01/08/2020 at 2:04 pm #72659
I recently sold a large set of books on eBay & shipped them via USPS Media Mail just before Christmas. The tracking updated regularly during that week but hasn’t updated since then & the customer sent me a message asking for an update. I explained Media Mail is the lowest priority for the post office & the additional delay is most likely due to the Holidays and my customer was understanding. I even checked in person at the post office and they were unable to give me any additional information.
My question is would I be responsible for or expected to refund the buyer if it is not delivered by a certain date? I’ve only been selling on eBay for about a year & thankfully this is the first time I have run into this issue.
Also curious, does anyone use FedEx or UPS to ship media rather than Media Mail? I know Media Mail is subject to inspections from USPS & could potentially be damaged, as well as slow shipping speeds and delays. In the case of heavy sets of books it could be just a few dollars more to use another carrier.0
01/08/2020 at 3:45 pm #72665almastyParticipant
This has been a difficult Q4/Q1 for Media mail. Media mail is always the lowest level of priority when it comes to shipping out packages at the PO. If there are more express, priority, first class packages to go out and no room left on the truck, media mail will not move. If it doesn’t move, there are no scans to update its progress.
While books may normally arrive within 2-5 business days most places, this past Q4 has resulted in packages taking 2-3+ weeks to arrive with no scans along the way. This is not technically unusual for media mail, but the shipping speed has improved over the past several years. It is a bit of a bummer to see delays happening again and it stretching back to its outer shipping limits. Some of the books I shipped the first week of December did not arrive to their destinations until a few days after Christmas. Any other time of the year, these packages only take 2-5 business days to get across the country. Even last year was better for shipping media, at least for me.
I don’t use Fedex or UPS to mail books. If the book is expensive enough and I don’t want it getting lost in the media mail maze, I will upgrade it to priority mail. Also, if the book is light enough, you might be better off shipping it first class. Depending on the zone, it might only be $.50-$1 more to ship vs. media mail if it’s light enough and not going too far.
I don’t see why you would be responsible for refunding it if it doesn’t arrive on time? It’s not unusual for media mail to take a few weeks to get delivered.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by almasty.
01/08/2020 at 5:32 pm #72677
While you may not have to refund a buyer for a “late” arriving package, it depends. EBay is set up to be an “FOB Destination” system for domestic sales. So ultimately the seller is responsible for getting the package delivered and thus refunding the buyer if it doesn’t arrive. If a seller doesn’t refund voluntarily if necessary to resolve an open case, eBay will refund the buyer under the Money Back Guarantee, pull the money from the seller’s Paypal account, and the seller will have a “case closed without seller resolution” defect that can impact their seller level.
The problem is, at what point does a late package become a lost package? If a package does not arrive within the time estimated by eBay (no delivery scan yet) and the buyer only messages me, I try to nicely get them to buy off on waiting for some additional reasonable amount of time. What is “reasonable” depends on the item, shipping method, distance in transit, what the tracking shows at the time, mood of buyer, etc.
If they open an “item not received” case then the refund timing is dictated by when I have to resolve the case which is 3 days. If they open a case it too early and tracking says it will arrive soon, then I may not have to refund in 3 days.
As for shipping books, I do the exact same thing as almasty.1+
01/08/2020 at 6:22 pm #72680So Cal JoeParticipant
My understanding is that an item has to go at least 7 days without a USPS scan, before it would be considered “lost in the mail”. You can contact the Post Office and they can put out a search for the item if this is the case.
Of all the items I’ve shipped, not a single one has been lost in the mail. Some have been delayed, especially during the holiday season.
Staying in touch with the buyer and buying time is the best strategy and it sounds like you are doing it.
Almasty’s comments are right on the money. For heavy books, Media Mail seems to be the only option that makes sense.
I hope it shows up soon.1+
01/08/2020 at 8:21 pm #72682
Thanks for the input all.
How do I get the post office to search for the mail? It’s been 2 weeks since tracking updated. The clerk only looked up the tracking number on their computer & the supervisor at my local PO only printed out a copy of the tracking information. Both made it seem like my only option was to sit on my hands and wait.
I looked into eBay’s official policy on items not delivered and it seems like the buyer can open an item not received case at any time within 30 days of the latest estimated delivery date, at that point I have 3 days to provide a solution – Either the buyer agrees to wait up to 21 days from the point the case is opened before eBay automatically closes the case, or in the worst case scenario I issue a full refund & eat the cost.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Stevie.
01/08/2020 at 10:01 pm #72687
The USPS missing mail search is initiated online. See https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Missing-Mail-The-Basics1+
01/08/2020 at 10:01 pm #72688So Cal JoeParticipant
You can start here. I’ve never done it myself, but I know others have.
01/08/2020 at 10:32 pm #72689
Perfect! Thank you all so much! I opened the search request. Will update to let anyone interested know how it all turns out.0
01/08/2020 at 11:46 pm #72692Old DadParticipant
- Location: Missouri
Here is a little tip that I use when a shipment is running late and the customer is asking about it. On the USPS tracking page, I request updates to be sent to me and then if there is any movement I inform the customer right away. It makes them feel like we are doing everything we can and helps prevent negative feedback I believe. It doesn’t take any significant amount of time and is good customer service.1+
02/14/2020 at 2:57 pm #73962
Still no updates when looking up the tracking number, but did receive an e-mail from USPS this morning saying the package has been found! 37 days later!
I’ve taken a hands off ‘no news is good news’ approach & had not sent or received any messages from them since I let them know a search request had been opened until today letting them know it had been found. It’s really nice to have such an understanding and easy-going customer who just wants their item in this situation.
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Stevie.
02/14/2020 at 4:22 pm #73968
Thanks for the update. Glad it worked. Whenever I have initiated the search it has apparently knocked the package loose and got it on its way and delivered according to tracking but I still got “we’re still trying to find your package” emails for an extended period.0
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