eBay to promise 'Guaranteed Delivery' on 20 million items

New program will go into effect during the summer

As the battle for consumer dollars is increasingly being waged online, eBay is trying to enhance its competitive position.

With Amazon and Walmart now offer free two-day delivery options, eBay says it will roll out what it calls Guaranteed Delivery later this summer. The guarantee is that the ordered item will be delivered in three or fewer days.

The guarantee will cover 20 million items purchased in the United States and will include free shipping for some. As an added inducement, eBay will provide a filter that will allow shoppers to search for items that are available with one or two-day delivery.

"While the majority of items on eBay already ship within three days or less, as well as for free, Guaranteed Delivery will give shoppers even faster delivery options and the confidence that their items will arrive on time," said Hal Lawton, Senior Vice President of North America at eBay.

How it works

If the items a consumer orders are covered under the guarantee, eBay says they will arrive by the delivery date. Consumers using the eBay site will be able to search for items by guaranteed delivery date.

If the item doesn't make it by the delivery date, eBay says the consumer can request to have shipping costs refunded. If the shipping was free, eBay will send out a coupon to be applied against the next eBay purchase. The buyer will also be able to return the item at no cost.

The company says the program will also benefit sellers, since it will make their items searchable by delivery times. Being able to guarantee a delivery date, eBay contends, will lead to happier customers.

Many delivery complaints are outside the U.S.

Indeed, an analysis of eBay customer reviews posted on ConsumerAffairs shows lengthy delivery times are a common source of complaints. However, in most cases the consumers in question are experiencing delays in delivery from sellers outside the U.S.

Brett Thome, vice-president of business development at Spreetail, says the new program will help sellers on eBay who have earned a reputation for speedy and reliable service.

"There are so many great sellers on eBay delivering an incredible shipping experience where they deliver in two days, and even next day, so the ability to highlight Guaranteed Delivery will further increase customer confidence and satisfaction," he said.

There is no firm date for the launch, with eBay saying it will occur during the summer. There will be no cost to sellers, but they will be required to meet a set of shipping standards to take part.

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