|Tue Aug 26 2014 16:13:21|
Seller Exposes Costly Problem with FedEx Labels on eBay
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.