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  #1  
Old 09-05-2013, 11:41 PM
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Default Here's a questionable practice

I'm a little annoyed with this.

On eBay, when you see a listing, it usually tells you how much the cost of shipping is, or there's no cost of shipping, meaning they'll calculate it after the item is bought - which both are fair practices. Or, there could be free shipping.

I saw this neat vintage marching drum and along with the drum's Buy It Now price, there was also listed the shipping cost - a flat rate, so it doesn't matter where in the US it's going to - which is what I assumed. Also, on this drum there was a "Make an Offer" box.

So I make the offer, figuring if he accepts my offer, I know what the cost will be because the shipping is priced already.

Lo and behold, I get a counter-offer back that's higher, which isn't too strange (I can accept or decline it). The strange part is the price was higher because the shipping was higher to my zip code! The seller tells me because I'm so far away the shipping is higher, so he'll sell it to me at my price, but with an additional $6 on the shipping.

Granted, we're only talking $6, but on principle I declined. For one, I questioned him if I were closer, then I get a break on the shipping? And he said yes, meaning my price would be less. To which I asked, then why post a flat rate shipping price in the first place? It seemed a questionable practice to make the price go up or down because of the shipping, especially if you've already posted a flat-rate shipping price! He apologized for the confusion - whatever - but he'd split the $6 and still do the deal to make up for it.

I told him no, and that I'm buying a vintage snare that cost more than his anyway (just to make a point). I recommend he not post a shipping price if he was then going to base it off of the actual shipping cost to a location. Beware of the people who post a shipping cost and then change it, I say! Annoying.

Thanks for letting me vent.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Whenever I select, "Make an Offer" on eBay. I always state in the price that I will pay plus the amount that I will pay for shipping. Sometimes I state that I will pay you, $xxxx plus FREE shipping.
Once you select the "Make an Offer" button, the rules of eBay change from the "Buy it Now" or "Auction" mode.
Read the rules of eBay and you will understand what I have stated.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Whenever I select, "Make an Offer" on eBay. I always state in the price that I will pay plus the amount that I will pay for shipping. Sometimes I state that I will pay you, $xxxx plus FREE shipping.
Once you select the "Make an Offer" button, the rules of eBay change from the "Buy it Now" or "Auction" mode.
Read the rules of eBay and you will understand what I have stated.
Oh yeah, in my communication I told him how much total I had to spend which included his shipping price - cause I'm thinking that price was set. I didn't know shipping was variable after you state it. Still annoying.
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

ebay has added many annoying things, and loads of extra charges.
Its just not good clean fun to buy like it used to be.
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

I have never gotten the enjoyment from eBay that others seem to experience. All that little twiddly crap irritates me. I have purchased exactly one thing and sold exactly one thing. By the time I got done with the fees, etc I had been nickle-and-dimed to the point where I could have sold on craigslist at half the asking price and come out even.

Your situation sounds fishy to me, Bo, but maybe Bob is right - maybe the stated shipping price is variable once you "make an offer." Like you, I would have told him no thanks.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:13 AM
Razbo Razbo is offline
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Whenever I select, "Make an Offer" on eBay. I always state in the price that I will pay plus the amount that I will pay for shipping. Sometimes I state that I will pay you, $xxxx plus FREE shipping.
Once you select the "Make an Offer" button, the rules of eBay change from the "Buy it Now" or "Auction" mode.
Read the rules of eBay and you will understand what I have stated.
That is interesting information to me. (I rarely read rules I guess.) Thank you for this power! lol

I was a bit of an ebay addict whan I "discovered" if a few years ago, but always just Bid or Buy Now.

...And I hate those time down last second bidders grrr!
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

The way shipping is used (and abused) on eBay drives me nuts too.

Based on some listings I've seen over the years I think a lot of people seem to treat the "& handling" portion of a sale like it's some kind of tip. I've seen sellers constantly readjusting opening bid price or buy it now price and making up the difference in the shipping cost. I feel like shipping shouldn't be a way to game the system or try to make up for any chance of lost profits in the final selling price.

I also tend to avoid dealing with people that play those kind of games. I rarely look to buy something so rare or unexpected that I won't hold out for a more aboveboard seller, even if, like you did Bo, that means paying a little more for a better chance of NOT dealing with a seller that tries to cut corners or sneak in extra charges just because they can get away with it.

On my own auctions I have taken to using calculated shipping over fixed price costs because there is a lot more fluctuation in price from region to region now than there used to be.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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...And I hate those time down last second bidders grrr!
Ha! My most used ebay tactic. Never let 'em see you coming, is my motto.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Yes, shippers calculate cost of fuel into the bottom line. So this is not questionable, at least in my eyes. Also size/dimension of package.

If you are going to ship something from CA to FL, it's more expensive than from TX to FL. It may be a slight amount, or it may be significantly higher. (butterfly effect) I know this because I work in the industry with the largest carrier. :)

On the other hand, if it's a small item in a small package, at the slowest and least-expensive option, "ground", it should be a marginal amount.

It's something to look out for (any type of fraud), no doubt.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Yes, shippers calculate cost of fuel into the bottom line (price). So this is not questionable, at least in my eyes. Also size/dimension of package.

If you are going to ship something from CA to FL, it's more expensive than from TX to FL. It may be a slight amount, or it may be significantly higher. (butterfly effect)

I know this because I work in the transportation industry with the largest carrier. :)

On the other hand, if it's a small item in a small package, it should be a marginal amount.
I think the point is, why was it one price to 'Buy It Now' but it costs more to 'Make An Offer'?

Regardless of whether or not Bo bought it at auction or made a bid that was accepted, the shipping distance was the same. Why then does the shipping price increase for the latter purchase option?
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Yes, shippers calculate cost of fuel into the bottom line (price). So this is not questionable, at least in my eyes. Also size/dimension of package.

If you are going to ship something from CA to FL, it's more expensive than from TX to FL. It may be a slight amount, or it may be significantly higher. (butterfly effect) I know this because I work in the industry with the largest carrier. :)

On the other hand, if it's a small item in a small package, at the slowest and least-expensive option ( ground ), it should be a marginal amount.

It's something to look out for (any type of fraud), no doubt.
I don't think it's questionable if the seller states the shipping will be based on actual cost up front. The thing that seems questionable is the buyer stated a flat shipping rate, and then added an additional amount to that flat rate.

Unless eBay specifically allows this in a "make an offer" situation, I think it's totally bogus. In fact, I think it's bogus even IF it is allowed, and I would do as Bo did and elect not to buy.
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2013, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
I think the point is, why was it one price to 'Buy It Now' but it costs more to 'Make An Offer'?

Regardless of whether or not Bo bought it at auction or made a bid that was accepted, the shipping distance was the same. Why then does the shipping price increase for the latter purchase option?
The shipper's inexperience, it sounds like. I am not condoning what happened, but it just sounds like they took an "average" cost to ship it somewhere- built-in - and didn't realize the cost difference.

Bo, is this someone who moves a lot of goods on e-bay?

Again, I know people try to take other's money for nothing and no one's a bigger cynic than me. lol
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2013, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
I don't think it's questionable if the seller states the shipping will be based on actual cost up front. The thing that seems questionable is the buyer stated a flat shipping rate, and then added an additional amount to that flat rate.

Unless eBay specifically allows this in a "make an offer" situation, I think it's totally bogus. In fact, I think it's bogus even IF it is allowed, and I would do as Bo did and elect not to buy.
That's what I'm saying. If you're a seller and you state a fixed price for shipping, then you've removed all excuses to change your shipping price. I was ok with paying the first stated shipping cost, as I would be if they calculated it out and said "this is how much it is". But to change it after the fact, even if this is allowed in the "Make an Offer" rules, doesn't make much sense and I will avoid sellers who do that. I think you can argue this point with eBay as well. But for now, I'll just keep an eye on sellers who do this. If you, as a seller, don't know what the shipping cost is, either find out or stand by what you said you'd charge. Changing it after the fact is just wrong.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
The shipper's inexperience, it sounds like. I am not condoning what happened, but it just sounds like they took an "average" cost to ship it somewhere- built-in - and didn't realize the cost difference.

Bo, is this someone who moves a lot of goods on e-bay?

Again, I know people try to take other's money for nothing and no one's a bigger cynic than me. lol
Not sure, maybe. But if I make a mistake on the cost of shipping, I'll eat the difference. If it's a big discrepancy, I may cancel the transaction altogether, but that hasn't happened to me at all. If I'm $10 off, I can live with that. $100 off would require a discussion, but I'll know that going in before listing.
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

When setting a BIN, you know what you're letting it go for and can factor in a worst case shipping and post a fixed or free shipping based on that. If the person is closer, then you get a few more bucks out of the deal. When you get into Let's Make A Deal, then the shipping costs become more important to your "this is the least I will take for this" price. So I can sort of understand the sellers desire to correct or update to actual shipping charges.

Of course it may just be a scam for extra margin like every as sold on TV ad, only $9.99, just pay $14.95 shipping and handling. But wait, there's more. We'll though in a 2nd one absolutely free (just pay shipping and handling on the 2nd item). And so on.

I can't conceive of selling any thing big on e-bay just because the shipping can be so variable. I've bought a few things where you used the shipping calculator or it was close enough that I knew the shipping would be reasonable. The only thing I've actually sold on e-bay was a guitar pedal that I knew would be easy to pack and ship. And the only reason I used e-bay was that it was an early model of a very desirable and no longer made overdrive. And I hoped it would bid up a bit. It set a record for them at $2K. I've not looked to see if any have sold for more since, but it was worth it. For that money, I covered the shipping and was fortunate that the guy who bought it was fairly close.
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Agree, fixed price is fixed price, but I do think your seller behaved well enough. He apologised for the confusion, & offered to swallow half the shipping cost increase. Unless he was a very regular Ebay based business pulling extra margin, I say fair play. I'm also assuming your offer price was further below the difference in shipping cost, so overall, you were offered a reduction.

Anyhow, I'm calling general mild bleating. You guys in the US get such great prices, plus half a continent to select gear from, & very reasonable overland shipping rates. Frankly, you're all spoilt :)
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Anyhow, I'm calling general mild bleating. You guys in the US get such great prices, plus half a continent to select gear from, & very reasonable overland shipping rates. Frankly, you're all spoilt :)
Yep, quit your moaning. When your gas is $13 a gallon you can complain again...
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Maybe the seller should just figure in the HIGHEST cost of shipping to a point in the lower 48 states and charge that or just figure it in to his original selling price and state FREE shipping. I have sold 2 guitars on eBay and I figured in cost of shipping to California from Indianapolis. Then I just stated free shipping. I know a lot of times free shipping catches a buyers eye. That way the buyer is happy and I moved my product with no bickering.

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Old 09-06-2013, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Yep, quit your moaning. When your gas is $13 a gallon you can complain again...
Agree in principal Ian, but our "gas" isn't that expensive. US Gallon is smaller than the Imperial Gallon at 3.8 Litres, so at current exchange rates, we're paying about $8.30/US Gallon.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:19 PM
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Agree in principal Ian, but our "gas" isn't that expensive. US Gallon is smaller than the Imperial Gallon at 3.8 Litres, so at current exchange rates, we're paying about $8.30/US Gallon.
Holy smokes!!! $8.30 gallon is still outrageous! It's $3.40 gallon here in Indy. Btw Andy, just checked out your band link. You guys sound great and loved Purple Rain! IMO, Prince one of the most underrated guitarists ever. Guy is phenomenal. Also...nice drums! Where'd ya get 'em? ; )
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Winston_Wolf View Post
The way shipping is used (and abused) on eBay drives me nuts too.

Based on some listings I've seen over the years I think a lot of people seem to treat the "& handling" portion of a sale like it's some kind of tip. I've seen sellers constantly readjusting opening bid price or buy it now price and making up the difference in the shipping cost. I feel like shipping shouldn't be a way to game the system or try to make up for any chance of lost profits in the final selling price.

I also tend to avoid dealing with people that play those kind of games. I rarely look to buy something so rare or unexpected that I won't hold out for a more aboveboard seller, even if, like you did Bo, that means paying a little more for a better chance of NOT dealing with a seller that tries to cut corners or sneak in extra charges just because they can get away with it.

On my own auctions I have taken to using calculated shipping over fixed price costs because there is a lot more fluctuation in price from region to region now than there used to be.
A lot of sellers used to let items go cheap only to make up the difference in shipping fees. But ebay caught on to that, and as I understand it now calculates the shipping charges with the final value fee the seller pays, so there's not an advantage to do that anymore.
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:59 PM
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Agree in principal Ian, but our "gas" isn't that expensive. US Gallon is smaller than the Imperial Gallon at 3.8 Litres, so at current exchange rates, we're paying about $8.30/US Gallon.
I made the mistake of accidentally buying Premium the other week. All I can say is that I heard my wallet scream.

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Old 09-06-2013, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
..... people who post a shipping cost and then change it, I say! Annoying.
Indeed it is. An eBay auction ends, with a basic contract established between buyer and seller. Any deviation after the end of auction, is basically a breach of contract. So, I'd certainly be tempted to pass on the deal (and report the seller).
I think it's just a basic symptom of our economic woes, that there are a lot more nuts and kooks on eBay, now.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:10 AM
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Default Re: Here's a questionable practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Agree, fixed price is fixed price, but I do think your seller behaved well enough. He apologised for the confusion, & offered to swallow half the shipping cost increase. Unless he was a very regular Ebay based business pulling extra margin, I say fair play. I'm also assuming your offer price was further below the difference in shipping cost, so overall, you were offered a reduction.

Anyhow, I'm calling general mild bleating. You guys in the US get such great prices, plus half a continent to select gear from, & very reasonable overland shipping rates. Frankly, you're all spoilt :)
He did behave well, and I just commented on it that it was odd that the shipping charge would change after you stated a fixed shipping price. Regardless if eBay says this is ok, it's not how to do business. And as stated, had I bought it and then he changed his shipping price, I would've cancelled the transaction and reported it to eBay customer service, and then I'd question eBay why this is OK.
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