eBay Buyers and Their Use of Capital and Lower Case Letters

By | May 15, 2010

Like any eBay seller, you want to mail an item and have it arrive. Nobody wants “item not received” claims. Our Post Office is not perfect though. The days of 1st Class being one day transit time and 2nd class being 2-3 days transit time are long gone. In reality, 1st class tends to be 1-4 days and 2nd class up to a week. That is assuming they are not on strike or delayed by snow or leaves on the line or whatever it is this week that makes it slower still.

We need to give them all the help we can by making sure items are addressed in such a way that they are easily readable. A recent trend of buyers having mailing addresses that are all in lower case — especially postcodes — has developed. This makes them MUCH harder to read for the Post Office workers who must speed read thousands of items a day.

How many times do you see an address like this:

52 misspelled st

Don’t you find that hard to read? Is that an “I” or a “1” in that postcode? Do you expect a part-time Algerian postal worker to know, or even care? That makes the difference between your item taking two days or two weeks to arrive.

Now, we cant expect that all eBayers actually have a reasonable command of English — they simply don’t. Some of them no doubt think this bastardised form of English is trendy computer speak and is acceptable. It’s the text message culture spreading onto eBay. wot do u fink?

You are probably an eBay seller. Unless a high volume seller, you probably copy and paste shipping addresses into a label writer like a Dymo. Do you want to capitalise each one yourself? How long will that take?

So, you have several choices.

  • Capitalise it yourself correctly.
  • Print it as written — like a five year old did it — and take your chances that it arrives.
  • Use software to convert it into something the Post Office workers can actually read.

As we know, addresses all in lower-case are hard to read. But addresses all in capital letters — whilst not ideal — are easier to read. So the simple route is to convert the garbled crap they sent you to something we can all read automatically.

Thankfully, there are a wealth of programs out there that can do that for you in a couple of clicks. One such programme is here: Convert Lower-case to upper-case.

Using the address above on that programme as an example, and it becomes this:

HT17 1FC

That is way easier for the Post Office and much easier on the eye for everyone who reads it. You need only paste and click once to do that. It takes but a moment but might help your items arrive quicker. That means fewer “item not received” claims, fewer items “lost in the post” and less bad feedback because of slow shipping.

The problem bulk and high volume sellers have is they do not have the time to do this when sending a few hundred parcels a day.

For those who haven’t yet moved onto Linnworks or a similar programme, or don’t have their own techies to default delivery addresses to capitals on their own platform, they are using eBay sales manager.

eBay sales manager doesn’t auto-capitalise or make format corrections. So if you use eBay sales manager, you are stuck with sending stuff out to addresses that are incomplete or formatted badly, and the wave of “item not received” queries you will get as a result of that slowing mail deliveries down.

2 thoughts on “eBay Buyers and Their Use of Capital and Lower Case Letters

  1. Neil Jones

    Oh yes, how true. Just sold 12 things on eBay and only ONE buyer had managed to get the hang of pressing the [shift] key down when typing the first letter of proper nouns. Doesn’t it strike people as wrong when they see their names completely in lower case? Are people really too idle to press shift? And surely people should at least know how to spell their own street names?

  2. Rupert

    There’s just one thing missing from the article and the replies here – that it might be the customer’s fault. I’ve been selling online for 7 years, and the single biggest reason a buyer thinks their item is lost is because they’re too… ahem… daft…. to go to their local Royal Mail delivery office and collect it. Yes, I know the postman should leave a card, but sometimes they don’t – and sometimes the buyer throws the card out with the junk mail. The proof of this is that I never “lose” items that are small enough to go through a letterbox, it’s always the larger items!

    Secondly, the majority of under 30s can’t be bothered – or don’t know how – to supply their addresses properly. For goodness sake, use the education that you supposedly received, use capital letters where you should, pay some attention to your spelling and above all check your postcode is correct – something like 25% of the postcodes I paste every day are incorrect. At worst plain incomplete, at best just formatted incorrectly! If your postcode is CM1 8HT, then don’t supply it as cm18ht, or as I’ve seen some doughnuts write it: cm18 ht !!!!

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