eBay Extends Presale Policy To 40 Business Days

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay has finally updated their presale policy page to bring it inline with changes allowing 40 day handling times made last year.

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eBay quietly added the option for a 40 business day handling time in July 2022, prompting some sellers to speculate it was a move to cater to presales which eBay had becomes increasingly directly involved in, even if they violated the previous 30 day presale policy.

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Extending the handling time could also be particularly important for eBay now that they are part of a consortium with a 25% stake in Funko that includes an agreement to be the preferred secondary marketplace for their products, many of which are presale releases.

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The presale policy previously stated:

Presale listings must clearly state that they are "presale" in the title and description, and guarantee shipment within 30 days of purchase.

  • Presale listings must guarantee that the item will be shipped within 30 days of purchase
  • The date the item will be available to ship must be clearly stated in the listing
  • Listings must clearly indicate in the title and description that the item is being offered for presale

Handling time details should include the time it will take the seller to acquire the item, in addition to the time it will take the seller to deliver the package to the shipping carrier

Some sellers have questioned if a 40 business day handling time would violate the FTC "30 Day Mailing Rule" - a great question and one that has come up often when discussing eBay allowing pre-sale listings which violate that rule.

My understanding of the 30 Day Mailing rule is it basically says sellers must ship within the timeframe they advertise or if no timeframe is given, within 30 days.

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The Rule requires that when you advertise merchandise, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time.

If you make no shipment statement, you must have a reasonable basis for believing that you can ship within 30 days. That is why direct marketers sometimes call this the "30-day Rule."

While there may be variations depending on specific situations, it's likely that as long as the 40 day handling time is clearly shown on the listing page, it would not be considered a violation of the rule.

But that still left the question of the official eBay presale policy - since the policy page still said 30 days, were sellers using a 40 business day handling time automatically in violation of the policy?

On July 8, 2022 then eBay community staff member Velvet said the presale policy would be updated to come in line with the 40 day handling policy "in the near future."

Re: 40 days now showing on handling time (desktop only)
wrote: wrote: wrote: I saw it mentioned on another online forum yesterday. I see there actually is a 40-day option available on my account now. Sounds like a very bad decision on ebay’s part unless it’s just a glitch. Probably will see an announcement from ebay encouraging pre-sales as their…

I was able to get a response on this today @valueaddedresource, and it sounds like we'll be updating the presale policy to reflect the new 40-day timeframe. Look for that to update in the near future!

However, the question came up again in May 2023 because the policy page was never updated and there was never an official announcement of the change, leaving sellers in limbo as to whether or not their listings were in compliance with eBay policies.

40 Day Handling Time & Presale Policy
- the presale policy page has still not been updated to reflect the 40 day handling time that became an option last July, as Velvet previously said it would. https://community.ebay.com/t5/Shipping/40-days-now-showing-on-handling-time-desktop-only/m-p/33058111/highlight/true#M421586 https:/…

devon@ebay kyle@ebay elizabeth@ebay - the presale policy page has still not been updated to reflect the 40 day handling time that became an option last July, as Velvet previously said it would.

Buyers and sellers are somewhat in limbo on this issue now - since the policy page still says presales must ship within 30 days, are listings with the 40 day handling time option violating that policy?

Questions were also raised about business days versus calendar days since the previous presale policy simply said "30 days" while the handling time settings clearly denote business days.

I have another question on this one for the eBay team:

Policy page says "30 days" and whether it's updated to "40 days" or not, it would be helpful if eBay could change that page to clarify whether the presale policy is going by business days or calendar days.

Handling time is based on biz days.

As of August 17, 2023, the presale page has finally been updated - apparently showing eBay's definition of "near future" is at least a year.

The policy now states:

Presale listings must clearly state that they are "presale" in the title and description, and guarantee shipment within 40 business days of purchase.

In order to protect buyer and seller guarantees, presale listings must follow eBay policy, including listing the date the item will be available to ship.

What is the policy?

  • Presale listings must guarantee that the item will be shipped within 40 business days of purchase
  • The date the item will be available to ship must be clearly stated in the listing
  • Listings must clearly indicate in the title and description that the item is being offered for presale

Handling time details should include the time it will take the seller to acquire the item, in addition to the time it will take the seller to deliver the package to the shipping carrier

Even with the extended time period, presales will likely continue to be a point of contention between buyers and sellers as many listings fail to meet all three requirements of the policy and eBay is still lax in enforcing the policy or removing listings that are not in compliance.

New View Item page designs being tested may also hide the description field in a separate tab, obscuring important availability date information that is required to be included for presales.

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Some less than scrupulous sellers take advantage of the presale system by dragging out or delaying the estimated availability date until it is past the eBay Money Back Guarantee timeframe, at which points buyers are unable to file a claim to recover funds if the items are never shipped.

Some buyers have been able to get eBay to provide "courtesy refunds" even after the eMBG time has past - but usually only after significant public attention (and FTC fraud complaints) have been brought to bear.

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Bottom line for anyone looking to purchase presales items - vet your sellers carefully, understand the risks and timelines in which buyer protections apply and always use PayPal or a credit card with chargeback protection in case eBay fails to enforce their policies or assist in cases of presale fraud.

eBaySeller Updates

Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!