How to View eBay Prices as Item With Shipping Costs Included?
January 8, 2005 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there an easy way to pull out the shipping information from eBay? It seems that that's the way a lot of people buffer their low prices... Their shipping costs $10 for shipping that really costs $3.65 at the Post Office.
posted by ajpresto to Computers & Internet (24 answers total)
I'm not sure what the question is here. Do you want to negotiate the shipping cost? Just shoot them an email and tell them that Priority Mail costs $3.85 and you'd like it sent Priority Mail. I've done many transactions, both as a buyer and a seller. As a seller, I figure out what it is gonna cost to ship before I list the item, and just put it in the listing. I don't want to know your zip code or try to figure it out afterwards. As a buyer - since I know what it costs to ship stuff - I do think folks make a few extra bucks marking up shpping costs. The Post Office gives me Priority Mail boxes for free. So I have bitched about it and made folks lower their shipping, and once even received a refund via PayPal in exchange for positive vs. neutral feedback. Can''t hurt to ask.
posted by fixedgear at 3:25 PM on January 8, 2005

Actually, I appreciate the high shipping costs on eBay because it makes it so much easier, as a brick and mortar store, to remind people that most auctions on eBay are just scams.

Here's a favourite, which I printed as a poster and hung up in my store. It's not even as bad as some others I have come across (people would think I'm lying if I put those up).

When you're dealing with scammers, they won't lower their shipping. If someone is overcharging like that on shipping, just find a better seller. You can always ask, but if they're trying to scam you, the will probably find another way to do it instead.
posted by shepd at 3:36 PM on January 8, 2005

I think ajpresto wants to view the combined shipping+bid cost, not simply the bid cost, when browsing eBay. I don't know how to do this, but I would certainly like to learn.
posted by Sfving at 3:39 PM on January 8, 2005

There might be some auction browsing software that will do this.. but it's probably not a common feature.

Some auction software listings.

Auction managment tools.

Some bidding software, probably the best bet.

From the third link, this software promises "bulk data extraction", exportable to database forms.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 4:26 PM on January 8, 2005

Most buyers need an education.

First of all, "shipping & handling" includes more than postage. It includes the cost of packing materials, and the time spent packing and mailing the item. You can't simply shove most items into a box and expect them to survive the trip. You need bubble wrap, packing peanuts, masking tape, or any of a dozen other supplies if you're mailing anything more fragile than a bumper sticker.

The Post Office only provides free boxes if you ship via Priority Mail, which is a scam anyway [via WJS]. If you're selling one item and can afford to stand around packaging it at the post office, that's fine. If you're selling a hundred items, you need to buy boxes.

I start most of my auctions at a penny. More of them than I'd like end up closing at that price. The reality is people will bid for a penny, add shipping later, and pay $2.01 for a CD. Those same people would never bid $2.01 for a CD with free shipping. It's stupid, but it's true. Try it yourself.

I've had people win multiple auctions for a penny apiece, and expect me to ship the whole package for free. I've also had people pay via PayPal (which deducts a fee before I receive the money), return the item, and expect me to refund the full amount they paid (including PayPal's fee). People are stupid.

If a seller hides fees, that's dishonest. But most sellers, like myself, list shipping & handling fees in the Item Descriptions. When you place a bid, eBay warns you to read the terms. If you don't, that's your mistake. Everyone makes dumb mistakes, and I can sympathize -- but I also expect you to accept the consequences. I've bid by mistake before, and I paid for the items. I don't expect someone else to pay for my carelessness. Neither should you.
posted by cribcage at 4:35 PM on January 8, 2005

Shepd, why do you include the extra $5.99 on your PDF comparison? That's for ordering a second item from the same seller; if all the person wants to buy from that seller is that card, then they're not paying that. (And if they DO order something else, then that's the shipping cost of that second item, not of that card.) So either way, it's sorta dishonest on your part to pass it off in the comparison.

I'm just sayin'... if you're trying to demonstrate how eBay purchases are more expensive than people think and pad the numbers, it's not exactly the way to get people to trust you.
posted by delfuego at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2005

That should have read "WSJ," for Wall Street Journal. Here's a pdf from PostalWatch.
posted by cribcage at 4:44 PM on January 8, 2005

I have bitched about it and made folks lower their shipping, and once even received a refund via PayPal in exchange for positive vs. neutral feedback.

This is called feedback extortion. It is unethical and against Ebay policy. If you don't like the cost shipping, email the seller BEFORE you bid on the item. Bidding and waiting until the auction is over so that you can hold them hostage by threatening neutral or negative feedback is a clear violation of Ebay policy. Don't do it. If you did it to me, I'd turn you in and get your account suspended so damn fast it would make your head spin.

When you're dealing with scammers, they won't lower their shipping.

There are sellers that compensate for their low prices by charging high shipping. Sellers that charge $10 - $20 more than the actual shipping price are usually selling a hot or hard to get item. They can get away with the charge because there are buyers who are willing to pay high shipping for that item. However, there are a lot of sellers, including myself that pad their shipping by $2 or $3. Even though you get free Priority Mail boxes, you don't get the other packing materials (bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc.) for free. Plus, small sellers have to drive to the post office and stand in line to mail their packages. How much will any department store or online store charge for shipping? Do they charge the actual cost? No, they don't. I've never understood why people think that Ebay sellers should not charge flat shipping fees like any other retailer.

ajpresto, I'm not really sure what you're asking. Are you asking if there is a way not to pay shipping? Most likely not. However, if an item is offered BIN (Buy it Now), I've emailed the seller BEFORE I've bought the item and asked "if I use BIN, will you ship free?" Occasionally, they say yes.

And as always -- the best place to post any Ebay-related question is on Ebay's boards. What do you know, Ebay actually has a Packaging & Shipping discussion board. That is where you will find the best answers for your question(s).
posted by Juicylicious at 4:47 PM on January 8, 2005

Priority mail is only $3.85 if the package is one pound or less, and even a DVD or a book weighs more than that once it's packed (if it's packed well). 1 pound 1 ounce coast to coast is $5.75, and insurance is $1.30 on top of that. I usually put a flat rate of about $9.00 on small items that I ship via priority mail. Yeah, the boxes are free, but bubble wrap, tape, and my time shredding paper for packaging, printing the labels, dropping the package off at the post office, tracking the status, etc., I consider to be worth at least a buck or two. The shipping cost that will be charged is listed clearly in the auction, so you're free to go elsewhere if you find it unacceptable.

I'm not sure why not being able to see the shipping cost on the summary page is such a big problem. It's one of the many things you should be scrutinizing on the auction page before you bid. Are there really that many auctions you would pass over without viewing just based on the shipping cost?

If you won an auction and then threatened me with bad feedback if I didn't lower the shipping costs that were clearly listed, I would give you negative feedback. An ebay bid is a binding contract.

And shepd, really, "most" auctions on ebay are scams? As in over 50%? You really seem to be stretching the truth to match your own self-interest.
posted by mcguirk at 4:55 PM on January 8, 2005

I always pad the shipping cost on my auctions. Time is money. Packaging is money. Driving to the post office is money. The shipping cost is right there in the description. What's the problem?

I've bought and sold hundreds of items on ebay (often in the $100-$500 range) and been ripped off for small amounts (partly through my own carelessness) twice. Most auctions, in my experience, aren't scams at all.
posted by normy at 5:13 PM on January 8, 2005

juicylicious & mcguirk: I'm talking about an item that arrived in a first class mail envelope with 37 cents postage on it, when I was charged $2.50 for shipping.

I had a reasonable expectation that the item would be more securely protected for my $2.50, and though it was not damaged I felt severely hosed. I emailed the seller and explained the situation and told them I was considering leaving them neutral feedback, which is just that, not positive and not negative. They graciously offered to refund money and explained that their feedback rating was very important to them and would I please leave them positive feedback. No arm twisting. Check my 100% positive feedback rating and bid with confidence.
posted by fixedgear at 5:16 PM on January 8, 2005

Last week, I bought a smart media card on ebay, and paid about $10 extra for shipping. The item came with a $.23 stamp on it with a little box. Was I pissed off? A little bit, but when I decided between buying on ebay and shopping in a store, the store prices still would have cost more than bid+$10, so I'm happy.
posted by drezdn at 5:25 PM on January 8, 2005

Shepd: Is it a scam when all the additional costs are clearly labeled in the auction, as they were in the one you posted?

Is it misleading to your own customers when you start with $219USD and then decide to convert the price to CDN somewhere halfway through?

Is it by chance that you that you didn't include the GST in your price, just like most other stores do to make it look lower than it really is, since it will further increase the price by another 7% to $374.49CDN.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're selling in Alberta and thus there is no provincial sales tax, but if you're here in QC then your final total would be $402.56.

It's one thing to say the buyer needs to take everything into consideration when buying from eBay, it's quite another to say that it's a scam.

Best of luck with your business.
posted by furtive at 6:31 PM on January 8, 2005

Add the two prices together, and that's what you pay. It's psychological price manipulation, the same reason that things cost $9.99 instead of $10.00, or that Ron Popeil's Food Shrinker costs "3 Easy Payments of $29.95" rather than $90.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:21 PM on January 8, 2005

Furtive the goverment collects the GST from you when it crosses the border. I can't remember if they charge it on shipping but they do on brokerage.
posted by Mitheral at 9:58 PM on January 8, 2005

Whoops. I didn't mean to inflame some people here...

When I look for something, I would like to know the total price I would pay, without having to go into each individual link and looking at the shipping.

For example, if I search for something relatively popular and find 25 people offering the same thing for sale, why do I need to click each link to check shipping charges? Why couldn't there be a way to see total price all on one page?

*Then* I could check all the other stuff I should check... feedback ratings, etc.

Anyway, thanks.
posted by ajpresto at 3:26 AM on January 9, 2005

Also, I didn't mean for anybody to think that I wasn't willing to pay for shipping or that I wasn't reading auctions or that I was extorting people.. I just want an easy way to see the total cost, shipping included.
posted by ajpresto at 3:28 AM on January 9, 2005

>Most buyers need an education.


Its called shipping and handling. I like to charge a few dollars more than just shiipping for a few reasons:

1. The post office wants me to put it in a brown box or wrap it in brown paper. This costs me money and time.

2. Chances are I need to also invest in bubble paper, packing peanuts, tape, or some other materials depending on the product and how hardy it is. You'd think I'd have this stuff laying around, but I dont sell too often, so that spells a trip to walgreens to buy the padding I need just for your product.

3. I never know *exactly* how much shipping will be so those extra few dollars in S&H makes up for a wrong assumption.

4. My time packaging all this in a very nice, tight, and safe package. Would you rather I just tossed it in some crappy box with a couple pages from the newspaper and wrote "NO RETURNS, WORKS HERE, POST OFFICE MIGHT BREAK IT" to save 2 or 3 lousy dollars?

5. The $1.50 or so extra USPS charges for a tracking number. I dont believe that's even stamped on the packages final shipping price. So if shipping is 5.50 I actually paid $7.00 to protect us both from scams. You have a record I sent it and I have proof it made it.

Now, if you think the seller is asking too much for S&H then contact them and tell them to lower it a few dollars or you wont bid. Like say $15 for a little cell phone in a little box.

Also, if I claim it costs 10 dollars to ship and the whole thing ends up costing me 14 or so, I certianly dont contact the buyer demanding more money. I just suck it up. After all this is a contract/sale. So this is very much a two way street.

As a side note, I've found having sane shipping costs attracts more bidders/buyers so it tends to work itself out. If there are two items on ebay and one guy wants 15 dollars shipping and the other 10, guess who gets more bids? And if stupid people just want to pay 15 dollars, then they are exercising their right to be stupid.
posted by skallas at 6:53 AM on January 9, 2005

ajpresto - I think it would be difficult to do that because sellers put their shipping terms in different areas of the listing page. For some reason, a lot of sellers don't use the Ebay "shipping info" section.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:30 AM on January 9, 2005

delfuego, read the title of the auction more carefully. It's the seller who is being dishonest by pretending that cost won't be there when you win (but, yes, it will be). If you check the title you'll notice he's going to give you a free switch (which is really nothing more than a trinket you'll throw away, as the free ones are absolute garbage and definately won't work on this card.)

Anyways, he will be shipping two items. The reason the switch is "free" is because the wholesale cost of it is about $3 (for the garbage models), and he adds $5.99 S&H for the extra item, net profit: $2.99. Sneaky, eh?

If you refused the item, you could save the $5.99. But that assumes he'll let you. I would assume otherwise. It's things like this that tell me this guy is going to great lengths to make believe his prices are low and deceive people in to buying something at a price that isn't even CLOSE to what they will end up paying. In my book that's scamming.

furtive, I sell in Ontario, Canada. The fact is when you get that item shipped across the border you will be paying tax on it. That's why I never bothered to include that in the comparison, because I wanted both prices to match, taxes out (I've never been to a store in all of this country that lists prices taxes in, ever, unless you include vending machines... nevertheless, stupid customers still try to pretend they're included. Most of them shut up after I ask them if they've EVER been to a store that doesn't charge taxes.)

The same taxes in, it still works out in my favour:

$367 + GST = $392.69 (GST is charged on EVERYTHING, because EVERYTHING is a service or a good... they should just call it GT for general tax, but what the hell)

$349.99 + GST = $374.49

If you're in Ontario you'll need to pay PST. Now you see why I didn't add in taxes. It just confuses things because the tax you pay will depend on where you live in Canada. In Ontario you could save $10 buy buying it on eBay. But you're taking your chances with brokerage. $30 is about average, perhaps even generous to anyone who doesn't regularly cross-border shop on the internet. I've seen brokerage fees up to $75 (what I paid before I told UPS to go to hell) before, and as low as $14.99 (what I pay now with PBB for Purolator).

Considering I get enough (undereducated, alas) customers thinking that they save $182.50 by using eBay, I figured the sign might learn them up. Ever since it went up I didn't have to answer 3 questions a week asking why I charge double the price of eBay (which, if you work it out, I definately do not). And I've never had someone question it yet... except you guys (but that's ok!)

Oh, the price has been converted to $CDN simply because my store operates in $CDN and doesn't accept $US at a competitive rate. There's no point putting up one price in $US and one in $CDN, it would confuse people. Unfortunately that means depending on the time of year it's a bargain or it isn't. Not my problem, thankfully.
posted by shepd at 9:10 PM on January 9, 2005

As a buyer on ebay, I was always slightly irked at what I perceived were high shipping charges. Then I started selling a few things here and there, and I realized how shipping and packaging costs could quickly add up, especially when you are a low-volume seller. It's usually obvious when sellers try to scam on shipping (i.e. $10 for video game) and the bids usually reflect this.
posted by Otis at 7:22 AM on January 10, 2005

To actually answer the question: you can get eBay to display the shipping price when browsing lists of items. Click "Customize Display" at the top of the list (it's on the right). Select "Shipping Cost" from the list of available columns and click the arrow to bring it in the list of columns to display. You can now see the shipping cost at a glance when browsing. You can't get it to display final cost (current bid + shipping), but at least you can now see when they're scamming you on the shipping cost.
posted by zsazsa at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2005

Note that the above only works if the person puts the shipping in eBay's field for it -- but more people are doing that these days. If they don't put the effort in to fill out a little box, I won't click on their auction and they won't get my money.
posted by zsazsa at 9:26 AM on January 10, 2005

That is exactly what I wanted to find, zsazsa. Thank you sooo much.
posted by ajpresto at 4:07 AM on January 22, 2005

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