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Old 08-24-2009
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Default Drive-by Policy Changes: Even eBay Can't Keep Track?

If eBay changes a policy and forgets to announce it, does it count? This may sound like an ancient philosophical question, but to eBay sellers in certain categories, it could have serious ramifications in today's real world.

On August 22, Jim "Griff" Griffith said in a discussion board thread that sometime in the past several months, eBay changed its policy regarding shipping caps in the media category. But, he said, "Unfortunately, the shipping team did not communicate this change broadly either externally or in some cases internally. Thus, I have been providing responses to this topic based on the original policy and not the newer loosened policy (which has been discussed by the shipping team on the Shipping board)."

In other words, the shipping team did not tell a lot of people.

I have a question in to eBay to verify Griff's statement that now sellers are allowed to use the shipping calculator to charge actual shipping costs in the media category, because I can't find any such statement on the website.

In fact, a search on eBay's help pages to find the original policy on shipping caps in the media category netted no results. I had to search Google for "eBay shipping caps" and found it. It appears that while eBay announced the shipping caps in their August 2008 announcement, they never published the policy in the help pages or seller information pages.

One of the readers who alerted me to this latest issue said, "After the PayPal unannounced policy change which resulted in a fee increase, I have started referring to these unannounced changes as Drive By changes."

This case truly highlights how difficult it is for sellers to keep track of all the changes. Griff's depth of knowledge about eBay is far greater than anyone inside or outside of eBay, and if he can't keep track of it all, it's impossible for me to believe that eBay's customer service reps and Trust & Safety reps are doing half as well, and that's a shame.

Here's a link to Griff's post dealing with the new policy.

And here's the August 2008 policy that deals with the shipping calculator and the August 2008 FAQs dealing with the policy.
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