eBay has recently been flooded with items for a pittance with huge postage costs. Although this is primarily used by people seeking to deceive new eBayers, this ghuide can act as a reference to help keep your postage costs down and win sales.
For cheap, light items (<2kg)
The best option for this is almost always Royal Mail, as it's quick and can be posted at any Post Office. There's no need to get Recorded Delivery - all this does is give you a tracking barcode, however, if you ask for a free "Certificate of Posting" at the counter you can claim compensation if it goes missing - same protection, but saves you money! For up to 750g you can use Second Class, otherwise you can use the Standard Parcel Service - prices can be found on the Royal Mail website. I also offer an "upgrade" to first class on my listings too - you can usually have this as a 25p extra postage option but it means impatient buyers will still bid for your items.
Note: From the end of August Royal Mail are going to start charging for packages based on size as well as shape. This will effect eBayers who send bulky, light items by post and you need to look out for the price change.
For heavy items (>2kg)
The best service for sending heavy items is to go down to your local Staples store (stationary). They offer postage of any package under 25kg and less than 4 cubic feet for £8 - far less than the £30 you can expect to pay for some sellers. If there's no Staples near your home you can also send it by DHL (the same courier as Staples use) for £9, with a 10% discount offered if you put one of their logos in your listing. You can access their special eBay page by clicking on the link from the
eBay Postage Centre - just click on the link on the right hand side of the page. As a note, DHL are notoriously careless with parcels so be sure to wrap carefully - a rough test is that if you'd be happy dropping your item from a first floor window, it's safe to courier.
For valuable items
Valuable items should be send via Royal Mail Special Delivery. It's expensive but PayPal will accept it as proof of delivery so you'll avoid costly chargebacks, plus your buyer will probably expect it.
A good pair of digital scales is a must for any seller who plans to sell in bulk. You can pick one up on eBay for under a tenner, they let you accurately estimate the postage, ensure that your item is just under, rather than just over the postage barrier, plus they're pretty useful in the kitchen anyway! (If you're really smart, you can convince your wife/girlfriend that they're a present for her...). There's nothing worse than being 2g over the postage limit and getting hit with a load more to pay, and the scales will always pay for themselves over time.
If something goes missing in the post, unless you have a good reason to suspect fraud, it's best to apologise to your buyer and send a new one immediately if it's low value. It's worth it to impress your buyer and avoid negative feedback - plus, a happy buyer will always return. If you've read this you'll have your certificate of posting and can claim the cost back from the Royal Mail anyway! Worst case you lose your eBay and PayPal fees
Hope that helps and good luck selling!
Postage options for sellers
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5 February 2006
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