eBay and FedEx Ground - Overcharged for shipping, eBay won't do anything Internet
The summary of my problem is that FedEx is attempting to charge me almost double their published cost, after the fact, for an item I sold on eBay and shipped via FedEx Ground. FedEx’s shipping system shows the amount paid by my buyer is the published rate for a package of the size mine was, and eBay is refusing to help after I complained through the customary seller protection channel.The details are as follows: On March 2, 2017, I sold an item on eBay to a buyer in Dacula, GA. Upon the end of the auction, and because the item in question is an irreplaceable collector’s item, I had the item professionally packaged by a packaging shop in Alexandria, VA. On the receipt, it says the dimensions for the item are 46.50 x 20.50 x 11.00. When the packaging store weighed the item, it came in at 22 pounds, 15 ounces. After they packaged the item, they gave me the measurements for the packed and ready-to-ship box as 52 x 21 x 11, and when they weighed the box it came in at 28 pounds even. My buyer requested that I use FedEx Ground shipping to send it to him, so using the eBay invoicing system I entered the dimensions and weight of the package and specified FedEx Ground. eBay’s system invoiced $71.55 shipping and handling, which the buyer promptly paid, eBay’s system generated a FedEx shipping label for the box, and FedEx Ground picked up the box with the bass from the packaging store a day later. The box was delivered on March 9th, and the buyer wrote me on March 11th to say everything arrived fine and he was happy with the purchase. Upon the completion of the sale, I immediately paid my eBay seller fees for this auction, which totaled $99.79 and included the final value fees for the bass and the shipment. About a week and a half later I received an invoice from eBay showing that FedEx Ground had assessed $62.60 in additional shipping charges, claiming the box weighed 73 pounds and assessing additional freight and handling amounts. Given that I saw the bass weighed before and after packaging, and both times the weight was not even close to 73 pounds, this clearly was not true.I contacted eBay Customer Service on March 19th at 4:28PM and protested the extra charge. I spoke on the phone to a representative named Abraham, to whom I explained the situation and the fact that the box was professionally packed and professionally weighed. He said he would have to talk to his supervisor and call me back. At 6:51PM that same day, Abraham did call me back and said that they were escalating the matter to FedEx. After that call, I heard nothing from eBay for an entire week.On March 21, during the week I was awaiting a response from eBay, I went to the packaging store and told them what had happened, and told them eBay might be contacting them with questions about the packaging. My contact there said that they videotaped the packing of the box and anyone who wanted to see it could. I showed him what FedEx had assessed, and he was mystified to say the least at how FedEx could have arrived at these charges. Apparently the dimensions of the box determine the pricing for FedEx Ground shipments, not the weight. As they can access the FedEx ordering system from their computer, my contact at the packaging store entered the dimensions of the box to see what rate it would quote, and he found that for a box of those dimensions, it was the same price my buyer paid, for any weight up to 83 pounds.On March 24th, I received an e-mail reply from Abraham at eBay that said they had submitted my request “for the credit of $22 for the difference for the FedEx shipping cost in the invoice and the actual cost you paid for the estimated shipping postage.” I hit the roof after reading that sentence alone, because that is not even CLOSE to what I had requested them to do. I asked them to dispute the entire invoice, and apparently Abraham thought the original weight of the bass and case was the amount of money I wanted back, when this was definitely not the case. I don’t know whether this miscommunication was due to either Abraham just not listening, or to some other factor, but the bottom line is they wasted a FedEx appeal request on wrong information. They further said in their e-mail that FedEx had denied the appeal and that extra charges would apply if any of five conditions existed, none of which apply to the package I sent.Here is why the conditions they listed don’t apply to my package: The item was enclosed in a hard-shell case, which is what the packaging store then packaged. The hard-shell case has a thick plastic body and four latches, all of which were locked before the item was packed for shipment, and the case key was sent to the buyer separately by Priority Mail. No sections of the case were exposed when the packaging store finished packing it; no metal, cloth or wood was used in any way in the packaging of the instrument; the box was rectangular and not a cylindrical shape; and the box was securely taped in such a way that it would be extremely unlikely that it would jam in FedEx’s conveyor systems, unless a driver damaged the box before it was put on the conveyor; and even if that happened, that is neither my nor the packaging store's fault. Given that my buyer said the item arrived intact and undamaged, it seems that this doesn’t apply either. (On another note, this last stipulation on the list seems to be very vaguely written, and thus a prime candidate for abuse.)I wrote back to eBay and made clear that they had gotten the information completely wrong, that this result was not acceptable and that the matter needed to be resubmitted to FedEx. A representative named Arlene responded and, under the pretense of wanting to help, said that there was nothing they could do to help.I find both eBay and FedEx’s conduct in this case totally unacceptable and legally questionable. Given the fact that the FedEx rate schedule shows the price for shipping a 52x21x11 box up to 83 pounds is the same price my buyer paid, I think this is clearly an attempt by FedEx Ground to charge double for the same shipment.Likewise, there are still things eBay could do to re-investigate this case fairly, but have made clear they won’t do. They could have re-submitted a dispute to FedEx with the correct information, to correct Abraham’s mistake, but refused to do so. They could have contacted the packaging store to verify the package’s dimensions, but did not bother to do so. They could have asked the packaging store to see their video of the packaging process, for proof that those extra conditions stated by FedEx did not apply, but again did not do so. It seems that eBay would rather protect their business relationship with FedEx. Despite their claims of offering seller protection, they just can’t be bothered. Meanwhile, eBay is attempting to re-bill me for this extra shipping charge, and I recently received an e-mail from PayPal collections about it. I have written back to say that this matter is under dispute and have asked them to cease and desist all collection action until the dispute is concluded. As of this writing, I haven’t heard anything back yet.