Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed May 29 2013 08:49:02

Why Do eBay Buyers Ignore Shipping Costs?

By: Ina Steiner

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Do you factor in shipping costs before buying something online? Apparently many buyers do not, at least not on eBay. As bad as this is for domestic sellers trying to protect their feedback, international selling only exacerbates the problem.

eBay said its Global Shipping Program (GSP) solves this problem for U.S. sellers by making all of the costs fully transparent to international buyers, but as we wrote yesterday, that isn't always the case. A seller we spoke to received complaints about the high cost of shipping on a GSP transaction (eBay's partner Pitney Bowes sets all the international shipping and custom fees).
 
While GSP protects "Detailed Seller Ratings" in the shipping criteria, this seller received a neutral feedback rating thanks to buyer dissatisfaction with shipping cost.



According to the GSP terms, "Also, if eBay resolves a Buyer Protection claim arising from a GSP Item in your favor because you were not at fault (or because eBay determines that Pitney Bowes or its third party service providers were at fault), you may contact Customer Support to request that any negative or neutral feedback associated with that transaction be removed." But the seller who contacted us said she had made a request to eBay customer service, which did not remove the neutral feedback.

eBay told me yesterday it is working on a system to automatically remove negative or neutral feedback "in additional scenarios where such feedback can be attributed to the Global Shipping Program."

That's good news, but it's typical of eBay to roll out programs without having full seller protections/processes in place FIRST, which is only made worse by what looks like from where I'm sitting an enormous gulf between eBay's perception of its customer service and sellers' actual experiences with eBay customer service.




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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed May 29 09:12:49 2013

Ina writes:
eBay told me yesterday it is working on a system to automatically remove negative or neutral feedback "in additional scenarios where such feedback can be attributed to the Global Shipping Program."

And there in lies the problem....

It seems as though eBay can not and will not take action to protect their sellers unless the process can be automated.

Once automated, sellers find the process has extremely limited and narrow parameters, and that if circumstances do not meet the narrow criteria defined by the automation process, sellers will find themselves out of luck.

Appealing to eBay customer service will result in zero assistance as CSA's are trained that if the small eyed needle can not be threaded with boat rope, then the seller is out of luck.

We will not be joining the global shipping program now, or in the future, and if eBay makes a move to require sellers participate, eBay will find our store closed the day the requirement goes into effect.

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by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 09:15:26 2013

I don't. Especially after the old days of getting burned with 20 shipping on a 5 dollar item as fee avoidance.
Frankly no matter where I shop on the internet shipping counts. I'll pay the 80 fee for Amazon prime beause this covers 2 day shipping on all prime items. I will look on Amazon Prime first.
I won't buy if it seems excessive, I will wait until free shipping is offered like on Lands End.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Wed May 29 09:34:01 2013

I only shop BIN on ebay, and I only sort my searched by price+shipping, so how the seller does the shipping is less relevant than it might be if I was doing auction bidding.  

I do find myself avoiding any seller with unusually high shipping costs for the type of shipping - like charging me $10 for $2 media mail.  if i gotta pay $10 for a light item, i want priority (even though it might only cost $5 at least i get it quickly).

the only time i've ever given a bad shipping DSR is when a seller offered expedited shipping, i paid for expedited shipping, and i got something else.

i also agree with the other poster.  i find myself often looking at amazon prime shipping.  i don't pay the $80, i use the $25 sale level.  if needed i accumulate items till i reach free shipping level.  i also use the ''prime'' in my search parms.  lots of sellers on amazon are over-charging for shipping ($12.99 to ship a thumb drive????), and i would rather avoid all that.

on the sell side, i decided to NOT offer GSP after setting up a few test listings.  way too pricey for the buyer.  it doesn't matter what ebay FB policies are.  if they think they are getting ripped off, they will blame the only person they are allowed to blame - the seller.  last i checked, buyers didn't get a FB/DSR form for ebay.

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by: Joy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 09:56:18 2013

Why does anybody sell on eBay? It's been totally violated by the current powers that be from it's original intent.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Wed May 29 09:58:45 2013

Yanno, every seller on this board, and most sellers on the ebay boards knew in advance that this GSP was going to be a feedback nightmare.

Because, even though WE know we don't set the prices, WE are first in line to get the flak for it because WE_are_the_seller!

Is the international customer going to complain to eBay?  No - they are going to complain in their Feedback and their DSR's.

And eBay's all casual 'oh, well just bring it up to customer service for removal!"  Right.  Like we need to spend even more time reacting to their half-baked 'improvements'.

I ain't touching this thing with a 10 foot pole.  And I run through the site preferences on each of my 4 selling ID's weekly, to be sure I am not 'accidentally' opted in to this mess.

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by: beverly This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:01:46 2013

since I ship nationally on a daily basis, I find that many sellers on ebay start their prices low and that rob you for shipping

ie a small piece of jewelry ($10..00) shipping

come on.... through ebay shipping the price is about $1.69

That's some profit for handling

Those sellers always get a bad rating from me

Actually has a seller cancel my purchases after I asked why the shipping was so high.

I paid for both items and the high shipping and then the seller tried to cancel transactions.

I refused to cancel transactions and left negative feedback

if sellers are going to charge excessive shipping they desire bad marks

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by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:27:37 2013

Beverly, if you don't like their shipping charges, there is a simple answer. Don't buy from them. Better yet, look at the total value of the purchase. If the price + shipping is good, you may want to buy it anyway. If you pay $5.00 less for the item and $5.00 more for shipping, you are still paying the same. Remember that the seller has to pay for:

- packaging materials (bubble mailer or a box, bubble wrap or peanuts, paper and ink to print the shipping label, tape),
- insurance (or risk having to give a 100% refund to the buyer if the item is lost or damaged in transit)
- ebay and paypal fees on the shipping cost (about 13% of the shipping cost goes to ebay and paypal),
- and usually a trip to the post office or UPS to drop off the package, in addition to the actual shipping cost.

While I'm not advocating gouging on shipping cost, please realize that the actual shipping cost is only part of what the seller has to pay to ship an item, in addition to the time it takes to pack and ship it. Sometimes it takes an hour to find or make or buy the right box, pack the item carefully to prevent damage in shipping, including the right amount of crush space around the item, weigh it, enter the weight and dimensions, then print the label, trim it, and tape it to the package.

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:30:13 2013

Well OF COURSE eBay will tweak the: ''system to automatically remove negative or neutral feedback ''in additional scenarios where such feedback can be attributed to the Global Shipping Program.'' The last thing eBay wants is any visible proof that the service is a disaster for sellers who use it.  

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by: Joanbet This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:30:44 2013

People who think shipping is ever FREE are COMPLETE IDIOTS.  Free shipping simply means that the cost is transferred to the item.  Why oh why do some people get all twisted over shipping costs.. simply add the item price to the shipping costs and decide if the total is a fair price for the item... if it is, buy it... if not don't.  When you get something worth $30 for $1.00 plus $14 shipping you are still getting the item at half price!!!!  STOP BEING STUPID.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed May 29 10:32:34 2013

Beverly, why did you buy the item if you thought that the shipping price was too high?

I simply hit the back button if I see shipping that is too high. I simply don't buy.

While I don't defend the seller's shipping cost who cancelled on you after you asked why shipping was too high, I certainly see WHY he/she tried to cancel on you.  You have just admitted that you leave bad ratings for such sellers so he is just trying to protect his/her business.

Asking about high shipping AFTER the purchase is just wrong.  

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:33:16 2013

Re auctionguy: my customers don't employ me and I would never charge a handling fee ESPECIALLY if it took me an hour to find a box!!! What buyer wants to subsidize your inefficiency? You charge like a lawyer.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed May 29 10:35:13 2013

One of the current problems with international shipping, are those customers that have not yet bought anything since the January 2013 international price hikes for shipping. Just last week I had a customer tell me how ridiculous my shipping to Canada was because 'other' sellers can ship so much more to her for less than that. Well I could too until the end of January, but not anymore. I don't sell on ebay, but having seen the posts about this ebay global shipping, I realize that the buyer may be really paying a lot for it, and if someone isn't prepared for the cost, then I can see why they would be upset. It is eBay's responsibility to take care of those negs and neutral but ebay isn't responsible, so there is your problem.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed May 29 10:38:46 2013

Global shipping seems too risky with the experiences some here have shared. Shoot, I don't even ship to Canada anymore. Since shipping costs increased, it is too worrisome.

As we can see, some buyers still leave a negative for shipping costs - even when they are clearly posted on a listing to see BEFORE they CHOOSE to buy the item. They can't seem to figure out how to vote with their feet if they think shipping cost is high.
The GSP adds a new dimension to this since there are even higher costs involved.

I see increased potential for negative shipping cost or shipping time marks from trigger happy buyers - along with the potential for seller to have to foot the bill for international return costs (or awarding a free item), if a buyer says an item has an issue. No thanks.


The only way I would ever look at doing it is if eBay completely overhauled their feedback system into something more realistic. Even if they try to build in GSP protections with the current system, the trust factor would be missing for many sellers.  

Bottom line, sellers are too vulnerable & must do what they deem necessary to protect their business. Sometimes that means sitting out the game.

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by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:42:59 2013

We try to offer great prices on ebay and still make a profit. We charge by weight of package very low prices on first class shipping and actual shipping on all 1,2,3,4 pound weights.

We have no control over the fact that ebays shipping calculator does not combine the shipping weights correctly. We are more than happy to correct any invoice prior to customer paying for it. We Want to save our customers money.

We are not able to offer free shipping because of difference on postal rates from zone 1 to zone 8.

Since the buyer can see the shipping cost prior to paying for their order we feel the buyer had their change for an opinion prior to making payment.

We are considering leaving ebay over the feed back system allowing buyers to give bad feed back when the price they pay is the lowest price on ebay shipped to their door.

We don't feel it is right to receive bad feed back when we charge actual shipping. Complaints should go to the United States Postal Service and we feel that it is wrong for ebay to try to force sellers just so they can make extra profits.

NO SELLER IS FORCING BUYER TO PAY FOR SOME THING THAT THEY FEEL IS OVER PRICED.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed May 29 10:43:48 2013

----- ''Those sellers always get a bad rating from me''

Oh good god! Give me a freaking break! Why did you buy the item in the first place, Beverly? NOBODY is that dumb!

Based on your recent post (as well as you history) one can only assume that you're INTENTIONALLY looking for any excuse to vandalize the feedback and DSR scores of honest sellers.

Obviously, this is just bloodsport for you. You're entertaining yourself by ruining the reputation and livelihoods of honest sellers who have done no harm to you.

What a vile and disgusting thing to do! Truly beneath contempt.

----- ''Actually has a seller cancel my purchases after I asked why the shipping was so high.''

That was a very smart seller! It's getting easier for sellers to figure out which buyers will be hit-and-run PITA's with their ''drive-by shooting'' feedback and DSR's.

----- ''if sellers are going to charge excessive shipping they desire bad marks''

WRONG!

Malicious buyers who are stupid enough to willingly pay inflated shipping, then complain about it after the fact, should be banned for life!

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:52:07 2013

Im not the OP - but Im someone whose caught in the GSP nightmare.

"when the program works" which to be honest is 75% of the time - it works well. However eBay left a few LARGE holes in the system ...that of course turn the screws on the seller.

My GSP customer gave me a negative 1) for the "high" shipping cost which he agreed to upfront and 2) BECAUSE HE NEVER GOT THE ITEM!

How is all this possible? He left the negative BEFORE opening a case.

I called eBay and they said "since he didnt open a case, hes allowed to leave the feedback" TUFF LUCK.

I complained that neither issue is my fault (it got to Kentucky 2 days after he bought it) 1) he agreed upfront to the shipping cost and 2) I cant be held responsible if the item wasnt received - thats Pitney Bowes's issue!

I spoke to CS 3x, Trust & Saftey 2X and the people who run GSP (who as I understand can remove ONLY GSP related negatives) and still "we will have to get back to you about this since it isnt in our rules"!


BTW - the morons (better known as eBay) make it so you cant invoice GSP buyers. I have 8 unpaid GSP sales atm .....

None of this was thought through - its tough enough to make sales - with OUT eBay screwing things up!

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by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:55:33 2013

Susan Averello didn't "get burned" by a surprise shipping cost - she didn't read the shipping costs disclosure. Buyers like her have made eBay whst it is today...a miserable, unhappy, hate filled community.

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by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 10:58:48 2013

RCL, you made yourself look like an idiot when you took my statement WAY out of context. I didn't say it took an hour to find a shipping box. I said, ''Sometimes it takes an hour to find or make or buy the right box, pack the item carefully to prevent damage in shipping, including the right amount of crush space around the item, weigh it, enter the weight and dimensions, then print the label, trim it, and tape it to the package.'' That is a lot more than the time it takes to find a box. I sometimes sell odd-shaped items that don't fit in a standard box, and it might take 1/2 hour to make a box, or 1/2 hour to go to the local carton company and buy one.

And why do you say I charge like a lawyer? I spend 20 minutes on average to pack and ship an item (remember, I said SOMETIMES an hour, not always). I pay $2.00 in ebay and paypal fees on the shipping cost, $1.00 in packaging materials if I don't have to buy a box, or $1 to $5 more if I have to buy a box, $2.50 for insurance on the average item, and a 4 mile round trip to the post office or 7 mile round trip to UPS to ship, and I charge a $3 handling cost, so I lose money on shipping, plus my time that is obviously worth nothing. Yet you say I charge like a lawyer? If I charged like a lawyer, I would charge $80 for handling on average, but obviously nobody would pay that. Well, okay, Beverly might, then leave poor feedback for me, but I don't want that.

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 11:08:44 2013

This is all the wrong problem and the wrong solution.  This has nothing to do with international.

The problem is the buyer agrees to buy the item with the stated shipping, and feels it's right to complains later.  Why in the world should anyone be able to do that? But that's the system ebay inc. has made.  

If you don't like the prices of the business you are dealing with just don't buy.  If others feel the same that business will lower their prices or go out of business, it's how capitalism works!

There has to be some point in every transaction that there is a meeting of the minds.  Where an offer is made, accepted, paid and fulfilled with all agreeing to it. That's why we have a deal!.  

If you don't agree to price and terms just say so and don't buy.

Why ebay would design a system where the transaction and it's terms are all open ended and subject to re-negotiation forever on threat of FB and DSRs just blows my mind.  They are out of their minds and I actually suspect this might be illegal.  

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by: joyful17 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 29 11:12:59 2013

Thanks Auctionguy. It is about time that the real reason for our shipping costs were acknowledged.
Everything listed is true...and if you have to employe someone ( like I do ) to do the actual packing, of course the cost should be included. Which I absorb. .Yes, I sell items from under $100 to over $1000 generally. But getting have the materials and packing, going to post office and PAYING THE INCREASED fees, plus what eBay and PayPal take from me...hey, I have not had any negatives against me. Yes, we do combine when we can and save our buyers some of the fees.
Why all the back and forth nonsense when shipping fees are simply what must be paid if you want an item. If you find it too high or not worth it to purchase something...simply pass!

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