EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2997 - February 08, 2013     2 of 3

eBay Seller Thinks New Royal Mail Rules Stink

Email This Story to a Friend

You might be able to buy and sell almost anything on eBay, but that doesn't mean you can ship it - and in the UK, that now applies to perfume.

eBay UK warned sellers this week that Royal Mail had issued new rules on prohibited and restricted materials. "Royal Mail has updated its rules for sending small quantities of specific consumer items in the post to UK and international addresses," according to eBay. "Make sure you read these new rules to make sure the items you're sending aren't prohibited from the post."

But for at least one seller, the warning came too late.

"I sold some perfume to someone abroad and faithfully shipped it off on 14th January. Apparently the day that the new laws about sending stuff abroad (which I'd never heard of) came into effect. Royal Mail returned my package today informing it was illegal and they'd "disposed" of it."

Not only is the seller out the perfume, but he must refund the buyer 60 pounds, he wrote on the eBay UK discussion boards.

A fellow seller pointed to an article that had appeared in Post and Parcel in November. The article states, "Royal Mail has promised an "extensive" awareness campaign to provide advice on the updated rules before they are introduced in 2013. This will include training for Post Office Ltd staff to help them provide advice to customers, and post office customers sending parcels will receive leaflets explaining the new rules before they are introduced."

eBay advised sellers to look at the Royal Mail website for details about prohibited goods, which include some aerosols and batteries among other items. The UK postal service also advises business customers who ship items overseas to note that the rules may be different for international post.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.