eBay Selling: “Tracked” and “Signed For” Delivery

By | February 8, 2017

It’s easy to get confused between the different ways that postal delivery is described by your chosen delivery service, by eBay and also by PayPal. But it’s important to know what you are offering your buyer, as there are crucial differences in what protection you may have if the buyer is seeking a refund.

Tracked Delivery
Let’s start with “Tracked Delivery”. With this method, the postal service provides you with a tracking ID that shows you the progress of the item. Usually, the postal service will have a website area that allows you to enter the tracking details and view the status of the item – this could be at Sorting Office A, in transit to Depot B, or what you want to see most: “Delivered”.
Now, it’s important to realize that “Delivered” isn’t a guarantee that the item has been placed into the grateful hands of the buyer.

As many people report, depending on various levels of postal service, the item could have been chucked onto the porch, or handed to a helpful neighbor. The postal worker dutifully records the item as delivered.

The well-meaning buyer may well fall victim to items disappearing from their porch, or the neighbor taking off on vacation that day and forgetting all about that package they put into their closet.
In other words, “Tracked Delivery” may not mean “Signed For By the Buyer.”

This may not matter to you. As of this time of writing, if the item was paid for with PayPal and meets certain other requirements then you have “seller protection” if the item was sent with “Tracked Delivery”. In the event of the Buyer claiming they did not receive the item, you should not be required to refund the money. One of those requirements is the value of the goods – this threshold changes, so be sure to check what cover you have by going online to eBay or PayPal’s help center.

Signed For Delivery

If using PayPal, you can avail of one more level of protection: “Signed for Delivery.” As I mentioned, if the value of goods is over a certain amount, then “Tracked” won’t be enough. “Signed for Delivery” gives both tracking details and an additional level of proof of a signature that the goods have been received. It will usually be the most expensive method of posting. It is also the most onerous and annoying for the Buyer – they are either hanging around waiting for the goods, or they have to schlep to some postal depot at the far side of town. Many sellers avoid “losing” buyers by restricting to this layer of protection. This is your judgement call on the risk of loss due to an INR case.

So is “Signed for Delivery” the absolute and final guarantee that a Buyer wont’ try to claim INR? Unfortunately not. Think of the last time you “signed” for a delivery using a scanner – you tucked the item under your arm while balancing the hand-held scanning device against the side of the delivery van, and scratched awkwardly with a stylus pen a few scrawls thjat bear some semblance of your name. Some sellers are experiencing buyers who simply claim that they didn’t provide a signature and they don’t recognize the version the postal service has recorded.

Here is one case:

“The item was duly posted off the next working day via [company name removed] with tracking to the buyer’s business premises. The buyer later informs me he has not received although the tracking details give an exact time of delivery. However, the buyer claims he does not recognize the signature provided. [Postal company] are adamant the item was correctly delivered and thus refuse to accept a ‘lost or damaged’ claim.”

If PayPal was not used as the payment method, then it is with eBay representatives to adjudicate on a Buyer claim. If eBay side with the Buyer, then the Seller has to resort to get compensation for a refund from the delivery company. If the delivery company digs in their heels, as in the example above, unfortunately the Seller may need to resort to litigation.

A higher level of fraud can occur, simply because the delivery company does not look for additional identification from the person receiving the item. It’s possible for scammers to sign a different name, and claim INR. However, this is upping the stakes from a “casual” scam to a new level of fraud. It is likely in this event that the person is a serial scammer, and may already be “of interest” to the delivery service, or to local policing authorities. All the more important for the Seller to report the details to the delivery company.

However, although INR cases are widely reported, the scenarios of Buyers disputing Tracked and Signed For Delivery is far less prevalent among the online forums.

In most scenarios, when a Buyer opens a case, you will simply upload the tracking details and let eBay sort it out.

It’s actually preferable to cut this situation off before it gets as far as a case (which goes onto your selling record). When a buyer contacts you saying they didn’t receive the item, send them the tracking details. That is often enough for the item to “turn up” the following day.
Casual scammers are likely to be sending the email in the hope that the busy Seller will simply click the Refund button and move on. Getting the tracking details quashes their attempt straight away. Many experienced sellers have a routine of posting the item followed by emailing the tracking details, same day, to the Buyer.

In summary, what should you do if you are covered by Tracked Delivery and a buyer claims INFR?
If they have contacted you informally (haven’t opened a case), be courteous and email them the tracking details. Then follow the advice given in previous blog entries about checking with neighbors and family etc.
If they open a case, upload the tracking details immediately and let eBay’s process kick into place.

<u><em><strong><a href=”http://eepurl.com/cAz9Zb”>Launching Soon: “eBay Selling: Avoid Scams and Fraud when Selling Goods Online”</a></strong></em></u>


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