POSTAGE WOES - Don't blame the buyer or seller!

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This guide is just to highlight some experience I've had with the Royal Mail to help the numerous buyers and sellers across eBay who find themselves in postal disputes...

I've purhcased quite a few things from eBay in the past, and at least 9 times in 10, Royal Mail has been the postage option I've chosen - it's good value, it has great coverage and it's usually reliable. I think the Royal Mail is a great integrated postage system, and we're lucky in the UK to have a postal service that is the envy of many other countries.

Usually 1st Class means one to three working days, and in most cases this is true. In the past this has always been true for items I've ordered. Recently though, this hasn't been the case. I've recently been on an eBay spending spree, and over a period of a few days I'd ordered ten different items. They were all dispatched pretty quickly, but after a week I'd received nothing. Two weeks had passed and still nothing came - some of these items were 1st Class Recorded! Finally, after 16 days [12 working days], I received all my packages - the range of posting dates was staggering! There was an item that had been sent 1st Class on the 14th of June, and one item that had been sent 2nd Class on the 29th, and they both arrived on the same day!

The moral of the story is that Royal Mail, as good as it is, isn't perfect, and in some areas there are mysteriously long delays [even though I'm in the heart of quite a large city]. So I have two sets of advice, one for sellers, and one for buyers:


  • Don't immediately think that if a buyer says after a week they haven't got it, that they're lying. Yes, a minority of eBayers are there to con you, but most of us just want to find a bargain!
  • Be prepared to send a copy of your proof of postage through e-mail - often it's just to help put the buyer's mind at ease.
  • Help your buyer - after all, they have just bought something from you! If they want some information about when/where you posted it, tell them - and be honest!


  • Be trusting - if a seller has marked an item has been dispatched, believe them.
  • Use your rights but don't abuse them - ask for a copy of the proof of postage by all means, but don't blame them that you haven't got it and they can prove they've sent it.
  • Expect delays - just because something has been sent 1st Class, don't assume you'll have it by the next day.

Last but not least... If after three weeks there is still no package, think about reporting it to Royal Mail. As for whose responsibility it is to do that - share it between the buyer and seller - co-operate! Then you can make sure everybody ends up a winner.


I'd be grateful if you'd click 'Yes' below - this is my first guide, so all of your comments would be most welcome so I can ensure my next guide is as helpful as possible to as many eBayers as possible.

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