Weird Shipping Time Math on eBay


Monday, 1 March 2010 at 10:07 am Pacific USA Time.

I was looking into the "Item Not Received" process for a friend. I went into my own eBay account, and pretended to start it. I had to pick which item I wanted to report. Well, I only have one item I JUST won this past weekend, and it's not here yet. I don't expect it here yet. :)

But just to see how the process looked, I selected it. eBay then told me that I should wait until March 14th before reporting that I didn't get it. Something about that seemed weird, so I went back to the item.

I read the shipping details, and found these important points:

  • The seller says he ships within 3 business days of getting my payment. If we give him all benefits of doubts, we could say that even though I paid this weekend, he is receiving it TODAY (a business day). Three days from now is Thursday 4 March. So he should ship no later than the 4th.
  • He's in a part of California that is 450 miles from my town.
  • He ships UPS Ground. I made sure to give him my street address rather than my PO Box. UPS Ground from California to Arizona is typically no more than 2 days. It's just darn close!

So in theory, I'd expect to get this package no later than Tuesday 9 March. Why would eBay say that I shouldn't consider it late until 14 March? Because eBay is telling me that UPS Ground takes 4-9 days.

But that doesn't make sense. eBay knows the zip code from which he's shipping. They know my zip code. They should know through the UPS API that the expected "Time In Transit" is 2 days. They know he's going to ship within 3 days, and they know when I paid.

I'm not understanding the math here. 3 biz days + 2 biz days = 10 biz days.

Well, I'll let you know when I get the item! :)


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Categories: Just An Observation

Comments Closed

5 Responses to “Weird Shipping Time Math on eBay”

  1. Kim says:

    My guess is that they are just giving the seller the benefit of the doubt. While your math (5 days) is good but doesn’t take into account and unforeseen circumstances! Like UPS shipped it to the wrong hub or it arrived late or they were delayed due to mudslide, fire, flood……. Or what if you are not home to sign for the package – this can happen 3 times and then the package is returned to the seller further delaying delivery. I am not saying that these things will happen but if ebay starts giving you actual, no unforeseen circumstances, delivery times then us sellers will be in deep trouble. As it stands, many buyers want their packages yesterday! So I am actually glad to hear that they have “padded” delivery times!

  2. NullApps says:

    Sorry but I have to go with eBay on this one. USPS for instance won’t even bother investigating until 14 days or 30 days have passed (I forget which). It would be a complete disaster if everyone who didn’t get their package on the exact date that the delivery company estimated just filed an INR claim. By posting that disclaimer eBay is significantly cutting down the number of frivolous claims it has to process and saving all sellers from one future fee increase.

  3. Debbie says:

    It’s great to get some seller points of view on this! I was just thinking as the buyer, but if it helps sellers, then that’s great.
    I was worried that if eBay gave me (as a potential buyer) too padded a delivery time, I would get frustrated, and pick a seller with a shorter one.
    So TOO padded may not be that great.

  4. Debbie says:

    For you curious cats, here is the update:
    He shipped it 1 March (the day I wrote the blog post). UPS needs two days. I should get it 3 March.
    End of story!

  5. Jim sanderson says:

    I suspect the shipping “Gurus” at ebay do not understand the shipping process for most items. However They hand off Freight Quotes and let experts tell the cost and realistic delivery times.