I've bought a few non-bid items from Ebay recently and on the shipping options one of the sellers offered two choices .... Standard Shipping .... or .... Expediated Shipping. The nice thing was that both options were free. Odd. Well, of course, I selected the Expediated Shipping option. But, then, I received a follow-up Email that stated that my item was shipped Standard Shipping. So I inquired by email to the seller about the mix-up. Standard Shipping was via UPS. Expediated was by USPS Priority Mail. My main gripe was that I didn't want to wait around all day for the UPS delivery person which is what I'd have to do due to the mixup, where as, with Priority Mail (expediated), my item gets deposited in the mailbox. We have medium sized postal lockers installed in our building's mailroom. Most highrise apartments have them too in my neck of the woods. The company spokesperson responded with something to the effect that, "but it'll get there one way or the other." Actually, mentioned they had 'upgraded' my shipping from Expediated to Standard (not a typo). Still can't figure that one out. But since shipping was free, it's really one of those moot issues.
Another seller on Ebay offered parcel post shipping for $18 on an item that I really needed (seriously) and the item was way cheaper than any other seller's price. This seller also happened to offer USPS Priority Mail for $22. Oddly, just a few dollars more. Now, $18 for shipping parcel post is very high for the item that I bought, in respect to its weight and size. I guess the lower price was an inducement and they make up some of it on the enhanced shipping charge. The way I figure it, an honest shipping rate would have been around $10 anyways. I opted for the Priority Shipping for $22 which is by my math $12 extra than an honest Abe rate, but the item was marked down around $85 so it's not like I bought a beanstalk. However, a minute after I confirmed my purchase I emailed the seller, "I understand that this item is being shipped USPS Priority Mail." In no uncertain terms. That's so they wouldn't switch the shipping to the $18 parcel post which I'm sure they net more. In my Email correspondence with various Ebay sellers (companies not idividual sellers), I discovered that some of them sign a shipping contract with UPS. From what I've seen with shipping options on online shopping websites, FedEx doesn't do that. At any rate, what advantage would a contract with UPS have to the buyers. I highly doubt that many sellers would pass the savings to the buyers outta the goodness of their heart. So, it's more a kickback between UPS and the seller.