eBay Java Drama – Pitney Bowes PDF Woes

Dollar Flipper eBay Tips, Musings

I know I got a winner of a blog post title when I get a smirk, sigh, and eye roll from my wife! The trifecta!

But to the point, eBay missed a memo or I’m just really dumb.

For years now, eBay has had the most AWESOME Java Applet ever!

eBay Java Applet Error

The eBay gods laugh and Ode to Joy plays every time this damn warning comes up!

You’d have to hit OK about 7 times, ignore any errors, click some check boxes that allow some apparent security risks because Pitney Bowes (the label creation software company) wasn’t up to snuff, and then uninstall Java, reinstall Java, curse a few times, do a dance, and then magically your labels would print.

Even though I’m complaining a bit (borderline violation of the no whining policy!), the system did mostly work.

When I was starting out re-selling on eBay, I’d print labels on regular paper (would drive to Staples since we didn’t even own a printer!). I then upgraded to the Dymo printer featured in my Tools of the Trade.

Ignore the Java – Appreciate the positives

For any new eBay sellers, you should really buy your labels through their system. There are 3 really good reasons for this.

1. Links right with PayPal account

You click “buy shipping” and it buys it using PayPal dollars. When I started out, I was adamant about not putting any of my personal money into the business side. When I sold something and the person paid, I would buy a box and the shipping all using PayPal money (transferred out some cash to cover the packaging costs).

2. All addresses stored within the system

You don’t have to fill in any information at all. Just press “pay for shipping” and eBay has both your and the buyer’s addresses stored. No chance for you to make a mistake.

This streamlines your seller protection through eBay and PayPal. Tracking is uploaded automatically so there’s no chance that you’ll forget!

3. It’s cheaper!

Probably the most important, eBay gives you an awesome discount for purchasing the labels through their system. 9+% (depends on the type of shipping) for regular users and 13.8%+ for power sellers. This is just another awesome feature of the fantastic USPS. It’s one government entity that you can’t complain about (with any merit at least).

OK, karma is back to neutral. It was a flawed system that had some really good benefits.

Well, something last weekend changed. I tried to print my labels as usual. No java applet opened. It just opened a PDF. I had a lot of trouble trying to print labels throughout the week too. I ended up using the snipping tool and pasting the picture into the Dymo Software. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

Finally, I figured out what I was doing wrong yesterday!

eBay used to automatically use one size label for each printer (It’s 4″x6″ for Zebra and 7.5″ x 2-5/16″ for Dymo). The bug was that when I went to print, it would shrink the label to the top left and only be about 2″ long by 1″ wide!

After a lot of fiddling and confirmation from the dreaded eBay forums that this was not a Java issue, I realized that I had an incorrect setting for the printer. I was having Firefox select the wrong sized label. Once I selected the correct size (99019 for Dymo), it printed perfectly.

I only had to press 1 button instead of the 7 I was used to.

In the end, this is a great change from eBay. The Java/eBay/Paypal love-triangle was riddled with bugs and this is a lot easier.

I just wish I had realized my issue a little sooner or that eBay had given me some notice! I even went back to check the spring seller update and couldn’t find a word about this.

Has anyone else seen similar issues and had to fiddle with them to get the printers working?