The Best Kept Seller Secret on Ebay...Exposed
Ebay can be a haven for great buys and hard to find items. Actually those things are the very reason eBay has become a multibillion dollar company and global market leader. As with any marketplace, you will always find a certain element that practices underhanded, very common ripoff tactics.
This guide will help you steer clear of those sellers looking to rip you off on shipping and handling fees. The more people that get educated to this eBay scam, the better chance eBay has of maintaining a reputation of being the very best place to buy or sell just about anything you can put a price tag on; And to my mind, that is well worth preserving.
Low Starting BidA very common practice is for a scam seller to offer an item at a ridiculously low price. Example? I would love to be able to link to an eBay auction that shows this taking place (ebay doesn't allow these guides to link to specific auctions), but the one I am looking right now has an MP3 player - new, factory sealed for $23.00 - Buy It Now. This partiular MP3 Player retails for about $45.00. The prospective buyer sees this price, and in a flash (in hopes of buying it up before anyone else), they click the Buy It Now Button - then buyers remorse sets in. During the Paypal Checkout Process they realize that the seller has assessed a $37.00 Shipping and Handling fee. That's right, $37.00 for "Priority Mail" shipment. Their actual cost? $4.05. You have just been scammed. This happens a lot. A lot more than you might think - to a greater or lesser degree. They realize this $37.00 fee is not 'seen' by eBay, and doesn't get included in the final value fees.
Calculated Shipping Costs
Another very popular scam or ripoff is the "calculated shipping cost" option. This requires the prospective buyer to enter their Zip code in order to get exact shipping cost prior to bidding.
Here's the problem:
A seller can add ANY amount to the standard shipping charges when creating the auction. That's right, when the seller is creating the auction, they can select the "Calculated Shipping" function for their auction, and in so doing, they can then add to the "Handling" portion of that setup, any figure they want as a 'surcharge' for their "handling" of the item. Many people don't want to trouble themselves by clicking on the calculated shipping button prior to bidding and typing in their zip code to actually find out how much the package is going to cost them to ship, or they don't notice it - some sellers know this, and exploit it...to their benefit.
The first time I got suckered into this was when I bought a vintage baseball trading card of Mickey Mantle. The card cost me about $75.00 - guess how much it cost me to get it shipped to me? $17.00. No insurance, just came in a Priority Mail box that weighed no more than 5 ounces. Actual cost? $3.85 at that time..now it would have cost $4.05. Ripoff, plain and simple. I never clicked on the calculated shipping button to see that figure, and I could have seen $17.00 S&H - if I would have taken the time.
Insurance? What Insurance?Some sellers looking to take your money will assess an "insurance charge". Pretty straight forward right? One Problem... when the package arrives, you guessed it, it's not insured - no insurance sticker...nothing. Many sellers when confronted with this will state, "it's self insured"...Self Insured...right...what exactly is that? It's a Scam, that's what it is. I have had seller's that use this "self insured" tatic email me trying to justify this 'option'. Insurance without any formality to it, to my mind, is not insurance at all. It's simply more profit to the seller. Insurance companies exist to make money...enough said.
SummaryIt is important to note that eBay now allows excessive shipping and handling fees as a reportable offense. It became so much of a problem, and there had been so many complaints to eBay about it, they simply had to give the [eBay] consumer some way to report this ever growing problem. To report a S&H ripoff simply go to the bottom of the auction page in question, and click the "report this item" link. You should be able to navigate from there.
I want to thank everyone who has emailed me with their stories...or should I call them 'nighmares' about this problem. It is amazing how many of us have been ripped off through S&H scams. Please keep the emails coming.
As for the handfull of sellers that have emailed me telling me that they take offense to this guide, only to spend the next 4 paragraphs justifying their "handling" charges to me - please don't bother - you know if you are charging too much, and if you are, please stop ripping us off. If you want increased profits, incorporate that profit into your item, not some hidden 'handling fee' or 'Ghost insurance fee'...people are getting wise to it, and are tired of it.
The Risk in letting the Cat out of the Bag...
It is not only the buyers that are reading this, sellers do as well. Those sellers of questionable character are going to take these ideas and use them to their advantage, if they are not already doing so - all the more reason to look out for these all-to-common scams on eBay. You would be surprised how often sellers are using these tactics to dupe you out of money.
NOTE TO SELLERS:
This guide is not about you adding a handling fee, this guide is about adding a handling fee amount that, to any reasonable person is seen as nothing short of ridiculous. A "handling" fee of $9.00 on a t-shirt for example, or adding a handling fee of $12.00 on an item that can be 'handled' with a 'hand' and doesn't require the use of a fork lift or hand truck, is nothing more than a seller in the act of profiteering. That is what this guide is about.
Spread the Word!
Want to help spread the word? The more people that select the "yes" button for this guide being helpful, the higher up on the 'Guide List' it gets, thus getting more exposure for eBayers to read and learn. It is my goal to completely eliminate these scam practices on eBay. Possible? Perhaps not, but the more people I educate about this scam, the more money they save, the more aware they become, and the less sellers are apt to try and rip people off with Shipping and Handling scams.
Safe Buying Everyone.