Buying from e-bay

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Have bought several items on e-bay, some planes, stuff of interest to me such as Stanley folding rulers ect. What I finally noticed on some items is that the shipping costs that is listed in the description and charged to me, is often more than the postage on the package when I get it, and no mention of handling charges. To those of you who buy off of ebay, is this a fairly normal occurance with the sellers. Maybe I should be e mailing for *exact* shipping charges and then check against postage on package when I get it? Thanks.
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Paul O.
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Check with the seller about shipping before you buy. If they aren't willing to disclose shipping and handling terms in advance, don't buy. If the shipping is only off a quarter or so I wouldn't worry about it but if they are adding an undisclosed handling charge then forget about them.
-Jack
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I'm ok with a little extra the seller gets. Thanks.
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Paul O.
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As a seller, as well as buyer on EBAY for many years, I find that most sellers are "reasonable" on their shipping charges. I charge a little extra for the time, materials, gas to get to the post office etc. It all adds up. But there is a happy medium for that service. If an item costs $5.57 exact postage, I don't have a problem charging $6.50 or so. I state in my ad ....Shipping AND Handling! Often the shipping is estimated and I have lost money too, so a small cushion is not unreasonable! Now on the other hand, some sellers charge $8.00 on a $2.00 item and that seems like highway robbery to me. It is an unscrupulous practice and the only way to fight it is not bid on those seller's items. I also find that if you ask the seller , in advance, if he will be willing to lower his shipping charges by switching to media mail or surface instead of Priority etc. the chances are good you can get a break. For those sellers not willing to bend when they charge too much...............Simply don't buy! All in all the more experience you have on Ebay the "Norm" becomes clear. I find some really great sellers out there and I have many happy buyers too! What goes around comes around! Good Luck Bidding!, MrMortise
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all of this can be avoided by simply lowering your bid price by the amount you think the seller is overcharging for shipping. if this brings your bid below the current minimum bid, dont bid.
randy
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Paul O. wrote:

When you bid, you agree to the terms as listed. If those terms include a fixed amount for shipping, then you need to factor that into the total cost of the item.
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The price listed for postage is what you will pay for postage; regardless of what it actually costs.
Don't email for an exact price; you will just get a reply saying the above.
If you think it is too high, don't bid.
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OP: This is my experience, too. I have often bid on "commodity" items at eBay that many people are selling and the "shipping" charges vary greatly. I know how much UPS and USPS charge, since I sell stuff on-line, and it is clear that "handling" is in there whether or not it is explicitly stated. In fact, as some here may know, if you use Fedex or UPS they offer a service that automatically inflates the price. So, the seller can have a zip look-up thingie on their website for UPS/Fedex and while the result looks like the "official" charges, there is a hidden add-on as requested by the shipper/retailer.
Basically, Shipping is a profit item for sellers at e-Bay just as it is for all webstores. Just like auction houses add as much as 15% to whatever is bid, paid by the buyer. Psychology of marketing.
There is a site called nextag.com that helps you find total cost for buying certain items from webstores - including S&H. While their data is not always accurate, they have helped me find good deals based on the price *as delivered*. Example: I just shopped for a new computer hard drive and the S&H charges from different stores varied for $14.95 - zero. -- Igor
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Wed, Jul 14, 2004, 11:18pm (EDT+4) no snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com (igor) says: <snip> Basically, Shipping is a profit item for sellers <snip> Sometimes. Like charging $20+ to ship something that from anyone else would cost $5 for shipping.
However, I think you're all forgetting that there usually is a cost above just the basic postage cost. Wrapping paper, tape, maybe padding, plus the postage. Hey, I can live with someone charging me $2 total shipping, for something that takes $1.29 in postage. No prob. But when someone wants to charge me $5 for the same thing, it tends to irritate me, a lot.
So, forget about what the postage is, just look at the total shiupping cost. If it's more than you want to pay, you can either forget it, or ask the seller if he/she will go down on shipping. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. I've found that a lot of sellers that say they ship first class for books will often ship media rate, if you ask nice. And, some won't.
If the shipping cost isn't clearly listed, alway, I repeat, always, ask what it is, BEFORE you bid.
JOAT
We've got a lot of experience of not having any experience. - Nanny Ogg
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(igor) says:

and there's always the 'bid appropriately less' method. simply lower your maximum bid on the item by the amount you feel the shipping price has been inflated. no emails, no fuss, no muss <g>
randy
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I'm not a "power seller" on eBay by any means, but I've sold quite a few things on eBay. I quote a fixed shipping cost based on the most it would cost to send it within the US plus a dollar or two. On a recent clearout of porcelain angels that the missus collected, we had so many to sell that I had to purchase boxes and you know what, the place you buy them from doesn't just give them away. They also don't give away bubble wrap and tape. And I don't give my time away for free and hauling all that up to the post office or FedEx or wherever takes time. Now, I don't go crazy with it like some people do, but even for those people, at least they're up-front about what the cost is. Deduct that from what you're willing to pay and you have your maximum bid. The ones that I am wary of are the auctions that don't state a shipping cost at all.
todd
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and ignored my emails. I chose not to bid.
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ive seen some that say you will be charged the shipping price actually on the package when it is sent, ask for a flat fee to cover worst case, then return the unneeded postage with the item. if a seller has good feedback i wouldnt have any problem with this.
randy

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Hello there,
I have sold a number of router bit sets on Ebay and I charge a flat rate of $10 shipping. The average ticket price is about $150. Actual shipping can be anywhere between $8 to the most I ever paid of $15. The guy who paid $8, I didn't send him his $2 back, and the $15 guy I didn't invoice the $5 difference.
They are estimates. If you feel the shipping rates are too high, don't bid.
David.
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That's the key right there, Paul. The seller is explicitly saying "It will cost you (let's say 8 dollars) for the shipping of this item". Even if it costs him 6 bucks, you already know what your total will be.
While this may be irksome, he is being up front with you, and you have the exact number in front of you. When I sell stuff, I try to guess at the shipping, sometimes I'm high, sometimes I'm low. It all evens out when you consider I have to come up with the box, padding, drive it to the UPS store, and so on.

It's expected, actually. Tell the seller exactly how much the shipping charge is, up front. That way, when you bid, you can decide if you want to pay that extra 8 bucks for the item or not. Beats a surprise of "Hi, you won the auction, I took it down to UPS and they want 37 bucks to ship it".

The seller sets the terms; if you disagree, don't bid on the item.
Dave Hinz
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You have "unlocked" the secret of EBay...get a great deal but then piss it away on the S&H...I keep a few other on-line sources open (e.g. Amazon) when bidding. If the price gets close to an outfit that ships for free, I quit the auction. A few bucks extra from anybody that will ship promply and give you some recourse in case the product is not quite as described is cheap insurance.
BTW, following the above rule, I haven't bought much on EBay lately. I think on a lot of deals there are obvious "shills" at work to drive the prices higher. If not and the seller follows the EBay rules, a fact of life is that a bid is only binding on the buyer and the seller can withdraw the auction at any time he/she chooses if it doesn't look good. And last point is that most of the time in the tool arena, other bidders don't follow the above and will get crazy on what they will pay (been there, done that, hanging head in shame).
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wrote:

For crying out loud, Tom, there's no "secret" when it's posted right in the terms of sale. My hassle packaging the thing, buying the supplies, and going out of my way to the shipping place isn't worth a buck or two? Fine, don't bid; we'll both be happier.

If you suspect a shill, you can (and damn well should!) report it to eBay's SafeHarbor group, and they'll terminate the shill and their benefactor with great speed.
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Hi Dave
Your first point about paying you or any other EBay seller for packaging and handling...doesn't Amazon or anybody else have to do that too? Or do they operate from the North Pole where elves have some spare time after the Xmas season?...I'll hold my ground on that one...
Reporting "shills" on Ebay is the same as reporting Spam or better yet hitting that "button" for "walk/don't walk" on any street corner...goes nowhere.
Having been suckered on EBay too often for all the reasons I stated (put me in that slow learner category), I now check it rarely and when I do I end up buying elsewhere. No bargains there, all things considered.
considering that apples to apples any higher than anybody else
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wrote:

Do you know how amazon works? They don't stock _anything_, they don't ship anything. Their supplier drop-ships the product to you, in an amazon box, with amazon labels and paperwork. They also have this thing called _scale_ where they do this for a living.

Our experience differs. Maybe it's in your approach, or that you haven't really tried it and would rather complain?

Riiiiiiight. If you've been "suckered" about shipping costs, it's because you haven't bothered to read the item's description and terms before bidding. As others have said, if the shipping costs aren't listed, ask. If they won't tell you, don't bid. If the shipping as listed is higher than you want to pay, don't bid. Blaming a seller for something when that information was right in front of you is, er, a bit backwards.
It's simple, really. If I list something with $8.00 for S&H, that's because I'm guessing at my expenses and padding it a bit to cover the hassle factor, and the inevitable low guesses. It's all right there, listed up front, and anyone is welcome not to bid based on if they feel it's worth it or not.
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I've reported half a dozen cases of shilling. It continues. No action on Ebay's part at all. Why should they care? Their fee is based on bid price.
-Jack
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