Online seller and AuctionBytes blogger Bob says preparing shipping labels through Amazon has become excruciating as various problems have plagued the system this year.
A few months ago, Amazon pushed some buttons, moved some levers, and kicked some trash cans in order to update their shipping system. It's been an off-and-on-again disaster ever since.
Beginning around the end of January of this year some Amazon sellers had some serious issues with the shipping system. Some shipping options weren't available which meant you had to find an alternate site from which to ship or (egad!) actually had to go to the post office or shipping store to get an item out. Which wouldn't have been so bad had Amazon not, at the same time, sent out warnings that you were late shipping your item and; therefore, a lousy excuse for a human being.
This and other issues were eventually resolved, though some issues took a couple weeks to fix (causing some sales to be canceled at seller or buyer request). But more recently other glitches began to pop up including one
where shipping cost options were nearly double the actual cost (guaranteed that many early-morning-before-the-first-coffee sellers didn't notice).
Then, April 25, the system looked to have broken down completely. When attempting to buy shipping sellers were met with notes like: "We are currently experiencing a system issue that is impacting Buy shipping. (04/25, 4:47 PDT)" and "No carriers are currently available for your shipment. Please wait 15 minutes and try again."
This all probably has more to do with saving Amazon a few pennies than with improving seller tools and increasing efficiency. I can't be the only oldster who wonders how everything can be getting better and worse at the very same time.
The recent shipping issue didn't last for a whole day but shipping quirks and glitches may sporadically continue. (Readers discovered an issue on Tuesday where the flat-rate envelope and small flat-rate box were missing as options - some have reported a workaround. And today, a seller reported: "Amazon is computing incorrect shipping today for sellers, Shipstation is unable to process labels because of a problem with Stamps.com and eBay's labels are working but not for manual label creation, or at least not for me."
Sellers concerned with getting items to buyers quickly might consider seeking alternate shipping methods as backups until Amazon's problems become less frequent.
About the Columnist
Bob has been buying and selling online for almost 20 years. Some experts claim that his limited budget was the major cause of the 2001 dot-com crash. He denies the charge.