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Tue Feb 21 2017 14:15:25

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers should be very careful when using eBay to print FedEx shipping labels, a reader warned us. The seller recommended opening a FedEx account as a way of comparing eBay rates with FedEx direct rates (eBay offers a 37% discount off FedEx retail rates). And sellers should monitor the charges, comparing the eBay estimate with the actual amount it charges on its invoice, they said.

We took a look at the way the system works - it's explained on this help page on It outlines the services it supports including FedEx SmartPost, Home Delivery, and Ground, and what the weight and dimensional restrictions are.

eBay warns sellers on that page about FedEx dimensional weight ("Dim weight") charges, "which means that using a larger box than you need could cost you more." That's because, as eBay explains, "the higher of the scale weight or dimensional weight will be used."

FedEx also has certain surcharges, such as an extra fee for delivering to a residential address rather than a business address. eBay warns: "Be sure to indicate if the buyer's address is a residential address (this should be done automatically on our label platform, and could mean a difference in cost.)" eBay doesn't mention whether it factors in other FedEx surcharges in its estimates, such as fuel surcharges.

eBay also notes that, "When you create a FedEx label on eBay, you see an estimated cost, but FedEx will assess the actual cost to be invoiced to you." eBay pays FedEx directly, and then adds sellers' FedEx shipping label costs to their monthly eBay invoice. 

With all that said, the reader explained that beginning in February, they started noticing major discrepancies between the eBay estimates and the actual eBay charges. 

"For example: I had a shipment for a customer who paid $35.07 for shipping, eBay said the FedEx shipping would cost $30.69, so I printed the shipping label with a weight of 20 Lbs. and shipped it out. I went to after it was delivered and looked up the tracking number to see what weight FedEx had for that shipment, FedEx said the weight was 22 Lbs. When I got my FedEx Invoice the weight was 51 Lbs. AND THE COST FOR THAT SHIPMENT WAS $51.40.  Let me remind you here - The customer ONLY PAID $35.07 AND THE LABEL COST AT THE TIME I CREATED IT WAS $30.60 ! That is a $20.80 DIFFERENCE IN COST."

That sounds like it could be a dimensional weight issue - sellers also discussed overcharges and dim weight issues in this thread on the eBay boards.

But the seller spoke to a FedEx who reviewed the box dimensions and said it had not been a factor. So how did FedEx show the weight at 22 pounds, but eBay ended up charging the seller for a 51-pound package? The seller said each company is blaming the other.

The reader told us that they keep track of FedEx estimates and actual charges (eBay only provides tracking numbers on their invoices, not the customers' names). You can then look up the tracking number on to see what it recorded as the weight of the package.

But the entire exercise of comparing rates and tracking charges and then disputing overages with customer service reps back and forth sounds as painful as an IRS audit. 

The reader recommends just opening up a FedEx account and forgoing the eBay discount.

But there are tools sellers can use to compare rates among shipping carriers and print shipping labels that will also upload tracking information to eBay - we recently wrote about one such tool in January, for example ("Comparing USPS, UPS, and FedEx Rates on One Screen").

If you're having discrepancies between the shipping cost collected from buyers and what you pay shipping carriers, let us know. What advice would you offer sellers who are mired in a shipping quagmire?

Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Feb 21 22:07:53 2017

This would appear to be fraud.

More out of control corporations.

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: strife This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 21 23:07:49 2017

Twice I received promo emails from EBay/FedEx about a special for new FedEx accounts just for Canadian EBay sellers. Both times I called FedEx looking for more info and could not get anyone on the phone who knew a darned thing about it.

The first time around I never ended up shipping anything but the second time I printed a label that their system showed would cost $24. 2 weeks after the package had been delivered I got my FedEx bill for that shipment and it was $126 or $102 more than what their sytem had claimed it would be.

It cost me hours on the phone to straighten out all the while everyone at FedEx claiming there was no special for EBay sellers. Of course I showed them all the propaganda I had received but they still had no clue.

After a hard fight I got them to drop the extra charges but later I found that I had been banned from my account, lol.

Typical EBay clusterF***

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 22 09:37:50 2017

Every time I compare costs against USPS for Fedex or UPS I always end up shipping USPS, even if slightly more, not worth the extra time and hassle not to mention the possible later bill.  (UPS is about 5 miles away, Fedex is a 30 min drive into the city or 5 miles to a package store where they charge a 10.00 surcharge over the fedex rate).

I have used UPS a few times in the past, nearly every time I ended up paying more.  I think the most was 11.00 (a few years ago and before DIM pricing, and UPS actually sent me invoices for the differences ranging from a few cents on up each time, used paypal shipping back then and took the packages to the retail store where they ''checked'' them for me). The 11.00 was it for me though; I learned my lesson.

I do look at the price for buyers who suggest that it is cheaper but only to get the cost to tell them it is higher, not worth it for me to actually ship that way. I compare retail rates. If it someday becomes cheaper, the buyer will be advised they can use their own account to pay the shipping.

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: rfmtm This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 22 10:02:02 2017

eBay FedEx has had problems since the very beginning and only has gotten worse.

If you want to use FedEx is it best to get you own free account, then link it to eBay to get the discounts, but always quote and ship from the FedEx site.  This also will let you deal directly with FedEx for any issues.

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 22 11:59:26 2017

This issue has been going on for years and years. When using eBay or FedEx directly, it is always an ''estimate'' and all too often you are billed much more than the estimate. eBay seems to be sweeping this under the rug, but I suspect FedEx is the root of the problem here. I've had the same issue with FedEx directly. I've also had extra charged added because FedEx could not locate the address and had to do an ''address correction''. I did get that one removed as the corrected address was exactly the same as the original address.

I stopped using UPS long ago due to way too many problems, and getting screwed hard on an insurance claim where I refunded the buyer upon return of the damaged item only to have UPS also send the refund to the buyer and pick up the several hundred dollar package for inspection from me. UPS's loss as I ship several hundred dollars per month. USPS keeps going higher and higher on larger packages and that leaves FedEx as the low cost leader... and they like to lie and cheat.

What is a person to do????  

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 22 14:22:52 2017

It's one thing to be forced by mandate to endure eBay machinations that wrest control of a seller's transaction, but quite another to face the inevitable eBay induced fubar embedded in a choice.

The choice to deal direct will still require dilligent oversight of couse, but will at least remove the proven error-prone (inherently less economical) complication in an already risky enough process.

As an aside, who recalls eBay justifying shipping rate DSRs as a means to discourage the practice of sellers "making money off shipping"?  

Just another day..

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 22 15:20:42 2017

Ill never use fed ex or ups since they will willy nilly put on extra charges, and make you fight for a refund.

Its folly to us fed ex with ebay, because both companies are criminals, so dealing with 2 criminals at the same time is a head ache

FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers   FedEx Billing Issues on eBay Bog Down Sellers

by: jeanne*gene This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 23 12:41:02 2017

I am not sure where the original posting came up with eBay giving a 37% discount on FedEx.  I just went out to see what it is and a FedEx charge of $11.94 is discounted 9% down to $11.19.  A FedEx Commercial account would have discounted the $11.94 down to somewhere between $6 and $7.  Ebay is making a killing on FedEx shipments.

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