eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP), Pitney Bowes, and 23 days between Kentucky and Canada

US-based merchants on eBay are sometimes cheaper than other sources. Many of these merchants use the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) run by Pitney Bowes. The GSP is cheap, slow, frustrating, but effective. I ordered a laptop from a reseller based in North Carolina. The reseller did their part promptly, shipping to the GSP warehouse in Erlanger KY within 2 days. However, after that, the package spent 11 days in limbo, without even a status update. Then it spent 12 days in a bonded warehouse in Canada before being released and shipped to me.

The brotherhood of wealthy middle powers

There is a strange brotherhood of buyers from wealthy middle powers like Canada, the UK, and Australia trading horror stories about the delays in the Global Shipping Program. There are stories about lost packages but for the most part the packages finally arrive. I am grateful to the posters for sharing tracking numbers that reassured that it is possible to not see an update for 2 weeks, then get a parcel delivered with 4 status updates all uploaded to the system at once:



(local archive: https://blog.gordonbuchan.com/files/eBayGlobalShippingDisappointsCollectiblesBuyer.pdf)

(Power tip: a friend pointed out that some tracking numbers, such as those provided by Canada Post, offer options that can change shipping choices before delivery. So if you do plan to share a tracking number on the Internet, better to wait until your package arrives.)

Re-estimating shipping times based on tracking numbers

Learn to use the eBay, Pitney Bowes, USPS, and your local post office tracking sites. Learn how to pull apart your status number and get statuses on local legs of the trip. Suggestion, use:


to re-calculate your expected shipping times.

Stressful, but…

I found the Global Shipping Program to be stressful and irritating, but I saved a significant amount of money on a laptop purchase.