eBay Global Shipping Program - Is It Opt In or Opt Out?
By Ina Steiner
Some sellers are surprised to find their listings have become part of eBay's Global Shipping Program (GSP). Is it an opt-in program, or do sellers have to opt out if they don't wish their listings to be included in this new international selling service?
A reader wrote to EcommerceBytes recently that she had been opted in without her knowledge. "No warning, no communication whatsoever. Found out helping a customer in France. Sellers who do not wish to participate must opt out in their Site - Preferences - Shipping."
Similar comments pop up on the eBay discussion boards, such as this one: "I got a message from eBay today that all my current listings will automatically be available to international buyers via the GSP. I don't want to ship outside the 50 states. I don't want to use the GSP. How can I disenroll from it? Thanks."
eBay had warned users in April that it would add provisions to its User Agreement about the GSP program. The announcement was simply titled, "Updates to the eBay User Agreement," and included the following verbiage:
"Unless you have previously opted into the Global Shipping Program or are a new user, we may make your eligible new and existing listings available to international buyers through the Global Shipping Program only after you have indicated a desire to take advantage of this program in the form of an electronic click-through acceptance of the User Agreement or otherwise,..."
At the time, EcommerceBytes spoke to an eBay spokesperson for clarification about the whether it meant users would be automatically opted in simply by agreeing to a new User Agreement. He said eBay had not yet created the process, but did say the program would be optional, and pointed to FAQs. Upon reading the interview, many readers expressed skepticism, with one writing, "This is an amazingly deceitful way to confuse sellers into involuntarily opting into a "voluntary" program."
When EcommerceBytes followed up with eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore at the end of July, he said, "We have begun to roll out the new user agreement interstitial to select sellers. Upon agreeing to the new user agreement, sellers will have their eligible listings enrolled into the Global Shipping Program. Sellers have the choice to not accept the user agreement interstitial, in which case they will not be able to benefit from the Global Shipping Program. Sellers can also opt out of the program at the listing level or completely opt out of the program by going to the "site preferences" link and clicking on "shipping.""
Since people usually assume they have to accept updated user agreements, we asked Moore if it was clear in this case that there were no negative repercussions if users did not accept the user agreement?
Moore replied, "Regarding your inquiry, the User Agreement interstitial is presented to sellers, along with the User Agreement verbiage in a scrollable format. Within the verbiage, it states "if you do not accept the electronic click-through, you will not be able to take advantage of the Global Shipping Program, but you will still be bound by all other provisions of this User Agreement.
"We also have a list of FAQs from our Spring 2013 User Agreement Update, which includes:
"As an existing seller, if I don't accept the User Agreement by the electronic click-through, does that mean I can no longer buy and sell on eBay?
No. If you do not accept the User Agreement by the electronic click-through and you have not already opted in the Global Shipping Program, you will not be able to take advantage of the Global Shipping Program. However, all other provisions of the User Agreement will still apply. This means you can still buy and sell on eBay." "
With the eBay GSP, international shoppers see the full shipping costs (domestic plus international) along with customs and duties. Sellers send international packages to an address in Kentucky, and Pitney Bowes, on behalf of eBay, sends the package the rest of the way.
One seller on the boards wrote, "I don't know how this affects current listings but the huge extra costs of GSP should ensure you make no international sales anyway."
Another seller wrote, "We don't do international either but with GSP we do about $150 a week we never had before."
While Pitney Bowes looks for items to exclude thanks to international shipping regulations, it's ultimately sellers who are responsible for the packages they send overseas.
Endicia recently highlighted this by publishing an infographic of International Shipping Bans.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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