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Firstly it is a pity but many many buyers think the p and p charge is simply the cost of a stamp, but in reality the p and p charge is for Postage, Packing and Handling and there are a large number of hidden costs associated with selling an item whether on eBay in a retail shop or via any other channel which form the Handling cost for listings.

The first misconception buyers have is that ebay is somehow a free service for all. It is true there are no charges for buying an item on ebay or for paying via paypal as all those costs are absorbed by the seller, but that is the point, the seller pays all the costs including the fees on items that don't sell. This is an acceptable cost, although all sellers will tell you the fees should be less (well we are human too & want things for free!)

For every seller the various costs will be different but using myself as an example, most of my lingerie & stockings etc are imported from the USA so before an item can be listed I have to pay the shipping costs from America, UK Import Duty, VAT, & Customs Charges + Processing  fee for Parcelforce then add to that the time listing an item & answering questions, driving to the Post Office, standing in a queue for 30 minutes plus the costs of the packaging etc etc etc. These are the real, but hidden costs which form the Handling costs of p&p.  

It is a fact that everyone would like things for free but as the saying goes nothing in life is free and there is no such thing as a free lunch. The simple reality of items listed on eBay with 'Free Postage' is that the costs have been added to the selling price. Put simply, an item for £14.99 + Free Postage costs the buyer exactly the same as an item costing £12.49 with £2.50 postage. (incidentally items listed at £1 with £7 p&p etc is normally a seller trying to avoid paying eBay fees - It is cheating & wrong & should be reported as fee avoidance)

A very sharp shock lesson to new sellers who do not do the math when first listing items is when they do their sums at the end of the month only to discover they worked for free or worse made a loss, and an old adage is still true, you normally get what you pay for and I have no desire to be the cheapest on eBay & I would much rather strive to be the best.

Equally no one wants to feel ripped off or conned and reputable sellers value their feedback (I did not get to 10,000 transactions at 100% positive feedback without working hard to please ALL the people ALL the time!) so it is important for buyers to view the total cost paid for an item allowing for other seller costs as above and judging their purchase on that. Basically did the buyer feel they got overall value for money, a professional & efficient service and a pleasurable buying experience and want to repeat buy from the seller.

I hope this short insight into the hidden costs is of value to new eBayers and helps people understand the costs involved for the p&p charges. Have fun & enjoy eBay its a great place for bargains & lets not ever forget that!


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