LOW PRICES BUT HIGH SHIPPING/HANDLING FEES: What Are These, And What They May Tell You About A Seller
Some eBay sellers list items at very low prices (actually, ridiculously low prices), hoping buyers don't realize that the very high shipping and handling fees are where the sellers are making their money. For example, paying $0.01 or $0.99 for an item may look like a good deal, but when you add in the $29.99 or $33.99 shipping/handling charge, you are really paying over $30 for an item that may be worth only $2-$5. This IS NOT smart buying.
Sellers who engage in this practice (very low starting prices, but very high shipping/handling fees) will, many times, also ship to you by the cheapest and slowest methods, thus increasing their own profit margins.
Such sellers may also use the same photo over and over for on-going $0.01 or $0.99 or other low amount auctions, which can mean that the item you receive does not look like the item in the picture (this is especially a concern when buying hand-made items - lazy sellers will use the same photos over and over, even though what they send you does NOT match the picture in the listing but, instead, is shaped differently, has different colors, etc.).
What do such tactics tell you, as a buyer? That you had better read EVERYTHING on the seller's page, and look at the seller's other auctions (including "completed" auctions) to see if the seller (1) has a pattern of using the same photos over and over for supposed "unique" and "hand-made" items, (2) lists items at low starting prices but with high shipping/handling fees, and/or (3) regularly gets negative and neutral and withdrawn feedback about the quality of the seller's items.
DON'T BE TRICKED BY SUCH QUESTIONABLE TACTICS--Knowledgeable Buyers Know Better Than To Be Taken In By Low Starting Prices (Like $0.01 or $0.99 or similar amounts) But Very High Shipping And Handling Fees
How, you may ask, do sellers avoid paying fees to eBay? Simple - eBay charges its fees based on the starting amount and "sales price" of the item. Even though you are sending the seller (for example) $30 for an item you won for $0.99, the seller will owe fees to eBay based only on the $0.99 sales price (NOT the shipping/handling fees), so such sellers make huge profits on the shipping and handling. Example: You send $30. Sale price was $0.99, and eBay's fee will be (let's say) $0.99, so the seller is making no money on the sale - BUT, by over-charging you on the shipping/handling, the seller "creates" a profit-center for himself/herself, and may ship to you by the cheapest method (let's say, parcel post, for $5). The result: The seller makes over $20 on the sale. Not a bad profit on an item that sold for only $0.99, and likely cost the seller only a couple/few dollars to buy from some foreign country.
THE LARGER PROBLEM WITH A SELLER'S PRACTICE OF "LOW-SALES-PRICES-BUT-VERY-HIGH-SHIPPING/HANDLING-CHARGES" IS THAT WE ALL END UP PAYING FOR THIS, IN THE END. NOT ONLY ARE YOU (AS THE BUYER WHO GOT CAUGHT IN SUCH A SALE) OVER-PAYING FOR SHIPPING/HANDLING, BUT SUCH PRACTICES ESSENTIALLY MAKE EBAY MORE EXPENSIVE FOR EVERYONE (BECAUSE THOSE NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR-SHARE OF FEES ARE STILL USING EBAY SERVICES). AS I'M SURE YOU KNOW, THOSE WHO DON'T PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE FORCE THOSE WHO DO TO PAY MORE FOR SERVICES (FOR EXAMPLE, PEOPLE WHO SUBMIT FAKE CLAIMS TO INSURANCE COMPANIES COST THOSE INSURANCE COMPANIES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS--AND THOSE FAKE CLAIMS RAISE THE RATES FOR EVERYONE WHO HAS TO LEGITIMATELY BUY INSURANCE).