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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

1) Does it cost more to ship to Alaska/Hawaii/Puerto Rico?

The answer is a qualified "no". IF you are using USPS and IF you don't live in certain central parts of the US, the cost is no different than shipping to the opposite side of the country. If you live in Pennsylvania it is zone 8 to California and also zone 8 to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico (and Guam, US Virgin Islands, and other US territories.) The Priority mail cost is the same.

If you are using UPS or FedEx the cost may be substantially higher to ship outside the contiguous US. Those carriers do now offer ground service to Alaska and Hawaii, but it does cost more. USPS is recommended as an alternative for those locations as the rate is much more reasonable.

2) My listing said "US only." My buyer is in Alaska/Hawaii/Puerto Rico!!

Well, those are part of the the US. eBay's shipping details box does not include an option for shipping to the contiguous US only. If your flat rate shipping is for UPS or you have other reasons for limiting where you will ship, you need to clarify that in your item description.

3) The listing said the s/h was for the continental US. I'm in Alaska and that's part of the continent.

"Continental US" has been used for decades by the mail order industries and even UPS to refer to the 48 contiguous states. Your understanding of geography may be superior, but if the seller included a limitation the intent should have been clear. If there is any question or doubt, email before you bid.

4) The listing said the s/h was for the lower 48 states. I'm in Hawaii and that's lower than many other states.

Another gold star for geography but read number 3.

5) My listing said "US only" and my buyer is in Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico is actually a US commonwealth. Though not a state, it is part of the US. No customs form is required and there are no taxes or other concerns in shipping there. Regular USPS rates apply. There are actually many locations like this. Treat it like any other normal transaction and enjoy your profit!

6) How can I make sure I don't get bidders from Alaska and Hawaii?

First, if you ship USPS, why would you want to? Those members are fellow citizens of the US who just happen to live in locations a little more exotic than yours. Unless you live in one of the few areas that doesn't have any zone 8's in the contiguous states, the cost isn't going to be any higher than that to the opposite coast. If you use the calculator it doesn't matter anyway.

If your items are too large for Priority mail or if your normal carrier is UPS or FedEx, you do need to clarify your shipping policy in your item description. Phrases such as "We ship only to the contiguous 48 states" or "S/h will be $12 within the contiguous US; AK/HI and other locations will be higher" will help you avoid having distraught buyers who post their complaints on P&S, or worse, in your feedback.

7) Why do so many eBay sellers charge a lot more to ship to AK/HI/PR?

Some have legitimate reasons for doing so, primarily using a parcel carrier and basing their flat rate s/h on their costs within the contiguous US. They charge more because it costs them more.

Other sellers are less experienced. They see that some sellers charge more to ship to those locations and assume that it will cost them more. If the seller is using USPS and charging a higher rate you might want to politely email before bidding and, noting that the cost is normally the same as to the other states, ask if the seller could take a look at the s/h fee. (The same applies to auctions that exclude AK/HI/PR entirely.)

If you're a seller, there is absolutely no reason to add a higher handling fee for shipping to those locations. The work is the same as shipping a package anywhere else in the US.
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bostongrammy
Community Member
Posts: 9,279
Registered: ‎11-24-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
What a nice summary! It should be pinned to the top - although the folks who need to read it rarely read those pinned threads.
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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
thanks bostongrammy, that was my intent actually. These questions come up like clockwork so I thought maybe it would help.
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Community Member
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎01-28-2003

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
When you say that the cost is no different, you could make it more clear (you mention it kinda in passing) that you are talking about Priority rates used by sellers who usually ship by that method. A seller who ships by any USPS Package Services rate (not just Parcel Post because something is large, but also Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter) will have to charge more than their usual rate ("upgrading" to Priority), unless the buyer is willing to wait a long time for the item.

Barbara
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bostongrammy
Community Member
Posts: 9,279
Registered: ‎11-24-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
Media Mail isn't zoned, so it will cost the same to AK and HI. BPM is zoned -- but for that reason, MM is cheaper than BPM if you're shipping a long distance.

You are actually talking about delivery time, rather than cost -- so the seller might want to add a caution about the time involved for MM, and offer both MM and Priority so farther readers who are in a hurry can choose to pay for Priority.
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Community Member
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎08-23-2004

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
Nice summary, let's get a few more posts and if Gilbert ever dares to come back in here maybe he can get it pinned to the top.


May 10, 1970 - Paul McCartney announces that The Beatles have broken up.




Sep 4, 1957 - Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel.
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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
good point, Bostongrammy.

Gilbert has promised me this will be tacked up as soon as the board mods can get to it.
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Community Member
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-22-2003

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007


You should have mentioned the US Virgin Islands as they are treated the same as AK, HI, & PR.

Media Mail & Parcel Post to any of these locations is extremely slow. More than a month and could be several months before delivered.

Your post assumes that everyone uses USPS for shipping. EVERYONE knows that AK, HI, PR & the USVI are zone 8 (for the post office.)

CONTIGUOUS United States do NOT include HAWAII.


This thread should not have been made into a sticky. It is snotty and full of half truths.

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caribsalvage-usvi
Community Member
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎12-13-2008

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
I live in the US Virgin Islands which is part of the US (as you thankfully pointed out) and the US mail system. I generally have to discuss this point with sellers and explain that if they use Priority mail flat rate packaging it is the same charge. These are people who state they already use the US mail for shipping as I try to restrict myself to those sellers. However if they post an Ebay Postage zip calculator that adds the postage I can not enter my zip to determine how much extra they will be charging as our zips are not included in Ebay menus. Last week I received bad feedback w/the seller stating that I was 'awful'when I found,after purchase, he was going to charge well over 10 dollars to mail an 11.00 slip. (I was not awful - I simply said that was expensive - to him somehow that was beyond the pale). Why do I have to go through this constantly when as Ebay just stated - we are part of the US. Is it possible for Ebay to make this point and their policy a little clearer by including us in the calculators?? It is not only the extra amount of time that this whole process can take but I estimate that by flying blind like this it has cost me
quite a bit of extra money
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Community Member
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-22-2003

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007


", there is absolutely no reason to add a higher handling fee for shipping to those locations..."

Who died and made you spokes person for everyone that sells on eBay?

Most sellers that use a flat rate, choose zone 6 or 7 as the basis for their shipping cost. AK, HI, PR & the USVI are zone 8.

Your comment (in quotes above) will give many the impression that UPS, DHL, & FedEx charge the same amount for shipping to these locations. They do not. The costs are significantly HIGHER. Yet, sometimes the costs can be cheaper than US Postal Service Priority Mail. Priority Mail is expensive for heavy items.


Once again, this post shouldn't be a sticky because if is full of misleading bull.

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Community Member
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-22-2003

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007


"Why do I have to go though this..."

Good question, simple answer. You have to go through this because you live in the US Virgin Islands. Also, because the average person on the street in the US doesn't know that shipping there is the same as it would be to say Hawaii. (eBay is full of average people off the street turned sellers.)

Hey you can't have it all. You've got the beaches, the sun, the great atmosphere... What'r you spoiled? LOL


Okay... I'll snap my fingers and make the whole world understand that the US Virgin Islands are part of the USA. Wait... It doesn't seem to be working. Snap. Snap.

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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
You should have mentioned the US Virgin Islands as they are treated the same as AK, HI, & PR.

ummm... I DID. Did you read the post? In the answer to the first question I included Guam and the US Virgin Islands. No, I didn't list every single off shore location covered by domestic USPS, but noted there are others.

Media Mail & Parcel Post to any of these locations is extremely slow. More than a month and could be several months before delivered.

Yep. Presumably folks who live there know that. If it bothers you as a seller, you can require Priority mail shipping. If you use a flat rate for media or parcel post, explain in the description that the rate is valid only in the contiguous US and that other locations will be sent Priority at a higher rate.

Your post assumes that everyone uses USPS for shipping. EVERYONE knows that AK, HI, PR & the USVI are zone 8 (for the post office.)

No, it doesn't. It explains that if you use FedEx, UPS, etc that it costs a lot more to ship outside the contiguous US. And, "everyone" does NOT know that those locations are zone 8 with USPS, as evidenced by the posts that show up here regularly.

CONTIGUOUS United States do NOT include HAWAII.
Of course it doesn't. I gave it as the most accurate term for excluding AK/HI and all US territories and posessions.
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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
", there is absolutely no reason to add a higher handling fee for shipping to those locations..."

Who died and made you spokes person for everyone that sells on eBay?

Most sellers that use a flat rate, choose zone 6 or 7 as the basis for their shipping cost. AK, HI, PR & the USVI are zone 8.


I think it would be more accurate to say "some" sellers that use a flat rate choose zone 6 or 7 as the basis for their shipping cost. There is really only a small portion of the US that doesn't have zone 8's within the contiguous US as well. (gee, stop me if I'm repeating myself.) If you're in the western half of the country it's zone 8 to the eastern states. If you're in the south or eastern part of the country it's zone 8 to the west coast. If you're in one of the few locations that is zone 7 to either coast, then you're the exception explained in the original post. If you live in Miami, ship USPS priority mail and it's zone 8 to California, there's no reason to charge more for shipping to Hawaii. It costs the same. If you only charged for zone 7 that's too bad. You're far more likely to get a buyer in California than you are one in Guam.

Your comment (in quotes above) will give many the impression that UPS, DHL, & FedEx charge the same amount for shipping to these locations. They do not.

I don't see how. It specified "handling" not shipping in the line that you quoted. Many residents of those locations have complained that eBay sellers are charging them much higher handling fees. The sellers were shipping Priority mail.

I will back off and say that higher handling fees are understandable if the seller normally ships with UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc and has to take time to process a shipment outside the normal channels and/or make a special trip to the post office.

The costs are significantly HIGHER. Yet, sometimes the costs can be cheaper than US Postal Service Priority Mail. Priority Mail is expensive for heavy items.

Up above that, in the part you didn't read, I explained that it can cost much more to ship with a those carriers and noted that USPS is typically a less expensive alternative for these locations. Most of the items complained about are small and lightweight. If the item is very heavy it would certainly be worth comparing rates.
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Community Member
Posts: 807
Registered: ‎04-20-2004

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
Nice posting information! I find that there are a lot of misconceptions out there -- PO Boxes, APO/FPO and AK/HI and they are often the product of a seller copying something he read in another auction because he thought it sounded good. Sadly, it just keeps spreading.

 Zippy's   Postal Shipping 101   Free Priority Boxes * Media Mail * Postal Links * International Shipping * APO/FPO


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Community Member
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎08-23-2004

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
*zip - what a nice Postal Shipping 101 page you have put together!

Check the link in her signature line.


May 16, 1966 - Two extremely influencial rock albums are released on the same day:
Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.




Sep 4, 1957 - Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel.
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Community Member
Posts: 807
Registered: ‎04-20-2004

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
Why thank you! The page was born in Feb 2004 because I got tired of typing the same stuff over and over when answering questions on the New to eBay Board.

Feel free to use it any time it will help. I've not ventured much into this board -- figured the regs here had things well in hand. ;-)

 Zippy's   Postal Shipping 101   Free Priority Boxes * Media Mail * Postal Links * International Shipping * APO/FPO


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Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-17-2005

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
Note to sellers:
YOU DON'T PAY FOR SHIPING!!!, so why the problem with UPS to ALASKA ??? Why would you not allow a buyer to pay the extra $4 in Shiping??

Your at the UPS counter, You send a box to Seattle, or Tampa, or Miami... so why not ALASKA?

It's called "UPS Blue Label", it means that the box travels by plane instead of truck, THATS ALL.

You don't even have to do anything new or scarey or different, just give your box to the UPS desk with the ALASKAN Address on it, just as you would for the box to Portland, and THEY'LL DO THE REST.

In 30sec, The USP employee will tell you the cost, you'll pay, and WAA LAA! YOU DID IT!!


:-)
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Community Member
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎12-14-2002

Re: Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
If the buyer prefers to have the item shipped UPS, then by all means do it!

However, USPS is recommended for Alaska and Hawaii because there is a significant difference in the cost, particularly for heavy packages.

An 8lb package shipped from New York to Anchorage (residential) would cost $33.78/UPS 2nd day air ... $26.93/UPS ground daily pick up rate (If you use paypal shipping for UPS you would pay over $40 for either service) OR $15.75 for USPS Priority mail.

For a 5lb package the difference in cost is over $25 if you don't have a daily rate. Most sellers with items under that weight are using USPS anyway.

So, I guess what you ought to be saying is "if your buyer really wants to pay $25 extra for you to ship UPS, why not do it?" On the other hand, you can print a paypal label for priority mail and schedule a carrier pick up for the next day, and it's really not a big deal.
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Community Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-08-2003

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
We tend to forget that words such as All, Never, and EVERYONE should seldom be used especially when being descriptive of shipping/handling policies.

"EVERYONE knows that AK, HI, PR & the USVI are zone 8 (for the post office.)"

Maybe true for you but not EVERYONE.

I live in the one of the "contiguous" US states. California is zone 8. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are Zone 6.

I would hazard a guess that there is a substantial portion of the mid/lower East Coast and SE US where the West Coast would be zone 8 and PR/VI would be zone 6 or 7.
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Community Member
Posts: 807
Registered: ‎04-20-2004

Answers to Questions about Shipping & Rates to Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

in reply to ms_007
I would hazard a guess that there is a substantial portion of the mid/lower East Coast and SE US where the West Coast would be zone 8 and PR/VI would be zone 6 or 7.

And you would be absolutely right. From Arlington VA (222), Puerto Rico is Zone 3, Miami is Zone 5, California is Zone 8, as is Alaska and Hawaii.

All APO/FPO, AK, HA, US Territories and overseas possessions are not automatically zone 8.

 Zippy's   Postal Shipping 101   Free Priority Boxes * Media Mail * Postal Links * International Shipping * APO/FPO


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