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Fri May 6 2022 07:55:57

UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surcharge

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I'm a longtime reader and very much appreciate you giving a voice to eBay sellers. In the twenty years I've been selling golf clubs on eBay there have been many changes in shipping practices. However, none have been more impactful than the $15 surcharge by USPS on packages over 30", which took effect last month.

Initially I was relieved to see that UPS was still offering rates through eBay that were close to what USPS had charged - roughly $12 for a longer clubs such as a driver. However, I was stunned recently when I started seeing several increases to the original amount I paid for UPS labels. Most were more than double the original postage, some as high as $28. In total I was overcharged more than $100 in April.

After receiving no assistance from eBay on why this was happening or how I could be reimbursed (I was told it's a carrier issue and out of their hands) I went to my local UPS store for help. And the answers I received from them rubbed salt into the wound. 

I was told that UPS was aware of the migration of new customers due to the increased USPS fees, and was now actively looking to apply their own surcharges to boxes over 48". Fair enough, but I explained that I exclusively buy industry standard 48 inch boxes from Uline, so how could this apply to me? 

The answer was that when a 48" is taped shut the closing flaps increase the length to about 48.25", and USPS was going to treat it as an oversized package and charge penalties. I was also told I had no recourse to dispute the charges with UPS since eBay is the payment processor.

The pettiness of this policy and blatant opportunism here by UPS is incredibly disappointing. It shows a total disregard for customer service. UPS had a popular slogan "What can brown do for you" that was retired years ago. Now I understand why.

Thanks again Ina for all you do!
Sincerely,
James



Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri May 6 08:04:33 2022

I use Uline Boxes too.
Uline needs to readjust the folding machine down 1/4 of an inch .
It's that simple.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: PatLayton_UNI This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 09:02:45 2022

Hey James - sorry to hear about the challenge with that surcharge.

Not sure if I can help until I hear a bit more, but typically we are able to give retailers like yourself a bit more leverage against the ''big guys'' like USPS/FedEx when it comes to fees like residential delivery, fuel, peak season, etc.

If this is something you want to me to dig more into, you can find all me contact info above.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 10:12:08 2022

How hard it it to score  1/2 " or an 1" and fold it.   Sounds like someone is getting lazy.  I know it will take you about 5 seconds to do it as we do scoring of boxes all the time.  Its no big deal.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 10:14:44 2022

As a side note using a 48" box for something that is only 36" - 40"  is definately a waste of money

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 10:55:26 2022

Try shipping fishing rods now, once you hit the 48" the rate for UPS doubles. I no longer ship one piece rods, you have the price of shipping, the box, ebay 12% on total(including taxes paid by buyer). Even at $20 shipping, I'd have to add another $4-5 to cover extra costs, so now looking at $25+. Also don't forget UPS charges to pickup at the house or I have to drive 20 miles to drop off seeing the small drop off's limit to 16" total length. My problem was I bought 38" boxes but most rods are 2" taller, so I have to add to the end. Just like someone advised, just score and trim the box.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 14:13:57 2022

First, you should think about using a third party source for your shipping labels. There are several (I use Pirateship as it costs nothing and serves my needs) that you can choose from based on your needs. It is important to remove your shipping label production from eBay for this very reason. For the occasional seller, eBay's platform works fine. But if you do any kind of volume, there are better alternatives. You pay the charge via your receipts, but the relationship is between the carrier and eBay.

Through Pirateship, the charges are billed directly to me via credit card. I have been able to dispute those overcharges for that extra 1/4 inch. And no, you cannot cut or score down every box that can push up the surcharge. That is a waste of time. I tell them in my dispute, "the box is x by x by x, if UPS wants to charge me for an extra 1/4 inch, I will stop using your service". I have had 4 out of 4 of those surcharges reversed over the last two months. Then I look for an alternate sized box going forward. You need to remember, these boxes are scanned for size electronically. The machine just does what it is programmed to do. Once a person reviews it, they can take a more common sense approach.

In addition, UPS rates are far better through Pirateship.  

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 14:45:00 2022

Cutting down a box is a waste of time.  HA HA HA HA To funny  If its so time consuming then quit whining and use the 48 1/4 box.  Thats  funny

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: horsewhistles This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 15:42:22 2022

UPS is also adding a surcharge for using mailing tubes of any length.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 20:46:14 2022

I've got to agree, either cut the box down to several inches under the surcharge size to leave a margin for error, or purchase a different box.

I agree it's unfair, but it's you against the Post Office and UPS.

At least you caught it before the losses were too unbearable, and at least you have a viable, no cost, easy to apply work around. Do it and move on to things that really require your attention.

Also, consider this: you're not the only one facing this issue. It's likely most sellers with your product are using these boxes and paying the surcharge and raising their shipping fees to reflect that.

Mark your shipping up 50%-60% of their increased shipping charge, cut down the box, and turn that extra 5 minutes of work into additional profit and extra sales for you.

This isn't a problem, it's an opportunity. Make it work out for you  :)

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 7 10:57:02 2022

"Cutting down a box is a waste of time.  HA HA HA HA To funny  If its so time consuming then quit whining and use the 48 1/4 box.  Thats  funny "

I am not sure what is funny about this. A 48 inch plus box is not the only box that is subject to additional charges. Anything that runs a 1/4 inch over a break anywhere in the pricing structure will be subject to additional charges of several dollars.

If you send one box a week, by all means, cut away. I think most people are smart enough to figure that out, and honestly have been doing that for a long time.

But if you send out 50 packages a week, of varying sizes, with several up against any one of those thresholds, it is a waste of time. The policy of UPS (and they are the only carrier that I have had this issue going back almost 20 years) is petty. Professional sellers get it; some guy sending out one box every three months is not going to be happy with them.

There are a number of workarounds. Just pick the one that works best for you and your business.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 7 17:39:48 2022

So how much time does it take.  I tried to cut a box down.  I took 10 boxes laid them out flat.  Took a box cutter and took a swipe to short it and then flipped it a took another swipe.  Bent the box taped down one end and flipped it to the other end.   Total time while drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette  for all 10 boxes was less than 25 minutes.  Like I said before.  Lazy is becoming a part of american life.  Everyone whats someone else to do the work.  And then they whine.  Either cut the box down and save a few bucks or play the tough guy role and send the bigger box and pay more.  You choice but quit the whining about how you are to busy to do it yourself.  No one cares.  We all have different things to deal with when it comes to the post office.  Whining has never helped solve anything.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 7 17:41:33 2022

I might also add I'm in a wheelchair and I'm 80 years old so speed isn't my better acts in life.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: Weirdbooks This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 7 22:37:57 2022

That is a simple misunderstanding of box sizes. US industry standard is that the given box measurements are the minimum ID (inner dimensions) unless otherwise stated.  For an example look at boxes from Uline, they clearly state the dimensions are Inner Dimensions.  Outer dimensions could add another 1/2 to 1 inch, especially with double-wall boxes or literature mailers where the ends are folded over with 3 or more layers of corrugated.

If you order boxes made in China, like those sold by the myriad ''private branded'' sellers on Amazon, you will most likely get boxes measured by OD (Outer Dimension).  So a 10x8 mailer from those outfits has a usable ID of closer to 9.25 x 7.25.  That is not clearly stated, so you may find your product will not fit in those boxes.

Each method has drawbacks of course.  Your Dimensional weight will be greater with the ID boxes, but you can at least be sure your product will fit.   The OD measured boxes have inconsistent IDs across different manufacturers or even across different batches.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 9 00:50:07 2022

I too have been shipping golf clubs for 20 years. I'm sure ol' James had been using the free (now useless) 38" boxes that USPS supplied. So, I'm also sure that he used them for all clubs except drivers, which means he used them for 43" 3 woods, which means he would typically have taken the time to cut down a 38" box and sleeve it over a full-length 38". So why the boo-hoo over cutting and folding a 48" box? As for his boo-hoo over UPS, who else ya gonna use? They're cheaper than Fedex, especially through Pirate Ship.  

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: Surplus This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 9 06:43:52 2022

We recently got an email from a customer complaining about shipping cost.  We was in a mood so I wrote a reply and used the word "Because" alot:

I see you are in Canada........ because export shipments cost more because there is paperwork to complete and that takes time that must be paid for. We don't work for free that's a deal for suckers.   Because diesel fuel is $5-6 a gallon. Because the current fuel surcharge for shipping is 35-40% above the published rates.   Because shipping is expensive and costs money and it is NOT FREE.  We are not Amazon...............and don't pretend to be.  Our focus on is BtoB and BtoG customers who just need a product now..........Because WE are not going to lose money on shipping.  Because the people that work for me expect to get paid and don't work for slave wages.........Because Ebay has outrageous selling fees that you will pay for. Because profit is not a bad word.   Should I go on......

We have stuff no one else has.  If you can find it cheaper by all means buy it from them.  We'll be here next year they won't.  Generally speaking I've found in life you get what you pay for.  You may not like it but we are in a highly inflationary period.  Because I'm old, bald and grumpy I've found it best to accept the world as it is.......... not as we wish it would be.

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: Elextek This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 9 08:15:11 2022

Hi All, long time follower first time comment. Thought I'd share a few things regarding my own observations and experience in the 20 plus years I've been selling with ebay. I do agree that the shipping surcharges are much too high. While I also agree with most of the comments, a few things I've observed have not been mentioned. First is the size of the box, which needs to be accurately sized and manually verified by the seller, even though the dimensions are stamped on some of the cartons. I have found not all are made to those sizes, specifically where the seam is glued at one corner. This will push the box to the next inch up and could result in more shipping fees. I've found I can split and re-glue to solve this issue. Secondly, re-sizing a box down to the best length or height is accomplished utilizing a box sizing tool ($10), no real measuring and simple to use even for the hobby reseller. when resizing the box, its best to ''double-cut'' the top overlapping fold to make the flaps meet together, this prevents over size and any potential for them to open.
As re-sellers, we should keep good books and monitor the costs that we are being charged. This has become more difficult in the last two years due to the way eBay has provided the data. This is the only way we can make accurate business decisions regarding how to address those issues.
As mentioned above, utilizing third party shipping services is a good idea, I only use Pirate Ship and found them to be competitive pricing with ebay. I did however see that I was charged and additional fee this past February for a transaction from October 2021 using Pirate ship. This could have been when I noticed the box seams not aligning.  

Perminate Link for UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc   UPS Not an Option for Sellers Facing USPS $15 Surc

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 9 10:18:40 2022

@horsewhistles - Does "mailing tube" include the Priority Mail triangle shaped "tube" box? (Or is it just about round tubes?)

The $4 surcharge has probably ended my selling 24" items which shipped very nicely in the ~26" Priority Mail triangle "tube" boxes, Postage had been about $9.50 for what I ship, but I think it's unlikely shoppers will pay $13.50 postage. Now you're saying there's an ADDITIONAL fee for "tube" boxes???



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