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eBay Displays Handling Costs, to Seller’s Dismay

Do you want eBay shoppers to see a breakdown of S&H so they can see how much you charge for handling? Many do not, but an eBay seller noticed a change in the way the marketplace displays his costs to buyers. Where eBay normally displays one total cost for Shipping & Handling, it now breaks out the handling charges on mobile devices.

“Did you know that eBay now shows buyers the amount of the handling charge that a seller charges,” asked a reader this week. “This really is not something that a buyer (or other sellers) needs to know! They just need the products retail price and a shipping rate.”

When we asked for more information, the seller wrote, “On the mobile app and PC versions of the website the handling cost does not appear separately, it is just part of the shipping rate. On the mobile version (, they are now disclosing the handling charge if you click on the “Shipping, Returns and Payments” area of the listing.”

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On its help pages, eBay states: “During the listing – Buyers can see the calculated shipping costs in your listing when they enter their ZIP code or country. Your handling cost is included in the shipping cost, but isn’t displayed to buyers.”

We emailed eBay to learn if this was an intentional change, and if so, why it hadn’t informed sellers. We have yet to receive a response.

Shipping & handling is a touchy subject with both buyers and sellers. Last fall on the eBay discussion boards, a shopper asked, “Why are so many sellers charging excessive shipping fees” and wrote, “There is no way it costs $10.00 to ship a pair of sweat pants or shorts. Are they just trying to pad their profit?”

Sellers responded, stating it could very well cost that much or more to ship a pair of sweat pants. And often sellers say shoppers don’t factor in the cost of shipping boxes and packing material. Some posters said shoppers should simply look at the total cost – price of the item plus S&H – to be able to get an apples-to-apples comparison of the costs of the items they’re considering purchasing.

What do you think? Should eBay allow shoppers to see handling costs broken out?

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to

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