ebay n00b needs help with shipping
August 7, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Ebay n00b seller. Confused by shipping, and the results searching on ebay and google for the answer.

I had not expected for international folks to inquire about shipping, and now I am lost. I used the listing wizard and its shipping calculator. Now I have a question from a person in Japan for one item and someone from switzerland asking about another item. Do I have to revise my listing? I have gone through the ebay shipping info and it seems to be either international or US only.
On a similar note I like the calculator that a buyer sees that asks for zip and gives the costs for different shipping classes. When I go to look at the auctions I see the shipping cost already calculated whether I am logged in to ebay or not.
There is a Canadian bidder that I'm not sure if they are seeing the shipping cost that I see.
I am confused, and do not want to get screwed on shipping.
posted by girlbowler to Shopping (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might want to try the Ebay Seller Central Message Board.
posted by ittybittyteenyweenyyellowpolkadotbikini at 5:05 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: Unless your item is super duper special, you may just want to tell the international people "sorry." It is a pain to ship internationally - you have to fill out paperwork at the post office and it takes a long time to get there.

With the U.S., you can use the post office machines or print out postage online... much easier.
posted by k8t at 5:21 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: Because of the complexity and the high chance of fraud or dishonest people, I never sell international. There are too many things that can go wrong. Not the least of it is saying "I never got it" and then having paypal give them the money back. If your items are things they can get in their native countries its safe to assume a scam.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:29 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: You can revise your item, including shipping, if it has no bids and does not end soon. Adjust the shipping to include International if you choose. Often eBay options are hidden so be sure to show all options. Enter the correct package weight, shipping class and put in something for S&H. Make sure to confirm your changes, lots of clicks.

Generally: US under a pound ships First Class Mail
US over a pound ships Priority Mail
International under 4 pounds ships First Class International
Items under one pound and under $400 do not require customs forms.

To check your results, log out. Go to your auction and put in some random zip code or country in the shipping calculator, it should show the correct postage plus your S&H.

You can limit which countries can bid and you can set minimum positive feedbacks for bidders.

Second reading the eBay message boards.
posted by Fins at 5:44 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: Thirding that I never sell international. Just too much potential for problems.
posted by dcjd at 6:01 PM on August 7, 2007

Ask the ebay HELP CHAT, on the home page of ebay.com (link on upper right corner). A service agent will connect within minutes and you can ask your questions in a chat box.

In general, I give a "flat rate" for international shipping and another "flat rate" for u.s. and canada. It simplifies things.
I estimate my "flat rate" based on the weight of the package and the usps cost of domestic shipping (first class with delivery confirmation). I set that rate for u.s. and cananda. Then I estimate usps cost for shipping to europe and generally add another 5 or 10 bucks (depending on the size of the package) to cover my ass. International customers usually realize that international shipping is expensive.

You can use the USPS online rate calculator to estimate things. See the rate calculator here.
posted by jak68 at 6:06 PM on August 7, 2007

I love selling internationally on ebay. My international customers are wonderful, know what they want and pay fast. I ship merchandise to Asia, Europe and Canada on a weekly basis. The US dollar is weak compared to just about everywhere, so it's a great bargain right now for international shoppers to buy stuff from Ebay US.

Get a little digital postal scale, you can order them from USPS.com. You can also pick one up at an office supply store. The best deal for shipping stuff overseas is to use "USPS international first class." I can typically ship something weighing 1lb this way for $10-12.

You'll want to keep a stash of tyvek envelopes and small boxes around to ship stuff in.

Definitely weigh your item and look up on USPS.com how much it will cost to ship it...you can easily get screwed by underquoting.

For first class mail, you will only have to fill out the little green customs form. I have an address ink stamp that I use to apply my information to this form...it saves a bit of time. Get this form filled out before you go to the Post office.
posted by pluckysparrow at 6:53 PM on August 7, 2007

PS. I always ask potential international customers to email me for a postal quote.
posted by pluckysparrow at 6:54 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: Just FYI, if you accept Paypal from a buyer outside of the United States, you have absolutely no protection if the buyer claims that they never received the item or that the item was not as described. Paypal would refund their money and you would be out of luck. You should look very carefully at international buyers' feedback and records when they bid, and consider requiring an alternate form of payment from them.
posted by decathecting at 7:28 PM on August 7, 2007

You really don't want to tell international bidders "sorry", if you want the best prices.

I don't use Ebay's automatic shipping calculator.. Generally, I find it much easier to simply list fixed shipping costs for domestic (in my case, Canada), to the USA (to Canada for you, of course), and international. Just use the USPS shipping rate calculator.

That system doesn't work for heavy items. At some point - over 4lbs, maybe - you will want to get into sliding scale shipping based on detailed destination. Ebay's tool might be best for those items, but I still don't use it.

Since giving a partial refund by paypal is very very easy, and free, for now it might be a good idea to tell buyers "I'll charge actual shipping plus a $3 handling fee, but first you pay X, and then I refund the difference." This isn't optimal as a business, but it will give you time to learn..

Don't ship ground courier to Canada, especially not UPS standard to Canada, they charge huge brokerage fees!
posted by Chuckles at 7:41 PM on August 7, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you all for your input.
I think for this round I will stick to domestic.

@fins - I have checked my auctions logged in and out and see the same thing for shipping cost. It does not give me the box to enter a zip. I also checked from my work computer, which I do not login from, and still just the price no box. Actually it even shows the price on the listing page not calculate. Does that mean I have it set for flat rate?
posted by girlbowler at 7:50 PM on August 7, 2007

Response by poster: Okay I had to delete some cookies plus log out to get the calculate shipping box.
posted by girlbowler at 8:05 PM on August 7, 2007

If they're not american, fuck 'em, eh?
posted by timeistight at 8:53 PM on August 7, 2007

Response by poster: Fins - Thank you, I finally found the show options and country limit.

tit - for now, if not american or canadian.
posted by girlbowler at 10:45 PM on August 7, 2007

I would also suggest you not ship internationally. That way, your auctions will not compete with mine.
posted by reeddavid at 12:45 AM on August 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Good going girlbowler!

You might think of eBay as an adventure game with arcane rules, hidden doors, evil denizens and dangers at every turn but always lots of excitement, fun, and real cash rewards for those willing to try!

Start small, learn from cheap mistakes, keep good records, communicate and CYA. Good luck.
posted by Fins at 10:59 AM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: Hey, just an update if anyone comes back by.
So even though I listed as US shipping on a cellphone (couldn't add Canada because there was already a bid when I found how to add Canada, but that is beside the point), the last minute winning bidder was international.
Now it gets better. I did not know they were international until I looked at their shipping address. Clicking on the user name said they were located in the US.
Now there is more to it, their shipping address is in wait for it Nigeria.
For a day and a half no info showed in the myEbay interface other than they had won, and no messages in myEbay. I check my email on my computer, and lo and behold there are 3 emails from the winning bidder. Two from the bidder declaring that they have paid and I should send right away. The third was an "official" email from "paypal" stating the payment was in escrow until they received shipping.
I might be a n00b to selling on ebay but I do know about scamming and fraud.
Long story short I forwarded the emails to ebay's spoof, and used Live Chat to point out international bidder on US only listing and the fraud emails. Using Second Chance Offer for the next highest bidder, and hoping this bidder is legit.
posted by girlbowler at 8:40 PM on August 11, 2007

That's amazing! I knew that kind of scamer was around, but.. I've done a fair bit of ebay, and I've never had anything nearly that blatant..

On the other hand, the type of item has a big impact on what kind of buyer you get. I mostly sell electronic parts, audio equipment, computer parts, and a few antiques for my Mom. The computer parts attract by far the worst buyers (although for me the worst hasn't been all that bad). Just guessing, but I think laptops and cell phones attract the worst overall..

I really wonder how listing style effects the scammer probability..
posted by Chuckles at 9:44 PM on August 11, 2007

Response by poster: Chuckles, thank you for the shipping info.

I think the scammer was hedging their bet that the site that had samples/pics of other items I was selling had my email. If they clicked the see sellers other items link on ebay, went to those listings, followed the link in the description to see more pics and samples (which is on my site), they could then look for an email on the site.
They then wait to be the highest bidder and send bogus "offical" info to the email. Nothing ever came through the ebay messages, and I never exchange any email with the scammer.
posted by girlbowler at 11:21 AM on August 12, 2007

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