Excessive postal charges ... Again!!

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When will Ebay stamp down on the practice of Ebayers significantly over-stating postal charges? Whilst the addition of extra Ebay feedback has been helpful, its just not good enough to say packaging covers the extra "hidden profit" scammed out of buyers. I was charged £4.50 for postage of two 3 inch star wars action figures. When the package arrived the seller had sent it in a small white envelope with £0.75p stamps on it! I was really cross and challenged the postage fees. He claimed this was to cover packaging, bubble wrap, his time, petrol, parking etc ... total poppy-cock ... it was a straighforward scam.

Ebay have a policy on FAIR postage fees (have you read it?). Sadly, people rarely complain aabout the postal fees to ebay,  so Ebay rarely get to enforce or arbitrate between buyer and seller to get an honest charge for postage. But I don't think buyers should just put up with it! Just a few tips to avoid the scammers and a few tips for sellers who don't want to fall foul of Ebays policy.........   

Challenge excessive postage fees ...

Royal Mail is regulated, they advertise their fees for every type of postage .. a full poster is availible to download on the Royal Mail website.So don't put up with excessive fees without challenging the seller (politely!).

Postage is a service but it is paid for by the buyer, not the seller, so to obtain significantly more for this service than it actually costs is obtaining money by deception ... Would you pay more than the price tag for a box of cereal in a supermarket because someone had to sit at the till, scan your item and give you a bag to take it home? Hopefully not, that is what retailing is about .. the cost of the item already incorporates the sellers over-heads ... heating, lighting, staff costs etc. Why should that be different on Ebay?

Ebay is decribed by some as an on-line car-boot sale, except at a carboot sale you agree/haggle on the price and collect the item immediately! So occasionally be pprepared to 'haggle' the postal charges if they are un-fair.  

Postage is not a service to be abused by sellers expecting a buyer to cover their ebay listing fees, final value fees, charge for paying by PayPal, parking, petrol, hourly wage etc ... these overheads need to be reflected in the asking price.  and prices have really come down ... poly mail bags cost about 12p each, packs of bubble wrap can be found in most supermarkets at under £1 so don't take excessive postal fees lying down.

If you're a seller why not admit/state in your advert that you charge the actual cost of postage plus for example, £0.50p for over-heads. It saves a lot of confusion or bad feeling after the sale ....

Use/insist on Recorded Delivery!

Similarly, give people the option of having the item recorded by 1st or 2nd class - its insured upto £34 so if it gets lost or damaged the sender gets compensation from Royal Mail for the loss or damage and you can happily refund the item, without a financial loss. And, its trackable so when someone says they haven't received your package you can check the Recoded Delivery reference number on the Royal Mail web-site. A scanned signature of the person who signed for the item is usually availible on the web-site 24hours after the item has been delivered. My final push for sellers to use recorded delivery is to avoid the '"gone-away's" ... i.e. the post office can't deliver your item. If you've got the address, name or postcode wrong your package will just sit at the local sorting office waiting to be collected or delivered. If you use standard mail with no forwarding address on the package they have no idea where to send it back to, so it goes to the lost mail depot ... the buyer then wants their money back because the item hasn't arrived and it doesn't get returned to you because they have no idea who sent it!

Let's all play fair on postage ... it will keep Ebay fun and thriving. 




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