EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 108 - December 07, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     9 of 9

Letters from Readers

UPS Price Increase

We announced the UPS rate increase for 2004 (, and got a few emails about it.

I have not used UPS for quite some time now as I have found Fed Ex to be a LOT less and just as good. I have not used UPS for over a year now. swing all my postage to fed ex. when I sell I give my buyers a choice when it a larger package with weight. Priority, Parcel Post, Fed Ex and UPS, and Fed ex wins 99% of the time, with the post office the insurance and tracking number are extra but with fed ex like UPS it is included as well as a tracking number.


I am writing in regards to the new ups rates in one of your newsletters to me. I work for the post office as a contract box delivery carrier. We were informed about a month ago that ups had made an agreement with usps for us to deliver parcels from them to the more remote places in rural areas. Hence the new surcharge on the parcels. I didn't know if you knew this and I thought it might be of interest. Thank you for your time


I have found that Fed-Ex ground is much cheaper than UPS or USPS to U.S. destinations.


Dear Ina,
Wonder how much of this increase by the brown machine is to just pad their bottom line?

Seems the brown machine will use my employer, the United States Postal Service, to deliver packages for them in rural areas! And of course, we (USPS) do NOT charge extra for residential delivery, rural delivery, etc!

Our package services, express mail and priority, plus that old stand by parcel post, is way cheaper than the brown machine.

PayPal Winning Bidder Notification Glitch

Dear Sirs,
I do not know if there is a problem with me or Paypal(an ebay susiduary), but I used to get advices each time I was paid -now I have to check each day to see if I have been paid by paypal as I am not getting all the notifications - about 50% are not notified to me by e-mail!

Questions about PayPal International

Thanks for your useful information that I get on the mail everyday.

I have a lot of latino customers , when I tell them to use paypal as a way of payment, they can't use it because is in English, are they planning to have a website in Spanish?? Thank you,

PayPal Reply:
"PayPal is looking to expand our service internationally in the coming months and years. It's a priority for PayPal as we know it's an excellent cross border solution. Sorry that I don't have more specifics but you can tell your reader that we are definitely working on it!"
-PayPal spokesperson

I love your newsletter and always find it fascinating. One thing that I want to complain about and that is Paypal. I am in Germany and therefore I am not covered by the Payer protection policy for shipping to unconfirmed addresses, because I am out of the US and Canada. It annoys me that Paypal takes my fees but won't extend their services and policies to me because I am not American or Canadian. Do you know if they are planning to bring out a European (or even better, German) Paypal where I would be covered by their buyer protection policy?

I need Paypal to keep up an international presence for my businesses but at the same time I am extremely annoyed at the way non US and Canadian customers are blocked from using Paypal features. I've also noticed stroppy and delayed responses from customer service and I was treated very badly on the telephone when someone had hacked into my account and cleaned out the account. Paypal didn't care! I made the suggestion that the hacker could have been an employee with access to a password list and they reacted like I was calling them paedophiles!! They pretty much ended the call and hung up on me.

Anyway, just thought your newsletter readers would like to know these things. Maybe someone else has had these experiences also with Paypal?
Mark and International Selling

Hi Ina
Just received my first copy of the newsletter and was very pleased to see that it is not an eBay fanzine. Obviously because of their size, that auction house gets most of the press, and it's good to see smaller, leaner, cheaper-to-use services getting attention in newsletter services like yours.

One such place that I can highly recommend is and although it seems to be a UK-only site at first glance, it has a small, but fiercely loyal, international support (for example, I am in Thailand). Ebid has no listing fee and no final value fee, therefore it is possible to list and sell completely for free - great news for sellers. It also has a very useful auto-relist feature, so after entering the auction length (1 - 10 days), you can choose to auto list it again if it does not sell. Those features can be a huge asset for promoting listings. If you have an item unlikely to attract a lot of bids, then using a 10x10 set-up means you can list it and forget it for 3 months. If it's an item that needs high visibility, using a 1x10 format will keep it near the top of the listings for 10 days or until it sells.

At eBid, the only things you pay for are listing enhancements. Most people use Gallery a lot - it's only 0.10 per listing, regardless of price. There's also a "front page featured" option that puts your listing on the front page for 24 hours, then keeps it at the top of its category until the listing closes. That costs 2.50.

The site administrators are really responsive. I've had support enquiries answered in minutes, and they do listen to the members - there's even a special site enhancements thread in the user forums, which they actively monitor. The forums are great fun, attended daily by the eBid "old guard" of most active sellers and buyers, but open to anyone. They're often used to pimp items for sale, and are a great short cut to finding the best deals, as well as tips about other sites and services.

If you're an eBayophile or PayPal addict, then you'll hate the eBid forums as their members regularly criticise those services for usury and indifference to users' problems. In fact eBid has developed and grown by removing from itself many of the complaints associated with using eBay.

Currently attracting around a thousand new members a week (not bad for a country the size of Florida), eBid is already the second largest UK auction site and is targeting the number one position. Can it knock eBay off the top in the UK? Probably rather than possibly is the answer I foresee. The corporate leviathan's inflexibility and fees (they recently started charging VAT on them as well) are losing them members hand over fist to eBid's "free to sell" environment.

Additionally, the eBid membership have a sense of ownership concerning the site, and that makes them each promote it wherever possible. ...

If you're looking for an extra outlet, or sourcing channel, then I'd recommend giving eBid a try. However, make sure you have an international payment system available, as UK bank fees for handling International Money Orders are very expensive. PayPal, naturally, is still the major player for that. However, new kid on the block is catching on, and has the advantage that it will send money to, or receive it from, any country in the world ... unlike PayPal's restricted list of developed-nation countries. In the long run, MoneyBookers may win over PayPal, because they open access to developing nations' markets, and the wealth of traditional arts and handicrafts there. As an example, PayPal refused me an account because I live in Thailand despite all my banking being done in the UK with UK accounts. MoneyBookers had me signed up and able to send or receive money in less than 10 minutes. They're regulated by the British Financial Services Agency (FSA) and their site is very simple to use with a clear fees structure that is a lot cheaper to use than "Pay-up-Pal" - as eBidders have named it.

Another major consideration in selling from the US into the UK is that Brits are very impatient when it comes to mail order. They have an internal culture built around next day delivery, whether it's by express courier, or the Post Office. They're very understanding of the 3-7 days it takes airmail from Thailand to the UK, but equally, very derogatory of the 4-6 weeks often quoted by eBay sellers for shipment from the US east coast to Britain. Advice on this is to investigate the fastest methods, surprisingly you may find the most cost effective service is delivered by the post office, and it can be quick too. It works for me from Thailand, it should be good from North America as well.

eBid currently has members in the US, New Mexico and Florida based members are among my regular correspondents, it is also encouraging continental Europeans to join as well. Because of this, the site may need to develop multi-currency facilities that are not currently displayed, but will probably continue to use Sterling as long as Britain retains currency independence from the EC bloc. If you'd like to use my description in the newsletter, feel free to do so
Keep up the good work
An exile in paradise

More on International Selling

Hmmm, we received a 10 cent free fixed price listing day. The British get a free listing day. Here's an off the wall question. Is it possible to be part of ebay U.K. and other sites? For their UK special it says listings have to be in Pounds Sterling. Well Paypal will accept other currencies so that wouldnt be a big obstacle to overcome. For one I would think the advantages would be two-fold. You'd be able to take advantage of more ebay specials and second you might actually get some sales that dont normally show up on these other sites for whatever reason. I know I sell everything internationally but I am not sure how that shows up on a U.K. ebay site for instance. Your shipping would be higher than other UK ebay sites since your shipping overseas, but you'd also be offering products that are probably not regularly offered on the UK site since they are from the USA and if they did for example sell USA Catholic books then they had to pay higher shipping to get them to the UK and subsequently have probably factored that into their selling price negating any real difference between their overall selling price plus shipping. Have I confused everyone?
In Christ,

eBay Stores

Message to Nancy Hix
Nancy, I am very interested in your article on the eBay stores. For the life of me, I cannot get my customers to buy anything from my store. I have had items marked $1.00 in the store and the same item in the regular auction for the marked up price. They buy the marked up price from the auction. Items sit and sit for a month or so. I finally gave up completely - don't even bother with the store anymore, even though I could use one desperately. I am looking forward to reading your future articles about any suggestions. Thanks!

eBay Prohibiting Items

Dear Auctionbytes

I have been waiting to see an article on ebay's growing list of prohibited items. The latest prohibited item to make their list is a piece of Historical Americana the Purple Heart Medal. For no explained reason( only arrogant policy responses) ebay's policy is to no longer allow this item. Despite hundreds on emails from collectors and sellers ebay has given no reason way these items were prohibited last month.

This decision is not based on any law and apparently just a knee jerk reaction to a complaint. Meanwhile the sellers are stuck with inventory and the buyers are left holding some record breaking purchases with no venue for resale. Once again no announcement ebay just starts cancelling auctions. No arbitration on the issue and no answer to the question why were they prohibited.

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