eBay shipping scam and more eBay dynamics


I've done a few threads on eBay feedback, today I want to discuss ways to fix the eBay shipping scam. In this scam, a significant proporation of eBay sellers are listing items low, sometimes below cost, and charging shipping fees far above cost. It's not uncommon to see an item with a $1 cost and $30 in shipping rather than fairer numbers. The most eBay has done about it is allow the display of the shipping fees when you do a search, so you can spot these listings.

I am amazed eBay doesn't do more, as one of the main reasons for sellers to do this is to save on eBay fees. However, it has negative consequences for the buyer, aside from making it harder to compare auctions. First of all, if you have a problem, the seller can refund your "price" (the $1) but not the shipping, which is no refund at all. Presumably ditto with paypal refunds. Secondly, the law requires that if you are charged more than actual shipping (ie. handling) there is tax on the total S&H. That means buyers pay pointles taxes on shipping.

Again, since eBay would make more fees if they fixed this I don't know why they have taken so long. I suggest:

  • Let buyers sort by shipping fees. Pretty soon you get a sense of what real shipping on your item should be. A sort will reveal who is charging the real amount and who isn't. Those who don't provide fees get listed last -- which is good as far as I am concerned.
  • Let buyers see a total price, especially on Buy-it-now, shipping + cost, and sort on that or search on that. Again, those who don't provide a sipping price come last.
  • Highlight auctions wthat use actual shipping price, or have a handling fee below a reasonable threshold. This will be unfair on certain high-handling items.
  • Of course, charge eBay fees on the total, including handling and shipping. Doesn't help the buyer any but at least removes the incentive.

Now let's talk about the reputation dynamics of the transaction. The norm is buyer sends liquid money sight unseen to the seller, and the seller sends merchandise. Why should it necessarily be one way or the other? In business, high reputation buyers just send a purchase order, get the item and an invoice, and pay later.

I think it would be good on eBay to develop a norm that if the buyer has a better reputation thant he seller, the seller ships first, the buyer pays last. If the seller's rep is better, or it's even, stick with the current system.

Sellers could always offer this sort of payment, even when the seller is high-rep, to high-rep buyers as an incentive.

There should also be special rules for zero-rep or low-rep sellers. By this I don't mean negative reputation, just having few transactions. Who is going to buy from a zero-rep seller? The tradition has been to build up a buyer rep, and then you can sell, which is better than nothing but not perfect.

When the seller has a very low rep, the seller should just automatically assume it's going to be send-merchandise-first, get money later except with very low rep buyers. Low rep sellers should be strongly encouraged to offer escrow, at their expense. It would be worth it. Often I've seen auctions where the difference in price is quite large, 20% or more, for sellers of reputations under 5. eBay should just make a strong warning to the low-rep sellers that they should consider this, and even offer it as a service.

Update: I've run into a highly useful Firefox extension called ShortShip. This modifies eBay search pages to include columns with total price. Their "pro" version has other useful features. You can sort by it, but it only is able to sort what was on that particular page (ie. the auctions close to ending, typically) so the price sort can be mistaken, with a cheaper buy-it-now not shown. eBay is so slow in adding software features that extensions like this are the way to go.


eBay could to do many things to make information which is currently latent to be more easily accessed: allow people to sort by total cost etc.

If they don't add these features, this is an incentive for a competitor, providing a nicer interface.

However, customers have already solved the "problem" of over-charging for shipping, paying low rep sellers, etc. We bid less when shipping is unclear or high. We bid less when sellers are new.

Why, then, strongly encourage (how?) sellers to use (expensive) escrow, when their customers have already self-insured against reputation?

All of that said, I think the points you make do suggest that eBay is vulnerable to competition on features. I have been surprised that open-source has not been able to out-eBay eBay with a peer-to-peer equivalent system.

Perhaps new and evolving features would allow an alternative eBay cooperative to prosper, with buyers and sellers buying shares in the system as a cost of accessing it, but sharing any profits acruing based on turn over. I also think that google could do a good job of eBay, with no commission, just adverts. Google are in a good position, too, to provide anonymous but verified identity.

Obvious new features include:

  • Reputation loan: allow high rep sellers to act as guarantors for low rep sellers
  • Anti-snipe auctions: optionally terminate auctions n seconds after the last received high bid.
  • Lower fees via a micro-payment system that doesn't access "real" money until needed.
  • opt-out payment protection: if you don't want to pay for paypal's expertise in risk management, assume the risk yourself for a lower fee.

It would also be great to see a modified feedback system, where feedback isn't displayed until both parties have entered it. As it is currently, most sellers refuse to leave feedback until the buyer does, which effectively is a feedback blackmail.

Yes, this is the most irritating scam of all - the seller refusing to leave feedback until you have. This is blackmail, plain and simple, and eBay should provide guidelines to sellers forbidding this.

Yeah, Ebay needs some serious overhauls - but instead they seem to just be focused on periodic increases in listing costs and the addition of annoying trivial "features"
Feedback blackmail is rampant and Ebay loves it - they have a deal with SquareTrade, a feedback moderation service that charges to help you get rid of bad feedback. If Ebay wasn't so obsessed with being evil, they would institute a time window for sellers to leave feedback - the buyer should be required to indicate payment sent date and depending on how it was sent the clock would start ticking. Seller's motivation would be to receive reciprocal feedback, but buyer would not have to fear being honest. Usually the buyers end of the relationship is all settled after having made payment- in the rare instance that the buyer manages to piss the seller off enough, the seller could append comments to his original feedback "ewwhh, I didn't mean A++++ at all, more like F--, I'm really angry! grr." but this would not affect the buyer's rating. I personally don't hesitate to give negative feedback to anyone whether I have received feedback from them or not - but I consider this nothing more than an act of goodwill to alert future buyers - it certainly does me no good to be honest - I just get revenge feedback - usually followed by an offer to mutually withdrawal - I then feel obliged to waste a half hour explicitly explaining to these folks what spineless scumbags they are.

Something else I've noticed: A number of sellers require the buyer to pay for insurance, in addition to the shipping fee. The insurance can be as little as $2, and as much as $15. Now, while the shipping fee is at least listed at the top of the page, after the current bid price or "Buy It Now" price, the insurance fee is listed alomost at the bottom of the page -- in small print. This fee can really add to the total cost of your item, particularly when added to the already ridiculously high shipping rate.

I think if buyers have a cheaper way to get the product to their doorstep (i.e., their own FedEx or UPS account)sellers should be required to use that service.

You are obviously talking from the Buyer's Point of View.
Have you tried selling on ebay as a business? Ebay + Paypal are
a ripoff. I sell on ebay as a part time business, but they
rape you on fees. If ebay charged fair fees, then we wouldn't
have to charge more for S/H. It's hard to profit on ebay when you
get charged close to 7% total of your final price + shipping.
This is a way to see how much you are going to pay to ebay + paypal.
7%!!!!! Yes.....ebay+paypal takes a big cut of it....and they keep
increasing their fees...

As a buyer, do your research.
1. Find out how much it costs retail.
2. Find out how much is it going for ebay
(look at ending prices+shipping) Take like 5-7 auctions to see
what the average price is.
3. Now you know how much you could potentially spend...So something
on ebay should go for 80 + 20 shipping. You now you're going to spend
$100 on that item. So if you see any shipping go for $60, don't
bid more than $40.
4. Make sure to research ebay seler to see if they are willing to work with you if you think there are issues. ebayers that won't
respond to messages in the beginning, means you shouldn't buy from
them...they'll ignore you later when you have an issue....
I buy on ebay all the time myself, and you should buy+sell to see
both sides Point of View. I don't mind bidding one penny and paying
30 bucks in shipping, when I know retail will go for 50-60.
I'm saving money...Let's stop whining and become better buyers.

I sell on ebay and actually helping ebay+paypal make more money
than myself...

I am waiting for GBUY to come out to kick paypal in da A$$.

Also BTW, paypal is a horrible company. The froze my acount for no
reason 2 weeks ago, and my money is stuck in there. Be careful
not to put ANY funds in your account! You have been warned!
Paypal is NOT FDIC insured. They have $6,283 of my money sitting
there and they will not let me cash it out or do anything...
but that is another story. Be sure to support GBUY when it comes out!

I've got the world's smallest violin playing right here for the sellers justifying inflated shipping charges based on the fees eBay charges. First, eBay provides sellers with a valuable service, including Web hosting, transaction assistance, and attracting millions of potential customers to look at their listings. If the fees are too high for that service, then they ought to have no problem setting up their own e-commerce stores, if they think they can do so more cheaply and with the same effectiveness in attracting customers. But if they've decided that eBay is an acceptable service to use in facilitating their businesses, then they need to follow the rules that they agreed to as a condition of taking advantage of the benefits of that service. And second, if the practice of fee avoidance by hiding the true costs of items in bogus shipping and handling charges were not so widespread and more sellers played by the rules, then eBay would be able to charge lower seller fees all around. Keep in mind that eBay has an incentive not to charge excessive fees to sellers, because if fees get too high, more sellers are going to decide that setting up their own e-commerce site is a more efficient way to do business.

I totally agree with the guy above. I buy more than I sell, but when I do sell, I get raped by ebay and paypal fees. Some people will argue if you don't like the fees, then don't sell. Well guess what, if you don't like the shipping and HANDLING fees, then don't bid. I hate people who cry foul to high shipping fees. The ever so common "Well it only cost $4 to ship to my doorstep" fallacy. No it didn't. It cost $4 for postage, $1 for packaging, $2 in gas to drive my butt to the post office, and $3 in paypal/ebay fees. Sheesh some people need to be more informed. If the auction price combined with shipping is out of your price range, THEN SIMPLY MOVE ALONG.

The "handling" fees I refer to are not the reasonable ones you describe (paypal fees are not, however, handling.)

I am referring the common practice now of seeing shipping fees of $20 to $30 -- often more, on items where the real cost of S&H is vastly less. More to the point, the item will be $2 and the S&H will be $40 (with of course, no local pickup, and no discount for multiple items which would be the case if the cost where really packaging and handling.)

The item is being sold far below cost. It's not a real handling charge. And it's annoying as hell, and makes it much harder to quickly compare prices. It makes it impossible to get a refund (you can get the $1 refunded, whoop-de-do.) It increases taxes (shipping does not get taxed, but S&H does.)

So if I see some sellers with fake shipping and some with real shipping I will bid on the items with real shipping. However, sometimes there is no choice.

When I buy from a catalogue or online store, the added cost of sending the merchandise COD instead of pre-paying or using direct debit is added to S&H as a matter of course, so why shouldn't paypal fees be? Of course it'd be a plus if teh seller offered other payment options, e.g.bank transfer.

Couldn't agree more. As a buyer I used to have some disdain for this seeming reversal of selling prices where shipping costs can be as much as 10-30 times higher than the selling price of the item. HOWEVER, after selling and seeing the extent to which I was being fee'd to death by paypal, ebay, etc I realize the reason. Also, the bottom line for me is that my total selling price is designed to be competitive with others in the market (and designed to account for the hammering in fees that I get). So if I lowered my shipping prices, and increased my sales prices I'd have to build ebay's extraordinary fees into my selling price and pass this cost on to the buyer. SO, the reality in my case at least is that structuring my item costs this way keeps me competitive AND keeps me from passing additional costs on to my buyers. BTW, yes I have started an ecommerce storefront and in the second month, my off-ebay sales are surpassing my on e-bay sales by far because I can charge lower prices off of ebay, and pass those savings on to my buyers. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront though, as it also helps us uncover the hidden issue of fairly exorbatent fees being charged to sellers (and I might add, passed on to you buyers. If a buyer buys a $15 item from me on ebay, unbeknownst to them they are actually paying $2 to ebay, but on my person e-commerce storefront I can charge $13 for the same item and save them those two dollars)

I urge people to report the auctions with high insurance and s/h fees. I even monitor the ones I report and within a few days it shows there was an error in returning to the page or the auction had been canceled by eBay.

Paypal will also defend the buyer when paying too high shipping/insurance fees. It's an option now in the dispute area. I just used it recently. Once you file a claim against the seller PayPal will freeze their account and they are unable to draw or deposit into their acocunt. (One reason I love PayPal). So, bid on the auctions with low cost and high shipping, as long as it accepts paypal. Then once you get your package, weigh it yourself or have the usps do it for you and get an actual s/h fee. You then give the actual s/h cost to PayPal. The seller is allowed a "reasonable" handling fee and the rest is deposited back into your account. This process can take anywhere from 2days to about 2 weeks. If the seller uses their paypal frequently, they will usually settle just to get their paypal working again. I have a claim right now and I refuse to settle until I actually recieve my replacement item. Hope this helps.

Howdy from Texas....I agree with the guy above, a little - and I do 'SIMPLY MOVE ALONG' a lot of the time when I see outrageously high shipping prices or required 'private' S/H insurance fees tacked-on to already exorbitant S/H....A large number of ebay shipping prices are ridiculous...I buy and sell, and when I sell, I sell an average of over 90 percent of my items becuz I offer low/fair/reasonable shipping....like under 3 bucks to ship a movie...I understand the guy above saying that there's more to the cost than just postage, but sellers need to try what has worked for retailers and other sellers forever - and that is - put your costs in your selling/starting price...and don't pay for every little gizmo add-on that ebay offers - like why do folks feel the need to display a gallery pic of a popular movie DVD for an extra 35 cents per?...I know - it's becuz ebay says it will increase your sales by so many percentage points - do you think ebay is going to claim that it doesn't help at all much of the time? - heck no.... and if you are only selling/shipping one item at a time you aren't going to make any money anyway...(before the latest postage increase Amazon.com limited their private sellers to only $2.47 per DVD or VHS tape for basic shipping, unless the buyer wanted a faster shipping method)...I don't think it costs $2 in fuel per item to drive to the post office if you are shipping out a numnber of items....maybe 25 cents per item for fuel if you live anywhere near a post office and are selling enuf to make it worth while...I get all my perfect boxes and most perfect clean packing material for free from retail stores, like the local Dollar Store, that are just going to throw it all out...all I usually have to buy is packing tape and postage and less than a gallon of gas to send 2 dozen items at once...and I routinely receive praise for my excellent packaging. ...and another thing....ebay allows sellers to scam on high shipping rates becuz ebay knows that those sellers don't sell a very high percentage of their items and those sellers have to pay listing fees over and over on the same items before they finally sell, if they ever sell at all...like the last goofball seller I laughed at that offered a movie DVD for the great 'Buy It Now' price of $25 with only $10 shipping, while the seller with the item just above offered the exact same movie for $6 with $4 shipping (for just a plain old movie, in this case 'Mean Girls')....which one would you bid on/buy? ....and as far as sellers requiring buyers to pay 'private' shipping insurance goes, those sellers need to know that in the USA you have to have a license to sell insurnace and collect premiums, and there's paperwork that has to be involved, and that money has to be kept seperate from other profit and held in trust...it's only a matter of time until there is a big class-action suit against such sellers by state's attny generals...I just saw feedback left for such a seller from a buyer that said his three items arrived with no insurance on them after he was forced to pay one dollar per item for insurance to the seller over the stated shipping price - and the shipper was UPS Ground that is already insured!....TOTALLY against the laws of all 50 states and the USA....idiots...but therein lies the root of the problem...the fact that, sadly, 3/4 of all humans are as stupid as cattle. I asked such a seller - a seller with over a 25,000 fdbk rating - to provide me with his license number to sell insurance and a form with all the insurer info and from the lack of a reply I can only presume that when he read my request he didn't know whether to wind his butt or scratch his watch. If such a seller deposits just one dollar of collected insurance premiums in the same account he puts his regular operating funds, he is in violation of state and federal law....and if the illegally insured package crosses state lines in the mail, it's federal mail fraud to boot. ....and LASTLY... ebay is being sued by a state for looking the other way on shill bidding...shill bidding on the internet, namely ebay, is rampant...shill bidding is the whole reason ebay added the bid retraction count on ebayer ratings profiles, so it would be easy to spot bidders that are helping sellers increase the fianl price of their auctions....look for bidders that always bid on only one or two seller's items...and when the shill bidders mistakenly win from time to time, check feedback turnaround times...some aren't smart enuf to wait a few days to leave pos fdbk for themselves...if an item is won and the buyer left positive fdbk within hours of winning the item it is most likely a shill bidding situation....after all, when was the last time you got an item delivered from an ebay win in less than a day? Since ebay started keeping track of bid retractions the most common way to shill bid has become 'nibbling'...just bidding a little higher all the time to try and find the real bidders max bid without going over and possibly winning the item and needing to retract the illegal bid. ...oh yeah, and I saw this mentioned somewhere...if a claim is filed with PayPal against a seller that sells their items for a small amount - like a penny - with grossly inflated shipping prices, PayPal recognizes that the seller is deriving their profits from the shipping and will make the seller refund a large portion the excessive shipping amount as well as the purchase price of a penny in most cases, if the buyer is alert enough to bring disparity to PayPal's attention. BOTTOM LINE...if you can't enjoy buying and selling on ebay - especially selling - you should probably find another, less stressful, hobby - like trying to create a record-breaking ball of string, or something. I'm disabled and I spend hours just searching feedback to see what's going on out there and it's absolutely pathetic too much of the time...I just spent 4 hours looking at a number of buyer's and seller's feedback and got some good laughs and many more ebay I.D.s for my extensive blocked bidder list...just one example - a particular seller that had numerous neg fdbks for late shipping...buyers noting that their items weren't even mailed until three weeks or more after they had paid for them thru PayPal....and that seller responded to them with neg fdbk and replys that included nasty name-calling and ridiculous statements to the effect that he didn't think that almost 4 weeks was too long to wait for an item, and he was quick to blame everything on the folks that were relatively new to ebay(ratings under 50) that had complained about his 24+ day shipping waits(I've had dozens and dozens and dozens of new ebayers without a single incident....after over 1000 deals I have 2 neg fdbks from two last-second bidders with over 100 ratings that clearly needed psych evaluations)....and that same seller left neg fdbk to another seller when the item he paid for seemed to take too long - arriving only 10 days after payment...and it just kept getting worse after that...let's just face it - some folks just weren't meant to deal with the public - or even go out in public, for that matter...and while I'm at it, one more thing...we sellers need a way to filter out bidders with too much neg fdbk....I'd like to see a filter to exclude bidders by their rating percentage, becuz I would filter out every bidder with less than 99.1%...

FOR THOSE SELLERS THAT REFUSE TO USE ANYTHING BUT PRIORITY MAIL....breakables fare way better shipped via Parcel Post rather than via Priority....priority mail is rushed - and when government workers are rushed they cut corners and throw/roll/kick packages...and the more you stamp it 'FRAGILE' the worse it will be treated...so if you want your buyer to get their item in 3 days or less, use Priority Mail and stamp it fragile...and your buyer will often receive a fast package full of broken pieces - like the glass coffee press I tried to buy that arrived in a thousand bits inside a free priority mail box with no padding at all - but at least it came quickly....I would have much rather waited a few more days to possibly receive the item intact....(source of tip - one of my best/lifelong friends is a Postmaster with over 25 years on the job)
Y'all try an' be good, now....and take care

Do you happen to know the law (or some reference that might help me find it) about the misuse of insurance premiums by overcharging it and then putting it into a personal or company account?

I am pursuing the shipping issue because there also seems to be a fraud in claiming "shipping" when the cost is something else, including profit supplement. In cases where the shipper actually uses the USPS trademark and aligns the shipping cost with a specific referenced USPS shipping service, that is fraud and I'm pursuing a way of criminalizing it to force eBay to respond and to put fraudulent shipping fee people out of business.

For those sellers who comment about their problems with fees, etc. the honest solution is to simply charge a higher price for the product or to put in a clause for "extra" profit or to honestly put in a clause adding whatever your eBay fees and Paypal fees are for cost recovery. It is NOT honest however to blend that into something called "shipping.". If LL Bean or some other mail seller charges you 20 cents for a sweater and $100 for shipping, that's fraud. It's no different on eBay.

If the cost is something other than shipping, it is dishonest to represent otherwise.

So pls. adivse on the insurance angle as I am working with a prosecutor in Texas on a eBay seller there who is charging $50 for shipping a 1.5 pound package!

Look at it from a sellers perspective - when ebay bought paypal, I thought there would be a fees waiver for incoming payments in paypal for items bought on ebay but no- ebay and paypal gangrape little sellers like me who hardly make 5% profit after a hefty 7% fees.
As long as you can do basic addition and the item arrives at your doorstep in fine condition, dont rant about price gouging...
This monopoly has to be broken.. come on Gbuy and GBase....

This is interesting, but it also shows a big flaw in eBay - EDUCATION. They fail miserably in teaching a buyer what to look for, how to purchase and what to expect!

I both buy and sell, and bought for at least a year before I started selling. I've had my share of disappointments, and my share of idjit buyers. I had to file a dispute today, because a new seller thought I should "chill" because she had not bothered to find the time to mail my item, purchased in mid-May with priority mail option. Chill? How about get your lazy self to the post office??? I even paid a steep handling fee to get the widget before graduation - didn't happen, because my seller was probably on a date or curling her hair. She sounds maybe 15 yrs old.

Speaking of things eBay fails to do - I found a seller online yesterday who openly states they are in MIDDLE SCHOOL (6th, 7th, 8th grades), and are selling eBay LOGO labels to start their college fund. Um, where's that "must be 18 yrs old" thing now? How about VeRO? Interesting...

Meanwhile, I gotta say as a seller that shipping costs do indeed cost more than the actual postage. Some sellers reuse bubble envelopes until they are so flat, they are useless for protection. We don't - we use new materials (which are not cheap!), pack carefully, and do our best to ship the next day. We charge a small (small, like $1.00-$1.50 max) handling fee per trx, not per item, like some sellers do. This helps to cover our expenses somewhat. And for those who have never really analyzed their expenses, I was truly shocked at what I found while doing taxes this year - the FEES for eBay and PP account for almost 1/3 of my total sales. In other words, for each dollar I sell, fees from the two places to sell that $1.00 cost me around 33 cents. The worst? YOu might think it is Paypal, but it really isn't. Besides, anyone who has looked at the cost of merchant accounts (to accept CC payments) can see the value in the PP fee system. It is EBAY'S FEES that are the killer! OMG!! They charge 8% of the total sales from store listings as FVF, as well as the store rent. I did not realize how much that added up until tax time review.

I also tried to have our own website, but I don't have enough programming knowledge. I can do everything but inventory control - Paypal provides free shopping buttons, and may websites offer free shopping carts. BUT - you still have to have some way to control the amounts someone can buy. (If I only have five of Widget D, then I want to control that so someone can't buy ten of them!) That is where the software people get you - inventory programs are sky-high in cost, and unless you know visual basic or SQL, you are sunk. So, eBay is still better for our small business right now than having our own site. But, if I ever figure out a good way to do the inventory control, LOOK OUT - I am switching to only auctions and closing the store! ; )

As with every store, whether brick-n-mortar or virtual, if you don't like the price, just don't buy it. Just use wisdom in who you deal with, and hope for the best. If you buy off ebay a lot, you will eventually get burned, just because there are so few controls in place. But overall, it is still a lot of fun.

Is anyone else interested in helping with a campaign to motivate eBay to force sellers to conform to ethical and business standards that are consistent with most state laws and U.S. federal law? By campaign, I mean creating letters to the Attorney Generals of all of the states; creating a fact-filled letter to the online Better Business Bureau; submitting a fact-filled letter of possible tax-evasion scheme on the behalf of sellers; and, writing letters to the consumer affairs departments of local and national media outlets. While most eBay sellers are probably good people, the few that are ruing the system AND being tolerated by eBay management should not be allowed to continue operating like notorious bandits. It's time to take action. While I am willing to do most of the writing and mailing, at my own expense, I need detailed facts of fraudulent activity enacted by eBay sellers and evidence of eBay management's complicity, tolerance or negligent permission of the behavior. eBay is a business, basically, and it has obligations to ensure that business conducted under its name is conducted according to the laws of the land. Please help.


S/H charges. The classics of Ebay and Paypal: + seller + buyer. If it is all clear... No dispute. Willing parties involved. My experience is I paid top dollars for "CLEARLY LISTED MODE-GLOBAL PRIORTY MAIL-4-6 BUSINESS DAYS!!!!) I have waited more than about 4weeks now??? The seller insisted that the shipping company is at fault. Inserted a UPS tracking number which does not work on Paypal account details. When I wrote to him about it.. He said that USPS is actually the company which ship my goods. #^%#@^ So sad and moody. It is a basic trust that Ebay is built upon. I will not buy from this seller again! Again there is this Feedback blackmail thingy.... If I leave a negative for the seller... He will do the same for me. In the course of these 4 weeks, I wrote to him max twice a week. He may give me a negative for bugging him? SAD :) . Best forgotten experience. I do suspect that th parcel is sent out but using the 'CHEAPEST' mode available to maximise profit. I paid top dollar for shipping I expect top service!!! Fair trade.

Overcharging shipping is definitely a problem that should be addressed. Just now I've seen an item that sells for 1c and charges $600 shipping. It's unfortunate that unscrupulous ebayers still plague the scene. I've reported the item to ebay, and hopefully they'll pull it without incident.

I've both bought and sold items on eBay. It never ceases to amaze me when sellers complain about the fees they pay. They aren't paying any fees. THE BUYER IS! Sellers sell used items they've had and no longer want, sell things given to them by other people who no longer want them, or purchase items far below their costs to sell for a few dollars less than retail. SellerS charge handling fees to cover the cost of packing material (often an old used box with newpaper as padding), gas, internet service, time spent listing the item, and wear and tear to their vehicles for transport to shipping facilities. Often there's a dollar or two added to these costs (for nothing) that eBay doesn't charge for. Bottom dollar... THE BUYER PAYS ALL THESE FEES FOR THE SELLER WHEN THEY PAY FOR THE ITEM!!! If sellers lost money selling on eBay, it wouldn't exist! Just as sellers say, "Buyers shouldn't buy if they don't like the shipping costs." Sellers shouldn't sell if they don't want to give up a portion of their sale price as fees. I've sold both expensive and inexpensive items. In the end, I always ended up making a profit.

As far as the sellers who over charge for shipping... buyers should consider the total cost of the item (price + shipping). If the shipping costs are clearly stated, the item is worth the total cost, and they want it, don't complain. Otherwise, keep shopping. Personally, I avoid sellers who use that tactic.

As for feedback... When I sell an item, I leave feedback as soon as payment is made. The feedback I leave is based on how quickly the buyer pays and, if applicable, on their communications with me. Sure, I can hold off on leaving FB until I receive it, but why? I give honest and detailed descriptions of the items I sell, INCLUDING ALL DAMAGE. I also take additional pictures that I keep until the sale is completed (in case someone asks), and pack all my items about a day before the auction ends, so I can get them in the mail ASAP. I also state in all my auctions, and on the packing slip enclosed with the item, that I will try to work with any buyer to resolve any issues if they'll contact me BEFORE leaving negative FB. If they decide to leave me a negative, I still can't go back and leave them negative FB, because I've already said they paid. Sure, I can leave a follow-up footnote, but most people who review FB are looking for negatives. They may not ever notice a negative footnote on a postive FB. Using this method of honest description and willingness to resolve issues has never failed me in getting positive FB in return. My only negative came in retaliation from a non-paying bidder (something eBay no longer allows).

I am ALWAYS suspicious of sellers who insist on getting FB first. I try to only do business with sellers who leave FB first. This is easy to do by going to the sellers FB and looking under "Left for Others". If I find an item that I can only purchase from a non-FB first seller (NFBFS), I neither leave nor expect FB. I believe that's what all buyers should do. It would quickly put an end to what you refer to as FB blackmail, and I call Feedback Hostagery. Yes, it does keep my FB score low and excellent, but I'm shopping, not trying to win a popularity contest. Despite any excuses made by NFBFS, there is only one reason for waiting to leave a buyer FB. The reason is, they want to punish buyers who complain, and they know many will suck it up to keep their FB scores up. Anyone who says this isn't true needs to follow a few FB trails. See if you can find a buyer who's left negative FB for a NFBFS about a deceptive/omissive description or slow ship time and got a positive returned stating, "Sorry you were unhappy. It was my fault." Not gonna happen! And you can bet there were plenty of times, for whatever reason, the seller was in the wrong. Any complaint gets a negative. In some cases, I've seen buyers leave postive that included a complaint and got negative in return.

Since eBay is unwilling to address these issues, there is only one way to change it. That is, for BUYERS NOT TO LEAVE FB FOR SELLERS WHO HAVEN'T LEFT IT FIRST and REFUSE TO BUY FROM SELLERS WHO PAD SHIPPING!

On an as-is item you might not complain, but otherwise you could get caught in a trap, on returning an item, of getting the "price" refunded but not the shipping. Nobody, it seems, refunds shipping. But if the item was $1 and shipping $30 you are out of luck, probably even through your credit card company since you agreed to it.

I was amused to see one valid example of padded shipping the other day. During the Playstation 3 craze, I saw one listed for $600 (the list price) with $1000 shipping. In this case, it's correct -- what you're paying for is the 3 days the guy spent in line to pick up the item for you.


I purchased a product on Ebay that I know weighs about 1.5 lbs. The shipping cost was $14.94 for UPS ground. I went to the UPS site and determined that I could ship 2 lbs from Hawaii to Maine for about $8.

Nice padding in the shipping costs!

Plain and simple, ebay+paypal charge to much, they over charge and offer no support to sellers and at the first chance snatch money from your account... Buyers are crying because they want things cheaper and faster.. tuff tits.. Buyers should ask ebay to lower fees, or pay a buying fee if they think ebay is so great.... I dont see anyone rushing for that....basicly buyers are big babies and cheapskates who want things cheaper, eat shit and go to thrift stores and flea markets like most sellers do if you want things cheap. plus fuck off pussys

While it is the seller who remits the fee, the reality is the money comes from the buyer. Changing who sees the fee might help things but in the end it is buyers who pay for everything in just about all markets. Brokers love it when they can get one party to be the actual payer, and another party to be the negotiator of the fee, because that usually is a win for the broker.

Many times I avoided a bid on eBay, or cancelled order on eShop, due to too expensive shipping rates. Worst, my country (France) was not always availlable within rates...
When I sell, I use Compare Shipping Rates website. And i can provide all my shipping rates prices easily and quickly.
And I belive I can sell more with lower shipping costs.

I just wish that there was some way to COD packages to yourself. As in a buyer being responsible for shipping the item... Shame that it would get complicated depending on the location of the seller and the services available to them.

I am a buyer and a seller on eBay. I agree with comments from both sides. Heres my view, first as a buyer, then as a seller.
As a buyer - I look at the total listing, before bidding or not bidding. Feedback rating, starting bid, reserve price, shipping charges, combined shipping charges, payment options, insurance & photo included. If any of these are not acceptable to me as buyer, such as- (poor feedback rating), ("reserve"-I bid only once, my max, and if the reserve is not met, Im done), (excessive shipping), (no PayPal), (insurance not offered), (poor photo) then I move on. Simple as that. If everything looks good, and I have a bad experience with a seller, I dont buy from them again.
As a seller - Lets look at this example. When posting a large number of listings with low cost items,(sellers actual cost of item $2.00), starting bid at .99cents, no reserve & $3.00 shipping. If the item sells for .99cents + $3.00 shipping. Thats $3.99 for the seller. Now lets subtract the fees. LISTING FEE=.20cents, FVF-5.25%=.07cents, GALLERY=.35cents, PAYPAL-"2.9%+.30cents"=.42cents, shipping=$2.00. That leaves .95cents, then minus the actual cost of the item of $2.00, that leaves the seller $1.04 in the hole. Just a FYI. Basically the only way for this example to be profitable for the seller, is the hope of bidders buying multiple items & then shipping the items, combined shipping. Of course then you will have the people who will argue that combined shipping charges are too high. Face the facts. On items listed below or at actual cost, the seller is going to lose money, if the item sells at minimum bid, as in this example.
EBAY & PAYPAL are not perfect, and yes the fees are high, for this type of seller. Its the gamble that the seller takes when listings are posted.
Buyers need to understand that there are cost and fees involved in posting a listing and that shipping charges involve more than a postage stamp.
Yes the seller wants the most profit he can get, and yes the buyer wants the best deal he can get. Its impossible to make everyone happy in every situation.
Yes there are sellers that abuse the system and yes there are buyers who want something for nothing. Youre always going to have someone that is going to find fault with the other party.
SIMPLE ADVISE FOR BUYERS - dont bid if you dont agree with the listing terms.
SIMPLE ADVISE FOR SELLERS - we arent going to bid if your terms are ridiculous.
Lastly - FEEDBACK - I agree that this feature needs work. I dont have the solution, but as both a seller & a buyer, heres my view.
As a buyer I always post feedback when I receive the item, that I purchased. ALWAYS.
As a seller, I post feedback, after the buyer has posted feedback. Why? 1. I used to post as soon as payment was received. Only 1/3 of the buyers posted in return. 2. If I post when payment is received, then the buyer can post negative(because of any number of things that can happen during shipment or a deceitful buyer). Then I have negative on my rating, from a buyer that I posted positive. Fair ??? Just as an experiment. I, as the seller, recently left feedback for everyone,(78 feedbacks), as soon as payment was received. The feedback response was... 6, yes, six (6), very sad. This is why I have the policy of posting, once feedback is received.
Lets face it. Its never going to be perfect, and at the same time, there are going to be those on both extremes, sellers with ridiculous terms & buyers expecting something for nothing.

Thank for listening.

I think tonight was the worst shipping scam I have ever come across. My daughter was looking for a dress and found one that had 5 minutes left to bid on. She bought it for 20 usd. (while we discussed the china shipping fees and what they could be) The seller didn't have the shipping fee posted. The seller being LOUIEDOG83. Anyway, I was frantically looking for possible worst case scenario of shipping a 5 pound dress to US from China. USPS 1-3 day shipping was 80 dollars. Standard shipping was 37. Well she got the dress cheap enough so 80 (worst case scenerio) is reasonable.

She emailed him for the cost of shipping. He must have been sitting at his computer because she recieved a prompt response. Are you sitting down?? Shipping cost of the 5 pound dress (at the most) from china is 140 usd. The best part is she emailed him back and asked 'why so much' when 80 would be the expensive. His response was "I had to make up some for the dress being so cheap" he openly addmitted he was making up for his loss of money. 60 dollars if not more (shipping gouging)

The rest of the story! She refused to pay and he responded with "mutual agreement, no pay"

This guy >> www.mwgraves.com << has the right idea. Making a list of ebay shipping gougers.

When I sell on ebay I use actual shipping cost with the calculator. I think that should be the standard for all sellers. Global shipping calculators integrated into EBay like all their other little annoying features. What's one more anyway?

I think Ebay was orginally set up to sell the crap in your house you don't want. It has become a retailers paradise. It's out of control!!

Thank for the rant! :-)

Add new comment