On February 26th you published an article
titled eBay Sheds More Light on New Seller Standards. In that article eBay offered up some advice to sellers on how to manage unwanted international shipments. In this article, eBay is offering up some advice that is NOT completely correct or accurate (Oh SURPRISE!). The article quotes an eBay employee offering the following advice:
"Please make sure to take the following actions to make sure buyers in countries you don't want to ship to don't purchase your items. You'll need to do all three actions listed below.
- Make sure your ship to policy in your listing is US only;
- Buyer requirements - need to check box for block bidders or buyers who are registered in countries to which you don't ship;
- Excluded shipping locations in the listing flow."
Bullet point # 2 is incorrect. That is NOT how that preference in Buyer Requirements reads. As you can see below it reads "Block Buyers with a primary shipping address in a location I don't ship to."
That is such a huge difference from what eBay stated to you (above). I frequently have buyers that are registered in other countries but have a US ship to address. I ship to them with ease and without issue.
Also their last bullet point is sheer busy work and serves no purpose at all if you have stated on your listing that you ship to the US only and have selected the proper Buyer Requirement to block international buyers that do NOT have a primary shipping address in the US. What eBay is saying (above) is that you'd have to list every single country that eBay has on the site as a country in which you do not ship to. Plain busy work and would do nothing to fix the concern of the seller. Only the Buyer Requirement will do that.
Here is exactly how the Buyer Requirements read on eBay.
You can't block ALL international buyers. There is no such block in eBay. I don't care what eBay tells you, it does not exist. Now there is a block in PayPal that you can do this, but I really don't recommend it. You could open yourself up to some unnecessary issues with eBay if you do that.
For example, let's say you have your buyer requirements set appropriately to block international buyers with a ship to address you do not ship to. You get a buyer that is from the UK that purchases an item from you. They have a ship to address in Charlotte, NC, so they meet the Buyer Requirements you have set on eBay.
The buyer goes to pay in PayPal and finds they can't because you have international members blocked from paying. Now you have a self inflicted dilemma. The buyer meets the requirements in eBay. The buyer has done nothing wrong. Yet you won't allow them to pay.
Now what? Cancel the transaction because of the buyer's address. No, that isn't appropriate, there is nothing wrong with their ship to address. The only appropriate thing to do would be to cancel the transaction for seller reasons, which creates a defect for the seller. Keep in mind the buyer can leave feedback and that it may not be what you'd like.
While you may not like that outcome, it is correct. The buyer has done nothing wrong. It is the seller that has some preconceived idea or otherwise assumes that this type of transaction is a problem.
It is also important for sellers to understand that there is no problem whatsoever to ship to an international buyer that has a US ship-to address.
Some sellers are concerned that the buyer will take it to their out of the country, discovers a problem and then want to return the item or demands a refund. That is a non issue for seller as the eBay rules do have you protected on this.
If a buyer re-ships the item from the original address shipped to, their buyer protection is null and void. Reshipping is just not using an actual carrier that may come to your mind. Putting it in their suitcase and taking it to the UK is the same. You didn't package it or have any control over how the buyer placed the item in the suitcase, you are not responsible for any damage or problems that may occur.
(Under "Not Covered" on this page
, "Items shipped to another address after original delivery.")
Note from the editor: Before publishing this letter, we sent numerous inquiries to eBay asking them for clarification. Those inquires went unanswered.