For something like two years now, eBay has been promising to add functionality that would allow sellers to pay for and print shipping labels directly from the eBay website. It is now finally possible, although it is not the default method and there is little information available about how to set it up or make it work. Luckily for eBay, there are thousands of Mom and Pop auction blogs written by disgruntled auctioneers that really have nothing better to do than explain things for them. PayPal has been promising to add Small and Large Flat Rate Box options to its own website for years as well. While they still haven’t done that (lol), it is now possible to pay for Small and Large Flat Rate Box shipping labels from eBay. Beggars can’t be choosers I guess. There are several advantages and disadvantages to using eBay to print shipping labels when compared with PayPal or USPS’s own Click’N’Ship service. Here we go.
- It’s possible to pay for and print labels for Small and Large Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes as well as USPS Express Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes. It is still impossible to select these services when using PayPal. All other shipping options that are available on PayPal are also available on eBay, including Media Mail and First Class which are not available at USPS.com.
- There are fewer boxes to fill out and fewer screens to click through, especially for international shipments when customs forms are required. This makes it the fastest way to print a single label.
- It’s a much cleaner interface. PayPal has boxes, words, pop-up screens, and options splattered all over the screen. Not so with eBay. It’s easy to turn off and on receipts and choose whether or not to display postage costs for each individual label.
- Printing multiple labels is not as fast or efficient as with PayPal Multi-Order Shipping.
- The options and differences may take getting used to. Some users do not find it easier or faster than PayPal, especially when printing more than one or two labels.
- It may be difficult to keep track of where tracking information is stored and which website is used to void or reprint labels, especially when eBay, PayPal, and USPS.com are used.
Using eBay to print labels for Small and Large Flat Rate Boxes may be a life saver for many. I have heard countless stories of people trudging to the Post Office in order to ship a Small Flat Rate Box because they can’t use PayPal and are unaware it’s possible to print and pay for a label at USPS.com. Unfortunately, since eBay label printing is turned off by default, many of these same people will still be trudging to the Post Office to stand in line unless they scroll through to page 42 of Google results to find this tutorial. It’s not our fault they’re not AuctionCopers though, right?
- EBay account
- PayPal account with valid credit/debit card attached
- A Sale
- Either disable pop-up blocker or add shiptrack.ebay.com to your allow list if necessary
How To Turn On EBay Label Printing
By default, clicking “Print Shipping Label” next to a transaction in “My eBay” will take you to PayPal to print the shipping label. Printing labels within eBay must be manually enabled. Luckily, it’s a cinch once you know what to do. Go to My eBay and mouse over, but don’t click, the account tab and then click on “Site Preferences.”
The fourth option down on the next screen is “Shipping Preferences.” Click “show” on the far right to see the following options.
You will see a variety of goodies here, many of which I have covered previously. You will want to check the box “Yes” after “Pay for shipping and print U.S. Postal Service labels on eBay” and click “Apply.” That’s it! Enabled!
Shipping Label Walkthrough
Now go back to an item sold and click the “Print Shipping Label” Button next to an item that needs to be shipped.
You should now be redirected to a page similar to the following, rather than PayPal.
Here, it’s possible to select the service and package type, including the coveted Small and Large Flat Rate Boxes. If you select “package” it will ask the weight, but not the dimensions of the package. If you select “large package” then you will need to fill in the dimensions. Once a package size and service is selected you will need to click the “calculate” button before you can proceed to the next screen. The button is hidden underneath the drop down menu pictured above, but will be plainly visible once your selections are made. You can then select whether or not you want a receipt to print or the postage price hidden by clicking the “Change” button next to “Additional Options.” I can’t think of a purpose for the receipts since all of the information is stored online in various places. Since I offer free shipping, I usually choose to display the cost, although it’s unlikely anyone notices. If you charge $20 to ship a one ounce package then I would recommend hiding the cost.
The cost of shipping will then be visible at the bottom of the page and look something like the following picture. It is also possible to check a box here that will automatically bill PayPal for all of your labels in the future. Selecting this box means you will not have to log in to PayPal every time you print a label on eBay. I would suggest checking it. When you’re ready, take a deep breath and click “Pay and Print.”
Since this is (probably) your first time printing a label on eBay you will have to log in to PayPal. If you checked the box on the previous screen, you will also have to agree to PayPal’s billing agreement to debit your account each time you print and pay for a shipping label. The agreement looks like this, which you will see after logging in to PayPal on the usual screen.
Click “Agree and Continue” and you should be redirected back to eBay and your label should be available for printing in a window similar to PayPal’s. If no window appeared then it’s likely that your pop-up blocker blocked it. After printing, a screen that is also similar to PayPal’s will present itself.
From here you can do pretty much anything you could do after printing a label in PayPal. You can click the “Print Packing Slip” button to see the item you’re supposed to ship. You can just close the packing slip box once you make a note of the item. I do this a lot because I’m always forgetting what people bought due to my limited brain power. I’m not sure why PayPal and eBay stopped displaying the item purchased on the label confirmation page. They used to display it and then decided to stop one day. You can also reprint or void the label if necessary.
That’s it. You should have a brand new shipping label to show off to all of your friends, or if you’re like me, Mom and Dad.
After The Fact
If you need to void the label you will need to do it in eBay rather than PayPal. Go back to the transaction in My eBay, where you clicked “Print Shipping Label” and click the drop down arrow to select “View Order Details.”
From this page you can view the shipping information as well as reprint the label within 24 hours of creating it or void it within 48 hours.
Unfortunately, PayPal does not provide much information about shipping labels purchased on eBay, meaning you may have to keep track of shipping in two different places. This is what the PayPal details shows for the label from the example above.
As you can see, PayPal doesn’t provide the address of the recipient, or really any information other than the amount paid for postage and the time the label was printed. There is also no place to void or reprint the label. On top of that, PayPal does not display the relevant Delivery or Signature Confirmation number on the transaction. Only “In Progress” is listed as shown in the following screen capture, even though the item has already shipped.
There is no easy to click link to check the status of the package like there is on a label printed from PayPal. If you want to check the status then you’ll have to click into the details of the transaction and then copy and paste the number into USPS.com. It’s a medium sized hassle that should, but probably won’t, be fixed in a future update.
I have no idea why it isn’t possible to print and pay for Small and Large Flat Rate Boxes on PayPal. PayPal and eBay representatives have been saying for years that their programmer(s) are working on it, but it appears that eBay fired whoever actually knows how to program websites some time ago. I know improving eBay and PayPal isn’t on the top of anyone’s to-do list in 2010, but honestly folks, if I can make a banner as awesome as the one found on this website then I think I could figure out how to create a Large Flat Rate Box button for PayPal. Just saying.
I’ll still be doing most of my label printing with PayPal, because Multi-Order shipping is just so simple and efficient. I’m also easily confused, so trying to keep track of various labels printed in different places would be too much for my small brain to handle. I will be using eBay for Small and Large Flat Rate Boxes instead of USPS, but just barely.