are passing judgment on the rigidness of the mailers that is stricter than anticipated by eBay or sellers.
The next problem for sellers is how eBay customer service may look at this situation. If the shipment is delayed due to a “false” return by the U.S. Postal Service, will they hold the seller at fault for late delivery? Very likely so as most of eBay’s terms usually put the delivery responsibility on the seller, even when using eBay supported shipping programs.
With questions lingering about this program, sellers who are concerned about their selling performance metrics may want to stay clear of this program or try it only in small doses for a while until there is a better definition of what envelopes will not be flagged by the U.S. Postal Service.
eBay already said they plan to roll out this new service to more categories, but first it seems USPS workers need to learn more about it before seller can trust it.
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