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Sun Feb 21 2016 10:33:17

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Certain Postage

By: Reader

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Be sure to see the update below.

Dear Ina,
Although there have been a multitude of shipping problems and confusions with eBay's implementation of the last postal rate change, I have not seen this one discussed anywhere, except for a seller's board that I'm on. 

In short this affects every seller who uses Calculated Shipping on eBay and the new First Class weight amounts of 14-16oz. 

eBay is charging the buyer incorrectly for these amount, but is charging the seller correctly when they go to print the label. I think this is particularly insidious because not many sellers check their postage costs on a listing. It's also particularly bad if the seller had an additional handling charge.

Via calculated shipping, the buyer is being shown the rate of $6.45 for 14-16oz FC postage, plus of course, any handling charge they have. When the label is printed, the seller is only being charged $3.60 (TRS) for this same label. 
 
This is particularly egregious if the seller has a nominal handling charge, as it is making with a $1.95 handling charge, a local sale of a 14 oz item = $8.40, an inflated amount. By contrast, the seller is only being charged $5.55, a still reasonable cost. 
 
This is no doubt happening because there is no USPS retail rate of 14-16oz First Class. Therefore it is my guess that eBay's calculated shipping, has no idea what to put into those fields as a base, so it defaults to the Priority Mail rate for 14-16oz, as that's the only thing available from USPS if you were to walk into a post office. When it should actually be defaulting to a small increase over the 13oz FC rate. 
 
I have taken my handling charge off of a 14oz FC item, so you can see for yourself. This is a known problem amongst some sellers, but I have not seen anything to indicate that eBay knows about it. There are several workarounds, none particularly good. 
 
I hope you can get some answers from eBay in regards to this!
Thank You,
S.

PS: I rounded it the oz in my note to say 14-16oz rather than get into the whole 15.999 thing, as that has nothing to do with this problem.

Note from the Editor: This is similar to a problem we covered in January, but not specifically for Calculated Shipping. We sent an inquiry to eBay on Saturday to see if either problem has been resolved.

Update 2/21/16: eBay responded to our inquiry about shipping rates raised in this letter to the editor:

The first issue you mention has been resolved. You can find updated info at the below Announcement Board post

As for the second piece, 14-15.99oz first class package at commercial pricing is only offered through online printing tools like eBay labels, and is not available at retail locations of the USPS for purchase. We allow sellers to specify in their shipping preferences if they want to charge retail or online/discounted rates. 

If a seller specifies retail rates in their preferences, then we display a price which is available for Priority Mail at retail in the 14-15.99 weight range (6.45) to help seller cover their retail shipping cost at the USPS store. If the seller sets their shipping preference to charge online/discounted USPS pricing, the buyer will be charged the same rate as Ebay labels charges for 14-15.99 (3.55-3.65). Detailed chart is also show in the same AB post above.




Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 12:56:56 2016

Now how else would you expect Fleecebay to make money.

They ain't called Fleecebay for nothing.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 22 02:55:24 2016

Sometimes it is the sellers fault Froggy.  If you don't have your site preferences set correctly to calculate on the Commercial rate, that is NOT Ebay's fault.  

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Rural artist

Mon Feb 22 07:48:24 2016

At USPS anything over 13 oz is no longer first class. This could be the problem.  

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 10:28:19 2016

No the shipping cost are all bogus - we are not paying a negotiated (reduced rate) we are paying just what the post office charges every other tom dick and harry - there is no ebay reduced rate. case in point - I used to ay 2.04 for a 3 oz bubble mailer. first the new rate was 2.60 (pretty big jump wouldn't you say?) so one day I take a 3 oz package to po and pay for the shipping. how much did the po charge me? 2.54 - what? posted that here and within a week the ebay postage charge was reduced to 2.54. so who got the negotiated reduced shipping fee? ebay of course. they think we are all fricken idiots and can't count.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Feb 22 10:49:29 2016

@whatever

If you walk into the Post Office a Small Flat Rate Box will cost you $6.80

As a eBay seller you can ship that online for $6.10, if you're top rated you pay only $5.90

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: DIANE1104 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 12:01:32 2016

Whatever
That has now been corrected on eBay to be the same as the post office. 1st class 1-3 ox is 2.54

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 22 12:19:44 2016

@rural

That is only if you take it to the PO for mailing.  If you do shipping labels online, you can do FCP up to 15.99 Oz.

@whatever

FCP Domestic has NEVER been a "negotiated" rate for online postage providers.  Not Ebay, not Amazon, not anyone else.  They ALL got the same Commercial Plus Rate.  

USPS is now cutting out the Commercial Plus Rate in 2017 and will move to having just a Commercial Rate.  However, the paperwork on this recent increase also states that they will allow negotiations with larger postage providers.  

But on this current increase and previous ones on FCP domestic, no one was able to negotiate a better rate for any online postage provider.

The drop to 2.54 was not a negotiation, it was due to confirmation from USPS that Ebay could offer the retail rate [because it was lower] without penalty.  Other sites started doing it before that clarification.  Ebay isn't one of those sites that would risk that.  

I know that 6 cent difference has really cause all kinds of concern by many people.  So many were notably upset by it. But we are only talking about 6 cents here and most certainly the other USPS [NOT EBAY] increases are much harder to deal with.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: Pandora This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 13:02:54 2016

Dear reader, Why make it so hard?  Just set it up as a flat rate of say 3.65 on the 14 thru 16oz items and you are both covered.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Feb 22 18:04:22 2016

"If a seller specifies retail rates in their preferences, then we display a price which is available for Priority Mail at retail ..."

Am I misreading this or is eBay here offering sellers the opportunity to do as they do—profit on the cost of postage ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Feb 22 18:53:05 2016

Some sellers actually take their packages to the PO and purchase postage.  They don't use electronic labels from any provider.  This is a choice all sellers have.

If a seller is going to use the calculator Ebay offers for figuring what the carrier costs are for any given address.

The SELLER has some preferences / setting they need to fill out when they set up the calculator so it may calculate the rates.  They set up if they are going to charge a handling fee and how much that will be.  How much if there is combined shipping.  And a couple other things.

They also have to decide if they are using retail rates or online rates.  That is on the seller.

If the seller chooses to take advantage of their customers and charge the higher rate when they are actually paying a lower rate, that is on the seller, no one else.  

But I suppose Ebay could force all sellers to use their label system or some other online provider.  Not sure why they would do that as there are many sellers that do not use online postage.  They would end up shutting down a huge number of sellers.

Not everything is Ebay's fault.  Sometimes it is just a simple seller error that can be fixed easily.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 21:41:35 2016

@Pandora,

Flat-rate (or ''free'') shipping works fine for a single-item purchase, but what happens when you buy 2 or 10 or 100? I won't do that to my customers. Yes, I have buyers who purchase 100+ lots.

--David

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Feb 23 10:07:24 2016

As a seller if you offer FREE shipping you don't have to worry about this.

eBay has made it so you have to offer free shipping. It's the cost effective way of doing business now.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Feb 23 17:54:58 2016

@toolguy

Free shipping is a good tool on many types of products sold, but it doesn't work well for some.  Ebay is a diverse selling site.  With a diverse selling base.  What works well for you may not work well for others.

For me I have a mixture.  I use FS on products that tolerate it well and the buyers seem to like it and then I don't on other types of things that don't work well with FS.  

Sellers need to find out what it right for them and then do that.

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

by: dazzee48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 5 19:43:41 2016

When a seller on Ebay clearly puts $11.42 for shipping and when the package finally arrives 10 days later with a postage label attached that reads $3.54 is a thief of $7.88, the remaining monies should be refunded back to the buyer. Its illegal to over charge postage. This happened to me recently and Ebay says in their rules & Regulations that the seller is not suppose to do that but have they helped me solve the problem? No they haven't as a matter of fact it is a huge run around.  

eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce   eBay Calculated Shipping Overcharges Buyers for Ce

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Apr 6 02:08:07 2016

@dazzee48

While I certainly agree that a seller should not be charging such an inflated rate for anything they are selling, they aren't doing anything illegal by doing so.  A seller could simply say it was their handling charge.  S&H or Shipping and Handling is just that.  It is NOT simply the literal cost the carrier charges.  it can also include handling charges.  In the handling charges a seller can charge what they deem it costs in packaging supplies and or other costs directly and only associated with shipping.

Please do not get me wrong.  I am NOT defending any seller overcharging for S&H, as it is certainly not something any seller should do.  I'm simply trying to explain that S&H is not simply for the literal cost from a carrier.



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