eBay and the new USPS labels

Just over the last several days, eBay has been experimenting with a new label format for USPS shipments. There are some pros and cons to this, but for the most part it’s a good thing. If nothing else, it will save sellers some small amount of toner for each label, which will add up over time.

Here’s an old label:














Note towards the bottom, where it states “ZIP – e/ USPS DELIVERY CONFIRMATION”

As well, at the bottom you can see “Electronic Rate Approved” and a number. Most postal workers are used to seeing this.

Now, here’s a new label:















Note that now it states “USPS TRACKING #” with the number below. And no “Electronic Rate Approved” number appears any longer.

Also be aware that on the new label, the text is smaller (I have removed it to protect the privacy of the buyer and me.) I am not wild about that, as it makes the label addressee information just that much harder for the delivery person to read.

But the real gripe I have about the new format is the change in the wording. Delivery Confirmation is just that, confirmation of delivery. The USPS does not promise that the DC number can be used to track the progress of the item throughout its shipment, only that it (in theory) will be scanned into the system upon delivery.

For eBay to change the wording to “Tracking #” is disingenuous at best, and flat out misleading at worst. Now buyers have even more reason to think their items can be tracked every step of the way during shipment, which is simply not the case.

As well, once again eBay has made a change (admittedly somewhat minor) without advance warning to sellers. They have promised to not do so, repeatedly. Yet they do so, repeatedly. Makes me shake my head.

I will note that after the kerfuffle of posts on the eBay Forum boards and in response to eCommerceByte‘s recent blog post on the subject, that eBay has at least put a warning notice above labels before they print to let us know the change has been made. But that’s after the fact, and seems to be in response to complaining. I think sellers would be far happier with an announcement of such a change if it came before the change was made.

Below is the announcement, you can print this off and take it with you to your local post office if the folks there are worried about the lack of Electronic Rate Approved number (as I heard some are.) Never a dull moment selling on eBay.


3 thoughts on “eBay and the new USPS labels

  1. I think USPS has taken efforts in the last year to improve their scan rates. Still, it is not 100% which is what you need to be worth of using the word tracking. USPS just does not have the infrastructure to offer tracking. UPS is best, FedEx is second. I don’t know where USPS on the ranking… I don’t think its third as there are a lot of other boutique shops that offer actual tracking.

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