|Tue Feb 26 2013 22:58:04|
Shipping Issues Plague eBay Sellers
By: Ina Steiner
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.