Monday, March 21, 2011

eBay Clarifies New Fees Policy for Angry Sellers

eBay held an online forum for sellers who had questions about the Spring Seller Update, including the new fees where sellers will be charged on their shipping costs in their final value fees. I read over the first several pages of the transcript of the board to see what people were saying.

In general, the folks on the board were pretty upset about the new fees on shipping. Mostly they said they were already trying to keep shipping costs down, and sometimes they even lost money on shipping for more fragile items such as pottery and glass.

One lady said she understood eBay was essentially targeting this new fee at sellers who would charge like $0.01 for an item and then $20.00 in shipping in order to get around eBay's original final value fees, but this was not the way to go about it. Below is a summary first of some of eBay staff's clarifications and answers to questions asked, and below that a sampling of some of the complaints.

I wonder if it might make more sense for eBay to set maximum shipping fees based on weight of items, rather than to charge sellers a percentage of their shipping fees. I haven't thought that through, as I'm not sure how eBay would enforce it. But there may be other creative solutions that allow them to address that problem, such as simply dinging those sellers who are clearly misrepresenting their shipping cost to get around eBay's fees.

Some of eBay's answers:

Q's answered:

"For your international sales, if the buyer chooses international shipping, the final value fee will be charged on the cheaper of first domestic cost which is not one-day or international shipping cost.
So if you have offered free shipping as your first domestic option, there will be no final value fee on shipping.
Thank You

"The new FVF calculation will not include state taxes.
It will include cost of the item, shipping, and any other fees a seller may charge (for example engraving or gift wrapping), excluding any sales tax.
Pricing team"

"Under the new Standard Fees, you can list up to 50 items - at any start price and pay only if your item sells. You can also add a Buy It Now price for free and set the price you want.
Thank you,

"eBay recognizes combined shipping discounts only when it goes through the checkout flow. We encourage buyers to go through the combined shipping flow so we know exactly the reduced shipping amount and can appropriately calculate the FVF on shipping cost.
Pricing Team"

For calculated shipping, can I add a handling charge as a percentage rather than a fixed price as is done now?[/quote]
Hi xcergy,
You can add handling charge as a percentage or fixed amount. The final value fee will be charged on total sale amount of the item including shipping, handling, and any other cost to the buyer excluding the sales taxes.
Thank you

Now a sampling of the complaints:

Will there be any mechanism to receive a credit on FVF fees for partial refunds?

Customers who purchase multiple items often do not wait for a combined invoice before paying, and receive a refund of shipping overcharges via Pay Pal. Combined shipping/discount rules don't cover every situation so this happens pretty frequently.

"Re: Fee update questions? Post them on this thread.
And this fee increase is supposed to help our bottom line HOW?
I will have to raise my shipping prices to cover your new fees. It's bad enough that UPS has/will be increasing the fuel surcharge.
The economy is still off track. My sales are down 30%. Increasing prices will drive more customers away, and higher shipping prices will ding stars. I have not raised shipping prices in over three years. This fee increase is unfair to eBay BUYERS "

"Bad idea to make the final value fee include shipping. Last year I sold a set of patio furniture and shipped via greyhound from Michigan to Montana. The freight was $95. I make no profit on shipping so I am now losing profit. With this action, eBay has forced me to either only sell with pickup only or choose Craigslist. I won't pay money for something I shold not have to."

"Well the 50 free listings are a good thing, Although the past few months you have given 100 free listings. (What about Free listings in March???) Being charged a % on shipping? BIG DISLIKE!!!!! That is just another way for ebay to squeeze another dollar out of the seller! Most people do keep their prices low on shipping, so that is just an excuse. As a seller-Now I will have to raise my price on shipping to the customer to offset your cut of it. So you are not helping the customer you are hurting the customer. That is economics 101."

"I strongly disagree with final value fees applied to shipping costs. I currently lose money with my shipping costs just to keep competitive, now ebay wants to take a chunk of that from me? It makes it erroneous to sell any low dollar items in quantity as they were barely worth it before, and now we lose even more money to ship it? Is it worth spending $3.49 (while charging 2.99) with shipping, confirmation, and a bubble envelope for a $1-3 item, with ebay taking a fee on all of it? That means I'm making about 30 cents to $2.30 to drive my item to the post office and ship it, (time and gas). Not worth it. I am going to have to raise my shipping cost $1 to make up for the fee, not lower it."

"Wow...stunning. So, now Ebay will include our shipping fees to calculate Final Value Fee on our sold items!
Outrageous. I've always offered low ship fees with a .50 handling charge for shipping materials but including this to calculate FVF?
I don't see how shipping charges = FINAL VALUE. Final value is the sale $$ of the purchased item!
I will be done selling on Ebay once I sell out my current inventory.
It will not be worth my while to sell here as my profit margin has shrunk once again."

"Yes, it looks like I will be raising my shipping prices to cover the increase in fees. Whoever came up with this brilliant idea - without asking the sellers - thought that it would have the opposite effect. Whoever the genius who proposed this thought that in order to save fees the sellers would decrease the shipping to pay less. I don't make profit on shipping and there is no wiggle room, especially in this economy. This selling venue gets worse and worse for the buyers with time. Now, I am tasked with adjusting my shipping fees upward on over 1,000 items. Like I don't have enough to do with my time."

"Too often, I believe, these "fee changes" only consider a certain type of sale (i.e. widget "A") that is sold in mass quantity where putting the shipping price in the cost is easier to do. It has never worked well with antiques and collectibles and honestly, we too, cannot continue to take the financial "hits" eBay continues to place on us.
I'm doing my best to make ends meet and with all the extra things I now have to do to meet eBay's criteria, I've had to hire 2 part time workers or I'd be up 24 hours a day.
I have grown weary of changes that eBay promotes as being good for their customers. I'm a customer and they are not good for me!"

"Re: Fee update questions? Post them on this thread.
I really don't see how this is supposed to encourage cheaper shipping. All I see is the need to increase my handling fee (currently set to usually cover the PP fee for the shipping amount) to cover this. Also, why would I offer faster shipping (such as priority) rather than forcing slower cheaper shipping (such as media) if the former costs me more?
I really don't like this as a buyer either. I tend to buy glass--I want it packed WELL and I really don't like more incentives to sellers to cut corners on packaging."

"Re: Fee update questions? Post them on this thread.
Mar 15, 2011 8:49 AM
I am horrified at the new Policy to charge Fees on Shipping - l am an Overseas Seller in a country with high shipping costs - which l already subsidise to stay competitive. Paying fees on Shipping means l either lose money hand over fist or put up the Shipping costs & lose my customers!
I object to being in effect 'forced' to open an E-Bay Store that l dont want if l want to remain selling with E-Bay. I am sorry, but this is Daylight robbery & coertion & loses all goodwill from E-Bay sellers. Buyers are not going to be happy either when costs have to be passed on to them. I usually pay around $400 -$500 a month in fees already - asking for more is just greedy."

"Re: Fee update questions? Post them on this thread.
Mar 15, 2011 8:53 AM
Okay, so here is a typical low-priced sale for me. Item (book) sells for .99 plus 3.50 media shipping. Final Value fee would be .40 and PayPal fee would be .43 (both fees based on cost plus shipping). If my shipping actually costs 3.50 (which is usually does, since I don't jack up my shipping prices), I am left with .16 profit for at least 30 minutes of work. Not worth it! I will have to either charge much more for the item or for the shipping and then get negative feedback for charging too much shipping. This seems to be a NO-WIN situation."

"This is a horrible way to get after those sellers who sell items for $.01 and charge $20.00 $50.00 for shipping. It's a flagrant way that some sellers have been going around the fees in order to make the most of the profits. I saw it a lot during the Christmas season when I was selling toys. I actually sent an email to Ebay to complain about it because it seemed unfair to those of us who are following your rules.

It seems as though this new Fees increase to include shipping and handling charges are trying to solve this issue. How about instead, you just kick those sellers off of Ebay?

I charge shipping based on weight, with a small handling fee to cover shipping costs such as bubble wrap, boxes, styrophome, insurance, etc. I make ABSOLUTELY no profit within my shipping charges.

I really feel that you should look into this issue a bit more thoroughly"

"Re: Fee update questions? Post them on this thread.
Mar 15, 2011 8:55 AM
I'm just trying to figure out how it's fair to charge FVF on shipping, which is money we don't keep - I understand that there are price gougers who WAY overcharge on shipping, but this is going to kill those of us who sell pottery and glass because shipping is sometimes more than the bidder pays for the item.
We're being charged to accept shipping money and then spend it on behalf of the buyer and that seems wrong."

"I can not believe that shipping costs will be added to the final value fee. Most of my sales are International and the shipping is considerably higher than in the USA. This is absolutely ridiculous, aren't the 5 star ratings enough to keep the cost of shipping fair? I feel ebay is just trying to make it seem like we are getting a deal when in reality it is just more profit for ebay. Without sellers there will be no buyers and ebay should keep this in mind, there are plenty of other sites to sell on."


  1. I'm sick of eBay and their thieving ways! They don't really care about the buyer or the seller, all they care about is getting your money! F. Them I'm done with the greedy bastards. Listing fee's final value fee's, paypal fee's and now final value on shipping fee's. 4 ways to get your money! I sold three items for a total of $47 eBay took $13.87 in fees and I lost an additional $3.47 in shipping outog my own pocket to ship the items as that's what I was charged in final value shipping. I charge actual cost in shipping, I don't make a dime, now I'm losing!!

  2. I recently started a petition on to eBay - I read some of your blogs associated with eBay and I thought you may be interested in writing about this issue!

    eBay: Stop the 'Final Value Fee On Shipping Charge'

    I realize that asking eBay to cease taking 10% of the shipping charge is unlikely to happen. I wish eBay would take their software that allows them to offer 'calculated shipping' and refine it to include their 10% shipping charge within the calculated amount. This could be the opening of a new door to prevent sellers from charging excessive shipping amounts in the first place.

    Thank you and have a great day!