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Fri Apr 25 2008 00:40:35

eBay Free Shipping Loophole

By: Ina Steiner

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Yet another on-the-ball reader wrote in with an example of what looks like a loophole in the eBay system. He pointed to a listing that showed a large "Free Shipping" logo (new feature launched this month). Looking at the listing, he noticed it said "Local Pickup."

"You'll see a lot of this I suspect," he wrote. "Free Shipping means "Local Pickup" - problem is most will see the icon and not read closely. eBay just never gets it."

Local pickup is generally used for large items like refrigerators or furniture. But the item in question was for a lot of 25 books. Most likely, buyers would be willing to have them shipped, particularly if they thought it was free shipping. Since there is a big, bright orange sign saying Free Shipping, why wouldn't they think so. Yet because the seller states Local Pickup, he can refuse to ship the lot.

By selecting local pickup, the seller can gain higher exposure in search results by offering free shipping, and can then charge buyers for shipping if they aren't located in his city.

File this under "eBay Unintended Consequences."

Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Sue @ TameBay

Fri Apr 25 07:30:41 2008

Ouch. That's not going to improve the buyer experience much, is it.

I was complaining earlier in the week that we hadn't got this feature yet on, but if this is how it's been implemented, I think we'll skip it. Yet another example of the people creating the site having no clue about how the site is actually used.

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Dan

Fri Apr 25 08:49:23 2008

Perhaps there is a glitch which makes it possible for someone to take advantage of, but if a seller is saying he will ship the books for free or the buyer can pick them up and then the seller charges the buyer for shipping, the seller is the one who leaves himself open to receiving a low DSR score for shipping costs and the system will eventually disadvantage them.

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Fri Apr 25 10:04:55 2008

But if the buyer refuses to pay for shipping when it says free shipping, the seller could file a UPI report.

How eBay's customer service would handle that is unclear - would eBay's automated system ding the buyer, or would the buyer be able to get a person at eBay who could understand the issues and side with the buyer?

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: dimes

Fri Apr 25 12:34:39 2008

Speaking of loopholes, apparently there's a way to game your placement on the eBay Pulse page using a software program, according to this post on the gurucreation site:

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Cliff Aliperti

Fri Apr 25 13:51:27 2008


I think it's a glitch.  From the eBay Stores FAQ under the heading ''Creating a Free Shipping sale with Markdown Manager'':

Q: What are the criteria for being able to add free shipping?

Third point: ''Listings with local pick-up and freight cannot be added to a free shipping sale''

Just scroll down a little from here:
Markdown Manager FAQ

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Cliff Aliperti

Fri Apr 25 13:53:08 2008

I'll try posting that link again, otherwise you can access it from Andy Feierfeil's post on the eBay Announcements board:

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Lisa

Sun Apr 27 15:31:36 2008

They are doing this on purpose
I got hit by one and guy refunded I think hes wrong.

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: what the?

Fri May 23 13:27:09 2008

You people are all nuts? For one anyone who does not read and understand everything on the listing is mentally lazy. two, if a seller is trying to "trick" you-- and you put forth the small mental effort involved, you simply will not patronize that seller. three, is gas. yes gas. every large industry in this nation and the world is charging extra for gas. even gas deliveries are being charged an xtra fee for the increased cost of delivery. why would anyone in their right mind offer free shipping? When you go to walmart part of the price you pay is yes maa'm, shipping. so, you think you can compete with the big boys huh? hope your profit margins are huge to be offering free shipping. good luck.

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: tula

Fri May 23 13:42:08 2008

I saw this glitch a couple of weeks ago.  I was watching an item that had this "free shipping" logo on it.  It took a couple of days before I noticed that it was Local Pickup.  Naturally, I didn't bid, since it was on the other side of the country from me. I'm an experienced eBayer and it took me a couple days to notice this (had to be careful not to spend too much time on eBay while at work :-), so I can see problems with newbies running into this.  I hope they fix it soon!

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Roni

Sun Oct 12 14:53:27 2008

The issue really is deeper if any seller takes the time to look, EBAY is tricking sellers into burying the cost of shipping the item in listing starting price so EBAY wins... Why ? because ebay charges more now for ending value price so if the sellers item sells for 5$ more than it would have had they not buried the shipping in the sale price ebay makes a larger percentage of items final value. If sellers continue to charge shipping & avoid the free shipping trap ebay slaps our hand by making us less visible in searches,so free shipping sellers get a little boost in sales (but are still paying ebay more fees) I sure would be willing to pay my way to the top of a search OH  WAIT I CAN just kiss ebays butt and offer free shipping.

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: Are u nuts?

Thu Apr 23 05:24:59 2009

Why would any ebay seller offer free shipping? That is where we make most if not all of what little we do make. Listing fees, paypal, Gas, Packing material, time. Nothing is free for the seller. The postage & handling should be up to the seller. Not a platform of selling like rotten ebay.

After awhile, you feel like an abused wife. You know you are getting kicked around and want to leave --where do u go?

eBay Free Shipping Loophole   eBay Free Shipping Loophole

by: rkrueger25
Web Site

Wed Nov 2 19:29:55 2011

I'm tired of being charged over $300 every month from ebay. It really leaves a small profit margin for us sellers. I found and they are small fish compared to Ebay but they don't charge even a cent. Instead they receive money from sponsors (advertisements).

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