For most items, sellers must specify a handling time. This indicates how long it will take for the seller to ship the item to a buyer after receiving cleared payment. This does not include the shipping carrier's shipping time (in transit).

Top-rated sellers must offer a 0-day or 1-day handling time in order for that listing to be eligible as a Top-rated listing. The other requirement for a Top-rated listing is for the seller to accept returns for the item. Only sellers that qualify as Top-rated sellers can have Top-rated listings. For information about top-rated sellers, refer to Seller performance overview.

The handling time, which is also known as the dispatch time, refers to the following time period:

  • From the time seller has received cleared payment
  • To the time the seller has delivered the package to the shipping carrier

For most item categories, when issuing add/relist/revise calls, sellers are required to include Item.DispatchTimeMax to specify an item's handling time in days (i.e., a positive integer,) for domestic delivery.

Item.DispatchTimeMax does not apply when there is no shipping, or when using local pickup only or freight shipping. For example, when Item.ShippingDetails.ShippingServiceOptions.ShippingService = Pickup or Item.ShipToLocations = None, then Item.DispatchTimeMax is not required (or it can be empty).

Item.DispatchTimeMax also does not apply to certain listing categories such as Vehicles, Real Estate, Specialty Services and Classified Ads listings. Call GetCategoryFeatures and review the Category.HandlingTimeEnabled values returned to determine which categories require this field.

For a list of allowed Item.DispatchTimeMax values for each eBay marketplace, call GeteBayDetails and set the value for DetailName = DispatchTimeMaxDetails.

Typical values (in days) for Item.DispatchTimeMax are:

  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10
  • 15
  • 20

Note: These values can vary by marketplace and may change over time.

Extended handling time

When GeteBayDetails returns DispatchTimeMaxDetails.ExtendedHandling = true, it indicates that the seller has specified a default handling time of 4 business days or more in their preferences. This is considered to be an exception handling time situation and it may be prudent to warn the seller that long handling times may discourage potential buyers.