Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat July 6 2019 23:07:37

eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

By: Ina Steiner

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A seller recently asked eBay why it stopped sending out notices to Store owners about their quarterly coupons good for free shipping supplies, a perk that eBay began offering in 2016 after it raised the cost of Store subscriptions.

"Many store subscribers do not know how to find their coupon OR that they even are entitled to one," the seller asked during the July 3rd weekly chat session.

"I'm not really sure why those emails aren't sent anymore," an eBay moderator replied, "but I can send this feedback over to the right team."

The subject of eBay Store coupons had come up earlier in the chat session when a seller suggested eBay increase the value of coupons:

"Since the day eBay started this program, which I like VERY much, the prices of the supplies have increased significantly but our coupons remain the same. The buying power has dramatically changed.

"Not only have prices gone up significantly the quantities in which you can purchase have changed. We use to be able to purchase smaller quantities on many of the products offered but now the minimum is 100 on all the envelopes.

"I humbly suggest that eBay give us an increase in the value of our coupons. In the Summer Seller Update would be awesome."

The questions about eBay Store coupons came a day after we wrote about the subject in a post titled, "Is Inflation Eroding eBay Shipping-Supplies Perk?" In the comments, one seller reported as an example that 200 (9"x13'') Airjacket envelopes cost $63.10 on October 11, 2016, and said today they cost $71.60. Sellers also noted that they must now pay sales tax on their supplies - even when not required by their state. And some sellers said the coupon cannot be applied toward the tax, making it an extra cost for the "free" perk.

When researching the topic, we too had noticed that eBay Store subscribers were confused about where to find their coupon so they could take advantage of the perk that comes with their subscription. In fact, we even found YouTube videos explaining where to find the code (one YouTuber called it "elusive"), further evidence that sellers find it difficult to find.

Why do you think eBay stopped notifying Store owners of their free shipping-supplies coupon and makes it so hard to find the code? Have you ever forgotten to take advantage of the perk?

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Perminate Link for eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?   eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 12:11:56 2019

@toolguy When you subtract returns, order cancellations, and "Free Shipping" money paid by sellers which eBay has nothing to do with that they count toward GMV, then how much real "profit" is there? Little to none. eBay also has huge debt and a deteriorating balance sheet. You can claim how "big" and "safe" this company is all you want like you always do, but that doesn't make them healthy. They are certainly not growing at all compared to ALL of their competition. They are stagnant and desperate. It can be seen by what they do, and their relentless ways of scheming money out of everything at the user's expense. There's little benefit to using eBay anymore.

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by: StumbleBum This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 12:41:14 2019

As of today (7/9) the banner reminding you that you have a shipping supplies coupon is not displaying in Chrome.

Perminate Link for eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?   eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

This user has validated their user name. by: unsuckEBAY
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Tue Jul 9 21:10:33 2019

"As of today (7/9) the banner reminding you that you have a shipping supplies coupon is not displaying in Chrome."

stumblebum, we're still seeing it, but note that it doesn't appear until the very last step of the check-out process on where the blue "confirm & pay" button appears.

It doesn't show in the cart at all, which is why it's more a 'make-sure-the-coupon-gets-applied-so-the-seller-doesn't-have-to-call-
customer-service-to-have-us-fix-it"'
piece of insurance for eBay, than it actually acts as any sort of friendly 'courtesy reminder' to remember to use the coupon in the first place.

Here's a pic what it should look like 👉http://bit.ly/2SeYKKl

Perminate Link for eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?   eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 14:31:35 2019

Poor eBay.  Even when they stop doing something they can't quite get it right.  They are the epitome of inept.  

In their usual fashion, (seperate from the argument of self-serving motivation), something suddenly, silently, is different.  No announcement, no warning, no explanation, no response.  And that's the only thing consistent about the consistency of resultant user experience.  More questions than answers.  More henpeck scratchouts and another MIT Grad student level workaround for the ol' playbook.  Some hit, some missed, some not even sure.  

At the very least, despite any of the other distasteful elements conjectured or evidenced, this act, and the way it has played, is just plain thoughtless.  

On purpose.

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by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 22:45:39 2019

I dont understand why everyone is just dismissing paying the sales tax. I mentioned it in the last thread. I dont care that I have to pay sales tax. The problem is the coupon cant be applied to it. So my free shipping supplies arent free. I have to pay 10-15 dollars for them every quarter. Why cant I just use 130 of my 150 coupon and then the last 15-20 just be applied to the sales tax. This makes no difference to ebay. They dont keep that money regardless. So now I basically I order more "free supplies because it only ups the sales tax 2-3 bucks to max out the 150. So ebay still has to credit the 150 regardless. Makes no sense, and no that makes the coupons not free. When I have to spend 15 dollars to get my supplies they arent free. This isnt something theyve done all along. This was applied within the last year as a change. I assume there is some fee money they can pocket extra or it gets people to spend less or something. It benefits them. Ebay only does something if it benefits them.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 23:47:59 2019

''...and then the last 15-20 just be applied to the sales tax.''

Seems reasonable, but because taxes are payable to a government entity, 'coupon' values typically exclude sales tax, (everywhere) which must actually be paid 'separately' by the redeemer.  

An exception can be made for when an entity offers a 'we pay your sales tax' promotion, but those do not utilize or require coupons as method for realizing those 'savings' - they must be available to all, without a coupon, whereas coupon based savings are only offered to those who receive and apply the coupon.

It's yet another example of 'free' not being exactly 'free'.  But that's not just an eBay 'exaggeration' in such context...

Perminate Link for eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?   eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 00:09:40 2019

Snapped...

I understand that, but why at a time where sales tax was already a thing and they were  including it with the coupon, but now its not.

They changed it. Im sure there tech guys are smart enough to earmark funds for 2 different purposes. Just take the sales tax portion and put it separate and send the rest to the ebay cosignment seller. Oh wait they have no tech team and their site is a glitchfest.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 10:18:05 2019

I just visited the new Ebay Brand Outlet and it seems to moving more and more to an Overstock model.  Why not just remove all the 3rd party "little" sellers?  Or maybe it should split in half.  The Brand Outlet on one site and the Little mom&pop seller on another site.
It makes no sense to have both on one site, competing against each other.

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This user has validated their user name. by: unsuckEBAY
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Thu Jul 11 15:15:22 2019

Chicago48 said, "Why not just remove all the 3rd party "little" sellers?  Or maybe it should split in half.  The Brand Outlet on one site and the Little mom&pop seller on another site.
It makes no sense to have both on one site, competing against each other."

That's a great question that's asked frequently.

The answer (from eBay's perspective) is that it has to do with the so-called 'Network Effect' --  essentially the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts as  eBay's value continues to increase as the number of users continues to grow (in spite of being glitch-ridden and poorly managed).

If eBay were to split off into discrete sites, eBay would not benefit from the same network effect (and is part of the reason for consolidation of other property sites over the years).

Wenig wants to be able to offer buyers cheap $10 junk, high-end merch, and unique collectibles (higher the selling value the better) all 'personalized' just for that buyer (with eBay's amazing AI" of course) under one virtual rooftop.

Perminate Link for eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?   eBay Suppresses Coupon: A Calculated Move to Save Money?

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 15:58:34 2019

@Justchangecarriers

I understand that, but why at a time where sales tax was already a thing and they were  including it with the coupon, but now its not.

The issue with this is actually not with Ebay, but with Bascom, the shipping supply company.  Ebay may or may not pay directly to the manufacturer for these supplies, or more than likely, knowing Ebay, Bascom shells out upfront for the supplies and Ebay reimburses them.  For whatever reason, at the beginning of this year Bascom began charging Sales Tax on the shipping supplies.  It might be that they determined they had a nexus in certain states or it could be due to the law changes they have seen coming, but either way it is Bascom's issue, not Ebays.  i just filed for Sales Tax Exemption on Ebay as i do have a resale license and since Ebay has no way for a Seller to eliminate the Sales Tax if they offer free shipping, I am using this work around that Ebay has offered.

I am sure the reason that Ebay does not allow the coupon to cover the Sales Tax is because that would result in real cash having to be sent to Bascom to cover the Sales Tax.  Paying for these shipping supplies, which I will 99.9999999% guarantee you are purchased from one of their Chinese Partners for dirt cheap, means that for every $100 they send out in coupons their actual cost is pennies on the dollar so to add the Sales Tax to that would probably double or triple their actual cost to Ebay and there is no way that Wenig would ever consider cutting into his drinking at Ebays bar funds.

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