eBay Shipping Package and Smartphone

On Reddit, an eBay seller posted a notice they received from eBay stating that “between October 2020 and January 2021, some sellers were mischarged for shipping label costs.” Furthermore, the notice said they corrected the issue, and impacted sellers will see a credit or debit in their account over the next week.

While most carriers do post-shipment audits, confirming weight, dimensions, address type (commercial vs. residential), or applying other surcharges, that is usually done by the time the shipment is billed to the shipper. Even the U.S. Postal Service will now verify the postage purchased was correct and bill senders through shipping platforms, including its Click N’ Ship program.

eBay also has a page explaining the importance of accurately preparing the shipment before creating the label to avoid post-shipment adjustments and surprises. But in this case, it appears the incorrect shipping costs were caused by a problem with eBay’s label system that went undetected for months, not a carrier post-shipment verification adjustment.

Certainly, sellers who are due a refund because of eBay’s error should receive a refund. Unfortunately, it also seems eBay has decided that sellers who they have identified were undercharged for shipping costs must now pay up.

This could be especially problematic for seasonal sellers that mostly sell during the holiday period. If they are with eBay’s Managed Payments program and have no funds left in their eBay account, they could end up with a bank debit. The company did not communicate how it would collect funds from sellers who owe money from their mistake, leaving unanswered questions about the process.

It would seem this could have been a good opportunity for eBay, and its new CEO, to show they truly care about sellers and accept the loss from this problem by not trying to claw back monies from small business owners months later. Instead, sellers who will be affected by this error will again feel like they are being left to hold the bag again, which is unfortunate.

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