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International shipping questions, discussions, fees, cost (eBay and non-eBay)


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Long time collector, new to selling.   I just started listing items for sale, for the first time yesterday on eBay.  I was careful to make sure I only selected domestic shipping in the United States for the shipping option because I didn't feel I was prepared yet to deal with handling international shipping orders and the possible headaches that may involve.

 

However, I did not know about the ability to set seller preferences to specifically block international buyers.  I only configured the available shipping options, which I set to 1st Class mail -- free shipping.

 

My third item sold this morning, to a buyer has requested an invoice to ship the item to South Korea.  I've chatted with eBay support and they recommended I go ahead and figure out the cost for shipping, with tracking and return receipt and send that back to the buyer on the invoice.  If the buyer than doesn't pay, or if they request a cancellation -- than ebay says they'll work with me to keep my 100% feedback rating.

 

My questions for you all are:

 

1.  Is this the best way to handle this?  Using USPS's shipping calculator, it looks like $42.15 USD for a small flat rate box with tracking and return receipt!!!

 

2. Have any of you used eBay's global shipping program, where you send your items to Kentucky and they handle the rest from there?  I allowed the support person to walk me through the process of signing up for the program, but right at the moment I also went to my preferences and have sales to international blocked until I resolve this first international sale one way or another.

 

Thanks!

 

[edit]

P.S. The buyer is a new account that signed up on 2/17 and has zero feedback.

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You can remove the ability for these misunderstandings/shenanigans (they could be either) by setting up Immediate Payment Required (IPR) on all of your fixed price listings.   I set this u

http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/shipping-globally.html

It was driving me crazy but I finally found THE announcement on the official USPS site. I am bookmarking it now, maybe I'll be able to find it faster next time!!    http://about.usps.com/

Global Shipping Program is the way to go going forward. If you don't want to deal with this in the future make sure to click on the  "no other international shipping" when you set up your listing. As far as your current situation, do exactly as eBay CS told you to.

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Guest TabbyBoy

@mcortez.  I have had 3 nightmare buyers with international shipments and they have all (yes all) been from South Korea.  I now exclude shipping to South Korea.  I'm not being racist (I don't intend to be) but, South Koreans appear to have very high standards and will not hesitate to return a set with even the slightest mark, crease or misaligned seal.  They won't even accept the "opened by customs" excuse even after customs leave a note with the package.

 

Shipping items intercontinental from the UK with tracking is cost prohibitive so I only ship small up to

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I know I'm limiting my audience a bit, but I only ship internationally through the Global Shipping Program.  Sometimes I even limit shipments to the continental US and exclude Hawaii and Alaska.  I haven't had any issues with selling items at my Buy It Now prices, so I'm happy with how it's working.  I also have Best Offer turned off.  I sometimes get messages with offers, but at least those are usually only from serious buyers.

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This is the 1 shipping forum I found. I recently sold a SW Imperial Shuttle on EBay. On the 2nd day waiting for payment, I contacted the buyer. He responded that he was having a problem with his proxy post office in Ca. He is located in South Korea and was in the process of setting 1 up. I'm famalier with the term proxy. I have never heard of a proxy post office. I googled it, not much help. He has 100% feedback with 4 purchases, but they were all large, expensive, EOL, sets. Has anyone had any experiences like this?

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A "proxy post office" describes what is typically known as a freight forwarding service.  The service sets you up with a US based address that you can get goods sent to from US suppliers who only ship domestically  (some suppliers refuse to ship to these addresses though, like Lego shop at home).  They receive the goods at their warehouse and then forward them on to the users international location.  Some even repackage items into smaller boxes etc.  An example that I know of and have used is shipitto.com.

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A "proxy post office" describes what is typically known as a freight forwarding service.  The service sets you up with a US based address that you can get goods sent to from US suppliers who only ship domestically  (some suppliers refuse to ship to these addresses though, like Lego shop at home).  They receive the goods at their warehouse and then forward them on to the users international location.  Some even repackage items into smaller boxes etc.  An example that I know of and have used is shipitto.com.

Thanks for the info. I packed the set very well. I hope there are no issues at the final destination. I feel that I'm only responsible getting it to the address in California in good condition. I'm not sure of Ebay's policy.

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Thanks Migration, TabbyBoy, Exciter1.

 

I've done as eBay CS suggested, figured it as small flat rate box, added registered mail and return receipt -- threw in a couple more bucks for "handling" making it an even $50 and tossed it back to the customer in the invoice.  eBay CS said in most of these cases the buyer never even responds and that after a few days if I don't hear anything back, to file a non-payment claim.

 

I'd heard lots of horror stories with international shipping in other fields and figured it would be similar here.  I'll just have to be more careful with how the auctions are setup.  I'm adding a blurb to my standard listing text stating that we don't currently ship internationally.  I'll probably open up to Canada and Europe for the lower priced items in the future through the Global Shipping Program.  Baby steps...

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Thanks for the info. I packed the set very well. I hope there are no issues at the final destination. I feel that I'm only responsible getting it to the address in California in good condition. I'm not sure of Ebay's policy.

 

Yeah I would say your responsibility is only for the condition it arrives in to the address you are provided with.  Some of the freight forwarding services send the end buyer a photo of the item's condition when it arrives in their warehouse so they can check for any obvious damage or poor packaging during the domestic transit.  They can then also request it be opened and checked more thoroughly and then sent back to the supplier if necessary.  It also means they can compare the final arrival condition to the warehouse one, so if problems occur there they can go back to the international shipping company for remedy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, a Canadian buyer (French Canadian, it appears) buys a set and then has it shipped to New York, where I assume he must do some business and can pick it up. So, I get the higher Paypal fees, have to ship it to New York, instead of to Kentucky for the global shipping, paying more for shipping. I screwed that up!

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It looks like I was charged at 3.9% instead of 2.9% because it was international funds.

 

But the part that really kills is having to ship it, insured (because I have no idea if this is some sort of scam), to New York. Instead of to the global shipping center.

 

It's possible I'm misunderstanding how all this works, also. :sorcerer:

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I did not see a problem here. Your international buyer decided to ship to US address for whatever reason. You got stuck with international Paypal transaction fee since he had non US address. You needed to pay shipping to whatever that US address was. It might sting a bit but this was business as usual.

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I am Canadian. I always ship to the USA and have never had a problem as I pay in US funds.

CBSA nails us with import taxes so it makes sense to ship domestically. No scam here.

The insurance rate is so low that it shouldn't be an issue, this just sounds like a misunderstanding.

Ex astris, scientia.

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Here's what hopefully isn't too weird a scenario/question.  In all honesty I probably wouldn't mind shipping direct to Canada, the UK, Australia, perhaps most of western Europe -- to places that have similar laws and expectations as U.S. buyers as long as I could somehow limit it to people that understand that for stuff I'm selling through ebay will probably not be marked as a "gift", and that customs may possibly "open and inspect" a package.

 

Is there a way to limit sales to international customers, to only those that have some arbitrary number of positive feedback from sellers who shipped internationally to them?  I wouldn't mind selling to a buyer in say Australia, who has 100+ positive feedback from sellers in the U.S. -- consistent positive feedback for shipments similar to me would seem like a good indicator of a good buyer.

 

If I offer BIN with Best Offer, on a listing that I've selected eBay GSP for my international listing --  can a buyer specify a different shipping method as part of their offer?  Or can I override the shipping with an alternative, if a customer asks for a Invoice?

 

I was considering adding some text to my auctions along the lines of:

 

International Customers with less than 100 positive feedback will ship via eBay Global Shipping Program, for those with more than 100 positive feedback in {list of countries} please request an invoice and I will mail direct with registered parcel mail.

 

 

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Here's what hopefully isn't too weird a scenario/question.  In all honesty I probably wouldn't mind shipping direct to Canada, the UK, Australia, perhaps most of western Europe -- to places that have similar laws and expectations as U.S. buyers as long as I could somehow limit it to people that understand that for stuff I'm selling through ebay will probably not be marked as a "gift", and that customs may possibly "open and inspect" a package.

 

Is there a way to limit sales to international customers, to only those that have some arbitrary number of positive feedback from sellers who shipped internationally to them?  I wouldn't mind selling to a buyer in say Australia, who has 100+ positive feedback from sellers in the U.S. -- consistent positive feedback for shipments similar to me would seem like a good indicator of a good buyer.

 

If I offer BIN with Best Offer, on a listing that I've selected eBay GSP for my international listing --  can a buyer specify a different shipping method as part of their offer?  Or can I override the shipping with an alternative, if a customer asks for a Invoice?

 

I was considering adding some text to my auctions along the lines of:

 

My goodness, what's with all the fear? 90% of what I buy off eBay comes from the US and I've never had a problem. Worst was about 10 years ago my package got delayed in customs for about 8 weeks... Not a problem since I've purchased hundreds of items from the US.

 

You can't limit sales to international customers based on positive feedback. IMO, in a dispute eBay would never side with you on having different rules for 100+ feedback. And 100+ ?? Wow, those are high expectations. You can prevent shipping to certain countries though and it is highly recommended to avoid certain ones.

 

If you do ship internationally, you should clearly state the terms and conditions of your auction which should include

- All international shipping must include tracking and insurance.

- Seller will not falsify customs documents.  <this covers both $ amounts and marking as gift>

- Seller is not responsible for customs delays.  <tracking will show this in a dispute>

 

When you setup international shipping, you specify the carrier and the shipping options you support. For example, you could specify that for international shipping you'll only ship USPS Priority Mail International (includes tracking) and USPS Priority Mail Express International. You do this in the actual shipping options and not in the terms of the auction so that when a potential buyer browses to your auction, they'll get the actual shipping cost and they'll have no other option.

 

GSP is nice for the seller, as an informed buyer, I avoid GSP auctions.

 

CBSA nails us with import taxes so it makes sense to ship domestically. No scam here.

 

Canada Post did away with they $5 brokerage fee some time ago. "Import taxes" through the postal service are no different than paying at the border. They are in fact sales taxes. That's the scam... lying at the border about the value of what you are bringing home. Luckily for US sellers, that has nothing to do with eBay and is between the citizen and their border agent.

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My risk management has nothing to do with the actual shipping companies.  My risk management has to do with the buyer.

 

You for example I would be happy to deal with, you seem to be a reasonable person -- you understand that there can be customs issues -- everything from delays, to customs opening boxes so that they are no longer sealed in mint condition or even damaging them.  If there was a check box for "Only sell to honest buyers who have common sense" then I would just check that check box, then happily sell world wide.

 

The 100+ feedback was an arbitrary number, it could be 10 or 50, or whatever an individual feels is a good indicator of a honest buyer that is experienced with making international purchases and is unlikely to be someone that is already planning on filing a not-received or received damaged claim before they ever clicked on buy.  

 

As for listing specific things so they have no other option, see my original post -- within 24hrs of starting to sell on eBay, with the only shipping options being Domestic, I had a buyer from South Korea, with an account with zero feedback that was less then a day old complete a BIN and then requested an invoice with a comment asking for shipping to Seoul.  I told them I don't ship internationally, as indicated by the fact I only selected domestic shipping options, but quoted them shipping anyway and indicated if it was too much I could cancel the transaction.  No response for 4 days, then a replay with just three words "shipping too much" -- so I then attempted to cancel the transaction, and the buyer sat on the cancellation notification until ebay closed it out automatically about a week later.  I know more now, but it was truely annoying to have it happen on my 3rd order and so soon after I started selling -- was hoping to go at least a month before my first bad transaction.

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Canada Post did away with they $5 brokerage fee some time ago. "Import taxes" through the postal service are no different than paying at the border. They are in fact sales taxes. That's the scam... lying at the border about the value of what you are bringing home. Luckily for US sellers, that has nothing to do with eBay and is between the citizen and their border agent.

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Amazon UK is really good for shipping overseas. From the Lego perspective, keep an eye on the daily deals threads as some of these deals are posted in the respective threads (and quickly snatched up).

Ex astris, scientia.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest brickcrazyhouse

all righty here's a ? that have been answered.  If a buyer in singapore buys an item, what should my shipping label read? the kentucky address for ebay global shipping or the singapore address?  how will it get to singapore if I use the kentucky one? and how would it go to kentucky if I use the buyers address, and not just be returned to me for insufficient postage? 

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all righty here's a ? that have been answered.  If a buyer in singapore buys an item, what should my shipping label read? the kentucky address for ebay global shipping or the singapore address?  how will it get to singapore if I use the kentucky one? and how would it go to kentucky if I use the buyers address, and not just be returned to me for insufficient postage? 

 

I am assuming you sold it through eBay's GSP program.

 

Go to your My eBay page, click on "print shipping label" next to the item sold. It will take you to a screen that has the GSP Kentucky shipping address label, including a specific reference number that GSP will match up to your order. Print the label from there.

 

GSP will then send the package along through their regular shipping services to that country.

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