eBay is offering a way for its sellers to send lightweight items to buyers WITH TRACKING for under a dollar. The service will become available next month for trading cards priced at $20 or less and weighing up to 3 oz.
We had reported on the new “eBay standard envelope” option last month when eBay inadvertently published a page describing the service earlier than it had intended and quickly removed the page. The company made the announcement official this week through a press release, though it has not re-published the landing page describing the new service.
In this week’s announcement, eBay stated, “Beginning January 2021, the new shipping service, eBay standard envelope, allows sellers in the U.S. to print labels and ship trading cards priced $20 and under and up to 3 oz., in an envelope with tracking included, for less than $1.”
The new shipping option fills a big gap for sellers of certain goods. As Sports Collectors Daily wrote, “It’s welcome news for those who offer lower cost cards but who have been faced with a dilemma: charge $3 or more for shipping in a padded envelope so their first class shipment is trackable or offer free or low cost shipping in a plain, white envelope and run the risk that a buyer won’t claim the card wasn’t received.”
However, it’s unclear how eBay is able to offer such a low rate. In its announcement, it said eBay standard envelope offered savings up to 70% over USPS First Class Package Service shipping costs, plus includes shipping protection.
We asked the US Postal service for help in understanding how eBay was able to offer sellers such an attractive postal rate. A spokesperson replied, “It is an eBay envelope, not a USPS envelope. It is handed off to the USPS for shipping, just like any other envelope would be. It is not a USPS branded product; it is simply an eBay product. The Postal Service and eBay are two separate organizations.”
We followed up by asking if the USPS was offering eBay the ability to sell trackable First Class Mail at $1 or less (perhaps through a Negotiated Service Agreement), or if the USPS allowed companies like eBay to resell postage below cost. A spokesperson checked and said she had no additional information.
In the Terms and Conditions page that eBay had inadvertently published last month, eBay referenced its service providers’ terms of service – naming USPS and Easyship.
The beta launch for the new shipping service will be available January 2021 for eBay sellers in the US with plans to expand to new categories in the future.