Postage Pirates and how to avoid them

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We have all seen it, day in day out on ebay, people charging only .99c for an item but with $8 delivery or even more in some extreme cases.  This is wrong and is in fact against ebay policy. 

Dishonest Sellers do this for several reasons

  1. Prices look cheaper
  2. Evade Ebay Fees
  3. Less to refund on a bad sale

Lets go through that.

Reason 1 is as a means to entice customers who are not as experienced on ebay to purchase their items as they do in fact look very cheap only to find that the excessive postage prices made the sale less enticing and in some cases outrageously expensive. 

2 They also do so to reduce their listing fees and therefore robbing ebay of its funds to continue their work of maintaining the site and continuing to improve customer service and the buyers experience.  The lower the upfront price the less they pay which makes their costs less and damages honest sellers.

3 If you need a refund from one of these sellers, they are obliged by ebay to ONLY refund the original cost of the item NOT INCLUDING POSTAGE.  Thats right, you still paid the same money but you are now out of pocket the outrageous postage price.

So how do you avoid it and detect it?

Its quite simple really.  With ebay you can customise your search settings.  When you do any search, on the right hand side next to sort by you will see a blue highlighted area saying Customise Display.  When you click on this you will be presented with options to include Postage Cost. and then all your searches will include the cost of postage in the display.

Lets look at a couple of examples.

Seller A is selling a Widget as a BIN (Buy it Now) for $6.99 with a postage of $1.50.  The total this seller will get is $8.49.  Although slightly higher he has abided by the ebay rules and conditions and charged a reasonable postage price.

Seller B is selling the same Widget at auction starting at .99c with a postage of $6.95.  The minimum this seller will get is $7.94 but could potentially get many times that price because its an auction.  Oftimes as well, this seller does NOT do postage discounts or combined postage.

Seller C is selling the same Widget as the others at Auction for $4.99 with a postage of $3.50.  The minimum this seller will get is $8.49 but could potentially get much more as it looks cheaper initially with it being $2 cheaper than seller A, however the postage of $3.50 makes his initial price exactly the same as Seller A, but conveniently looks cheaper up front.

Ok now lets see, if everything went through at the original prices who got what

Seller A  $8.49
Seller B  $7.94
Seller C  $8.49

Ok so in theory you were better off with Seller B...  Now lets see what happens if you had a problem with the sale and you needed a refund.

Seller A refunds $6.99 from the Original $8.49 so you paid $1.50
Seller B refunds .99c from the Original $7.94 so you paid $6.95
Seller C refunds $4.99 from the Original $8.49 so you paid $3.50

Now whos in front? Seller A, because  you were refunded the total cost of the item.  Additionally, you will usually find these sellers more open to refunding the postage also as a customer service issue, where as Seller B and C less likely as they are making a profit from the postage to bolster their earnings.

Finally, what should you do if you find a seller increasing their postage price?  REPORT IT.  Each and every single time.  These "Postage Pirates" are giving honest sellers a bad name and ruining the experience for other ebay buyers like yourself.  At the bottom of every listing, there is an option to report this item.  Then click on Listing Policy Violations, The Circumvention of eBay fees and finally Excessive shipping and handling.

Help eBay to make this site more rewarding and fair with your diligence.




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