eBay Now, One Year Later

Same-day delivery, without some of the initial glitches.

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A little over a year ago, I wrote about eBay Now — the online marketplace’s same-day delivery service. I found the idea intriguing, but it didn’t work very well in my encounters, mainly because the payment system — which involved the courier using PayPal to swipe the credit card upon delivery — was fraught with glitches.

Today, I decided to try again. I needed a memory card and a memory-card adapter for my iPad — and since I’m about to leave on a trip, I didn’t have time to go shopping.

I found that the experience has changed a lot. Now you can pay on your phone when you place the order, eliminating the possibility of the problems I witnessed last year. Tipping is now built into the ordering process — though eBay seems to go out of its way not to give you a sense of what an appropriate amount is. (The app showed me four options, ranging from $2 to $20.)

The original iPhone app featured a map that showed you exactly where the courier was in the process. That seems to be gone. So was the ability to see the courier’s name and photo, at least when I shopped. That might have been a bug, though, since the app informed me that “(null)” was going to deliver my order.

I wound up happy, since a personable courier showed up with the products I wanted in plenty of time. eBay says orders should take “about an hour” to arrive, which seems optimistic in my experience: This one took an hour and 38 minutes.

eBay Now is now available in the San Francisco area, Chicago, Dallas and parts of New York City. It still seems like a concept that doesn’t have a business model in place: eBay’s couriers go to local stores and buy products at the same price you pay. The only markup is a $5 delivery charge, which can’t begin to cover the cost of operating the service. But I like it — and one way or another, I hope it’s more viable than its famously unsuccessful spiritual ancestor ever was.


Why don't you guys write about Ebay's purges of small sellers that ruined thousands and thousands of small businesses!!!


Why don't you guys write about Ebay's purges of small sellers that ruined thousands and thousands of small businesses!!!  Just do basic Google search 'ebay seller purges' and you will read thousands of stories of people who have been selling on eBay for years and yet were recently purged cleaning the slate, as the common thinking goes, for large retailers ( ) .  It's funny that Ebay's CEO Donahue has recently joined the White House Export Council while Donahue's Ebay has been favoring China-based sellers over those based in the US through biased seller rating system that discriminates against small sellers, selling limits, rigged search results and eventually purges.  It may be hard to see from the outside but trust me, ladies and gentlemen, Ebay has become a flagrant example of soul-less corporate greed.  

As importantly and for your own savings, if you like something you like on Ebay, please make sure to search for your items anywhere else.  After all these purges, many sellers have online stores that sell for less.