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Tue Aug 26 2014 16:13:21

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on eBay

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
If you choose to publish this, please do not include any part of my name or email address.

I have found a problem with the shipping cost calculator for sellers printing Fedex labels on eBay. In many cases, the shipping cost estimator shows the buyer's address is a business address, but the seller later gets charged the higher residential delivery rate.

When printing Fedex shipping labels through eBay, the box showing whether the buyer's address is residential is sometimes checked, but often it is not. An eBay CSR told me the buyer specifies whether their delivery address is business or residential. Fedex charges about $3.25 more per package if the delivery is residential.

Often, the buyer chooses the cheapest shipping method, which is often Parcel Post or Parcel Select. When printing a shipping label, though, eBay sometimes shows Fedex shipping as cheaper than Parcel Post, so I may choose that to save a buck or two and so the buyer gets their package sooner.

If the eBay screen shows the delivery address is a business address, but it is actually a residential address, Fedex charges the residential delivery surcharge. Since I don't find out the actual Fedex shipping cost until I get my eBay seller invoice up to a month later, I don't know what the actual charge is until after the package has been delivered.

I thought I was saving a little on shipping based on the eBay estimated Fedex shipping cost, but I end up paying more because it was a residential delivery address, though eBay showed it as a business address. This is misleading to the seller.

While $3.25 or so doesn't seem like a lot, it certainly eats into the already-thin profit margins on eBay sales. I'm not disputing the $3.25 additional charge for residential delivery, just the lack of transparency in displaying the actual shipping cost on the eBay shipping screen.

I might ship 40 to 50 packages a month that get this extra charge, so it can end up costing me an extra $150 or more per month in unexpected fees.

Additionally, eBay may get a kickback from Fedex for the amount of shipping purchased through eBay, so that would provide further profit for eBay because of this misleading information. Though eBay customer service claims it is the buyer that checks whether their delivery address is business or residential, as a buyer, I have never seen that option listed when I have purchased items on eBay.

I don't know if this is a simple oversight (or a "glitch"), or if eBay is intentionally misleading sellers into thinking the shipping cost is lower than it really is, and not showing the actual shipping cost to the seller for up to a month when the seller gets their next eBay seller invoice.

This might be a buyer scam, too. If the buyer actually does specify whether their shipping address is business or residential, some buyers may say it is a business address so they can get lower shipping costs on their purchases, then the seller gets billed the higher residential delivery cost after the item has been delivered.

eBay must already link to the Fedex web site to get the shipping cost based on the ship from and ship to addresses, along with the package size and weight. Also, from my experience printing Fedex shipping labels from their web site, Fedex knows if the address is a business or residential address. Why doesn't eBay get that bit of information from Fedex to display a more accurate shipping cost estimate to sellers when printing the shipping labels?

For the time being, I Google the address. The first few Google search results usually indicate if it is a business or residence. If not, Google Maps usually shows the building, and I can usually tell by the aerial or street view photo if it is a residence or business. I shouldn't have to go through that hassle, though, when Fedex already knows if an address is business or residential, but eBay doesn't pass that information along to the seller to give a more accurate shipping estimate.
D.




Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

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

Tue Aug 26 16:36:25 2014

W9uld it surprise anyone here that ebafia could be pocketing the difference between FedX residential and home delivery?

It certainly wouldn't surprise me. Maybe the OP could punish ebafia by switching to USPS and its pricing structure.

Eabfia: the world's largest criminal syndicate.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 26 18:24:01 2014

Fact: Every eBay "glitch" puts more money in eBay's pockets. Being the skeptic I am when it comes to eBay, I wouldn't be surprised if they intentional showed you cheaper FedEx pricing just so they could do a "bait and switch" and charge you more. It's probably not worth your time, but perhaps you can develop a chart to show you what the true cost you'll be paying to ship via FedEx versus shipping by USPS. And it's despicable that you don't know what you're paying until way after the fact.  

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 26 19:34:42 2014

Is it possible this is just a mistake or is it intentional?

The countless errors always seem to cost sellers, rarely are they in favor of the sellers. Users can come to their own conclusions.

I think the house plays with loaded deck.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

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

Tue Aug 26 21:22:11 2014

I wonder... what rate does Fedex/UPS charge for residential businesses?

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 26 23:32:16 2014

@Annie,

There's no such thing as a 'residential business'. At least for FedEx Ground, the ultimate call on business/residential lies with the driver when he scans the package at delivery.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 26 23:41:04 2014

I would not rely on eBay to determine business/residential or delivery area surcharges. eBay is probably only using the ZIP.  The only 'solution' is to charge more handling up front and possibly refund later.

We print our labels directly from the FedEx website, and I'm not aware of any case where we were ultimately billed more than the quoted rate.

Anyone can request a FedEx rep and negotiate some sort of discount.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Wed Aug 27 10:13:26 2014

That's a FEDEX surcharge for Residential Home Delivery. It is calculated by FEDEX, not Ebay. Addresses already are programmed in the system as to whether they are residential or commercial. I use the Fedex website for labels and when you enter an address, it tells you what it is.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Wed Aug 27 14:22:14 2014

I apparently should have hit "read more" a little sooner.  

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Aug 27 22:57:21 2014

Fedex and UPS are almost always higher the USPS.

Ebay screws up almost everything they touch.

Save yourself some pain. Just use USPS

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: NYSteve This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 27 23:18:30 2014

FED Ex has lots of add on charges, and NONE of them are shown in your ebay 'estimate' of fed ex shipping charges.
I don't think you can buy insurance thru ebay either, and you certainly would have a harder time disputing your bill and/or damages than if you shipped thru fed ex directly

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: forrosebud This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 28 00:38:36 2014

@NYsteve
I have shipped with my FedEx account for 14++ years and they do not have a lot of 'add on' charges. I have NEVER and would NEVER use Ebay shipping label service because their so called calculator was NOT to be trusted no matter what info you put in. Ground Ship to a Commercial address is a slightly less than FedEx Residential Ground Home Delivery - same goes with UPS. FedEx and UPS add a Delivery Area Surcharge of about $2.40 if the recipient is in a out of the way 'rural location.' For as long as I shipped with FedEx, UPS comparatively was approx. 20% higher. UPS is a 'union house', FedEx is independent. I shipped larger, heavier pieces and USPS Parcel was ALWAYS ridiculously HIGHER after you add their insurance and other incidental fees.  There is no 'residential business.' You either live in a residential 'zone' or a commercial 'zone.'  I don't think I've ever been treated more fairly than I have been by FedEx. If I ever questioned a rate that I was billed after the fact, FedEx Billing always sided with me. I can't imagine what it would be like to 'dispute' a ship cost or even file a claim for damage if I shipped FedEx via ebay. My customers paid exactly what FedEx billed me. Of course Ebay and Pay Pal dug into my pocket took their percentage of shipping.

Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on   Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on

by: Tamaracian This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 28 09:58:30 2014

I have been using FedEx SmartPost for packages that exceed the USPS 13 ounce limit since that method came out on eBay.  If your package is traveling outside of your home state, FedEx SmartPost is almost always less expensive than FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx GND, UPS GND, or USPS Parcel Select.  Another big advantage is that the USPS makes the final delivery so that Buyers that have a residential address or P.O. Box are NOT an issue--and you won't get charged more money for shipping when you get invoiced.  



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