Ebay's site negligence means SELLERS can be prosecuted

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If you sell on the UK Ebay site, the seller templates mean you can show only one postage / courier cost for the whole of the UK. BUT, couriers charge different rates for different areas of the UK. If your winning bidder is inside the UK but not in the area for which you have shown the postage / courier costs, you have two choices - you either pay the additional postage cost yourself and lose money or you risk being prosecuted in court by the Government for misleading your customer.


The term United Kingdom (UK) is a legal term meaning The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you use the term UK to show your postal charges, then legally, you can only charge one rate for posting to anywhere in the UK, whether it's to offshore, or the Scottish Isles or Northern Ireland. Ebay will not provide any other term for sellers to use, although they should provide at least two terms, such as Mainland GB (which is what most of the courier charges cover)  and the Rest of the UK. If they wanted to really help their sellers and buyers, they could provide four terms, Mainland GB, Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland and Elsewhere in the UK. That would keep you legal, even if you only used the Mainland GB term, because you would be making your postage rates clear.


They might, after all, they are encouraging you to break the law by only providing you with one alternative (UK), which is a legal term and not letting you show different charges for different areas, even though the couriers show different charges for different areas of the UK. But do YOU want to be prosecuted? Trading Standards is a Government Agency and they crack down hard on dodgy sellers. If you advertise one postage cost, then charge another, you could be prosecuted as a dodgy seller for misleading your customer.


First, you can lobby Ebay to help you keep within the law by asking them to provide terms to use that don't make you break the law. But if you want to sell something right now, make sure your advert includes something like this:

The postage / courier charges shown are only for Mainland GB. If you live outside this area, the charges will be higher. Please email me for a quote BEFORE bidding.

This should help you stay out of trouble but I am not a lawyer, so use this phrase at your own risk. But be aware that Trading Standards is looking out for sellers advertising one UK postage / courier cost, then charging another, even though the buyer lives in the UK.

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