Sellers were shocked at how much the cost of using ShipStation’s shipping software service will increase next month. They were even more shocked when they realized that the alternatives were also owned by Auctane and were raising their fees as well.
ShipStation is raising monthly subscription plans, but is also introducing a new flat monthly fee for sellers who use their contracted carriers’ rates or use carriers not supported by ShipStation, including FedEx and Amazon Buy Shipping. the
One seller shared the following notice they received from ShipStation on an industry discussion board – note that fees vary by subscription plan – the following notice was sent to a seller with a ShipStation Enterprise plan:
Notification. Your ShipStation subscription fee will change soon
ShipStation will make changes to your pricing plan and associated fees that will affect your account within thirty days. As an Enterprise plan subscriber, your new subscription rate will be $229.99 per month.
By default, ShipStation offers discounted rates for USPS, UPS, GlobalPost, and DHL Express without requiring any carrier setup. Customers who use ShipStation rates avoid additional fees.
You can continue to access your carrier accounts that we support, but after thirty days you will be charged a $95 monthly maintenance fee to do so.
The seller said they currently charge $159 per month for the Enterprise plan. With the increase and an additional $95 per month to use FedEx, the seller’s cost will increase to $324/month, a 104% increase.
Some vendors encouraged partners to contact the FTC and report what they described as anti-competitive behavior to Auctane. One seller shared a boilerplate template to send out that clarifies seller concerns;
Dear Federal Trade Commission,
I am writing to bring to your attention a significant antitrust case involving Auctane, a trucking and logistics conglomerate.
Over the past year, Auctane has acquired many shipping companies including, but not limited to, ShipStation, Stamps.com, Endicia, Shipengine, and Global Post (https://auctane.com/products/). These gains in themselves may not cause concern. However, the manner in which Auctane has capitalized on its newfound market power is cause for concern.
Auctane recently announced a 100% rate hike on these platforms, a move that could put a significant financial strain on the many businesses and consumers that rely on their services. More worryingly, they also imposed a monthly fee for users to access external carriers such as FedEx and DHL. This apparent desperation to compete appears designed to force customers to use Auctane’s pre-negotiated rates with USPS and UPS.
The significant market consolidation and pricing practices exhibited by Auctane are deeply troubling. Not only does this reduce competition in the shipping and logistics industry, it also appears to unfairly harm the tens of thousands of companies that depend on these services for their business. I believe these actions are anti-competitive practices and deserve an antitrust investigation.
A healthy competitive market is crucial for both businesses and consumers. It promotes innovation, lowers prices and ensures quality service delivery. Octane’s actions appear to undermine these principles.
I urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the actions of Auctane and intervene if necessary to protect consumers, businesses, and the overall health of the shipping and logistics industry.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am available to provide any additional information that may assist your investigation.
(YOUR NAME, TITLE and CONTACT INFORMATION – Always include physical address as well)
The company survived antitrust scrutiny in 2015 when it acquired Endicia. A lot has changed since then. Private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired Stamps.com in 2021 and took it private and renamed it Auctane. And this month, Albert Koh will take over as Auctane’s new CEO, capping a complete top management shakeup.
Sellers have only one month to adjust to the new fee structure or find an alternative. Sellers posting on Amazon’s discussion boards were concerned. One seller, who said the new fee structure will almost double the fees for using ShipStation, wrote: “.
Another Amazon seller said they’re testing Veeqo, “which is now owned by Amazon, but it’s also completely FREE and so far it has the same functionality that we currently use on ShipStation.” :
A seller on Reddit was looking for another option. “One of the best alternatives I’ve reviewed is ShipRush. I spent half an hour on the phone this week with a member of their sales team. Their platform appears to offer most of what we used Shipstation for at $30/month.” They said they are currently on ShipStation’s $45/month Silver plan, which will cost them $107 starting next month, a 138% increase. But the seller admitted that ShipRush didn’t do everything ShipStation offered.
Feel free to leave comments about the delivery solutions you use and if you are affected by the new fee structures for Auctane delivery solutions.