03/12/2018 at 6:19 pm #34968
The saga of FedEx SmartPost…
So as a recap and an extension of what we have on our FedEx SmartPost issues. Since the rate changes went into effect in late January, our use of FedEx has dropped dramatically since the rates skyrocketed on FedEx SmartPost. The last 4 months of invoices from eBay show the amount we have paid for FedEx Shipping charges:
November 2017 – $413.42 (35 items)
December 2017 – $438.17 (35 items)
January 2018 – $335.64 (26 items)
February 2018 – $79.35 (4 items)
This has been due to the fact that the SmartPost rates have, on average, doubled since January. I have called eBay repeatedly to have this looked at, showing examples where for many sizes, the cost to ship the item via FedEx SmartPost is MORE expensive than shipping via FedEx Home Delivery or FedEx Ground.
In our most recent example, shipping from 80020 to 58793, 2lb box, 16x16x8, our packaging, no special handling or value, the eBay cost is $19.89 SmartPost, and $17.59 Home Delivery (this is the example you took screen shots of for the file). I cannot for the life of me understand why it would cost MORE to ship the LONGER way. We also were able to show that the RETAIL price for this item on the FedEx Website was only $15.93 via FedEx Ground. So not only is SmartPost not correct, using eBay’s account, we would pay MORE than retail pricing. So much for a discount shipping via eBay…
I went to 2 separate FedEx offices to get rate information for this same shipment. I could confirm the $15.93 pricing that we saw online was the same as what we would pay at the store (so retail price). I was then told by both locations that they did not have the ability to give me a SmartPost rate. One person showed me the screen, and SmartPost is not even an option. I was told I would have to contact FedEx via phone to get a SmartPost rate. So when I called FedEx, I was then informed that FedEx could NOT give me the SmartPost rate, since SmartPost is only done at the account level. While I had the representative on the phone, he said that the FedEx SmartPost rate table that is on the FedEx webside (just go to http://images.fedex.com/us/smartpostguide/pdf/FXSP_ByPound_2018.pdf ) is based only on weight and did not have a DIM weight component.
I am going to confirm that last statement in the next 24 hours, as FedEx is going to call me back to add SmartPost onto our account so that we can get our lower rates again. The rep on the phone stated that yes, 90% of the time, SmartPost should be cheaper than Ground or Home Delivery (which is not what we have on our calculated rates via eBay right now). So hopefully, we can start providing the lower shipping costs to our customers again directly through FedEx until the eBay glitch is fixed.
So, I see two outcomes going forward.
1) Either there IS a DIM weight component on SmartPost and the FedEx SmartPost rates ARE calculating correctly on eBay, and a FedEx representative would have to explain why the slower option is MORE expensive than the faster option.
2) The eBay rates are incorrect, and we will start providing our customers with the cheaper shipping rates directly through FedEx, since eBay would be charging us more than going through FedEx. At that point, I would hope that eBay would get their rates corrected, as it would put more burden on us in terms of shipping, but we would do that to provide those lower costs to our customers.
That is where we are at. You can call me tomorrow to discuss further and we can see what the next steps are on the eBay side. You have my number, call me anytime.
Thank you so much for the work you did on the phone with me today. It was an hour well spent, and I really appreciate your willingness to help get this issue put to rest.
Talk to you tomorrow.
03/12/2018 at 7:11 pm #34976
- Location: Ohio
Thank you for pressing them for answers on this issue. I cannot seem to get answers…eBay is not differentiating this issue from the other resolved issue of customers being charged one price while labels were much higher. FedEx Reps do not seem to have access to SmartPost pricing and have advised me to talk to the account Rep at eBay…yeah, I’ll call him right up with the direct phone number I have for him. LOL. I can’t seem to get anywhere with my inquiries. I feel that I’ve lost the entire Western part of the country as a customer base because of this sharp price increase…my items are not generally small. My only solace is that my competitors in the West are also now outpriced for shipping to my side of the country. So maybe it will even out?
03/12/2018 at 7:26 pm #34979
I am very interested in what SmartPost pricing would be directly through FedEx. Looking forward to the call tomorrow.
03/13/2018 at 9:22 am #35019
T-Satt: May have some info. to share on the “SmartPost” issue. I have been talking to my local USPS carrier. She said their office has been getting a lot of calls on this issue and they finally had a in house production meeting and a district rep for USPS came in and talked to all the local PO employees. They said that what happened is the following.
The FedEx SmartPost program had negotiated that the USPS handle the last leg of all FedEx SmartPost packages. Every SmartPost package that is dropped off at or picked up by FedEx is sent to the destination zip’s closest USPS distribution center. So basically the FedEx program is pretty much about a 50% process that is now handled and delivered by the post office.
Then in Mid Januaury the USPS changed the prices it charges FedEx by increasing the weight rates, adding the new DIM weights and changing the the rates it charges FedEx for it’s part in handling the FedEx packages for them.
She went on to explain that the use of FedEx SmartPost is like using FedEx for the first leg of the shipment, then FedEx sub-contracts the last part of the delivery and that part is now costing FedEx a whole lot more than prior to Jan. 2018. In turn fedEx is having to pass those newly added extra costs along to the customers [us sellers and shippers] and that which has ended up in a much increased cost of the FedEx program.
I mentioned that it sounds like the USPS doesn’t want the FedEx business any longer and she seemed to say the SmartPost Program has always been a pain in the rear end anyway. She also went on to say that the district rep also mentioned changes in sellers platforms internal policies like Ebay, Amazon that are now introducing “Guarantted delivery” programs and money back programs that the USPS does not like being on the back end of that process. The USPS mnagaers state that FedEx drags and gets delayed many times for assorted reasons and that the USPS gets fingers pointed at them because they are the last ones to touch the program and they are tired of being the bad guy on “failed to perform” deliveries. She stopped short of actually saying they are over charging FedEx to handle the packages they can’t or won’t deliver but seems to think FedEx is getting stretched on the local stuff and prefers International delivery over local deliveries. The USPS out mans and out trucks FedEx 10 to 1 according to her and they would like for those who use FedEx to just start using the USPS directly since they deliver most of the fedEx packages anyway on the last leg.
So, unsure how much is fact or fantasy, but it sure seems to make sense that if the USPS is charging FedEx more for the work that FedEx is sub-contracting out to them, that in turn those costs are being passed down to us sellers and thus the “SmartPost” program now costs more.
We talk to our carrier 2 or 3 times a week and she seems to be more than willing to keep us informed on what is going on inside of their local office atleast.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
03/13/2018 at 9:39 am #35021
- Location: Ohio
I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that many sellers handed off their SmartPost packages to USPS right from the start…despite the note in red displayed that these packages must be dropped off at a FedEx location. I didn’t do this at first, because it seemed like USPS would be doing all the transit…but I called FedEx, my local Post Office, and spoke to my regular carrier and they all said I could just give it to the USPS carrier. Did FedEx even touch it? No wonder USPS wants more $ for this service.
03/13/2018 at 11:47 am #35040
Interesting Mike, but I just got finished talking with FedEx to get SmartPost on our account, and the rep confirmed the rates on the FedEx website do NOT have DIM weight factor.
03/13/2018 at 12:13 pm #35043
Granted Ebay may not be reporting the FedEx rates correctly, but why are the rates different now anyway. But maybe there is two things taking place concurrently. Ebay not reporting correctly AND the FedEx rates are higher due to increased costs to them from the USPS.
Then here is the question of the year. ask FedEx how much has the USPS raised the rates on what the USPS is charging FedEx and how much they are marking those new, higher charges up and to what degree the new, higher charges the USPS is charging FedEx impact the new rates that FedEx is charging.
Sooner or later there has to be a “head of the river”. Where has the rate increases come from? Seems like going to Ebay is like blaming the messenger. Providing that Ebay is not at fault by way of an error, glitch or being the cause of the increase. Then next up the food chain would be FedEx, but since they are sub-contracting out the “final leg” of their SmartPost program coupled with the fact that USPS has recently done a rate increase, I would be digging into USPS. What have they charged FedEx in the past vs. what are they charging them now? If there is a change, then how much of an increase in their services, and of course FedEx is not only going to pass those increases on to us but common business practices to mark those increases up.
Just seems to me we haven’t gotten to the head of the river yet. A Stanley and Livingston scenario :-)!
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by MDC Galleries.
03/13/2018 at 12:22 pm #35045
End of the day, what matters is what it costs me to ship. When I get SmartPost on my OWN account, I will see what the rates are directly through FedEx. Then, if they match what FedEx has on FEDEX.COM as their posted SmartPost rates, then I don’t need eBay to get FedEx SmartPost rates again.
In the next few days, I will hopefully have an end-around eBay, and I will be getting my rates back.
And…I will get my shipping charged to our PayPal credit card, and get 1% cash back.
03/13/2018 at 1:01 pm #35048
Interesting: So, we have had both a UPS and FedEx account for years. I just went to our account with FedEx, signed in and input the following.
16x16x8 size box, 2 LB. weight and used your zip as the ship from 80020 and used 58793 as the ship to. Clicked on using “my own packaging” and clicked on get rate quote and it came up offering 4 different FedEx levels, all were Express service except the last one, which was 2 day FedEx and SmartPost wasn’t one of them. Our cost with our discount showed $16.36 to ship your pkg. from your zip to your cust. with end of 2nd day delivery. AND it did show that DIM Weight was used to calculate these rate costs.
Don’t know what this tells us, but maybe different sellers get different rates and discounts based on some kind of variables, who knows.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by MDC Galleries.
03/13/2018 at 1:19 pm #35053
That is crazy, because the retail rate for that package was $15.93, both online and in the store.
FedEx is currently setting up our updated discounts now, and once that is square, they will add the SmartPost option to our account. I should know more in 48 hours.
I am interested in what our eBay rep will be able to report. Crazy that I can get a better deal paying Retail rate for Ground vs the “discounted” rates on eBay. The rep said she knew that CAN’T be right ans something is wrong. She was able to get screenshots of what we are charged on eBay vs what the retail cost was on FedEx, and is adding that as evidence on the case.
I am most interested that 2 FedEx representatives have stated that DIM weight is not used on SmartPost. And the SmartPost rates are posted. They are a little higher than last year, but nowhere NEAR what we are seeing on the eBay site. The only way their posted SmartPost rates make sense is if DIM weight is used, but two reps have stated that they are not.
03/13/2018 at 1:28 pm #35054
Think about this for a minute. FedEx may not be using DIM Weight but they are only half of the equation. They give the packages to USPS for the final dleivery [last leg] and I am pretty sure that the USPS uses DIM weight and just recently went up on those rates.
Makes me wonder if FedEx office employees even knows that USPS is involved. I wonder if any FedEx employyee acn even distribe the program and how it works from the drop off until final delivery. FedEx may not be charging us them selves, but if USPS is for the final leg and also increased those costs in Jan. of 2018 then as I said ealier those are getting passed along. Maybe on the only guys who really know are the CFO’s of WordlWide FedEx. Maybe only an upper level finacial officer knows what they have to pay USPS to do the last part of thier job for them and if those charges have increased in last two months.
I think I am smelling the FedEx pulling the plug on the SmartPost program if the USPS is hitting them with such higher charges that FedEx can’t be competitve within it’s own tiers. The quick answer, drop the SmartPost program and just start doing the final leg delivery themselves.
Again, who knows.
03/13/2018 at 2:19 pm #35056
So Cal JoeParticipant
If the USPS Dim weights are the issue, then it should only affect packages less then oversize (12 X 12 X 12) etc. It affected a much smaller package for me and I suspect for others. What’s really weird is that it doesn’t seem to be affecting everyone.
Maybe USPS and/or Fedex are trying to phase it out as you suggest. It’s not an expedited service, but it looks like there are accountability issues regarding delivery times and probably damage claims as well. So much for partnerships.
I’m tempted to turn it back on anyways, as I think my sales are suffering.
Eventually it will get sorted out.. or phased out.
03/13/2018 at 2:24 pm #35059
SoCal: That will be interesting. That is why I’m going to get my own FedEx SmartPost account and see. And if the rates are back to normal, I stay. If not, I ask FedEx to explain why SmartPost is more expensive than Ground (if I get the same rates I’m seeing on eBay).
But I can tell you this: In the last two weeks since we pulled calculated FedEx off of all our listings, our Hard Goods STR was back to normal. We started selling more when the BS rates were removed.
03/13/2018 at 2:21 pm #35058
Mike: I hear you, but if the FedEx posted rates are correct, that is beginning to end. There is not another price I would pay if I go direct through FedEx. That is what I am interested in seeing: What is the SmartPost rates that I get on my FedEx account? If those are the same as the rates FedEx is posting on their website (they better be), and there isn’t a DIM weight factor, then I can get the rates I used to by going around eBay and dealing with FedEx directly.
Yes, USPS is charging FedEx, but that has always been the case. And I really don’t care, as long as the rates I pay FedEx are what I want.
I already know, and so does my eBay rep, that the calculated rates on eBay for FedEx are wrong. When I can get Retail prices for Home Delivery that are CHEAPER than on the eBay site, those rates are wrong. And when the SmartPost rates are MORE expensive than Ground on eBay, those rates are wrong.
So, while eBay doesn’t work, I start looking at other options. I get better Priority rates through Shippo than I do through eBay, so we do almost all our shipping through Shippo now. When I find the better deal, I go there…
03/13/2018 at 11:49 am #35041
FYI for all, here is the latest on this issue, after receiving calls from eBay and FedEx this morning. Below is my follow up email to our eBay rep on this issue (she is awesome)…
Thanks again for the follow-up phone call this morning.
FedEx called just minutes after our conversation. I discussed the issues we are having and the problem with the rates on the eBay platform. Our FedEx rep is going to give us discounted rates of 8%-28% on our account (not included Express Services) and is also going to set us up with SmartPost. So now we will have the option to print FedEx SmartPost labels directly through our FedEx account.
Regarding the SmartPost rates, our rep confirmed that SmartPost does NOT use Dimensional Weight. So the rates that are shown on the FedEx website (just go to http://images.fedex.com/us/smartpostguide/pdf/FXSP_ByPound_2018.pdf ) are for the weight of the item only. This seems to confirm that the eBay rates for SmartPost are NOT correct.
I also explained to the rep that there are many eBay users with this same issue, and that maybe someone on the FedEx side should contact eBay to see if this can get resolved (since this issue is impacting FedEx as well as sellers). I will also be encouraging as many sellers as possible to set up their own SmartPost accounts with FedEx. This will give sellers an option to use a discounted shipping option that eBay is currently no longer providing, as well as providing options for other business uses.
Feel free to give me a call and we can discuss further. Thanks for all your work on this!
03/13/2018 at 5:41 pm #35075
So, another follow-up. A 3rd FedEx rep called me just now to make sure my login to FedEx.com was up and working. After we confirmed that, I dove into the SmartPost rate calculation again. He confirmed that the FedEx rate does NOT use DIM weight until the item gets above 70 lbs.
So for clarification, I asked if the item was 2lbs, then whether it was 4x4x4 or 16x16x16, the rate was the same, and it would be the rate based on their posted rates. He said YES.
And there is not another charge from USPS. One rate, based on the chart, that is it.
I really can’t wait to get this to get up and running again and compare to USPS rates…
03/16/2018 at 4:17 pm #35390
That’s interesting. When I just got a quote on Fed Ex.com, it told me that ‘Dimensional Weight of your package(s) was used to calculate your rate.’ I used the 2 pound 16x16x8 package details… Ah well, regardless, I hope we get this resolved soon. Thanks!
03/16/2018 at 6:07 pm #35401
Mallybills: Did you get that quote on FedEx.Com for SmartPost or for Home Delivery/Ground? I know that the DIM weight is used for Home Delivery/Ground, but I have been told no less than 3 time from 3 different reps at FedEx that DIM weight is NOT used for SmartPost.
03/16/2018 at 6:54 pm #35406
Also, there is no way that I could see to check rates for Smart Post on the Fed Ex website. So that was for Ground…
03/16/2018 at 7:05 pm #35410
Have you seen the SmartPost rates PDF link that I have posted?
03/16/2018 at 7:20 pm #35411
Yes. I looked at the PDF. So either Fed Ex changed the rules around DIM for Smart Post for everyone with their January price change and their teammates are not giving correct info or they changed the rules for eBay only. I really don’t know which…
03/16/2018 at 7:24 pm #35412
That would be a really good answer to get. Can someone at EBay ask these questions to FedEx? I have asked FedEx to contact EBay as well.
The stories I get from the two sides don’t match, and we sit here in the middle.
03/16/2018 at 7:42 pm #35414
03/16/2018 at 7:49 pm #35416
I have seen that as well in my research, but that is dated October 2017. When I have talked to FedEx this week, and when I see their published rates (which FedEx has told me 3 times does NOT use dimensional weight), that is my confusion.
The rates right now don’t match that article. The information from FedEx does not match that either.
FedEx tells me one thing, EBay another.
03/13/2018 at 5:47 pm #35078
PS – If any other of you are seeing this issue (BethGreen, Mike), then please report it to eBay and walk them through the screens so that they can see the issue. If there are not many people that have the issue, then it will not get worked on.
I have a feeling that eBay doesn’t think this is a problem. Unless many of us complain, they won’t fix it.
In the meantime, I will encourage all of you to get your own FedEx account and get your own SmartPost rates and discounts. If eBay doesn’t fix it, we can fix it ourselves… (and keep hounding them until they get it fixed).
03/15/2018 at 3:20 pm #35274
Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Good luck actually getting smart post on your account. My local Fed Ex rep put smart post on my business account twice. Guess what – I never got smart post on my account. I gave up on them eventually.
03/16/2018 at 4:14 pm #35389
Okay, I sent this again with the specific example of the 16x16x8 2 pound package to my contact in shipping. I tested your numbers and agree with the results. Seems kind of crazy. I’ve escalated this and will let you know what I find out. It can take a while to get these kind of things resolved, but in my mind, it just doesn’t look right either.
I’ll let you know as soon as I have any updates and, with any luck, at least a road map view of when the issue will be resolved if a bug has been identified.
Thanks for pushing on this! I have some listings with Fed Ex Smart post calculated shipping and I’m wondering if it is turning some buyers off due to the high shipping cost.
03/16/2018 at 5:12 pm #35399
HI all, I have some updates.
1.) The Fed Ex Smart Post rate is all Fed Ex. Our calculator is fine. Those are the rates that Fed Ex is currently offering for Smart Post and, yes, they suck.
2.) eBay is currently renegotiating Smart Post rates with Fed Ex and hope to have better rates beginning April 1st.
3.) When checking rates on the Fed Ex site (for comparison purposes), make sure you check the “this is a residential address” box. Home delivery is more expensive and When I did that using the scenario above (2 pound, 16x16x8, etc.), the rate on the Fed Ex site is $18.33, so the eBay rate of $17.63 for ground was slightly better…
That’s it for now folks. Wish I had better news…
03/16/2018 at 6:17 pm #35402
Mallybills: I really appreciate all your help on this, but I still can’t understand why eBay would be having higher rates on SmartPost than for Home Delivery, when everything I hear from FedEx when I contact them directly, and looking at their SmartPost rates on their site (at http://images.fedex.com/us/smartpostguide/pdf/FXSP_ByPound_2018.pdf ) says that the FedEx rate on our example (2 lbs, 16x16x8) should be no more than $10.98 (Zone 8)
Is FedEx showing in correct rates on their site? Are they wrong when they tell me that SmartPost should be cheaper?
I’m still having them work on getting SmartPost put on our account directly, and it would be interesting to see what the SmartPost rate would be directly with FedEx.
03/16/2018 at 6:46 pm #35405
What Nate in shipping told me is that essentially that it no longer makes sense to use Smart Post for anything bigger than 7x7x7…
03/16/2018 at 7:03 pm #35407
So that is my big question…why?
FedEx has told me 3 times that dimensions don’t matter for SmartPost. So why do they matter for EBay?
03/16/2018 at 7:48 pm #35415
FedEx added dimensional pricing to FedEx SmartPost starting January 22:
I found articles about this on tons of shipping and logistics websites, but apparently no one bothered to tell their customer service people.
03/16/2018 at 9:40 pm #35418
Yeah, I saw all of those too. So I wonder why 2 reps and an account manager don’t know about this.
03/16/2018 at 10:30 pm #35419
So Cal JoeParticipant
Amazing, that article was written in October 2017.
It looks like Smartpost is not such a smart idea anymore. Most packages 7 X 7 x 7 or smaller should fit in a USPS Flat Rate padded envelope or a USPS medium flat rate box.
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