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Sat Aug 11 2018 16:44:55

eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader informed us that eBay has begun undercharging his buyers for international shipping - and since he can't reach anyone in eBay customer service who can help him, he's left paying the difference.

The problem is proving costly for our reader, named Bill. For example, Bill said eBay charged three of his European buyers about 60% of what he had to pay for shipping in a single day, costing him about $50. 

Based on his description of the problem, we suspected the problem might be related to a change USPS made in January, so we reached out to shipping expert Eric Nash who has written about the postal price change on the Stamps.com blog.

Here's the reader's initial description of the billing problem:

"I have multiple items going to Europe. All buyers were only charged about 60% of what I have to pay for shipping, even after my discount. This has occurred on 3 items today, so I suspect this is a major problem, perhaps the reason eBay's customer service system appears to be overloaded. This also happened earlier in the week to a few domestic sales, and for those the $ cost difference was not worth calling eBay. All of these have been associated with First Class mail, USPS. 

"I cannot absorb over $50 in added shipping costs, so will probably have to contact the buyers directly to explain they either have to pay the additional shipping, or I will issue refunds if they wish."

Compounding the problem, he has been unable to reach the right person at eBay customer service. "Once I get thru to the automated greeting, and explain who I am and what my problem is, they transfer me to "somebody who can help." After waiting between 2:04 & 3:04  minutes, the call is diverted to a fast busy signal, then disconnected. Happened 6 times before I gave up," he told us.

He then sent the following example:

"It happened again, I sold a package to France, eBay billed the customer $12.60, but then hit me for $22.33 after my discount. For a $25 item."

We sent Bill's letters to Eric Nash of Stamps.com. Here is his response to the reader:

Hi Bill,
I can certainly understand your frustration on this issue as the extra shipping costs you are being required to pay ($22.33 instead of $12.60) is taking up a huge chunk of your profits!

This issue is related to a major change the USPS made back in January for First Class Mail International Large Envelopes/Flats. On January 21, 2018, the USPS restricted the use of First Class Mail International Large Envelopes/Flats to only documents - merchandise could no longer be shipped with this USPS service. 

The merchandise restriction was implemented in order for the USPS to comply with requirements set by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). These requirements were set in order to help process packages through International Customs quicker. The UPU is an organization that coordinates postal policies among member nations and includes most of international postal services, including the USPS for international delivery.

Since most eBay and e-commerce sellers only ship merchandise, they will now need to upgrade their international shipping service to First Class Package International Service to ship these products. This upgrade of shipping service comes with a significant increase in cost, as you have noticed:

USPS International Shipping Service - US to France, 1 pound:
First Class Mail International Large Envelop/Flat: $12.60
First Class Package International Service (eBay Discount): $22.33
Difference: $9.73

In looking at the eBay Shipping Calculator today, it appears the calculator is showing the First Class Mail International Large Envelope/Flat rate for documents of $12.60. I’m not sure if this is also happening for Calculated Shipping on your listings but if so, that would cause this problem and I think you could contact eBay Customer Support.


Stamps.com has an option called the Global Advantage Program that allows sellers to use a variation of the First Class Mail International Flat service (it is more expensive than First Class International Flats but much cheaper than First Class Package International Service). 

When using the GAP program, your International Large Envelope/Flat is shipped to a Postal Processing Facility address in the U.S., where packages are consolidated (Customs Forms are applied and sent electronically) and then sent to the International Recipient's address. You can get more info here.

With the GAP program, that 1 lb. Flat traveling from Maryland to France would be $16.80 rather than $22.33.

Hope this information proves helpful!
Eric Nash
Stamps.com

We sent an email inquiry to eBay about the shipping calculator rates for First Class Mail International on Friday, with no response as of yet.

Comments (28) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 13 19:44:58 2018

So refreshing to have an expert weigh in.  

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Mon Aug 13 23:56:46 2018

Lightning,

I use Auctiva for my listings and Endicia comes with it. Endicia is cheaper than eBay and it is fully integrated.
Sent a light weight package to England today and it cost $8.36. A lot less then eBay and I also do not have the hassle of having to deal with the Sellers Flub. All of my pictures are stored on the sight until I delete them and it is very simple to use.
Six-Bit also used Endicia but costs about double what I pay for Auctiva. I have the Elite plan at $14.95 per month and 1.5GB of image hosting (I also keep my images on my hard drive). Any postage costs are billed at the end of the month unlike PP who takes it right away.
I believe that Stamps also has a free program with eBay but I am not sure if that is still in existence knowing eBay and their lust for money and power. LOL


eBay = Dead Man Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Mon Aug 13 23:57:57 2018

Also the $14.95 is for unlimited listings on eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

by: Carol Is Here This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 12:21:57 2018

There is another really important issue that came up in the Seller discussion board. Another time Ebay is letting sellers get scammed, and in the name if an actual Ebay employee.

Scammer buyers are ordering expensive items to be shipped FedEx through Ebay. They are then calling FedEx after the item is shipped and posing as an Ebay employee (with his real name in the carrier department) and rerouting the package to another address.  Then filing Not authorized with Paypal.

There is apparently no way that sellers printing FedEx labels through the Ebay system can deny address rerouting.

Ebay knew about this and did nothing. They even knew the name of the actual employees whose name was being used. They did nothing. People are losing a lot and Paypal is blaming the seller.

On the most recent thread about this, finally the Ebay employee showed up on the discussion board to claim he was doing something about it. But a lot of people were already scammed and Ebay never even contacted FedEx.

The title of the thread is
New Scam!! FedEx package rerouted to a different state without Seller/Sender consent!

I would say sellers should not be using Ebay FedEx until this is resolved.

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Tue Aug 14 13:38:28 2018

@Bill
Thanks for the info, Bill.  I already use Auctiva, but I didn't use their shipping for some reason, can't remember why.  I'll check it out again.  Maybe it didn't like my label printer, but just guessing, and that could have changed over time.  I'm not sure if the price comparison is available, or you have to start using it to see if there is a difference.  The only international packages I send are to Canada, and to say once a month would be an overstatement.  Thanks again.

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Tue Aug 14 15:41:00 2018

@Bill
Checked out Auctiva Shipping, a refresher course.  Not good at all for me.  Tested a 3lb. package.  Same price for media, $3.68.  Priority is $8.98 on Ebay, $9.25 on Auctiva.  So much for being cheaper.  

Can't do Regional Priority on Auctiva.  I use that 20% of the time and it saves several dollars each time I use it.  Auctiva has the same formats for labels as before, full sheet or 4x6.  I use 2x7, so I'd have to buy a new label printer and a new supply of labels for the PRIVILEGE of over-paying for shipping.  Guess some of us are NOT fools after all, for using Ebay Shipping.  

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Aug 14 23:43:21 2018

Lightning,

Then auctiva is not for you. I do not know what you were shipping priority for 3 lbs as to the box size. I only use Auctiva for International shipping and a 3 oz flat package was $8.36. I hardly ever ship by Priority mail it is mostly 1st class packages and I use my own postage which I get for a big discount.
There is also the free account that you can get at Stamps.com for eBay users I know a lot of people use that and it fully integrates with eBay and all printers plus there is Shipping Easy which you can do a free account at if you ship 50 or less packages a month. I use that only for my International orders on my other sites.

eBay = Dead Man Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills   eBay Shipping Calculator Flaw Leads to Exorbitant Bills

by: FormerEbaySeller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 23 15:57:05 2018

Ebay doesn't sell letter international shipping anymore. That service can only be used for documents. Not merchandise. This is all seller error. There's no glitch or error on ebays part. Sellers need to keep up with the USPS changes.  

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