Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Feb 14 2013 21:54:09

eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers are still dealing with the fallout from eBay's unpreparedness for USPS changes that took effect on January 27, 2013, and it is costing them time and money.

First, a recap of what changed: The USPS renamed Parcel Post to Standard Post and, as we explained last month, eBay changed active listings with Parcel Post to the new comparable replacement service, Parcel Select. However, eBay does not make Parcel Select available through its eBay Labels program - it won't be available until March.

A lot of people were caught off-guard the week after the USPS changes went into effect, and sellers are still dealing with it. This week, I received an email from a seller who said eBay undercharged one of her buyers by $5.21, which had to come out of her pocket. She spent over an hour on the phone with eBay customer service.

"eBay says that the (shipping) calculator shows a rate that 21% off. The customer service lady I spoke to said that I as a seller must adjust my listings to accommodate this problem by:

1) Editing my 1,000 plus listings to eliminate shipping by weight and changing all of them to a fixed price based on cost to California, then refund any overages to my customers that live in closer zones.

2) After the buyer purchases my item, send them a non eBay invoice with the additional postage costs (yeah, like that is going to go over well with the buyers)

3) End all listings and wait for eBay to accommodate the changes from the USPS parcel select service until "March" (no exact date offered, could be March 1st or March 31st)."


Sellers are also discussing it on the boards. "As one who never, ever uses ParcelPost/Standard Post/Parcel Select, the eBay glitch is not affecting me at all. But I agree that eBay should have programmed the correct rates for their mailing/shipping options. If they could not do so, then they should have disabled Parcel Select entirely - remove it as a choice."

Another seller wrote, "I am pissed. Ebay offered Parcel and then I find out that the PO doesn't! Cost me 20.00 extra to ship Priority."

Sellers also discussed the issue in another thread, with one seller writing, "eBay has totally messed this up. Not only will they not offer printing of Parcel Select labels until March, but the shipping calculator is showing Parcel Select prices even when it's left at the default setting that shows the retail (i.e., over the counter at the PO) prices for  Priority Mail and First Class packages."

It's not clear what is taking eBay so long to make Parcel Select available to sellers, but it's clear it's costing some small sellers big money.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money   eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Feb 14 22:47:00 2013

My guess would be that eBay has a contract with Pitney Bowes who provides the software under contract.

It is obvious that eBay does not care about the inconvenience and higher costs sellers are facing. eBay has always believed sellers make too much money as evidenced by their outrageous fees and their propensity to always side with buyers in disputes.

eBay simply is too cheap to pay for a separate upgrade to the existing program when they will get it for free when their contract renews in March.

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by: Big Dog This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 14 23:12:36 2013

Thats about the normal for something that eBay would do.... But it makes you wonder if they (eBay) is TAKING the correct amount from the sellers on the shipping FVF, probably more for I have never know eBay to take less....  

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by: miaonorato This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 14 23:40:08 2013

Yes I agree that once again eBay was not ready for the change. I do have items that must be shipped Parcel Select/Standard Post and find myself running to the Post Office, then standing in line to get to the counter to pay for something I used to print myself. It's time consuming and bothersome, not to mention the $$ more I spend. I will be glad when they put it on our choices for shipping. Because I cannot calculate the cost I am marking up all my Parcel Select shipping items to cover what I think it may cost me?!? What a pain  

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

Fri Feb 15 00:13:44 2013

As one of EB's most frequent and vocal conspiracy theorists and damn proud of it, this is another example of ebafia management thumbing their collective overpaid middle fingers at sellers.

Ebafia has become excessively root bound with too many experience challenged adolescent managers who can't/won't/don't communicate with each other because they're too busy playing with their smartphones or whatever during meetings.

You'd better believe that if this unequivocal management failure were costing C level management any money at all, the recoding would be done within the week rather than in two months.

These nincompoops make the Keystone Cops look like Einstein.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Feb 15 00:14:10 2013

So, what else is new ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ...

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 00:32:40 2013

I am truly sick and tired of talking to ebay support people.  After so many years, they are trained to quickly pass the blame to the sellers.  They are not ashamed to make it sound that seller is being unreasonable and loud and blamed that seller was frustrated. This create opportunity to deflect on addressing the real issues.   They always end up with suggestions such as change each of your 1,000 items. It is your responsibility.   Each time you call, you get a different response to the same issue.  They are better liars now because they read the previous dialogue and keep ranting on the same lies.  All these behaviors are worst case customer service.  

Hey JD.  Stop taking 12% knowing a huge part of the revenue goes to paying shipping costs, postage cost, gasoline cost and car depreciation cost.   Stop hijacking 20% refund TSR that you used to bait sellers who achieve 4.99 5.0 5.0 5.0 DSRs.  

ebay should refund everyone 20% for January and February for all the mess.

I stopped selling to all countries except Canada because the rate could not be flat rated with others.  
I love selling to Australian, English and Brazilian and others.  Dumb ebay could not get them right for years.  

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 00:41:31 2013

When I get caught with one purchase to Australia, I simply wrote the buyer to shoulder the cost or cancel the transaction.  Luckily, the buyer agreed.  Sellers, please don't sent items at a loss.  Point to buyers that it is ebay's fault and negligence in making up-to-date changes and no alert whatsoever to USPS and ebay shipping fiasco.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 15 02:19:46 2013

Ebay's shipping calculator has had problems since the day Ebay brought it on line many years ago.  Yet people act so surprised when it messes up.  It has been doing it for years.  Sometimes it charges OK, sometimes it charges too much and of course sometimes it doesn't charge enough.  It's a hot mess and always has been.

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by: Done This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 05:31:05 2013

Luckily, I decided not to list anything that would have to go Parcel Select, so it is costing eBay some money there.  I fell for the ''free shipping'' a while back, but I am changing everything now back to calculated and not listing anything that I haven't checked over for shipping because I do normally sell about 1/3 of my items overseas.    Instead of my normal 500 listings, I now only have 22.  I'm not listing anything Parcel Select until eBay allows me to print labels from home. So eBay is losing money as well as me, but I figure that is better than me being caught with unexpected shipping costs due to this debacle.

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by: Gypsy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 07:13:57 2013

The really strange thing is that ebay is not showing Parcel Standard at all. The first time I went to the post office and said I was mailing a package Parcel Select, I was informed by the clerk that Parcel Select is similar to FedEx and that the correct choice is Parcel Standard. And in most cases, Parcel Standard costs the same as Priority Mail But ebay doesn't offer Parcel Standard as a choice. Yet another screw up on ebay's behalf.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Feb 15 07:40:35 2013

I do fixed price shipping and seldom used Parcel. Over the past year the few times I've had a heavy package I compared Parcel cost to Priority cost - with the USPS discount Priority was either very close in cost or even less! So I ended up using Priority Mail in most cases.

I figure the quicker a package gets to its destination the lower the chance something will go wrong. But then, I don't sell items that are extremely heavy or requiring large boxes.  

Perminate Link for eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money   eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Feb 15 08:03:13 2013

What I am hoping to see is many more sellers reverting back to charging for shipping as we all know that "free shipping" is only a myth.  eBay have been pushing this for sometime.  Let's all get real. There is no such thing as free shipping.  USPS postal rates are sky high now.  It is a burden on a sellers to pay for that too as they are already getting fleeced by eBay & PayPal fees.

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 09:06:58 2013

We ask ebay for the rates prior to the change and they told us that they didn't have them. How can any seller update their free shipping listings if they have 1000 or more. It's bad enough if it was just adding shipping cost but you have to figure the fees into the cost. One mistake and good bye profit. (just another cost of doing business)

We were looking at the shipping video they have and it says pack your order and take the weight and have it ready to ship. What do you do when a buyer buys three different items? Unpack every thing and hope the buyer does not pay and give you bad DSR. What about the FREE SHIPPING when the buyer is in the next state and you had to charge zone 8 shipping in your free shipping prices. I for got chances are you would not have been able to get that sale because another seller had a better price due to shipping advantage.

ebay need to review shipping and make it work good for all sellers. This unpreparedness shows that ebay has no clue on how to deal with shipping. They believe if it fits it ships and every thing is A Ok

 

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Feb 15 09:18:29 2013

Good grief! Things like this are no longer surprising. Nevertheless, it is ASTOUNDING to me that such an incompetent company stays in business!

Over the years, in spite of my ongoing overall dissatisfaction with eBay, I continued to hope for the best and try to figure out ways to manage. --- It took me a long time to finally get so fed up with eBay that I couldn't stand it any more.

With this latest costly f-up, I wonder how many other sellers will find that this was the straw that broke *their* camel's back.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 10:36:01 2013

Shows that from the ceo & Board Members could care less about any impact on the small to medium sellers(unless they are from China). They only care about how they can inflate the stock price and this attitude trickles down to the lowest employee. In other words nobody and I mean NOBODY at ebay cares about sellers or how to build a company. They just know how to destroy.  

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 12:00:30 2013

I just want to pass a comment here to all the sellers who say ''we all know free shipping is not free shipping.'' When I have hundreds of unique items already in inventory, already priced, and some on the shelf for quite some time, raising all my prices and then offering free shipping would not make my customers happy. Almost 60% of my sales are repeat buyers. I wouldn't be surprised if there are others like me who began to offer free shipping (when sales died in early Dec) and will just expense it. Since I did, in December, my sales have at least tripled. Honest. I am a believer now. So I think I'm staying  with it. (I DO factor the additional cost into new listings.)

Perminate Link for eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money   eBay Unpreparedness for USPS Changes Costs Sellers Money

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 12:25:51 2013

I can't believe ebay would not be ready for a scheduled change to the postage rates with appropriate changes to the shipping calculator.

That is just outrageous.  They are getting paid.  They should have been ready.

Furthermore, if you have free shipping you are supposed to edit all your listings, what if you have thousands?  That's the problem with that fake free shipping ebay has been shoving down our throats.

A level playing field would be for everyone to pay for what they need.  If you are farther away you should pay more shipping.  If you are closer you can pay less.  That we should have to charge enough to pay for shipment to the farthest location is a terrible competitive disadvantage and if you don't do it you will be put down on the 130th page in search so you sell nothing. Free shipping is a big part of the problem. If you don't have it you are exposed to buyers rating you on your shipping charge, even if you are losing money.

Outrageous. Ebay is a totally terrible selling platform today.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Fri Feb 15 12:41:35 2013

Endicia has had Parcel Select for a while. I rarely use Paypal/Ebay shipping any more because Endicia is more reliable. I do free shipping because I sell mostly small, lightweight items, but occasionally I'll sell something larger. I try to stick with fixed-rate shipping so as not to mess with Ebay's calculator. On international sales I subsidize a bit of the shipping, but have a couple of standard fixed rates depending on the country. I don't trust Ebay to calculate things peoperly.

As for the CSR's advice, aren't they penalizing people for too many refunds these days? Refunding postage overcharges could come back to bite a seller in the backside, not to mention whatever Paypal or Ebay fees you might not get back afterward. I'm glad I don't sell stuff that's too big or heavy.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 12:58:10 2013

Can you IMAGINE if you called say SEARS and wanted a widget sent from NY to PA and they told you they would be charging you an UNKNOWN amount of shipping but that it would cover postage to CALIFIRNIA--and then maybe if they got around to it they would REFUND you the difference?  

Can you IMAGINE Amazon NOT KNOWING and not accommodating a POSTAL CHANGE????

Where DO these ebay "Management Types" get OFF telling US that it is the SELLERS RESPONSIBILITY to change and figure out and keep up with something THEY are going to CHARGE US FOR????

I am pretty dang sure that the PO or some other software co. HAD these rates all  parceled up and ready to roll the instant the change took place.  Ebay was simply TOO CHEAP to buy that program or --heavens!!!----PAY one of their own brain dead "programmers" to actually DO THEIR JOB and import the numbers.

Did we EXPECT any less?  

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by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 15 18:24:29 2013

Calculated shipping is over-charging buyer's for UPS ground sometimes by 40% higher than the on-line UPS rate

Where it really hurts is in a best offer situation we can't change the shipping to the correct amount so buyers won't accept some of our counter offer's

We are also making numerous shipping refunds where buyer's use the Buy-It-Now feature

Ebay CSR's tell me it's a know issue with no timetable for a fix

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