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eBay Opts Sellers Back Into Global Shipping Program

eBay sellers say the company has once again placed them into its Global Shipping Program (GSP). The program is controversial for several reasons – not the least of which is that it is an opt-out rather than opt-in program.

A seller named Dave wrote to EcommerceBytes saying he received an email on September 30th with the subject line, “Welcome to the Global Shipping Program!”

“Sure as the world, this account now was indicating we were enrolled,” Dave said. “Previously we were not by my own intention. Of course I opt’ed out immediately with the 72 hour warning, but who knows if this will expose the 500 items on this account for 72 hours, or if it was just a fluke that has no teeth.”

Another seller wrote on Thursday, having received the same letter, which began:

“You’ve just expanded your marketplace to millions more potential buyers around the world. And buyers can shop with confidence thanks to international tracking. When an item sells, just ship it to the US shipping center in Kentucky. The Program takes it from there. Customs forms and import charges are all handled for your buyer. From the shipping center, the item is sent to your buyer quickly.”

The seller said when he checked his shipping settings under eBay site preferences, he found eBay had indeed opted him in to the Global Shipping Program “without my consent,” he said. And while he was able to then opt out once again, he remained concern that eBay might override his preferences.

The email linked to User Agreement FAQs – among the information contained there is the following:

  • Participation in the Program requires that you be an eBay seller.
  • eBay may expand or limit participation or use of the Program at any time, in its discretion, with or without notice to you.

The second seller who found eBay had opted him into the GSP program was concerned about his liability because he sells in a category that has items that are prohibited by Federal Law from being sold or shipped overseas. “I do not have the time, nor the desire to research what can and can not be shipped overseas, so, to protect my business from possibly violating Federal Laws, I choose not to ship outside the U.S.”

He also said he had zero confidence in eBay’s ability to block items from being purchased illegally for overseas shipments. “Given eBay’s constant system glitches, I simply do not have the confidence that eBay’s perpetually broken systems will do the job of protecting me from an illegal transaction.” He added that he had attempted to contact eBay customer service but the wait to speak to an agent was over 45 minutes.

Sellers also have other concerns about the program, some reporting that buyers don’t like the program. Some buyers and sellers say the program makes participating listings too expensive. Over the summer, a U.S. seller forwarded an email from an eBay shopper from Australia who was double-checking to make sure the seller didn’t use the GSP program and would only purchase the items if she did not.

As part of eBay’s Fall Seller Update, it announced a new wrinkle to the GSP program, explained on this page where it states, “We’re making selling internationally just as easy as selling domestically by extending the benefits of the Global Shipping Program without needing to enroll.”

And, it states:

“Starting in late September, buyers in select countries will be shown an international shipping option with end-to-end international tracking on eligible listings. This option will be shown on listings where the seller hasn’t already specified an international shipping service. Note this update does not apply to your listings if you are currently enrolled in the Global Shipping Program or have previously opted out of the program – if so, all of your current preferences will stay the same.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.