March 16, 2011
In an announcement about changes to their fee structure coming in April, eBay has posted that they’re going to now count shipping costs towards the final value fee. This means that if you win something for $0.99 that costs $2.00 to ship, instead of taking a fee off the 99 cents, they’re going to take a percentage of the whole $2.99.
International sellers and those who ship internationally are already in an uproar. This is considered to be an outrageous move on eBay’s part, and may well be illegal. If a shipping cost is not an actual shipping cost according to the United States Postal Service, and eBay is taking a fee from it, then basically what they’re doing is defrauding either the buyer or the government. Unless they fully disclose to the buyer and seller exactly how much per transaction is a shipping cost and eBay’s new shipping fee, this will add unnecessary confusion for both. Buyers may think that higher shipping costs are fraud by the sellers rather than fraud by eBay.
Worse, since eBay is not a worldwide shipping service, for them to charge a shipping surcharge when they are not doing the actual shipping (the seller is), it is fraud on the face. Sellers will be charged by eBay for a job that their local postal service or a delivery service does.
This could be the final nail in the coffin for the individual or small business seller. Apparently eBay is telling us that we are very much unwanted.
So if you’ve been looking at something on eBay and have been dragging your feet, if it wasn’t made in a factory in China, buy it before April 19th. If eBay actually goes through with charging postal fees for not being the post office, they will lose individuals and small businesses altogether, and perhaps some larger ones who will decide it is no longer worth it to ship internationally. Then there will be whatever repercussions will come from the U.S. Federal government for false shipping charges.
Other gloom-and-doomers have predicted the downfall or total uselessness of eBay before, but in the past, sellers learned how to calculate and absorb the fees. This time though, they’ve gone too far, and sellers are either no longer going to ship internationally or leaving eBay for more sane selling services.
Remember when I said in a previous post that for an artist, eBay was good promotion? I don’t know if that is going to be the case after the 19th of April. We’ll see if they stay as Google friendly when Google gets wind that they’re defrauding customers with fake additions to shipping charges.