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01-28-2015, 10:12 PM   #1
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Selling Internationally on eBay

I have some gear I plan on letting go. I've sold plenty on eBay in the USA, but I always hesitate to sell to buyers abroad.

For awhile now eBay has offered some sort of international shipping facility or something, where you just pay domestic shipping and they take care of all the rest.

Anybody use this? I really don't understand eBay's explanation.

Thanks,

Dave

01-28-2015, 10:35 PM   #2
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Most people really seem to hate it (they sometimes unpack and repack your gear, ambiguous import charges, etc) and then the buyer blames you. Keep reading about it.

I usually list for USA only, and if I get no takers after a while I open it up to Canada, Australia, etc. (but not through the ebay global program) You can often get higher prices out of the USA because of the exchange rates and the scarcity of gear in certain places (Australians seem to be in constant desperate need of lenses, and are often willing to pay extra), but it can be a pain to ship. I've also had several sales within the US that were going to a third-party freight shipper who forwards them to where ever the buyer really is. (Which is basically what ebay is doing, except in this case the buyer has hired them and they are responsible. Those kind of sales are usually the most trouble-free as chance of return/chargeback extremely low as long as your descriptions are accurate.)
01-28-2015, 10:37 PM   #3
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I have used it from a buyer's point of view a couple of times - no issues so far. It's a little slower and more expensive for the buyer, but it's guaranteed to have all fees prepaid when the parcel arrives. This was a huge headache before - even if you got the seller to pinky swear that they would ship USPS, sometimes they would ship UPS anyway and then the buyer is hit with a big brokerage charge when the package is delivered. So even with the increased cost and time it's still worthwhile for buyers (at least for larger items like lenses - another 10 or 20 bucks cost isn't usually a deal breaker).

As for the logistics of how you as a seller do your shipping labels and how you ship to the Pitney Bowes facility for them to do the customs paperwork and send it off internationally - not sure about that part.
01-29-2015, 12:29 AM   #4
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And the POV from another international buyer:
So far I've been closing the page when I saw this new method of shipment, because while there's no import duty applied to photo gears in Malaysia, I'm seeing an import charge on those items with eBay international shipping program. so why should I pay a money when there's none required here!? :/ I don't know where they are getting these charges from, but it doesn't look right to me.

01-29-2015, 06:20 AM   #5
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I've heard nothing but complaints. It might be ok for certain kinds of items (i.e. generic mass-produced stuff), but there are several deal-breakers in the arrangement for me as a seller.
01-29-2015, 10:01 AM   #6
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I just won't sell internationally anymore. Too many problems:
A Canadian buyer wanted a refund of import duties charged to him by his government.
A Takumar lens was refused at the buyer's border for being military equipment because it says Bayonet on it - buyer blamed me because I labeled it "used lens" instead of "gift".
Several international buyers refused to pay after they discovered how much shipping cost.
Extra paperwork at the post office.

I can understand why eBay would want to implement the system - plenty of international buyers and not enough locals willing to sell to them for these and various other issues.
01-29-2015, 12:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
I just won't sell internationally anymore. Too many problems:
A Canadian buyer wanted a refund of import duties charged to him by his government.
A Takumar lens was refused at the buyer's border for being military equipment because it says Bayonet on it - buyer blamed me because I labeled it "used lens" instead of "gift".
Several international buyers refused to pay after they discovered how much shipping cost.
As usual, a few bad apples spoil the barrel for the rest of us Not all international buyers are that stupid / unreasonable. But I understand your decision.
01-29-2015, 02:32 PM   #8
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Shipping anything to anywhere always carries a risk. Every time a package goes through another step of handling to its destination an opportunity for loss and damage is possible. Thankfully, a large majority of my transactions are trouble free. There have been a few instances of the buyer claiming they never received a package. I offer them to use eBay's Resolution Center. They never do and I don't think twice about it. Otherwise, the most common complaint is the long delivery times. My shipments always have tracking numbers available and I always email PDF copies of the shipping labels to the buyers. Another helpful tip is to ask the buyer to send you their address written in their native language. For example, my packages to China have all the usual USPS labels in English plus a label supplied by the buyer written in Chinese. I have shipped packages to Australia, Canada, China, Japan, UK, etc.

From a seller's perspective, the Global Shipping Service is great. I ship the package to a center (usually in Kentucky) and everything is taken care of for me.

Personally, I feel OK with international shipping as long as the buyer pays for it, the package is trackable, and I receive a shipping label in the destination country's native language.

01-29-2015, 02:48 PM   #9
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I have sold and shipped internationally on ebay for many years. I'll share what I have learned. I never use the new eBay shipping program. I used it once and it took more time and effort than just doing it myself, not worth the hassle. I can't see that they add any value to the customer either, they charge extra fees.

After some bad experiences, I will only sell to certain countries: Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. I may refuse to ship to a customer whose feedback shows a bad history, but that is true in the US too. I pack the same way as for domestic shipments; the only extra effort is to fill out the Customs Declaration online, but that's not excessive paperwork or time. It adds a few sales on high end items, so it's worth it.

I only ship by Priority Express international with full insurance and signature required, which is expensive but worth it. Without a signature on delivery, you don't get blanket protection from ebay's seller protection. You only get the signature with Express, and the buyer pays shipping so I play it safe. I never use UPS, FedEx or DHL for international shipping because they use customs brokers who add fees. That's what works for me.
01-29-2015, 03:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trigger Happy Quote
As usual, a few bad apples spoil the barrel for the rest of us Not all international buyers are that stupid / unreasonable. But I understand your decision.
I agree 100%. It is only a few creeps. If I were a professional retailer with goods to move, I'd ship to anyone who wants to pay. With only a few items a month, I just can't afford to absorb losses from those few creeps.
01-29-2015, 03:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Australians seem to be in constant desperate need of lenses, and are often willing to pay extra
So just sell to Aussies - we'll buy anything, pay top dollar and won't complain!!! The ultimate cargo cult destination.

Be warned though: with the $A on the slide again (<$US0.77 and falling), the party might not last.
01-30-2015, 03:15 AM   #12
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I am glad I did my buying when the $A was high. As high as $A!:USD1.10.


The last lens I bought was through the shipping centre. I was very unimpressed. I paid $20 extra compared with charges for direct USPS shipping to Australia and it took an extra 10 days or so, and when I tried to follow up for the tracking details (they gave me a tracking number but it got stuck, according to tracking at my local airport, neither the seller nor the eBay people were able or willing to tell me which shipping company was responsible. I wanted to call them direct and arrange to go to their depot at the airport to get it. So from the buyer viewpoint I paid extra and got worse service. Lens was a STak 85/1.9, one of the most expensive I bought.
01-30-2015, 07:35 AM   #13
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eBay had set international shipping as an option on a spare Q body that I was selling, and did so without my knowledge or permission.
Found out when it sold to a buyer in Hong Kong.
But my shipping cost ended up being less than what I was paid, and it went smoothly, I guess, never heard from the buyer via feedback or contact.

I did change the setting back to USA only.
01-30-2015, 03:17 PM   #14
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When I sold my Magic card collection years ago, a LOT of high dollar cards went to Europe. At the time, the Euro was strong on the dollar, so it was a huge loss not to sell to Europe. They were overpaying for cards (but they didn't care because the exchange made it only slightly more expensive to them). I mandated EMS on all expensive cards; I still held my breath on a lot of purchases. Worse was at the time, you could only choose continents and not countries to exclude. While continents like Asia have obvious different quality of life levels among the member countries, even Europe was a problem. Spain, France, Germany...all nice countries to ship things to. Italy and Greece? Yeah. I had a registered letter have its tracking go dead once it got to Italy. I presume that it got there because the buyer never filed a complaint, but isn't the $15 registration fee supposed to guarantee that won't happen? Guess not in Italy...

My wife has used the global shipping program to sell some stuff. No camera equipment, but the items in question are $80-100 each. We won't ship internationally outside the program. They just slap another label on your item over the old one. The only way I can see them repacking is if you use Priority Mail packaging--so don't do that.

The biggest advantage of the program is that you are absolved of shipping issues once it gets to Kentucky. The most common complaints about international shipping:

QuoteQuote:
A Canadian buyer wanted a refund of import duties charged to him by his government.
The buyer sees those before they pay.

QuoteQuote:
A Takumar lens was refused at the buyer's border for being military equipment because it says Bayonet on it - buyer blamed me because I labeled it "used lens" instead of "gift".
Global program fills out the forms for you. If the buyer has a problem with that, then eBay will say "You accepted the terms of the program by buying the item."

QuoteQuote:
Several international buyers refused to pay after they discovered how much shipping cost.
As long as you're using BIN and not auction style, the exact cost is shown to them up front. You don't have to estimate it like when you do it yourself and then pay out of pocket when you get it wrong.

QuoteQuote:
Extra paperwork at the post office.
Global program does the forms for you.


By far, the biggest benefit of the program is:
QuoteQuote:
  • You aren't responsible for item loss or damage that occurs after the item is forwarded by the US shipping center. Once an item has been forwarded by the US shipping center, you won't be responsible for refunding the buyer if an eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Purchase Protection case is filed against you for one of the following reasons:
    • A buyer claims an item isn't received or
    • A package is damaged in transit
With that, I'd say you have to be nuts to sell outside the program. If it weren't for this, we wouldn't sell outside it. Not really worth it for most items. The above doesn't guard against the buyer who claims "item not as described" when he's really changed his mind, but there's not much you can do about that. It's still a big issue for domestic sales.


QuoteQuote:
Personally, I feel OK with international shipping as long as the buyer pays for it, the package is trackable, and I receive a shipping label in the destination country's native language.
You need to be careful with this. If something happens, PayPal may decide you shipped to an unauthorized address (they won't pay for a translator, trust me!) and you'll lose all your seller protections. Those aren't worth too much, but if I think if you ship to an unconfirmed address and the buyer claims fraud, you're on the hook for it. Under seller protection, you're not.

Best thing to do is print the label directly from their site without any alteration so they can't catch you on a "you didn't ship to the right address" attempt.
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