Packages Not Delivered By eBay’s Global Shipping Program

207086_EcommerceWeekly-Packages-Not-DeliveredeBay’s Global Shipping Program gives e-commerce sellers access to buyers worldwide, with tools that make it simple to sell internationally by shipping via a U.S. center. This means once you ship the package to the eBay warehouse, eBay reships it to the international destination and manages all customs forms, duties and taxes for you.

This convenience brings with it some confusion regarding who’s responsible if packages don’t reach their destination. Here’s a look at what you need to know to avoid any surprises on both ends of the transaction.

Who is responsible for packages not delivered via eBay’s Global Shipping Program?
The seller’s responsibility for the shipment ends once it reaches eBay‘s warehouse. Let’s say you’re a shipper who lives in Maryland, and your buyer lives in Spain. Rather than shipping directly to Spain, with eBay’s Global Shipping Program you would ship the package to an eBay-designated shipping center in Kentucky. Once the package arrives in Kentucky, eBay’s agents will handle the international paperwork and prepare the package for the next steps of its journey. In this scenario, your responsibility for shipping ends once the package is tracked as arriving safely in Kentucky.

If the package never reaches the Kentucky shipment center used in this example, you will handle the tracking legwork yourself. If the package is indeed lost, you’ll be directly responsible for notifying and refunding the buyer.

What should sellers tell customers?
In your communications with international buyers on your website and via emails, you can point out that you will be shipping via the eBay’s Global Shipping Program and explain how it works. Even so, if your package was proven to have successfully shipped from the eBay center but doesn’t reach its international destination, concerned customers may still reach out to you for information, explanation or reassurance. In these cases, let the buyer know it’s up to them to open a case directly with eBay, which is not only the correct procedure but also the most efficient method for them to track their lost shipment. As a seller, you can request eBay close the case in your favor, which will negate any negative or neutral feedback resulting from the missed shipment since, as explained above, your responsibility for it ended upon delivery to the U.S. shipping center.

What shouldn’t you do as a seller if a package arrived at the center, but isn’t delivered to its international destination?
Even if you want to help out your customer, it’s best not to proactively issue the buyer a refund, because you’ll likely run into red tape recouping those refund monies from eBay as the marketplace handles the case itself. Letting the case run its course through eBay keeps the transaction cleaner and easier to track. If the customer is becoming antsy, be reassuring in your communications, and check in with eBay yourself for any case status updates.

The Bottom Line
eBay’s Global Shipping service usually works well, and it certainly saves sellers time and  hassle in preparing international shipments. However, it’s wise to be aware of where your responsibility as a seller and shipper ends in the event your package doesn’t reach its destination. Pay attention to your package’s journey to the shipping center to know who bears the responsibility for making it right in the end.