|Fri Apr 25 2008 00:40:35|
eBay Free Shipping Loophole
By: Ina Steiner
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."