Updated 6/29/11: And we finally have a solution!!! (No thanks to that CS rep who never got back to me.)

Over the summer, eBay debuted a new flow for printing shipping labels. Most importantly, this new method was a single page (instead of the multiple pages of the old process) and also didn’t seem to leave the eBay site. I had some big issues with it when it first debuted but, to their credit, eBay fixed nearly all of them in the first few weeks. Note I say “nearly all of them.”

Because, while I like the “single page” interface (it still takes me 2 pages to do most sales so you’ll forgive me if I’m not amazed), I’m having one big problem with it and I’m asking for your help with it because I’d like to believe I’m doing it wrong and that eBay isn’t lying to me.

The old version of PayPal shipping allowed you to specify, both during the individual transaction and as a default in your preferences, to bill every shipping label you printed to a credit card instead of to your PayPal balance. The ability to do this was important to me and my business for two big reasons:

  1. This put all of our eBay shipping on our credit card statement, making it that much easier to import into our financial software for tax time and other reporting.
  2. We were able to earn credit card points and rewards on every single postage purchase.

The day after they debuted the new shipping, I was pretty ticked. It sure looked like they were forcing you to only pay for shipping labels with your PayPal balance with no option for an alternate funding source. I was ready to cry conspiracy theory. Had they really “revamped” the shipping label process just to stop me from paying for shipping labels with a credit card? It seemed awfully like something they would do.

After some hunting, I found this in the FAQ:

I took a screenshot so they couldn’t change it on me after the fact. It says:

Can I use a credit card as the funding source for shipping labels?
Yes. On the “Print a shipping label” page, deselect the “Automatically use your PayPal account to pay for shipping labels” option below the “Pay and print” button. When you log into PayPal to pay for your labels, change the funding option to credit card on the “Review your payment” page.  

Well, thank goodness, I said to myself. I went immediately to make this change. Let’s see. On the Print a Shipping Label page, I’ll just select the… wait a minute.

Below, here is the entire Print a Shipping Label page. I only smeared out my buyer’s address (and spastically my own username, I have no idea why, you all know it) but other than that, here is the page in it’s entirety. Click it to make it bigger in a new window.


Now, I feel a little dense asking this but are you seeing this “Automatically use your PayPal account to pay for shipping labels” option I’m supposed to deselect? It’s supposed to be right under the “Pay and print” button so let’s take a closer look.

The FAQ promises I can pay for shipping labels with a credit card but after a ton of digging around, I’m not seeing it. Even assuming the eBay directions are wrong, I still can’t find the option after digging through my PayPal account. 

So I turn to you. How the hell do I set my funding source for eBay shipping labels to a credit card? What am I missing here?


Updated on 11/23/2010:

I manage an account for a client and, while in their account, I accidentally hit the Print Shipping Label button and, low and behold:

They have the mythical option mentioned above!

My first theory was that this was a one and done option that I had missed. In other words, that you only get the option the very first time that you use eBay shipping labels and then never again and I just totally missed it the first time. The client’s account doesn’t use eBay shipping so this seemed to confirm this.

I finally bit the bullet and called eBay support about this. I spent 40 minutes on the phone with a very nice man named Stuart who spent a ton of time trying to help me figure out what the heck the story is with this.

After much back and forth, he came back with the reply that it has to do with Beta testing. That the ability to change your payment method is in Beta which is why only some people have it. He said that his supervisors were confident that the fact that they mentioned this ability in the FAQ meant that they were planning on rolling it out soon site wide and that I should be getting that option in the near future. He also promised to do some more looking into this and email me back next week.

First off, a big thank you to eBay support, especially Stuart who was patient and kind and wasn’t ever “Go away, you’re an idiot” like he could have been because it was a very complex and confusing issue. A huge thank you to them for that.

That said, I’m not sure he’s right. I’m still not 100% convinced that option wasn’t there the first time I used the service and that my original theory isn’t still correct. I called eBay support because I was hoping they would have a way to “reset” my account back to the way it was the first time I used it which would give me this mythical option to change my payment method. The fact that the FAQ promises a way to change it, to me, indicates that this is just some kind of bug or omission where eBay intended to give us the ability to change our payment method but simply never did.

Anyway, an update on this from me with more info to come when I hear back from eBay. What have you folks found out since I first posted this? What do you think of eBay’s answer?