E-commerce companies such as eBay have reduced order shipping times in the last decade due to competition from Amazon. Today, most online buyers can expect to receive their items within just  2 – 3 days of placing their order.

However, they may experience delays due to factors on the seller’s side. eBay sellers treat shipping times differently despite the trend described above. Sellers have up to 30 business days to ship items after placing an order on their eBay store.

According to eBay’s shipping policy, sellers are required to ship items within the handling time stated in their listing and the shipping method selected by the buyer. This article will discuss how long it takes eBay sellers to ship orders and why some orders may take longer to ship than others.

How Long Does It Take for Sellers on eBay to Ship Orders?

On average, sellers on eBay take about 1 to 3 business days to ship an order. However, orders can have a maximum shipping time or “handling time” of up to 30 business days, according to eBay’s guidelines.  

This means buyers can expect their items to ship anywhere from 0 to 30 business days after placing their order. The good news is that handling times are rarely this long. In fact, most sellers ship order the next business day.

While long handling times are rare, they can occur due to payment issues, order completion issues, or issues at the seller’s end.

Factors That Delay Shipping Times of Sellers

There are numerous factors that could lengthen a seller’s order processing and handling time. While they may be able to control some of these factors and improve shipping times, in other cases, the shipping delays could be due to factors beyond their control.


Most sellers do not fulfill orders over the weekend, as they are not considered business days. For this reason, an eBay buyer who has placed their order on a Thursday or Friday may not have their items shipped until the following week.


Public holidays account for a large portion of processing delays. This is because public holidays (such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas) are not considered business days.

It’s also important to note that buyers placing orders from international sellers often experience longer shipping windows as they don’t account for local public holidays in the country the item is being shipped.

Production Issues

In some cases, the item the buyer has purchased may not be available due to production issues. Such situations can arise due to internal problems at the production or manufacturing facility.

For example, manufacturers may need to temporarily stop production if they are experiencing technical issues on-site. In other cases, the issue could be external, such as if the seller is locked out of their eBay account and can’t view and fulfill orders until their account has been restored.

Back Orders

Some eBay buyers may experience shipping delays if the item they ordered is on backorder. This refers to situations when the item is out of stock, meaning the seller does not have any units in their inventory.

However, the seller may have also forgotten to list the item as out of stock on their eBay listing. eBay users may then see the listing and place an order under the impression that the item is available and ready to ship.

This issue can result in lengthy delays depending on the time it takes for the seller to restock the item.

Carrier-Related Issues

Some shipping companies or “carriers” may run into issues at their end that could extend the time that sellers take to ship the order. This could be due to unexpectedly high shipping volumes or logistics-related issues.

These companies are relatively efficient at resolving issues so that the shipping process will be delayed by only 1 or 2 business days in most cases.

Payment Issues

In rare cases, a shipping delay may occur due to payment issues. This can occur if the company that processes online payments is experiencing temporary problems. Such issues can take many days to resolve and are generally out of the seller’s control.

Lack of Equipment or Resources

Some shipping delays may occur due to issues at the seller’s premises or the shipping company and may not possess the resources required to ship the item they were asked to on time.

This can be attributed to improper planning, lack of shipping personnel, or equipment breakdowns. Such issues are less likely to occur if the eBay seller has reliable shipping processes and has selected reputable shipping companies with many years of experience.

Tips for Buyers When Dealing With Longer Shipping Times

eBay buyers who are experiencing shipping times that exceed the normal 1 to 3 business days range can inquire about their order’s shipping status and get updates using the following strategies.

Check the Handling Time in the Listing

eBay buyers can review the handling time specified in the item’s eBay listing. The “handling time” refers to the time window between when the order was placed and when the seller handed the order over to the carrier.

The buyer will know that their item has reached the shipping company after receiving a tracking code via email.

Contact the Seller

If the buyer hasn’t received an item tracking code within the handling time specified in the item listing, they should contact the eBay seller. They can do this using a messaging service through the eBay website.

Alternatively, they may be able to locate the seller’s phone number on their eBay account and contact them via the phone. After getting in touch with the seller, the buyer can ask if their order shipment has been delayed.

If so, they can then inquire about the nature of the delay and how long it will take to resolve it.

Contact eBay’s Customer Support

eBay sellers are required to respond to customers within 3 days. If the contact method specified above doesn’t work, the buyer should contact eBay’s customer support and report the issue.

To do this, the buyer must follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Locate the item order in your Purchases.
  2. Click the “See request details” option.
  3. Click the “Ask eBay to step in and help” option.
  4. Use the dropdown menu and choose the reason for contacting eBay Customer Support.
  5. Click “Confirm”.

Best Practices for Sellers

eBay sellers should adopt specific practices to maintain consistent shipping times and fulfill eBay’s shipping policy. This will help them avoid shipping items late and dealing with cancellations as a result of delays.

Use A Productivity Tool

eBay sellers who are having trouble keeping up with fulfilling orders on time can try using a productivity tool. There are numerous productivity tools available online. Some of these are free while others are paid.

Productivity tools include handy features such as push emails that inform the seller when a deadline is approaching. They may also include a calendar view that provides a comprehensive overview of each order and its corresponding deadline. All these features help the seller stay informed and become more organized.

Organize Your Stocks

Order delays can occur if the item an eBay buyer has purchased isn’t in stock. Sellers can avoid such issues by organizing their inventory and ensuring that the physical inventory matches correctly with what’s listed on eBay. 

Some excellent stocking practices include

  • Checking your shelves regularly
  • Sorting items into categories so that they are easier to locate
  • Stocking popular items according to the seasons in which they are popular
  • Using an inventory management system

Such practices will help sellers save plenty of time and reduce stress when they must fulfill large orders.

Pre-Package Fast-Moving Items

eBay sellers can also prepare to ship high-selling items by pre-packaging them or packaging them in bulk. This approach is useful for minimizing handling times for popular items.

Ship as Soon as You Can

Sellers should aim to fulfill orders as quickly as possible and avoid putting them off until the last minute. This is because unexpected issues can create delays that extend past the shipping deadline. Such issues can spill over to multiple orders and can result in numerous dissatisfied buyers.

Familiarize Yourself With Your Carriers

Sellers should understand how long the shipping company or fulfillment center they have chosen takes to process and ship items. They should then adjust the handling and shipping times on their eBay listings accordingly.

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Agnes Aui

Head of Marketing
at freightcourse

About the Author

Agnes is the Head of Marketing at freightcourse and seamlessly blends her strong background in content management with strategic marketing expertise.

She brings a wealth of knowledge to readers, specializing in various e-commerce topics such as order fulfillments, purchasing, payments, and more.