Bidding, Postage and Handling Fees-What you need 2 know

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FIRST CHECK THE FEEDBACK OF THE SELLER BEFORE BIDDING

Before placing any bids on a listing, it is a good idea to check the feedback of the member. Does the feedback show any previous complaints regarding Postage and Handling fees? Checking the feedback will help to give you a general 'feel' for the seller concerned.


READ THE ITEM DESCRIPTION THOROUGHLY BEFORE BIDDING

This is extremely important. Once you have placed a bid, you are legally bound to buy the item if you are the high bidder. Therefore you agree to the charges that the Seller has set. Are you prepared to pay for the Postage and Handling cost quoted?
If not then it may be a good idea to continue your search and bid elsewhere.
Watch out for small print. as with most other contracts\forms that you sign.

 If Postage and Handling fees are not mentioned, then you need to ask the seller a question, before placing a bid.

DO SELLERS HAVE TO MENTION POSTAGE AND HANDLING FEES IN THE ITEM DESCRIPTION?

This is where a lot of the confusion lies. A postage cost ON ITS OWN does not have to be mentioned. That is because if a postage cost on its own is charged, it should not be more than the amount charged to send the item by the Post Office. If there are additional costs, for example the seller says they need to cover costs of Jiffy Bags and Bubble Wrap, the charge becomes a Postage and Handling fee, and MUST be mentioned in the item description. Ebays policy can be found here:
http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/community/png-list.html#14

If a Seller does not abide by Ebays policy, then you can report this to them, and they would take the necessary steps. Please remember to keep all email evidence of communication between yourself and the seller, as evidence to support your case.

IF I SEE A LISTING WITH UNREASONABLY HIGH POSTAGE AND A LOW BID PRICE IS THIS FEE CIRCUMVENTION?

Yes. If you see a listing for example, where the bid price is say £10.00 for a light weight item, and the Seller is charging £20.00 postage, then this would be fee circumvention, by Sellers charging unreasonably high postage for low cost items. If you ever see cases like this, whilst browsing the site, you can report them to Ebay. You have to remember that Ebay are now using this excuse to penalise sellers. (As Ebay make less profit, even though bidders usually get a better 'bargain').

WHAT IF A SELLER CHARGES MORE THAN STATED IN THE LISTING FOR POSTAGE?

If a Seller quotes for example £1.50 postage, and you are satisfied, bid and win, and then the Seller says 'no sorry, I need £5.00', this would not be permitted. In such cases you need to ask the Seller why the postage is more, and if the Seller says it is to cover costs of bubble wrap, or jiffy bags, then it is effectively a Postage and Handling charge which should have been mentioned in the item description. This can be reported to Ebay, and they would alert the seller to this accordingly. It is important to keep copies of communication, during transactions, as naturally you would need to supply Ebay with evidence surrounding the situation, before Ebay could take action. I cannot stress how important this is.


ONCE THE PARCEL ARRIVED, AND I HAD ALREADY PAID, I REALISED THAT THE SELLER HAD OVERCHARGED. NOW WHAT?

Again it is a good idea to mention this to the seller, to find out why e.g. that you had seen Royal Mail costs, and now you realise you have been charged more than the actual cost to post the item. Again, if the Seller says it was to cover handling the item too, you should keep all copies of communication, as evidence, and then you could let Ebay know. If the difference was unreasonable Ebay would alert the Seller accordingly. A note here -  being overcharged by Postage and Handling is not covered by Ebays Fraud Protection Programme, and you would not be able to claim back your money through eBay.

WHAT IS A REASONABLE POSTAGE AND HANDLING FEE?

eBay cannot place a figure on this, as it depends on the weight of the item, where it is being sent to, what class of postage is used, what packaging materials were used, if the item is insured or not. The amount charged should be the actual cost, not an excessive cost allowing the seller to make further profit. What you HAVE to realise though, is that Ebay state that EVERY seller IS allowed to charge a 'handling' fee, even though Ebays DSR star ratings tell you otherwise.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED AS POSTAGE AND HANDLING FEE?

Taxes should not be included in a postage and handling fee e.g. VAT or Import duty taxes, customs taxes, Pay pal or any other GBP based electronic payment systems, eBay fees, Escrow, or charging for different currencies (as these are separate surcharge issues altogether, and indeed another workshop topic!!).

A Postage and Handling fee is considered as the cost of posting the item by the Post office, and other packaging material costs such as Bubble Wrap and Jiffy Bags etc. Excessive charges are where a seller is making profit on Postage and Packaging and not simply covering their costs. Therefore if a seller incorporates shoe leather, or petrol etc. as part of the handling charge, this would be considered an 'excessive charge'.

WHY DOESN'T EBAY MAKE IT COMPULSORY FOR SELLERS TO LIST POSTAGE IN ALL LISTINGS?

This could cause a lot of trouble for some sellers who sell lots of varied items, as some may have to package up the items first, in order to get a postage cost, and the item may not sell. Also if postage is not mentioned, bidders can ask the seller a question about this before bidding. If after bidding this charge increased, bidders should question the seller, and then report the matter to Ebay if the extra charges are for handling.

If the seller has included an amount in the listing then asks for more, after the auction then no, .....  you would not be obliged to buy. However, if a seller has not mentioned P+P in the listing and then a bidder complains after winning about being charged for P+P, then the bidder should have asked the seller a question prior to bidding.

JUST TO CONCLUDE

I trust that the information above has now clarified some key areas regarding Postage and Handling fees. The key points are to remember to ask the sellers questions, and to take time to study the listing BEFORE bidding.

These are the Ebay rules.
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