Aggravation of the Day: Shipping fee restriction

I nearly puked this morning when I clicked buy shipping for a very large stove top cover going to CA… $90 for UPS ground.

I’m in Indiana (part of the “flyover” midwest). I shouldn’t have to “grossly overcharge” my neighbors IL, OH, KY, TN, MI in order to not lose A LOT of money shipping to CA, NV, WA, and OR. Or to look at it another way, making those customers subsidize coastal customers.

The shipping fee restriction is just as bad/wrong as trying to prevent different prices on different websites.

There is a reason that UPS, USPS, etc charge based on zone.

I suspect that this insanity goes all the way back to the beginning when the only thing Bezos sold was books,

It cost exactly the same amount to send a book going Media Mail from WA to OR as it did to go to FL.

As "bright’ as they were they have gigantic blind spots and the silo manglement doesn’t offer any hope of it ever changing.

Look at it this way from the Amazon perspective. By forcing all of us to charge more for nearby zones THEY get to collect 15% +/- on ALL those excess charges.

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I deeply suspect that this is the real explanation.

Hasn’t it always been that way?

I’d love to know how you charged different shipping fees by state?


YIKES, @joebcrafts. That sucks and makes zero sense.

Recategorized to FBM, added fbm and handmade tags.

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This is mainly just a vent thread longing for the ability to add shipping $ to states farther from me like one can with AK, HI, and the non-contiguous territories.

I can’t charge different by state on Amazon. I’d like to be able to do zone/region at least.
It seems as if at one time it might have been possible as they have “regions” defined.


See, I’ve never seen that warning. What caused it?

Also, @Roxy @Old-Timer any thoughts?

The only time you see it is when you try to set different shipping costs for a different region.

I tried to set lower prices for my home state and got that error message every time.

99% of my items are under 8 ounces but some of them are large and heavy – 8# and 25x16x5 or worse.

It costs maybe $25 or $30 to ship to CA but only about $12 to $15 for my “local” buyers. Amazon won’t let me charge less.

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Unlike some Amazon policies, this one does have a valid reason to it. They want to have a consistent experience for buyers. If someone shares an ASIN with someone else along with the price, they expect it to cost them the same, and not have to pay for more shipping. Or if a customer isn’t logged in, or changes the shipping address on the check out screen, Amazon doesn’t want to show them a different shipping price.

Imagine if someone sees $100 + $20 shipping because they’re in New York and the seller’s in New York, then changes the address to California because they’re buying it for their mom, and the shipping jumps to $50 because now it’s going coast to coast. They will likely not be thrilled.

Overall this actually isn’t a bad policy. It simplifies things and it evens out in the end if sellers include the average shipping costs into the price of the product (or the price of shipping). Sometimes buyers overpay for shipping if they order from a seller near them, sometimes they underpay if they order from a seller far from them.


One of the reasons we do not have the postage amount printed on any label we do is so that the customer doesn’t see what we have paid. Eliminates ill feelings.

Customers will normally compare shipping to the rate that they see. USPS rates at the counter are not the same as the rates we are able to purchase at. Up until about a month ago, that is the only price the customer would see; however, USPS started giving commercial pricing on their website now so this may be a variable in the future.

Most of our orders go to Zone 5 and Zone 6 (probably 75% for these zones). Zone 7 and Zone 8 get about 20% with Zone 3 and Zone 4 get 5%. If we were to charge $3.90 across the board, we would not get hurt and the customer (in comparing to USPS retail) sees $4.90 as the price for a 3oz package for a Zone 3 up to $5.25 for a Zone 8.

Only customers familiar with USPS Commercial Pricing are going to know and understand.

Bottom line is … if you have a track record to know where your packages are going to, then you can use the 80/20 rule to set your price and be fair at the same time.

In fact, we use this logic when setting our item pricing that includes shipping which the customer sees as “free” shipping. It is true that our items are light weight so our shipping variation is only from $3.66 to $7.60 so we are not going to see something from $50 to $100. But when you are dealing with lower cost items, the $3.66 to $7.60 has the same effect on your gross margin if not handled correctly.

To us … keep it simple and use one shipping price that is fair and workable for both the customer and us.


I used to sell on ebay a very long time ago where inflating shipping was a good strategy to lower final value fees. They started charging final value fees on shipping in response to many sellers using that tactic.

As Amazon charges referral fees on shipping, there’s not a lot of reason to charge separate shipping. And as you said, if people figure out that the cost to ship the item is less than what they paid for “shipping” that can draw ire. There’s some niche reasons to charge separately for shipping, like if people want to withhold shipping on returns, but a customer can file an A-Z against you with a made up reason as to why the return is seller faulted anyway.


I have converted most of my items to “free shipping” but I go a different way for my heavier items. I determine what the costs will be for the most distant place things are going and I use THAT as the factored in cost. That way everyone pays the same and I make more money on 75% or more of the sales. It’s usually about $25 for the big stuff so $10 extra for close buyers.

I resisted ‘free’ for years but finally caved.

I do appreciate everyone that pays me an extra $5 or $10 when they buy two or three things at a time instead of just one. It generally costs me 20 cents or so IF they bump the weight from 4 to 8 ounces which seldom happens.