Ebay selling question
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:43 pm 
 

I am thinking about selling some things on eBay and was wondering about shipping & handling charges.

You have the actual cost of shipping and the cost of the packing materials. Is it legit to charge a nominal fee for your time/transportation costs to the post office or should it just be the actual cost of shipping(postage) and packing materials. I am wondering since if I do very much I have got the multiple trips to the post office (10 miles each way)  and the current cost of gasoline. I was wondering if it is legit to recover at least a little of that cost spread over half a dozen sales at a time.

I look forward to your input. Since I want to be one of the good guys.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:50 pm 
 

Ebay says you are allowed to charge a reasonable handling fee.  However, you need to be careful with what fees your handling fee covers.  If you want to start including things like the time to scan pictures for your auction or listing fee or paypal fee, etc then Ebay will quickly remove you.  

Also, whatever handling fee you decide to charge, make sure your buyers are aware of it before they bid.

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:43 pm 
 

Personally I almost never bid on auctions with handling fees, and I never charge them. It's part of the CODB.
If you intend to ship Priority, the Post Office will pick up the package for you. All you need to do is call them. You can print out eBay shipping labels online now.


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:23 pm 
 

Noone wrote:I am thinking about selling some things on eBay and was wondering about shipping & handling charges.

You have the actual cost of shipping and the cost of the packing materials. Is it legit to charge a nominal fee for your time/transportation costs to the post office or should it just be the actual cost of shipping(postage) and packing materials. I am wondering since if I do very much I have got the multiple trips to the post office (10 miles each way)  and the current cost of gasoline. I was wondering if it is legit to recover at least a little of that cost spread over half a dozen sales at a time.

I look forward to your input. Since I want to be one of the good guys.
Thanks


If you are doing it as a hobby and just a way to get rid of your games and make a little cash on the side, It's a toss up on the handling fee. maybe a few dimes an item or whatever. If it's your full time business, another story entirely, but it doesn't seem to apply to what you are asking.  That said your money you use to recover supplies, gas, travelling, etc shouldn't be making you rich. Definitely be up front about your shipping prices, either way, that way there should be no problems. And remember the cheaper you make your shipping prices, the more you will stand out amid your competitors.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:03 am 
 

Noone, my only comment on the handling charges is that you don't have to spell out what they are for. I wouldn't mention, for instance, that you're trying to cover your gas, as that's sort of A) the cost of doing business, and B) kind of an insult to the buyer, frankly. However, it's perfectly okay to say something completely generic such as "buyer to add $1 for handling" or whatever; the specifics aren't needed.

(In fact, the last time I used the eBay Sell Your Item page, it was possible to add a handling charge to any listing. I don't use eBay's pages any more, but the third-party software I use allows me to do the same thing. Again, no specifics are mentioned).

And, speaking of your long post office trips, you sound like a good candiate for the USPS' carrier-pickup program. It's free, it works, it makes everyone happy. Personally, I haven't been inside a post office since ... sort of guessing here ... late 2004 or early 2005, I think.

Here's some linkage:

Carrier pickup

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 3:24 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Noone, my only comment on the handling charges is that you don't have to spell out what they are for. I wouldn't mention, for instance, that you're trying to cover your gas, as that's sort of A) the cost of doing business, and B) kind of an insult to the buyer, frankly. However, it's perfectly okay to say something completely generic such as "buyer to add $1 for handling" or whatever; the specifics aren't needed.

(In fact, the last time I used the eBay Sell Your Item page, it was possible to add a handling charge to any listing. I don't use eBay's pages any more, but the third-party software I use allows me to do the same thing. Again, no specifics are mentioned).

And, speaking of your long post office trips, you sound like a good candiate for the USPS' carrier-pickup program. It's free, it works, it makes everyone happy. Personally, I haven't been inside a post office since ... sort of guessing here ... late 2004 or early 2005, I think.

Here's some linkage:

Carrier pickup


This is good advice...they will pick up at your home. Unfortunately, my carriers (I have three) are certified idiots, and I have a PO Box anyway that I check everyday, and the post office is a mile tops from my house, so no problems bringing things there.  But in your case, you can save yourself time and gas by having the carriers pick up daily...

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:50 am 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:If you intend to ship Priority, the Post Office will pick up the package for you. All you need to do is call them. You can print out eBay shipping labels online now.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:22 pm 
 

I always found handling fees to be a way of charging the buyer more. If it costs you money in, say, packaging or whatever, build it into the shipping price, and maybe mention that in the description. I personally try to charge only what it actually costs me. It burns my butt to have someone charge $10 for shipping, then you get the package and it has $3 postage on it.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:57 pm 
 

I always found handling fees to be a way of charging the buyer more. If it costs you money in, say, packaging or whatever, build it into the shipping price, and maybe mention that in the description. I personally try to charge only what it actually costs me. It burns my butt to have someone charge $10 for shipping, then you get the package and it has $3 postage on it.


I think the guidelines on eBay are pretty broad. So if you're a lawyer, who's time is incredibly precious, you could probably charge a ridiculous amount for screwing around at the post office all day. Keep in mind, though, that high fees are sometimes frowned upon. Just be reasonable.

If you state that handling will be more than a couple bucks, just make sure that this is boldly outlined in your listing so even the most unconscientious buyer will know they are responsible for added cost and factor it into the price.

Of course, at the end of the day, this is YOUR stuff and YOUR time and YOUR money at stake. So it's wholly up to you.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:59 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
I think the guidelines on eBay are pretty broad. So if you're a lawyer, who's time is incredibly precious, you could probably charge a ridiculous amount for screwing around at the post office all day. Keep in mind, though, that high fees are sometimes frowned upon. Just be reasonable.

If you state that handling will be more than a couple bucks, just make sure that this is boldly outlined in your listing so even the most unconscientious buyer will know they are responsible for added cost and factor it into the price.

Of course, at the end of the day, this is YOUR stuff and YOUR time and YOUR money at stake. So it's wholly up to you.



Why doesn't this surprise me......
Unless you're intending to sue your package, it doesn't matter if you're a lawyer, cop, hot dog vendor or George Fucking Bush. You're not performing your profession when you ship, and if you want to argue that you're taking time out of your profession when you do, try pushing that one in any legal forum. You'll get laughed out of town. By the way, what is your seller name? I need to block you so I don't accidentally bid on anything you own and get charged a $5 handleme fee.
Ignore STD. He's a forum troll.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:16 pm 
 

I've only recently started doing this myself, and you have come to a great place for advice - these folks are very generous with their knowledge.  I have had a lot of luck basically charging $2 over actual shipping charges.  I do ship in new cardboard boxes (.66 ea), and card and polybag everything (.20 or so).  I offer to combine shipping on multiple buys, so if a bidder wins more than one auction, fees go down correspondingly.  I did have an odd thing happen during my last round of shipments - the actual cost at the post office (to Canada) was a lot less than I charged.  So I contacted the buyer to give him a $5 credit toward his next buy.  Just be fair and honest.  What goes around comes around, and the folks here are very sharp, just visit the "shady dealers" thread!


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:21 pm 
 

3$ - 5$ shipping & handling for single modules media mail/priority rate is fair and acceptable. If you offer a combined shipping discount for multiple purchases, advertise it up front this will encourage buyers to bid on several of your items. As a buyer let me tell you this: Auctions only offering ups ground rate / shipping & handling not cleary described / or excessive shipping & handling only make me hit the back button and skip over even reading your auction listing to never return again.

Oh and if your shipping modules/magazines, please take a few seconds to cut up some sort of cardboard backing to insert into the package so the item doesnt get bent in the mail. Its free, only takes a few seconds and can make a big difference especially with ignorant postal carriers who like to bend and cram everthing to make it fit. ( writing in magick marker on the envelope: Please Do Not Bend. helps too )

  


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:02 pm 
 

lucyjoyce wrote: So I contacted the buyer to give him a $5 credit toward his next buy.  Just be fair and honest.


Another thing you can do is give a PayPal refund if they have paid by PayPal.

For international auctions, I generally charge an estimated shipping amount, but then I give a refund if the estimated shipping charge is more than $1 U.S. over the actual shipping. I try to put this in my auction listing so the buyer knows in advance. Of course, if it fits in a flat-rate envelope, I'll just list that rate in the auction - though Italy has no Global Flat-Rate Priority rate.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:59 am 
 

Here is the actual rule:

"Sellers may charge reasonable shipping and handling fees to cover the costs for mailing, packaging, and handling the items they are selling. While eBay will not prescribe exactly what a seller may or may not charge, eBay will rely on member reports and its own discretion to determine whether or not a seller's shipping, handling, packaging, and/or insurance charges are excessive"

Deadlord39 wrote:Unless you're intending to sue your package, it doesn't matter if you're a lawyer, cop, hot dog vendor or George Fucking Bush. You're not performing your profession when you ship, and if you want to argue that you're taking time out of your profession when you do, try pushing that one in any legal forum.


Maybe this will help: If you had to drive 5 hours to your nearest post office to mail something, surely handling charges would reflect this major time cost. I surely would do so, and eBay's policies do not prohibit this.

Lawyers and the like pay an expensive price for their leisure time in the form of forgone wages (just as when you go to university, for example, you forgo the opportunity to work full-time). To them going to the post office is like us taking a 5-hour drive.

Well, whatever, Deadlord can chose to call me names like a jealous little schoolboy but it doesn't refute anything I've suggested nor offer anything constructive in its place.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:03 pm 
 

I have had a lot of luck basically charging $2 over actual shipping charges.  I do ship in new cardboard boxes (.66 ea), and card and polybag everything (.20 or so).  I offer to combine shipping on multiple buys, so if a bidder wins more than one auction, fees go down correspondingly.


eBay's policies explicitly allow for material costs in handling fees, though I don't know the link off hand.

I could be wrong, but aren't those flat rate boxes "free"?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:24 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:I could be wrong, but aren't those flat rate boxes "free"?

Free, but they can only be used for shipping Priority Mail.  They can not be used or re-used for any other type of mail.  Yes, people use them as cardboard liners and re-use them to ship packages, but all that is illegal.

One eager postal clerk opened up my Media Mail package because it looked as if I were using bits of a Priority Mail box.  Fortunately I was not, but then I couldn't remember if what the item was ---a game or a magazine or what, so I got ripped-off on postage.

As a result of the USPS' determination to make me not use or re-use boxes,  I have found that unused Priority Mail boxes are good for drying stripped minis, separating items, and anything else that requires a stiff piece of cardboard.   :twisted:

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:41 pm 
 

One eager postal clerk opened up my Media Mail package because it looked as if I were using bits of a Priority Mail box.  Fortunately I was not, but then I couldn't remember if what the item was ---a game or a magazine or what, so I got ripped-off on postage.


Interesting. Are you saying you can't reuse those flat rate boxes for say, media mail, or just can't reuse them period? I think the former is true, while the latter is not. My local post office charges me the $8.10 when I reuse it (just as if I used a new one) and I can reuse the boxes as much as I like.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:44 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:Maybe this will help: If you had to drive 5 hours to your nearest post office to mail something, surely handling charges would reflect this major time cost. I surely would do so, and eBay's policies do not prohibit this.

Lawyers and the like pay an expensive price for their leisure time in the form of forgone wages (just as when you go to university, for example, you forgo the opportunity to work full-time). To them going to the post office is like us taking a 5-hour drive.


I don't know where you begin to start justifying any of this to yourself?  Put these 2 together.  So you think Ebay will be fine with a lawyer who lives 5 hours away from the post office to charge a handling fee of $500+ for him to take a drive?  Go ahead and try it, see what happens.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:15 pm 
 

It's called "billable hours".  Your attorney can charge you for thinking about your case while sitting in traffic during his/her commute.  Usually they keep it to 15-minute increments.  

I don't think it's much of a stretch to consider "handling" in the same light; everyone in any line of business figures the cost of doing business into pricing, and since eBay pricing varies with the bidding (except BIN), it only makes good business sense to build your miscellaneous costs into the S&H charges.  It's up to the buyer/bidder to make up her mind whether to accept those charges by bidding.  A 5-hour drive to the PO certainly qualifies, but I doubt you'd get any bidders with a $20 handling charge for a $5 module (or whatever).

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:15 pm 
 

Mars wrote:I don't know where you begin to start justifying any of this to yourself?  Put these 2 together.  So you think Ebay will be fine with a lawyer who lives 5 hours away from the post office to charge a handling fee of $500+ for him to take a drive?  Go ahead and try it, see what happens.


I do think if I honestly had to drive 10 hours (5 hours there and back) and explicitly noted this fact in my listing, I could probably -- and quite rightly so, in my opinion -- charge a lot of money for this endeavor. Of course, the lawyer's time cost example doesn't really hold over such a long journey because it would be more economical just to go through the hassle of hiring someone to make the drive for you. So $500 would probably not fly, but $100-$200 probably would be reasonable. Anyways, I suspect eBay doesn't care one iota how you come up with your s/h fees so long as it does not give the appearence of fee avoidance.

Anyways, this was a hypothetical to illustrate a point. I was just trying to remark that some people, given certain circumstances (such as a high leisure cost ) could charge more than your average joe, and in so doing cover their expenses while remaining faithful to eBay policies.


Last edited by Sea-to-sky-games on Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  
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