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Fri Mar 23 2018 09:12:01

USPS Catches eBay Seller Paying Incorrect Postage

By: Ina Steiner

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The US Postal Service is now checking packages sent using online postage providers (eBay, Stamps.com, ShipRush, Pitney Bowes, USPS Click N Ship, etc.) to see if the sender paid the correct rate. A reader forwarded a letter he received from eBay after his package was flagged by the USPS Automated Package Verification System.

The good news: the error was in his favor.

It's good to know the Postal Service isn't just dinging sellers who have underpaid -it's also crediting sellers who overpaid.

Because he had purchased the shipping label through eBay, the notification came from eBay. Interestingly he had first received a notification from PayPal stating it had issued him a credit, but because it was worded strangely, he deleted the email.

Interestingly the eBay letter did not mention anything about crediting the seller for the commission it charged him (sellers pay Final Value Fees on the amount of the item PLUS shipping).

We've written about the new USPS package verification program that launched last August and thought readers would be interested in seeing a sample eBay notification. (It probably won't take scammers long to start spoofing such emails, so as usual, when you receive such emails, don't click on embedded links to log in.)


Notice the USPS calls out what must be some common errors on the part of shippers:

- Package weight
- Package dimensions
- Shipping service

Pay attention to such notifications - the notice says shippers have 15 business days to dispute: "If you think these adjustments are incorrect, you can contact USPS Customer Care at 1-844-819-5187 or verifypostagehelp@usps.gov to open a dispute. USPS will respond within 5-15 business days."

Feel free to send us similar emails you receive from online postage providers, whether they're in your favor or not.



Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 10:29:36 2018

LORD - ITS A MIRACLE!  (being notified of an OVERpayment)

I've gotten a few (less then 6) and funny - they were ALL when I used eBay tape.

I used it since it was free (I didnt need any boxes or padded enveloped this time).

I learned my lesson - anything associated with eBay (King Midas in reverse) turns to crap ... so I stopped using it.

I also no longer buy labels for shipping on eBay - so that also solves the problem....

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by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 10:38:54 2018

Pace: I've never used ebay shipping supplies or labels. Have avoided it like the plague. I keep things simple,

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 13:46:22 2018

the problem is, if you dispute it, how do they determine that they indeed are incorrect?

the other problem is, they still give china penny shipping so they can all rot in the abyss


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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 13:47:25 2018

another thing, if usps is so worried about postage, why dont they yell at ebay for lieing about first class being 2 to 3 days instead of 2 to 5 days?

Usps are hypocrits

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Mar 23 16:20:20 2018

"Interestingly the eBay letter did not mention anything about crediting the seller for the commission it charged him (sellers pay Final Value Fees on the amount of the item PLUS shipping)."

There is no reason that it should.  FVF on shipping is NOT based on what the seller paid for the actual shipping.  The FVF on Shipping has ALWAYS been on the amount the Buyer paid at the time of payment.

@mcposty

Ebay uses the ETA dates for USPS as supplied by USPS.  They [Ebay] did NOT just make them up as many seem to believe.

https://www.usps.com/ship/welcome.htm

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 23 18:59:11 2018

Actually it said 2 to 5 they must have changed it recently

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Mar 24 02:25:57 2018

I have no answers for you.  I don't know what you saw or where you saw it.  When Ebay started the ETAs I checked it then and in matched.  And over the years I've checked it every so often and it still matches.

I'm by no means defending it as I COMPLETELY agree they are wrong.  I'm only saying you are blaming the wrong people / company for this issue.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Mar 25 22:45:12 2018

I always punch in the next higher ounce. I figure better safe than sorry.....so far so good....Stamps.com.
I NEVER use a selling venue's shipping labels. Too much can go wrong.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Mar 26 00:23:07 2018

Twice in the last month, I have been ever so slightly over the threshold and shipped it anyway at the lower rate (for instance, a few grams over the 16 oz first class limit).  So far, so good.  

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by: GretchensFetchins This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 01:05:03 2018

Why should eBay offer a rebate on the FVF. In most cases these over/under charges are a pound short or long. A dollar. Is a dime really worth the complaint?

More to the point, I and many others increase the actual weight of an item when using calculated shipping (which I always use) a pound or two to cover the increased costs--which include eBay fees and Paypal fees--so the buyer has already reimbursed me for the money ecommerce is claiming I'm owed.

If I didn't use recycle for packaging it would be a bit more.

I even have a spread sheet app that I adjust to the yearly postage increases to tell me what I need to increase that add to and at what "break point" it needs to change from 1 to 2 to 3.  

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by: kazaly This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 01:09:30 2018

@Marie - One source of confusion re ETA's is that if a seller views these while logged in the ETA will be for postage to the sellers own address (hence different to the estimate the buyer would see).

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 01:29:02 2018

About 4 years ago, I created a spreadsheet with USPS commercial rates for the services & weights I use the most. I update it whenever USPS makes changes. The spreadsheet is just a click away on my desktop!

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 26 01:35:36 2018

Some sellers just don't seem to 'get it'. I remember reading on a forum once that a seller will use a package weighing in at 3.5 as 3 ounces even though in reality it should be charged as 4 ounces. Then something that is 4.1 they will charge as 3 ounces. They just don't seem to 'get' the partial ounces in the weights. Currently both 3 & 4 ounces cost the same, but the next postage rate increase could change that and those that aren't used to using the correct weights may get bit for not having the correct weights until they get enough letters from the usps. Over many years of selling on line, I have heard of many sellers admitting to small weight infractions or other little ways to shave off costs. I just shake my head and figure some day they will get caught and will wish that they had established good habits in the first place. If a few cents over time will make or break your busines, then you need to take a closer look at your business plan.  

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 02:08:52 2018

I don't know what they teach in elementary school math these days, but I was taught to ''round down'' if the fraction was less than .5, and ''round up'' if it was greater than .5.

USPS rounds EVERYTHING up.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 26 02:28:13 2018

@GretchensFetchins

FVFs are NOT based on the postage paid.  So there is no argument that holds water on that subject.  Ebay has NEVER charged a FVF on the actual carrier amount paid.  It has ALWAYS been based on the amount the buyer pays to the seller.  The two are not always the same.

@kazaly

I'm unsure of your comment.  The ETAs you refer to has nothing to do with them paying the incorrect postage amount.  What you describe is not a sale, but just someone viewing various different listings.

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by: ewegolf This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 07:31:35 2018

On Bonanza, when you list and choose First-Class Mail as the shipping method, it shows 2 - 3 day delivery.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 26 10:08:03 2018

Add an ounce or two & you'll be fine...  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 26 12:21:10 2018

When shipping FCP, adding an ounce or two will get expensive in time due to the January increases.  Just weigh your items accurately and pay the appropriate rate.

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by: Windkissed This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 26 18:39:43 2018

I have always used the correct weight and I round up to the next ounce or pound, sometimes add an extra ounce just for the jollies of it if it does not increase the cost.  I get better service with 1st class mail than Priority.  I have never fudged on any of my packages.  I also do not used preprinted labels.  I keep it simple and use printed paper and tape, with no problem.  I recycle everything too.  I find other ways to cut cost besides trying flim flam USPS.  Like using lightweight paper to print packing slips, shipping in vinyl packages for items that don;t require extra packing or fear of damages.  Using lightweight corrogated boxes I get from the Dollar Tree saves a bunch, they are China boxes and weigh a whole lot less than American boxes.



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