Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Feb 26 2013 22:58:04

Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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I don't remember a time when I've seen so many questions from readers about eBay shipping issues - and they involve all three major carriers - USPS, UPS and FedEx. First, we've documented a lot of the trouble stemming from USPS changes to Parcel Post - see this blog post, for example. eBay is supposed to have a resolution in March.

I'm also hearing rumblings about whether eBay is dropping UPS as a preferred partner in favor of FedEx. I raised the issue with eBay when contacting them over the following UPS issue - keep reading...

Last week a seller wrote in describing a problem in which UPS rates were suddenly showing as too high. "For about a month," he wrote, "items we have sold on eBay or had received a best offer's on that use UPS Calculated shipping, the shipping has been priced to high or overcharged buyers, resulting in us issuing many refunds for shipping over-payments."

He said after looking into the issue, he noticed "all of our listings - over a 1000 of them - had changed to UPS standard rates and no longer offered the discounted UPS Online rates to buyers." He made numerous calls to eBay customer service. "Roll forward to today I again called eBay support and upon telling the US based CSR my issue they told me eBay's contract with UPS had ended and going forward would no longer offer UPS as a shipper and that's why only UPS standard rates are available now."

"She further stated FEDEX would now be the preferred carrier and USPS, when asked why FedEx was a preferred carrier and why they have not added FedEx to the Shipping calculator she could not comment but told (me) just use UPS standard rates."

I asked eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore about this seller's report, and Moore said eBay had not turned off any service to display UPS discounted rates and said UPS "Paid at Store Rates" and "Online Rates" (retail and eBay-discounted rates) could be found by logging into one's eBay account and accessing the Shipping Calculator.

In response to the seller's statement that rates were too high for listings that use calculated shipping, Moore said, "We run frequent tests on these outputs of estimated charges within the calculator to ensure that the correct amount is being displayed. Regarding claims of inaccuracy, please provide us the eBay user ID for this seller as we'll need to take a look at this particular user case."

I had also reached out to UPS spokesperson Laurie Mallis, who said nothing had changed, and they had no plans to change anything in regards to what UPS rates a seller can make visible to the buyers. "Sellers could never (and still cannot) pass on their actual UPS negotiated rate to the buyer. This seller should make sure that their eBay preferences are set to calculate UPS rates based on Standard List Rates, rather than on Retail Rates."

Mallis said the seller may still end up paying UPS a lower rate based on their UPS discounts, but said this setting would get the buyer seeing and paying a UPS rate to the seller that is much closer to the actual rate, and she provided a screenshot.



Mallis also said, "please note that at this time, showing Calculated Rates to buyers is available on eBay for USPS and UPS only (not FedEx). If the seller wants to offer FedEx services in their listing, then the seller must offer Free shipping or Flat Rate Shipping (same rate to all buyers). We are continuing to work with eBay as well as offer alternate solutions to some of the sellers."

So what about the rumors about eBay and FedEx? I asked eBay's Ryan Moore if he could confirm whether or not UPS was losing its contract with eBay and that FedEx would become the preferred carrier.

Moore responded, "I'm unable to speculate on the conversation that was had (between the seller and the eBay customer service rep), but of all of the carriers that we allow for label printing on the eBay platform, we do not specifically promote one over the other."

When will eBay add FedEx to the shipping calculator, and will eBay be removing UPS?

"Currently, we do not have FedEx on the eBay Shipping Calculator, but we are currently working on additional FedEx services to be launched this year."

Shipping is one of the most important and potentially costly parts of online sellers' operations, and it's hard to keep track of, especially for a small company that doesn't have a person dedicated to shipping and logistics. Let us know what you're seeing and if you've found 2013 a particularly challenging year when it comes to shipping.




Comments (19) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

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

Wed Feb 27 01:55:21 2013

Is there ANYTHING that ebafia can do correctly other than remove money from our PreyPal accounts?

What is is about ebafia kulture that transforms merely the lazy adolescents ebafia prefers to hire instead of adults into pathological liars?

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Wed Feb 27 12:03:22 2013

I suspect it is a strategy within their hidden agenda in order to make Free Shipping become available for next year. With all the rates in conflict and seller shipping ratings, even a blind mouse can see this coming. Just offer Free Shipping and increase your start bid price and they will detest you for it but at the end of a closing day, YOU will be better off. Time for you to wake up!

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Feb 27 13:26:54 2013

Why would eBay rush to fix a system error which ends up generating higher revenue for them?

By not displaying discounted UPS rates in favor of displaying higher standard UPS rates, eBay conveniently creates a "glitch" where by they coincidentally receive higher Final Value Fees on the higher priced shipping option.

Sellers, do not be fooled into believing that this is an error. eBay has deliberately created this glitch in order to increase profits during a traditionally slower retail sales period.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Feb 27 16:24:21 2013

Brand new problems with shipping labels today, see Ecommerce EGK and eBay boards!

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 20:30:22 2013

Not to mention that they HAVE NEVER COMBINED ORDERS- instead they BILL EACH ITEM AND IT'S S/H SEPERATELY leaving sellers to REFUND after they have taken an UNCOMBINED CUT off of EACH shipping and handling!!!
COMBINE these orders Ebay- GIVE US A CHANCE to discount the shipping on COMBINED orders- STOPPING SEPERATING orders and STEALING from OUR buyers!!!!!!
If you want buyers to buy multiple items CHARGE YOUR THIEVING SHIPPING PERCENTAGE from the total reduced s/h we charge!!
Mass Howler
(THEFT).

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Wed Feb 27 21:04:25 2013

isn't the cart supposed to combine shipping automatically?  can't you setup discount rules?

ric - i think u r mistaking incompetence and complacency for malice and deception.  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 27 23:56:34 2013

I constantly have Ebay charge each item separate from a buyer and therefore have to not only pay Ebay more in shipping surcharge fees, but also Paypal double and triple charges, as well. I don't bother to complain that would be  waste of my time. I figure millions of sales X extra final value postage fees and extra Paypal transaction  fees count up to millions of dollars overcharged to sellers and buyers each year. Unethical, yes, but unfortunately, probably not a chargeable offense.  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 00:32:50 2013

Today, 27th. ebay shipping down again. Very frustrating when you are trying to ship out orders in a timely fashion.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 01:13:45 2013

So no big deal. The UPS contract is over. We still get discounts but the ebay shipping calculator is higher.

Extra profit!  No problem with that. Ebay has been bereft of profit for too long.  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: miaonorato This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 01:23:47 2013

I agree with most of the people. The ridiculous over-charging of all those fees eBay & Pay Pal take sure do add up. I run a very small site on eBay, only selling under 50 item per month. I had a ''store'' and found out recently I was ''not'' getting the 50 free auction listings because I had a ''store''. So...I canceled the store and I did see a huge reduction in costs. I stopped calling eBay CSR's, they have always given me wrong information. With the exception of a couple times I was connected with an adult that had the knowledge to actually do something right and Correct the problem.
I was offering ''free Shipping'' before the USPS change of 1/27/13, but after that change I found that if I upped my starting prices to include the higher shipping I wasn't selling as well. So... I switched strategies and started charging for shipping and lowered the starting prices and what do you know?? I started selling more again. So I'm sticking with charging for shipping. I have NEVER used the Calculator...so I will never have the problem that others have. I weight all my items before hand, including tissue paper and labels, that way I know exactly what the shipping cost will be. Mind you only smaller sites would be able to do that for obvious reasons.      

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Elizabeth M This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 04:35:31 2013

If you wonder why International sales have suddenly dropped off this past week... check the ''eBay postage quote'' on your listing!   Instead of the actual $6.95 postage it takes to ship an item overseas, eBay is quoting over $12.00!   WATCH YOU PRINTED LABELS, people!   When you PRINT First Class International labels using eBay's ''handy and helpful'' shipping label link... you are paying 30 to 50% MORE than what the post office charges!  EBays' representative called it a Convenience Charge.  Uh huh!   Convenient for... me?  The customer???  First, they take 11% of the postage, then they make a huge profit for... printing it using MY printer, MY ink, and MY paper?  Make sense to meeeeeee!  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: salesrep1 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 05:22:02 2013

Elizabeth:if you wonder why International sales have suddenly dropped off this past week... check the ''eBay postage quote'' on your listing!   Instead of the actual $6.95 postage it takes to ship an item overseas, eBay is quoting over $12.00!  

Actually its not Ebay the USPS charges on 5oz going to Great Britan $12.75 so unless you are using the letter version to ship items I doubt you can do any less going to the Post Office if envelope is rigid or over 3/4 of an inch thick these are the new rates. They were wrong to tell you it is a convenience charge. I ship Packages to my son in England and it truly doubled on 1/27.
Ebay has its problems but we all must agree shipping has gotten very complicated. Unless you do what the gal earlier said weight each item to include the packaging material box and so forth it is a night mare to get it right each time.
My favorite shipping tool is the Regional Boxes if you figure it out how they work it becomes your best friend.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Feb 28 06:33:25 2013

How can this be the best place to sell?

You spend too much time trying to resolve these needless problems. This is not the first time there has been a problem with the shipping calculator.

How long has the shaping calculator caused problems? 10 years?

Uh-huh... YEARS.

When YOU  screw up on eBay and provide poor service how many decades are YOU allowed to do it for?  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 07:34:13 2013

  Ric, I agree, ebay deliberately create glitches that enrich itself.  All glitches in years were always OVERCHARGING and no single under charging case.
  These glitches are not random at all.   It is clearly manipulated.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 28 09:20:38 2013

Ebay announced FedEx integration back on Dec. 13 2012
They stated;
Great news: FedEx on eBay Labels is now available to ALL sellers! - December 13th, 2012 -

I can't imagine why Ebay announced something like FedEx integration that would impact thousands of sellers without being anywhere close to ready to implement fully

Ebay is the best venue for our type of items and shipping cost has been an area of contention on Ebay as they push for free shipping,sellers of larger heavier items won't be able to make this "free Shipping" business model work for buyer's

A viable accurate shipping calculator is a must to maintain the buyer experience with the seller and Ebay

That said sounds like Ebay doesn't think there's an issue that needs a fix sooner rather than later  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: twentyjuan

Thu Feb 28 11:45:02 2013

I've been using Endicia to print postage for years. They send ebay the tracking number as soon as you print the postage. It is not perfect, I find that if a customer orders more than one item, it has trouble sending ebay the tracking number, so I enter those manually. I prefer to stay away from ebay and all the glitches, especially with postage related errors. Postage is my highest expense, next to ebay fees I don;t need ebay making postage mistakes too. Also, with regard to the post above, with endicia premium (15.95 a month) you get a better rate for international shipping, as long as you use their International shipping label which already has the customs form built in. So instead of 12.75 for a 5 to 8 oz package, I only pay $11.48.  

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Thu Feb 28 12:41:49 2013

Another reason to offer FREE SHIPPING !

I'm *so* glad I've gone to free shipping, and I don't have to worry about all these problems.

I know free shipping is not for everybody. But as a small seller of OOAK items, generally 5 lbs. or less -- it's one of the best moves I've ever made on eBay.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Feb 28 15:29:47 2013

@miaonorato
I've had an almost identical experience as you.

When I went back to separating shipping and price after giving ''free'' shipping a try (sales tanked) my sales went back up and customers went back to multi purchases again!  

However, I sell more than 50 items a month (except when I tried the ''free'' shipping), so I do still have an eBay store.

But I ditched the Shipping Calculator like you. At one point it added an additional $20 to each calculation for USA shipments. Customers were emailing me about it - only I could not see the $20 from my end. eBay customer service could see it but did not know why it was doing it (we both troubleshooted every setting we could think of). SO - reasonable fixed price shipping all the way from now on!

I lose a small bit now & then on heavier west coast shipments but not having to deal with the temperament of that  shipping calculator is worth it.

Perminate Link for Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers   Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 4 23:38:33 2013

It looks like you will have to offer FREE SHIPPING or pray you don't get to many 1 DSR's for shipping not being vary reasonable.

Close your eyes and rip off the buyer or try to issue credit and fight over final value fees as you watch your search going down.

ebay says profit is not against the law. Buyer smile when they here Free Shipping but then go buy from some one that has a lower price.

Smile and bend over a say Yea ebay we love you!  



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