P&P charges - what is fair?

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Postage and Packing   charges are definitely controversial on eBay, I for one am glad that my buyers can see them upfront now before they bid.

Postage and packing is just that, it isn't just the cost of the postal label, but a whole multitude of things which the seller might include, packing materials (poly bags are between 8 and 12p each normally), tape, stickers, paper which your despatch note is on, labels, ink, tissue paper, and that is just getting it into the parcel.  Then there is the cost of taking it to the post office, and also those dreaded fee's which some people include, as well.

So what is fair?  Well the costs (as of Nov 2007) of 100 grams recorded is £1.18, 250 grams £1.40, 500 grams £2.54, 750 grams £3.08, however you can use Royal Mails website to get the correct postage amount,

Some sellers now include the weight of the item, which is handy to know - as then you know if you are overpaying postage.

I think that the rule of thumb, when bidding has to be decide how much something is worth to you (i.e. what is your maximum bid) then take off the amount of postage the seller wants to charge you, and use this amount as your maximum proxy bid.  Then if you win it, including P&P it is not more than you were willing to pay for it! 

So, when choosing the seller to go with, pick one who specifies postage, don't bid on anything when the postage is not stated - unless you trust the seller to be fair, I for one charge £1 over the rate of postage, on one or 20 items internationally, and s end everything in the UK free of charge.

Also, remember that if you are going to buy more than one item from a seller, that they will not automatically combine your invoice for you, and pass any savings onto you their customer, it is definitely worth emailing them before you bid, to see what if any saving they offer.  

(For instance, I have free P&P on everything, and for multiple purchases I have a range of gifts which I send with every parcel)

A word of warning though, when a seller uses "Sellers Standard Rate" as the charge for sending the item , this could be special delivery, first or second class, or snail!  Unless you get the seller to confirm how the parcel will be sent, be very careful comparing prices, - what appears to be dear, might be recorded or special delivery which has a tracking number, and therefore paypal protection for seller and buyer, and for a little extra peace of mind. 

So, what happens when it goes horribly wrong, you have checked the postage charge agreed to it, and then the seller sends the item, and it is far cheaper on the label than it should have been, remember if you only paid what you wanted to for it, does the extra £1 or so make any difference?  If it does call your seller, and talk to them, many of us use non-post office calibrated scales to guestimate the weight of parcels when specifying postal costs, so mistakes will happen, what matters is how the seller communicates with you - and if they put it right

Wishing you happy and safe eBaying
Suz x
Ps -Please vote to let me know if you find these interesting - so I know if I should add more! Ta

Did you know that as an eBayer, no seller can ask you to pay a surcharge to use Paypal?

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