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Wed Nov 13 2013 19:01:43

eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I was not aware and do not know anything about that Best Offer beta program. However, there is a flaw in the whole best offer process (and in the BIN process) that negatively affects buyer AND seller.

- IF the buyer is buying multiple items/lots from the seller
- AND IF the eBay system (at seller's option???) requires the buyer to pay immediately,
THEN the problem is that shipping is (sometimes?) automatically calculated and must be paid on each and every item.

Sometimes this problem may be the result of the seller incorrectly setting listing/shipping defaults. However, sellers seem to have less and less freedom in that regard.

In my line of business, I may buy from 5 to 30 items/lots from ONE seller. Some may be Best Offer, some may be BIN, and some may be auction. However, I want all sent to me at one time, for one shipping charge (that is, of course, higher than the charge for a single item).

In a recent experience, I bought 32 items from an overseas seller. About 6 were BIN - and I had to pay $3.50 PER ITEM for shipping. 3 were BIN - and again the system added $3.50 PER ITEM for shipping. The remainder were auction. The system did add $3.50 per item for those, but then the seller credited back that full amount of shipping on the eBay invoice. (The seller says he was not allowed to credit back more than the full amount of shipping.)

However, I had still paid more in shipping than either the seller or I had intended. In the end, he had to do a small/partial PayPal refund to take care of the shipping overcharges.

(In this situation, the seller can't realistically include free shipping because the vast majority of his buyers are overseas from him, his item prices are fairly low, and he feels it necessary that registered mail be used over $100 in total item value - and from his country, registered mail is about $29!!!)

My type of experience, and related complications, makes it harder / more costly for a buyer to buy many items from ONE seller.

In my line of business, it is normal for a buyer to buy many items from one seller. I regularly receive non-eBay orders for dozens or even hundreds of items, from a single buyer.

As always, eBay gets in the way of establishing and maintaining long-running buyer/seller RELATIONSHIPS. If eBay wants sellers to think of eBay as their storefront, then eBay needs to stop putting roadblocks into the transactions.
J. (name withheld by request)



Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 13 20:44:08 2013

I put up 5 items in one auction.  Shipping was 1.75 each item.  One buyer bought all 5 items and ebay sent her an invoice and only charged her 1.75.  Hard lesson learned and I won't do that again!

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 00:56:52 2013

I was kinda unhappy to discover that ebay had altered the shipping charge for a lightweight item I sold to Canada---the shipping EBAY charged (allegedly based on MY weight info!!!!)  was---$38.00 for a $15 under 1 POUND item!  The buyer PAID this without contacting me.     So I sent the item and the PO charged $11 (which is about what I expected)  and had to refund.  

Now---this is not that big an issue but it makes the SELLERS once again look BAD as the buyers have NO reason to suspect that this is NOT something set up by the sellers;  and it makes the seller look stupid when they have to EXPLAIN this and then refund.  For some reason buyers seem incapable of thinking of this as strictly a business transaction---and somehow make it personal.

Stupid ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: feline This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 01:12:32 2013

I bought some cheapo bits  from china yesterday. Some items I put in the basket and paid sellers in one go
Others I had  to pay each item separately cost wasn't the issue it was all free shipping  just very cumbersome and messy to make single small payments of not much more than £1 for each item and each small payment cost the seller more paypal fees

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 01:23:24 2013

I buy small collectibles and used to buy multiple items from the same seller on purpose to save on shipping. Now the sellers have all raised their prices buy a considerable amount just to offer free shipping as per eBay's request/suggestion -or- they have combined multiple items into one auction now. So either it's too expensive now to buy multiple items individually or there might be 1 or 2 items in a lot that I need but the cost of the lot is now too expensive. So bottom line, I've pretty much stopped buying on eBay because of the new tactics.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 02:52:42 2013

I am totally confused about what Ebay is doing with Shipping!

My business depends upon people buying multiple postcards in one order. Sometimes I get orders where my shipping rule actually works. Other times, people buy five postcards and pay for them separately, with shipping on each. When I ask them to please ask for a Combined Shipping invoice next time before paying, they tell me Ebay would not allow them to do that. They had to buy each item, and pay immediately.

However, I have eight items sitting waiting for payment. Usually, about half of those go through the automatic resolution process, and are never paid.

Why is Ebay requiring immediate payment for some items, allowing people to ask for an invoice on others, and allowing other people just to buy, and not pay?  Why is there no consistency?

I wish Ebay would get rid of this immediate payment thing, unless a Seller requests it when filling in the form.

Selling or Buying on Ebay is such a mess anymore. And yes, Buyers blame Sellers for the mess. I am getting so tired of doing refunds.  

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 14 02:54:58 2013

I don't know how many times we have stated on this site and on Ebay, but the darn shipping calculator on Ebay has NEVER worked properly for any extended period of time.  I honestly don't understand why seasoned sellers still get SURPRISED when it doesn't calculate something properly.  If it messes you up, don't use it.  There is nothing that says you have to use it.  It is the choice of the seller to use it or not to use it.  And if you choose to use it, then know from time to time it will not be right.  Sometimes it will charge the buyer too much and other times it will be too little.

****************

OP, your seller's statement that they could not "refund" beyond the amount you paid for shipping is NOT correct.  Ebay has nothing to do with the refund process.  That is done through PayPal.  And PP has no  such restrictions.  Let's say you paid a seller $20.00, $5 of which was shipping.  If you and the seller agreed to a $6.00 refund, then all your seller has to do is go into the transaction on PP and issue a partial refund of $6.00.  Now what the seller can't do is get the FVF back from Ebay easily.  Sometimes if they call they can get it, but sometime you can't.

I think you pegged it, sometimes the issues are created by the seller not understanding how to set up discount rules.  For me, I don't use discount rules at all as my stuff varies too much and it just doesn't work well for me.  I state in my listings for buyer to contact me for an invoice as I'm always happy to extend a discount for multiple purchases.

Most times it works out great.   Sometimes buyer don't read the listing and pay too much for shipping, but then I always send them a note and I refund their over payment.

@ Patricia

You may want to check your Discount rules and make sure nothing got messed up there.  I try to check all my site preferences at least once a month just to make sure something hasn't happened.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

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

Thu Nov 14 07:58:05 2013

--- ''I honestly don't understand why seasoned sellers still get SURPRISED when it doesn't calculate something properly.''

I do. It's because those sellers remain ever-hopeful that eBay might do something right, or that eBay programmers and policy-makers finally decided to fix a long-standing, well-know and fully-documented problem. ~ I agree that such notions are naive, however.

--- ''If it messes you up, don't use it.  There is nothing that says you have to use it. It is the choice of the seller to use it or not to use it. ''

I'm in total agreement with you here, Marie! :-) For my purposes, and for my merchandise... this was the philosophy that I applied when making my decision to leave eBay. eBay was messing-me-up and I realized that I didn't *have* to be there.

--- ''I think you pegged it, sometimes the issues are created by the seller not understanding how to set up discount rules.''

This appears to be a common theme among various eBay ''features''. It makes me wonder, though... are there truly *that many* sellers who can't understand how to use eBay? Or, is it that the more likely explanation has to do with the fact that eBay has become a cumbersome and tedious venue?

Looking at the evidence, there can be little doubt at this point, that it is a venue with too many mismatched and incompatible features... things that don't play-well-together. It's cobbled together with baling wire, duct-tape and chewing-gum. A mixture of old and new code that stands as a monument to the laziness and/or incompetence of their programming staff. (I almost used the word ''team'' instead of ''staff''... but ''team'' suggests that the programmers are communicating and working together---with clear goals and a common purpose---and we know that's not true!)

--- ''Now what the seller can't do is get the FVF back from Ebay easily. Sometimes if they call they can get it, but sometime you can't.''

Theoretically, this type of refund (or credit) should be automatic. Other than the desire to do so, and other than programmer incompetence/laziness, there's really no rational explanation that such a thing does not happen without human intervention.

For those sellers whose time is only worth $1.00 per hour... I guess it makes financial sense to spend an hour on the telephone plus various emails trying to chase-down a FVF credit on a $6 difference in price.

It wasn't worthwhile for me. I had better things to do with my time. I could think of tasks that were more productive and more profitable... so chasing after a 50-cents refund never rose to the top of my must-do list.

Still, at the same time, just knowing that eBay was getting to keep undeserved fees... and that eBay was picking my pockets, a nickle-and-dime at a time, was something that had become a thorn in my side.

My disappointment in eBay was already growing, but things like this, and eBay's TOTAL contempt for its sellers, only made my resentment grow stronger.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 07:59:56 2013

Didn't someone just write about this last week? I don't shop at eBay anymore but the sellers at Ruby Lane REALLY overcharge on postage and are more amenable to combining items--but still at an exorbitant price. I just have to go back to bricks and mortar.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 08:52:09 2013

Patricia, I don't understand how you could list 5 items in one auction with a separate shipping cost on each. Ebay doesn't allow multiple item (or ''Dutch'') auctions any more, hasn't for several years. If you listed 5 items in 1 auction, the price and shipping cost should have been for all 5 items, not for each one, and a bidder would be bidding on 5 items, not 1 at a time. If it was a Buy It Now listing with 5 items, then the shipping cost should be calculated based on the number of items the buyer purchased. If flat rate shipping, you (the seller) would list the cost for the first item, then the added shipping cost for each additional item. If using calculated shipping, then the ebay shipping calculator should calculate the shipping based on the total weight of the number of items the buyer purchased, based on the shipping weight for each item as entered by the seller on the item listing form.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 09:03:40 2013

Annie
You are 100% correct. 50% of our sales were combined shipping and the when the buyers could not get a combined invoice it caused us more problems than it was worth.

I feel this is part of ebays master plan to bring in the big box retailers. The craft sellers are a perfect example. Is Martha Stewart eBay's Answer to Etsy? How many small sellers were forced off ebay due to shipping problems. Soon you will feel the full effect when you can find your favorite item at your brick and mortar store. Small sellers are not going to be able to compete with the current policies that ebay has. Free Shipping verse Free Shipping picked up at your local store. Easy managed returns at you local store. These big box retailer ship from every shipping zone while the small sellers may have double shipping. I think the facts show that ebay wants the small seller to leave to make room for the larger sellers. That's my opinion

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 09:17:26 2013

We have the same problem with buying. One of our accounts we buy with has over 30k buy transactions on it so we have some experience in the hard ship eBay creates just to buy stuff. The only remedy for us is to contact the seller ahead of time when they use immediate payment (and yet offer to combine) and get agreement on what the shipping will be and how much will be refunded. Doesn't always work as we lose some items to others while waiting for the process to happen. I firmly believe the immediate pay creates a huge issue for a buyer as we experience it almost daily. Other forms of the shipping (calculator) are at best hap hazard, but we know what the items we seek should cost and what a reasonable amount of shipping should be. If out of line, it is a simple business decision to pass on by. Unfortunately it seems to be more and more often the deal gets left on the table with no action largely due to shipping issues or amounts.

As a seller, we have been active since 98. At one time we maintained about 8k items, now we have active only about 600 or so all as BIN. I know for a fact that combined shipping is set up correctly and has worked flawless for a long long time. Yet, this last year we have seen all sorts of unbelievable issues with how eBay applies that shipping. Some if it probably attributable to eBay's not ready for prime time cart. What a PIA it is to constantly have to correct and fix eBay errors that should exist. I can't help but wonder if some of these errors, lets call them eBay methods of logic, are done simply to drive the already exhausted seller to remedy the problem by offering free shipping.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 14 09:45:54 2013

@disgruntled_seller

I think there may be a misunderstanding here for you.  I'm confident you haven't bought that 30k worth of stuff in the past few weeks, but over some other period of time.  

The problems you have experienced were NOT Ebay policy related.  It was NOT Ebay creating the problem for you.  The seller would have had Immediate Payment Required on the listing by choice, not by force.  That is a newer policy change and one that is NOT in force for all sellers.

Gratefully I am one that this policy has not affected yet.  None of my listings are Immediate Payment Required unless I have chosen to have that on my listing.

IPR is a wonderful thing and works great on some types of listings and not very well on others.  Its like free shipping, it is just not a good idea on all listings.  But for those it works well on, it is a very good thing.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 11:35:52 2013

Over the years (14) on eBay, I advised buyers that buying multiple items would result in a savings on shipping charges and sometimes an extra discount on the 2nd, 3rd or more items  purchased.  Plus stand on my head if that made them happy.

Today in my listings, I continue to advise buyers that I give shipping discounts or refunds for multiple items.   But...

But, but, but, the few eBay purchases that I receive are for only one item.  

Etsy and ArtFire allow listings to include a lower shipping price for the 2nd or more items purchased.   Smart!  Or if the seller does not add a price for the 2nd item (leaving the box blank) there is only a shipping charge for first item and all other items ship free.  Caution...

Recently, a buyer purchase four items on Etsy and even with the lower shipping prices, I gratefully refunded even more bucks to the buyers credit card.   Happy to do this for every buyer if (sadly) I had more multiple buyers (boo-hoo).

Considering a fair number of buyers never read my eBay description telling them about shipping discounts for multiple purchases, I must be losing orders for the 2nd or more items.

eBay’s method of offering only one shipping price is simple but in the end discourages lookers from becoming buyers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 11:50:31 2013

Ebay keeps finding ways to pad their profit margin at the expense of sellers, and making it more difficult for buyers and sellers. They don't realize the long-term consequences of their actions. Just because the members of the management team at ebay all (probably) have MBAs, that doesn't mean they are smart. They keep digging their own grave, deeper and deeper. It's no wonder their stock price isn't growing, still around $53, and the outlook doesn't look particularly good.

If the Pareto Priciple holds for ebay, 80% of their sales come from 20% of their sellers. So, why does their goal appear to be to eventually get rid of the 80% that bring 20% of their revenues and/or profits? Apparently ebay doesn't need that revenue or profit. Actually, with the reduced fee structure for the Diamond and Platinum Sellers, those sellers probaby bring 80% of the revenue to ebay, but only 50% of the profits. Can ebay afford to get rid of the small sellers? I guess if they are so filthy stinkin' rich from the Diamond and Platinum sellers, then they don't need any more money...  SMH

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: spinner This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 12:58:46 2013

This has been my issue for YEARS! Yes you can not discount more than the shipping charged and yes the shipping for combined items is crazy if the buyer pays BEFORE you can get to the invoice and make the change.  I have always put in caps and in red the instructions to NOT PAY if the shipping is not right but they always do and of course Ebay pushes for multiple payments and shipping overcharges. Paypal and Ebay get the commission on it all and paypal gets multiple fees for multiple transactions even though the buyer is making only one payment. It is the reason I sell elsewhere and include that information in every package.  

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 14 16:15:28 2013

@Marie

Thank you for your comment Marie. My comments were not specifically pointed at Best Offer or anything else but rather the over hapless processes and solutions presented on eBay. You are correct in that our purchases were not done in the past few weeks, we average about 5000 purchases annually. Doing some 30,000 different purchase transactions (not $ as I feel you think I meant) over time we (I) do feel that we know what is happening for buyers as far as seller's settings-options, eBay's policies, best offer, etc.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 14 18:08:04 2013

@spinner

True, you can't discount the shipping beyond what you are charging them for shipping, but then why would you need to discount the shipping beyond that amount?  Now if you are trying to discount the product, Ebay does have promotional rates you can set up in your site preferences, possibly that might help you.

There are a lot of buyers that never read the whole listing.  That has been true from day one on Ebay and isn't limited to Ebay.  It stands true on other sites as well.  I'm so use to refunding these buyers that it doesn't even bother me anymore.  Maybe it should, but it really doesn't.  

Now multiple transactions with multiple payments, that is a separate issue and that is the buyers fault, not Ebays.  The buyer has made the choice to do that.  And I've actually had buyers tell me they are aware that it costs more to do it that way, but they prefer to do it that way, so they do.  Why they want to waste the money, I have no idea.  But over the years I've had quite a few buyers make that statement.

For me, I'm not worried about the multiple 30 cent transaction fees from PP because I charge my customer for them.  I politely explain it to them and I've never had an issue.  They have understood that there is a cost involved in doing it the way they have chosen.  

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 15 10:43:43 2013

Shipping is a PITA for automation, I don't care where you buy or sell. It's just something that is hard to program.

But face facts, ebay does not care about small sellers who want to sell 5 1.99 items and combine shipping. Clearly they would prefer you change it to $2.49 and free shipping. Or just go away and stop bothering them anymore. They want to make money and they are not making enough on small sellers. Lament that all you want but the goal of business is to make money.

Which is why they are bringing in volume players and obviously cutting them deals none of us can get.

There's no reason to worry about overcharging your ebay buyers.  The buyers either don't buy anymore or want everything for nothing on ebay.  Just charge what it takes to make money and if you don't your business model no longer works, at least here.

If I sell lightweight stuff I put free shipping and just make extra profit if someone should buy more.  

I for one think extra profit is the reason I get up in the morning.  How about you?  Extra profit is great.

The individual seller is what made ebay so popular back in the day.  You could find things on ebay that you *can't* find anywhere else.  

Now ebay is mostly the same as everything else you can find in google. Same stuff. Same or higher prices than just walking in a local store and buying that thing.  The unique items are gone and with the Cassini search people clearly cannot find them anyway since unique items are *not popular*.  

This is the problem we have. We sell items that have never been available on the secondary market.  

Some of our items we are the sole worldwide source. I had a buyer email me an offer on something like that the other day.  What could I say? I can't reduce the price, if he needs that he is going to be buying from us. We have no competition.  Heh.

Fortunately it sells sometimes so Cassini hasn't suppressed it, if it sold less no one would be able to find it.

We may not be selling on ebay much longer.  

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Nov 15 13:17:14 2013

#steevo

"But face facts, ebay does not care about small sellers who want to sell 5 1.99 items and combine shipping."

So are you saying the shipping calculator works for large sellers but not for small sellers?  And/or that the larger sellers get more ways of discounting shipping?

***********************

For me, I'm not as concerned about large sellers getting deals from Ebay in regards to fees.  That is pretty normal business stuff, buying in bulk so to speak.  Some of us do that ourselves.  We may go to a Costco or a Sam's club type store and buy larger quantities of stuff we use on a regular basis and we are rewarded with a good savings for buying in bulk.  So in regards to fees, for me I don't find that a big deal.

But preferential treatment in regards to FB / DSRs, and other standards the rest of us have to live by.  That I take great exception with.

Perminate Link for eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items   eBay Roadblocks When Buying Multiple Items

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 15 15:00:43 2013

Marie, No, I didn't say the shipping calculator worked differently for some sellers and not others.  

Just that the fees earned by ebay from a seller who sells a few (or even a few hundred) $1.99 items with or without combined shipping is just unimportant to ebay's bottom line.

Which is why the are trying to bring on sellers who will account for millions in fees and profits.

They don't give a damn if a small seller sells anything or not. Of if a small seller stays around or moves off to some other selling place.  They just don't care.

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