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Ebay Pushes FedEx Shipping and Encourages Sellers to Take a Loss

When I first joined eBay, back in the late 90′s, it was all about the one-off auction. It was the place to go for a Lost in Space lunch box, a mint-in-box Barbie, or a rare Frankenstein poster. Back then, the majority of sellers were individuals looking to clean out their attic and make a little cash. It was the ultimate, online, treasure hunt for collectors like me.

While you still find this type of item on the site, they’re now buried under 50 listings of the same new DVD release, wholesale electronics, even listings from major retailers like Toys R Us.

That Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lair is pretty cool, but still, I don’t like this trend. With every step, eBay moves further and further away from their roots and closer and closer to becoming Amazon.com.

Now, they’ve announced a partnership with FedEx that sounds like a great deal for everyone involved, but is it? This holiday season, eBay will be offering FedEx shipping at a discounted price - up to 37% off – with home printing of delivery labels. That’s a nice move. FedEx has a great reputation (mostly) for delivering goods quickly and the discount will make it affordable — for the buyer. eBay VP Carl Gish had this to say about the seller side:

“We’ve been asking sellers to meet buyer expectations of free shipping and tracking. It’s something our sellers have been asking for for a while, given that we have USPS and UPS. FedEx, as a major player in that space, is clearly a great partner for both our buyers and sellers.”

Shipping costs have always been a point of contention on eBay. Originally, eBay didn’t charge end of auction fees on the shipping portion of a sale. That led to fee avoidance auctions where a person sells a DVD for $1.00 then charges $20.00 shipping. Now, eBay figures their cut off the entire sale price including shipping — dollars that the seller doesn’t get to keep because they have to pay it out to the post office.

Given that, it’s surprising that eBay is pushing sellers to offer free shipping because that will eat into the final value fee.  And it’s not just free shipping, FedEx also wants two-day service and delivery confirmation to compete with Amazon.

eBay isn’t Amazon. I’m sure they’d like to be, but I miss the days when a bored guy in an office could sell a pencil for $500. That’s the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that made eBay what it is today.

ETA: Changed to reflect that eBay does indeed charge a final value fee on shipping – thanks Tiffany.

  • Angela

    I’m thinking of switching my primary shipping service to Fedex which is what led me to this site. I have to admit that right now I am pretty addicted to USPS Priority mail’s free packaging supplies for my Ebay shipping. The small boxes hold lots of stuff and ship for a flat $5.15 and of course I’m not scrambling for packaging. I’m going to explore Fedex for my larger shipping because I’ve heard they are cheaper in some cases.

  • Bryan

    That eBay/FedEx Labels are a load of Bull. Beware do not use them!
    I shipped a few things a while back, used FedEx labels. At first I thought “This is great, I can ship FedEx without logging out. Tracking gets uploaded instantly.”

    I read the note at the top of the page that says “We will bill your account on the next billing cycle”. I didn’t think much of it, just that I’d see a FedEx shipping fee at the end of the month when eBay collected its FvF.

    I did this 3 times with no issues, checked the FedEx charges and they were accurate, $11.xx.

    The 4th time at the billing cycle instead of seeing $11.xx under FedEx shipping it was more like $22.xx.
    WTF, that’s a 200% difference. Before you think, “Oh, you must have weighed it wrong”, this is not the case. All my items weigh between 2-3 Pounds. Tops should be a shipping rate of $16 sending from CA to NY and anywhere in between, I’m not including Alaska or Hawaii.

    Well I called eGay about this and all they said was “there must have been an error, this is what they billed us”.
    In summery, they said there was nothing they can do.
    If they apparently can’t, what hope do I have? Its on their account after all, I can’t log in and dispute this with FedEx directly. This is assuming this charge actually came from FedEx and not some bogus taxing from eBay and labeled it FedEx Shipping.

    From here on out I’ll be using my FedEx/UPS accounts instead of relying on the simplicity that eBay offered.

    I recommend nobody else to use this either as this was a Rip Off!

  • Anon

    Bryan, was one of your items oversized?

  • hurting

    i didn’t know what info could be shared without effecting my security but here is a picture showing that they do take from final shipping costs.

  • Dumpsterdiver

    Be aware when you use Fedex to ship items that you sell on Ebay. The last 3 items that I sold on Ebay and used Fedex to ship them the cost anywhere from $3.00 – $8.00 above the cost of original qouted price on the shipping label when I received my mounthly bill, this ended up costing me a total of $14.90 total for those 3 items . I called Ebay about this issue and they told me that they charge the actual cost that Fedex bills them. I called Fedex and they told me that the cost that is shown on the shipping label is a estimated cost and that they bill Ebay for the actual cost after the package is delivered, they must have to add in the cost of the drivers coffee and donut.They make it look like you are getting a super deal on shipping when you are actually not. I don’t understand how Fedex can be in business as long as they have and still can not tell me how much it will cost to get a package of a specified dimension and weight from point A to point B. You also need to be very careful on how you package your items, I had a 60 lb. item that I shipped in a wooden crate for safety reasons and to ensure that the item did not get damaged, this cost me an additional $8.50 because of the wooden crate. I ask them how I could avoid this charge in the future and they said that I could wrap the crate with cardboard and then it would be considered as a box and not a crate. I have figured out that this Fedex shipping thing is very similar to Obamacare because they make you think that it’s going to be a great deal when it’s not.