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Mon Aug 8 2016 19:56:02

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Sellers

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
You may have heard about this already but eBay’s shipping calculator for international shipments is seriously broken. Any first class international shipment with more than 1 item is presenting the wrong shipping rate. 

Apparently a recent know issue at eBay but CS reps are stating 20+ days to fix. In the meantime I have lost about $100 in shipping cost discrepancies over past weekend alone.
Jim

Note from the Editor: This issue was reported on Ecommerce EKG on July 30th and is being reported on the eBay boards as well, such as this thread.




Comments (29) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 09:06:57 2016

We have also been caught up in yet another ebay "Glitch"
We spent hours with with eBay's top Customer Care only to be told why it was our fault so we made our case with ebay 3 hours later they tell us it's a know issue
They tell us we should contact our customer and request the extra $ 29.00 shipping or just cancel the order

eBay should step up fix this and compensate sellers that got short changed
But that is not eBay's Method of Operation.

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 10:24:44 2016

Maybe eBay's programmers really can't reproduce the problem because the reps don't log it accurately. I keep seeing references to needing more data. I haven't called because I know it's a waste of time. Too bad there isn't a detailed form to capture all the information. This does exist in the eBay Developer Program, but they generally frown when I use it to report website issues.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 11:23:04 2016

Not to hijack this thread, but can anyone think of any good reason to allow per-item shipping service in the eBay cart?

If a buyer wants to use different shipping services, can't they just checkout multiple times? When you print an eBay label, the tracking number is associated with ALL the items and cannot be removed. That's wrong in the case of multiple packages.

We have really good combined shipping rates, but most buyers fail to see the final 'discount' rate. eBay should emphasize the final shipping cost for each service and get rid of all the 'you saved a gazillion' on shipping nonsense.

We've configured multiple 'promotional' shipping rates. eBay defaults to the promotional rate even when the standard rate is lower.

Overall, I know I've got a very intelligent buyer when they end up paying the correct (lowest) shipping rate. Few buyers are going to change each item's shipping service to discover the lowest rate. Why can't eBay do that work for them?

Ironically, other sites like AliExpress have copied the flawed eBay model. Items sold by Amazon never offer combined shipping. I guess it's possible for private Amazon sellers to attempt combined shipping, but it seems very rare.

Bottom-line: accurate shipping rates make or break international sales of commodity items. We have buyers who combine 100+ lots of lightweight items. FRACTIONAL ounces are needed. eBay should offer both 'letter' ($1.15 first ounce) and 'large-envelope' ($2.29 first ounce) for international shipments. They both have tracking within the US and often track all the way to the destination. That's cheaper than the domestic package rate.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 12:06:04 2016

Does this glitch affect calculate shipping based on address?

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 19:17:59 2016

The problem with issues like this is that sellers have been crying wolf for so long. I see lots of reports about shipping rate errors that are simply seller error.

Despite what others have said, I'm not aware of any new problems with the domestic calculator. This new bug is only for calculated First Class Mail International.

The rate for the first item is as expected. When you go to quantity 2 or combine with another item, the rate DROPS. This is because eBay SWITCHES to the 'large envelope' rate.

Large envelopes must be less than 3/4'' thick, somewhat flexible and no more than 1/4'' variance-- not counting the edges. This actually works well for some items. However, it fails for rigid or bulky items. Those must go package rate at higher cost.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 09:46:48 2016

19 days are spenton finding an American programmer who understands the usps rates  

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: meci This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 10:33:38 2016

i called eBay about this problem last week as we had a international buyer buy 4 of the same item.  The weight was increased from 7 to 28 pounds as it should have but the dimensions were totally overlooked.  I gave the the eBay rep our true cost and they gave us a credit.  The credit was controlled by other means, they gave us a month free store credit which was actually doubled the actual cost.  

The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 22:24:50 2016

@meci,

Based on your stated weight, you're not talking about First Class Mail International.

eBay's calculator does have its limitations. It doesn't factor residential or delivery area surcharges or mandatory UPS/FedEx signature. It has no way to know if your items might stack or nest. They will even attempt to combine items with different origin ZIP codes.

There's definitely substantial risk when allowing heavy/bulky items to combine. Listings can be excluded on a per-item basis.

This is exactly what I meant by sellers crying wolf. I would never expect eBay to scale dimensions. How do they know the final package size? I'm surprised you got credit. What was the total purchase price?

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Aug 11 18:25:25 2016

@exdwh

Actually FCP International requirements are the same as Domestic as far as I know.  If they differ, I'm unaware of it.

FCP must be:

The Large Envelope is too Rigid – does not bend easily
OR
The Large Envelope is NOT Rectangular or Square
Or
The Large Envelope contains items that cause more than 1/4 inch variation in thickness

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: grandolddame This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 11 23:47:49 2016

This has been a problem on only one of my ID's. It has been ongoing since Dec 2011. Many times I was able to get a refund, but I just got tired of calling CS, and no longer ship international. I originally tried padding the weight and adding a handling charge, but it was just not enough to absorb the loss. It amazes me that they know of the problem for so many years and make like it is a recent glitch. I have records, and I just may report to the BBB.

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 12:02:33 2016

@grandolddame,

Did you ever post your problem here with specific details? It sure sounds like something is wrong with your shipping information or settings. All these stories confirm my suspicion that eBay no longer takes reports seriously.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: etailer This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 13:43:23 2016

We have experienced this issue multiple times since 2006!  

With over 2,400 SKUs on our eBay store, and 10 years experience on eBay, we have an insight into eBay tech issues - each time eBay attempts something new with their seller policies, e.g. a new template for listings or a minor change to Item Specifics, their IT systems fall apart.

It has happened twice within the past week - today, with a buyer in Australia, who was able to receive a ''shipping discount'' and shortchanged us by ~$12

As on 08/08/16 when we reported this issue for the first time on EKG, we were again told by eBay customer service rep to call the buyer and explain in order to get the balance amount - this time we refused and demanded that since this was an eBay tech issue, they needed to contact the buyer and resolve it for us. Instead, eBay credited us with the correct amount due!

eBay first attempts to deflect the responsibility of their bugs on to the sellers - to resolve the issues with buyers instead to taking time to fix the bug.  

If that does not work, eBay will pay for the difference in amounts that the seller is due - eBay still finds this to be a fair and equitable solution rather than find a permanent fix.

Astonishing!

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Aug 12 17:44:13 2016

@etailer

Your observations are certainly correct, but so are others that have stated some of the problems are seller error.  They are both valid explanations of the problems as it is a combination of the two.

The other observation I have had is that these problems are not new and have occurred off and on since the very inception of calculated shipping.  Sometimes it is with international shipments and other times it is with domestic.

Either way, Ebay has been on notice for YEARS and YEARS that the calculated shipping program has problems in its programming.  It has been brought to their attention more times than any of us really knows, yet Ebay does not take the time to get it fixed permanently.  They just keep putting tape on it here and there, but never really resolving the real issues.  My only conclusion is they can't figure out what the real issues are with the programming.

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: kilogirl78 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 12 23:59:58 2016

I had the glitch happen 5 times now.  I called ebay and they admitted its a known glitch and to ask the sellers to pay the additional shipping.  2 customers just wanted to cancel and 1 customer is adamant that it was my fault and ebay would NEVER have a glitch like this.  Pretty sure bad feedback is coming my way.  When I talked to merchant support about the feedback issue, they said they could remove it ONLY if the feedback mentions the shipping charge.  Thanks eBay.  If you hadn't been glitching, this customer would be happy.  Now I got to waste hours on hold with merchant support...

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 13 01:05:10 2016

@Marie,

Again, exactly what are 'these problems'?

Something changed around July 30. I can easily demonstrate the problem. It only affects USPS First Class Mail International when combined shipping is enabled and 2 or more items are combined. In that case, eBay switches to the 'large envelope' rate instead of the 'package' rate.

There is also a longstanding (4+ years) problem with weight-based shipping discounts. These discounts are applied last-- after the service limits have been checked. This can result in inflated rates because eBay assumes multiple packages when only a single package is required.

If anyone is aware of any other problem with eBay's shipping calculator, then show me the steps to reproduce. I should be able to add the items to my cart and see the error in checkout.

We make extensive use of calculated shipping, weight-based discounts, global promotional discount, as well as multiple promotional rates for specific groups of items. With the exception of this new/latest bug (combined USPS First Class Mail International), in all cases, if anyone gets cheated, it's the buyer. Are there times when we pay more shipping than was collected? Yes, but I know why it happens. It's not random or unexpected.

All these sellers requesting refunds when it's not due to a legitimate bug are robbing the rest of the community.

eBay needs to be honest enough to maintain a public bug database. If you want a refund due to a bug, then you should have to reference that bug and someone with a brain should verify the claim. Yes, smart employees cost money. So fire 10 of the robots and hire 1 human with a brain. If the bugs get fixed, then you won't need the mindless CS reps.

The shipping calculator has become overly complicated. The buyer doesn't need to choose shipping service on a per-item basis. Items should only combine if they have a shipping service in common and only those common services should be displayed-- each with the final 'discount' rate. Currently, buyers get shipping sticker-shock when eBay shows the quantity-1 shipping multiplied by the quantity purchased. That number can be $100s or even $1000s when the final 'discount' rate is only $10. eBay is trying to demonstrate 'savings', but it's backfiring.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Aug 13 03:28:40 2016

@exdwh

I'm unsure as to what you are asking me.  Plenty of examples have been given here and if you frequent this site, there have been plenty of other articles on the subject over the years.

You seem to be disagreeing with me when it appears from what you posted that we are actually in agreement.  

Not every problem with calculated shipping is related to any specific steps that anyone can really give you.  For example, several months back it was listings using Ebay's calculated shipping showing Free Shipping.  That isn't anything that had specific steps to it.  It didn't affect everyone, but those sellers that were affected had some real problems.  And this particular problem seems to reoccur every few month.

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 13 10:57:18 2016

Wasn't the 'free shipping' thing a display issue-- primarily for mobile devices?

Did any buyers actually receive free shipping at checkout when they weren't supposed to? The final shipping calculation is entirely under eBay's control and they should be held liable.

Display issues are different. eBay's pages are loaded with script and other browser-specific logic. Many pages load with default text that's supposed to be updated later by JavaScript. What's ultimately displayed depends on the browser, settings and even the internet connection. Should eBay do more testing and seriously consider user reports? Absolutely. I'm just a little more forgiving in this area.

My local Aldi ad states the following: ''We are not responsible for printing or typographical errors.'' I just bought school supplies. Everything is mixed up on the Walmart shelves. Rather than complain to customer service about what I hoped things would cost, I take my cart to the price checker. I purge any items that are more than I want to pay. I also go back and get more of the items that are a good deal.

Maybe I'm just more realistic in my shopping. I don't get excited about any purchase whether personal or resale until I have the item in hand and have fully counted, inspected and tested.

I've been buying stuff on AliExpress. Almost all the listings state free shipping. However, when you add the item to your cart, a shipping charge appears. Sometimes it's a $30-$50 express shipping service for a $1 item. Other items have free shipping until you hit a certain quantity and then shipping is added. You have to make multiple smaller orders. These are not even display issues. It's all intentional and I don't see anyone complaining.

For some reason, eBay has become the home of whining buyers and sellers. eBay definitely has issues. We just need to pick our battles and reduce the amount of 'noise'.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Aug 13 12:27:19 2016

@exdwh

So if it is a problem with mobile devices it isn't a real problem with the calculated shipping program?  Seems to me a problem with the program is a problem with the program.

Yes, some buyers were invoiced by Ebay with Free Shipping when the seller did not offer Free shipping.  I'm also not completely sure that it was only for mobile devices.  The problem has happened several times in the past few years.  

I do understand that a "display" issue is different from a problem with the calculated shipping program.  I'm not a newbee to all this.

Your Walmart story would not hold true on Ebay for many buyers, nor is it even similar to what would happen on Ebay.  What displays for them is what they expect to pay.  And why wouldn't they expect that?  If it displays Free Shipping, then that is what they should be able to expect.  

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 13 18:01:02 2016

''Yes, some buyers were invoiced by Ebay with Free Shipping when the seller did not offer Free shipping.''

Would you stake your life on that statement? Did it happen to you or someone you know personally? Did you review the eBay listing, invoice and payment receipt?

I patched the hole many years ago, but it used to be possible for international buyers to enter their own shipping cost when it wasn't specified. Is it possible that these stories have left out some important details?

I did find a few stories with supposed quotes from eBay representatives which indicated a known problem. One had to do with items offering local pickup. That problem must have been fixed pretty quickly.

I don't believe the shipping calculator experiences daily random failures. That's the story that EB is floating and lots of people like to jump on the bandwagon. Oh yeah, 'that glitch' again. Really? Are you sure? Show me real data.

It's obvious that EB does little to investigate what's reported. How else would the same issue get accepted 3 times? That sort of defeats the whole 'voting' system.

Either everyone is offering free shipping, does not offer combined First Class Mail International, doesn't sell anything, or just isn't paying attention. There should be way more comments here.

--David

Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle   Known eBay Shipping Glitch Proves Costly for Selle

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Aug 13 21:57:45 2016

@exdwh

What the heck?  Look if you choose not to believe what I've posted, that is just fine.  Nothing says you have too.  But just because you don't believe it does not mean it did not happen.  

"I did find a few stories with supposed quotes from eBay representatives which indicated a known problem."  I do suppose everyone that has posted things on the subject is wrong and/or lying.  

I guess since you tell us we are wrong, we should accept that as apparently you know more about our accounts than we do.

Post whatever you'd like as that is your right, as for me, I'm done with the subject in regards to responding to your over the top posts.

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