The USPS Has Apparently Been Lied To By eBay

The United States Postal Service is apparently unclear about what it is that eBay is planning to do.  They think that eBay is charging a fee on the shipping through their discounted sponsor shipping services.  They don’t understand that eBay is charging a fee based on the total amount of sales, not a fee for using their sponsor services.

Here’s their response to my email:

Dear Nicole Lasher,

I understand that you would like to know if eBay is allowed to charge an additional fee for products that are shipped using our services.

Nicole, customers have a number of choices to pay for postage online.

– Click-N-Ship
– eBay
– Endicia
– Pitney Bowes Inc
– Stamps.com

Click-N-Ship is our online PC Postage service, and there are no additional fees to use this service. Unfortunately, we have no control over the fees that the other providers listed above may charge. They are paying the Post Office the regular cost of shipping, they are just charging you an additional fee for the convenience of using their services.

Some sellers prefer this one-stop shipping for eBay users. You can print shipping labels, pay postage and check the delivery status of their items right from eBay. And buyers can calculate shipping prices online, and pay for shipping with their PayPal account.

If you do not want to be charged the additional fees, you can definitely sign up for a free Click-N-Ship account, and print your postage labels from there. You print postage labels from our website using our free service Click-N-Ship. Click-N-Ship is a great online service for customers who ship a relatively low volume of mail and who ship primarily packages. This service provides you with shipping discounts, and you also receive free Delivery Confirmation with items that have postage printed from Click-N-Ship.

To sign up for this service, simply log on at:

https://sss-web.usps.com/cns/landing.do

You will need to enter a user name and password, and you will be asked whether you want to set up the account for personal or business use.
If you have an existing account with PO Boxes Online or the Postal Store you can use the same username and password for Click-N-Ship. You will provide your name and company contact information (if applicable). You will also be asked the credit card information, for the account you would like you postage purchases charged to.

Click-N-Ship can ony be used for:

– Express Mail service
– Priority Mail service
– Global Express Guaranteed service
– Express Mail International service
– Priority Mail International service

There are other PC Postage providers (such as eBay) that will allow you to print labels online for different classes of mail. If this is what you need, you can find a list of other authorized PC Postage providers and more information on PC Postage at the following link:

http://www.usps.com/onlinepostage/welcome.htm

I hope this information helps and I appreciate you taking the time to email us about this issue.

If you need to contact us again, please use the following link to do so:

http://www.usps.com/customerservice/redirects/email.htm?from=CustomerService&page=Center_EmailUs

If we can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service.

Best Regards,

Becky B.

So I wrote back and clarified.  I have the feeling they are going to be really upset once they realize what eBay is actually planning to do: a pre emptive form of fee stacking.

Fee stacking is a seller or broker adding hidden fees after the end of an auction.  To do it after an auction is over is totally illegal on the face.  Ebay is doing it at the start of an auction or sale, but it doesn’t make the fee appropriate, and if they don’t tell the buyer exactly how much of it is a fee and not the actual cost of the item, it’s shady, and possibly illegal.

Hopefully the postal service and the IFCC will move to stop this madness before it starts.

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