Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Oct 27 2016 18:18:34

USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

By: Ina Steiner

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During a weekly chat session on Wednesday, eBay solicited questions from sellers about the USPS Revenue Assurance Program. It's a forthcoming program whereby the USPS will ask postage providers (like eBay, Stamps.com, Endicia, etc.) to charge sellers for packages it has found with insufficient postage applied.

eBay moderators explained, "USPS has started installing machines which will automatically capture actual weight and dimensions. They are passing that data to us and we will start charging on USPS's behalf. But if you feel that the charged is not justified, there will be a disputes process where you as seller can come to eBay/USPS and raise disputes. We are still working on specifics of it and will keep our community informed."

But no one seemed to know about the program, and eBay has since pulled down the page it had published shortly before the chat session. It has not responded to our request for more information.

This could be a controversial program - in thinking about it, we identified some potential pros and cons.

Pros: 
- No delays in package getting to customer (PO won't return to sender)
- No unpleasant surprises for buyer (no more packages with "postage due")
- Reduction in bad sellers potentially getting away with underpaying for postage
- Sellers will be reimbursed for overpayments

Cons: 
- Unpredictable reduction in funds - potentially long after mailing)
- Difficult to reconcile accounting-wise
- Difficult to dispute

Let us know what you think!




Comments (45) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Nuts2U This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 27 18:38:39 2016

Re: "But if you feel that the charged is not justified, there will be a disputes process where you as seller can come to eBay/USPS and raise disputes."

That declaration should strike fear in the heart of every seller. No doubt this dispute process will be as helpful as eBay's horrific marketplace dispute process. Good luck with that.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 27 22:11:22 2016

As they mmake sure they bilk each and every red cent from the US sellers, the Chinese sellers can continue to ship stuff for pennies on the dollar to the us. Change you can believe in indeed.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Oct 27 22:44:12 2016

From the article: "[W]e will start charging on USPS's behalf."

Knowing how everything eBay touches turns into a "glitch" of one form or another, I can foresee eBay billing sellers for many times what is actually owed. Or worse, billing sellers when nothing is owed.

I hope eBay plans to provide some sort of money due statement from the USPS, as I wouldn't trust anything that was issued straight from eBay.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Oct 27 23:36:28 2016

Just wondering how and if this would have an impact on USPS international shipping for those not going through ebay's GSP.

There should be a detailed statement so sellers would have something to reference from just in case there are any questionable transactions.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Oct 27 23:39:26 2016

The idea is horrifying, especially about the 'dispute' process! While I can understand the thought process behind it, Once a package is in the mail and somewhere in the process it gets scanned, it is now out of the seller's hands and not yet in the buyer's yet there will still be the potential for charges accumulating whether justified or not. How would the seller dispute that they had the correct postage when something on the PO end glitched? They no longer have the package and the buyer sure has no plans to go to the PO for the seller to have the item re-weighed and measured to see if the seller was right or the PO scanners working I am sure on a very busy sorting lines.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 27 23:51:55 2016

Haha. USPS is installing weighing equipment that FedEx and UPS installed 10+ years ago.

I don't have a problem with this. I've never had to dispute a FedEx or UPS package. I round up (when applicable) and never had a problem.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 00:12:51 2016

Weigh your package then generate a label. It's that simple.

Get Ebay involved and any possible simplicity goes out the window.

This is a really bad idea!  

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: cash4clothesbozeman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 01:53:38 2016

Who Decides here?  A machine? or Rogue Post masters that say a bulging flat rate package should be charged more money.  I have had a flat rate package that was cut down to be made smaller and the post office tried to charge the customer an extra 7.00 for an "altered package"  I was down this road before with flat rate.  now it seems we with first class it is going to be a cluster.  How much money is going to be spent trying to retrieve an extra 1-2 dollars on a package?  Is the post office going to identify abusers and have them fined or banned?   This has Cluster written all over it.  Thank you  Bruce Wendt

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Lainie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 02:25:29 2016

I got a letter from ebay about this a few days ago.  According to them the letter was triggered because one of my buyers wanted me to ship a first class item priority.  He had asked to pay the difference.  I have no idea why that would trigger this warning letter but it did.  Heaven help us, this has the potential to be a huge screw up.  This is the letter I got:  

We've noticed that you have underpaid the postage cost for one or more of your recent USPS shipments. We wanted to give you a heads up that soon, eBay — and all other USPS vendors — will be charging sellers for underpayments and remitting the amount due to USPS.

Here are some reasons why you might have underpaid, plus quick tips to calculate accurate shipping costs:

   Be sure your scale is accurate and that you enter the correct weight when you print your label. Remember to always round up (ex. if your package weighs 2.1lbs, you need to pay postage for 3lbs, not 2lbs).
   Measure your packages carefully, and enter correct dimensions.
   Always use the right packaging for the service you use. For example, don't use a Priority Mail Flat Rate label on a box intended for a different service.
   Make sure you use the right service for the item you're shipping. For example, don't use a First Class Package label on a package that weighs more than one pound.
   Always ship your package from the zone indicated on the label. For example, if you print a label for California, don't take it to a USPS station in Nevada.

Get more details to help you calculate accurate shipping costs. If you have any questions about the USPS Revenue Assurance Program, we're holding a community chat on October 26 from 1-2pm Pacific Time.

As always, thank you for selling on eBay.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

This user has validated their user name. by: mcfiver

Fri Oct 28 04:00:30 2016

I'm curious why the postal service wants to involve anyone in this process but the original shipper. When I have odd-shaped or heavier items, prior to listing, they're simply prepacked, measured and weighed, then added to the shipping field. I've never had a problem. On anything expensive, I simply ask the post office to confirm package weight when dropped off. This is a non-issue.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 05:09:58 2016

Just wondering how and if this would have an impact on USPS international shipping for those not going through ebay's GSP.
^^
The only internatl shipping I do is to Canada.  If someone outside the US wants to buy I ask them to give me their Fedex/DHL account number to ship.  It's too hazardous to ship overseas, too much can go wrong.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 05:52:13 2016

if they put this into practice, ebay will NEVER see my postage again. I'll buy thru Click'nShip.  I refuse to be blackmailed by ebay on the pretense that I short-changed USPS.  Who half the time has no damn clue what rates they are offering where.   Just try to get a counter clerk to sell you postage for a 15 oz package at the first class parcel rate.. Go ahead, I dare you.  it's an exercise in futility.  Like "selling"  on ebay.. or "not selling" actually

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 06:35:49 2016

I wish the post office and Fleecebay all the luck in the world with this farce.

As for us we use regular postage stamps to mail our packages. Stick them all over the boxes in different price ranges. The post office hasn't the intelligence to count to ten without using their toes, we have no reason to believe their machines will be able to either.

On line postage is a farce. Buy your stamps at 60 per cent off and save some money. Make the post office work for theirs and pass on Fleecebay and Paypig shipping labels.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Oct 28 07:48:35 2016

I smell a big hot mess.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 08:40:41 2016

@rexford

"I smell a big hot mess."  Yup!

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 09:04:58 2016

I'd rather have the post office return any package they think isn't accurate. That way I'd have something I could dispute. There would be no way to dispute anything otherwise after I find out a month or so after shipping that USPS and Ebay feel I've undercharged.

The post office should concentrate on getting more money from China rather than spending hundreds of $s to "catch" a few Ebay sellers who might be undercharging. If they send the packages back, any sellers who do this kind of thing on purpose will stop doing it!

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: StClare This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 09:05:14 2016

Beth -

This applies to Click'nShip, Paypal, Stamps.com, etc. as well. This is a USPS program, not an eBay program, and will be apply to all parcels with printed postage tht enter the stream without over-the -counter intervention.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 09:27:47 2016

Don't forget the fee eBay will charge for each dispute

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 28 10:00:02 2016

Wonder how much of a surcharge ebay will add on?
I think the biggest problem is items being sent media mail that do not qualify in any way. Huge saving for the sellers.  I have rec'd at least a dozen packages in the last few years marked media and it was not. Last time I didn't even open and took it to the post office.  They did nothing but mark it return.
The China postage is the biggest problem USPS has regarding a financial loss. Until that is corrected, they will always show a huge loss every quarter.

Perminate Link for USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers   USPS to Seek Postage-Due from Sellers through Providers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Oct 28 10:18:54 2016

I would also be willing to bet that just as eBay receives a commission on every label sold, they will also negotiate a way in which they will receive a bounty for collections as well.

Once there is a profit motive baked in for eBay, all expectation of reasonable expectations and fair treatment flies right our the window.

Just as eBay decides in the buyers favor in virtually all disputes, eBay will also side with USPS in these cases as well.

This contentions issue where eBay will decide in USPS favor in order to receive their commission will become yet another reason sellers hate their trading partner and will give even more sellers a reason to abandon the marketplace.

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