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Registered: ‎08-12-2017

Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to me.

Shipping is a necessary cost and should not be part of the amount that eBay is charging.  Is it legal for eBay to be including this cost as part of the selling cost.  Sometimes shipping has cost more than I calculated and I end up with a very small profit. 

Community Member
Posts: 5,714
Registered: ‎10-21-2008

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

[ Edited ]
in reply to dillydally552012

dillydally552012 wrote:

Shipping is a necessary cost and should not be part of the amount that eBay is charging.  Is it legal for eBay to be including this cost as part of the selling cost.  Sometimes shipping has cost more than I calculated and I end up with a very small profit. 


Your comments aren't quite clear.  EBay doesn't charge for shipping, you charge your buyer.  Normally shipping costs should be, at worst, a zero-sum proposition overall for most sellers.  In other words, you should not, over time, be losing money on shipping.  If shipping is frequently costing you more than you expected, then you are doing something wrong -- which could be any number of things.  

 

Or are you referring to eBay's Final Value Fees (FVFs) that are charged to you on the shipping you charge to buyers?  

 

If so, those FVFs have been in place for a very long time.  They were introduced by eBay years ago at a time when they only charged FVFs on the selling price, not selling + shipping price.  Sellers were scamming buyers by listing cheap items and charging outrageous shipping amounts, pocketing the profits and avoiding paying fees to eBay (not to mention angering a lot of buyers).  The policy of FVFs on shipping put a stop to that for the most part. 

 

Is it legal?  Well, the moment you digitally accept eBay's User Agreement, you have agreed to be bound by whatever terms eBay has chosen to include in that agreement.  You have effectively signed a legal commercial contract, accepting the parameters set out in that contract.  It eBay's site, we are their users (and subscribers, if we have a store).  They can set any charges they like.  The only real limit is what the market will bear in comparison to their competitor sites. 

 

There are only three realistic alternatives if you don't agree with the FVFs on shipping: 1) Find another site to sell; 2) Sell from your own website; or 3) Increase your item cost to account for the shipping FVFs.  

 

By the way, if you have the patience to bother contacting eBay's customer service, apparently eBay will refund shipping FVFs where you can show that you've actually refunded excess shipping to a customer.  

 

If you have specific questions about your issues with unexpected shipping amounts, post them here and perhaps others can help. 

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 5,714
Registered: ‎10-21-2008

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

[ Edited ]
in reply to rose-dee

By the way, I obviously meant to say "increase your item price to account for the shipping FVFs" in my post above, not "increase your item cost" (LOL, not a very practical idea!). 

Community Member
Posts: 12,124
Registered: ‎01-14-2003

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

[ Edited ]
in reply to dillydally552012

Question: "Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs?"

 

Answer: Yes.

 

There is one way to avoid fees on shipping: offer "free shipping"!  Smiley Happy

Community Member
Posts: 8,824
Registered: ‎03-25-2003

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

in reply to pierrelebel

There is one way to avoid fees on shipping: offer "free shipping"!  Smiley Happy

 

Well, actually.....

 

Since Free Shipping really means "the seller's cost of shipping has been included in the asking price" the seller will be charged eBay fees (as Final Value Fees) on her shipping charges.

 

It is worth noting that FVF can in some instances be LOWER than the standard 10% Shipping FVF.

 

More to the point, if the seller can standardize her shipping costs to the point where using Flat Rate shipping is possible, then using putting that cost into the asking price and advertising "Free Shipping" is a smart marketing move.

 

In another thread, ypdc_dennis instructs a seller to offer Free Shipping to both Canada and the USA* by opting for Flat Rate shipping, using Free Shipping for one destination and $0.00 as the fee for the other.

 

 

 

 

*Don't offer Free Shipping internationally. Just don't.

 

 

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 5,714
Registered: ‎10-21-2008

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

in reply to femmefan1946

femmefan1946 wrote:

 

 

More to the point, if the seller can standardize her shipping costs to the point where using Flat Rate shipping is possible, then using putting that cost into the asking price and advertising "Free Shipping" is a smart marketing move.

 

 


I agree that offering "free shipping" makes good sense as a marketing strategy, as long as the seller is listing items for which this is reasonably feasible.  But I do think it can be a more complex equation for some sellers which can also involve where your competition is (and how much they're charging), and where the bulk of your sales tend to come from. 

 

For example, rolling a ca. $8.00 shipping cost into an item selling for, say, $20, could actually be a deterrent to buyers, particularly if the seller has close competition in the U.S.  This has been my constant conundrum ever since eBay.ca removed the ability to list in $USD.  For a few years, I had the perfect arrangement -- list in $USD to appeal to my mostly U.S. customers, and offer truly free shipping to Canada (where I usually had less than 10% of my sales), i.e. as the "first domestic" price on .ca, and pay no FVFs whatsoever on all the shipping to the U.S. and elsewhere.  This in turn helped me to offer lower (subsidized) shipping to my U.S. buyers.  That was a thing of beauty, but alas, like all beautiful things, it was fleeting. Woman Frustrated

 

I switched most of my listings to .com over a year ago due to the then existing shopping cart dysfunction, and it cost me in higher FVFs on shipping on virtually all of my sales, since not only could I not justify rolling shipping costs into item pricing, but I no longer had the advantage of being able to offer free "domestic" shipping.  The hope was that offering $USD prices would boost sales and offset higher FVFs.  Mostly this has been the case. 

 

Domestic shipping on .com is of course actually shipping to the U.S., which for most of my items is more expensive than the lettermail cost within Canada.  It's just not sensible anymore for me to offer truly free domestic (U.S.) shipping.  Almost all my competitors are in the U.S., and my buyers certainly know the comparative pricing, so "masking" shipping in item pricing isn't sensible either.   

 

On the positive side, for sellers in the position to do so, it's probably still not too hard to hide a $10 shipping cost in a $100 item, or a $5 shipping into a $30 item, or a $2.50 shipping cost into a $10 item, especially if there is wide pricing of those items on offer on eBay.  However as shipping costs rise, I think the strategy of rolling the shipping cost into the item price is going to become an even more delicate calculation.  

 

 

 

 

Community Member
Posts: 5,714
Registered: ‎10-21-2008

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

in reply to rose-dee

I think I've just found the title for a book about my eBay experiences: "Constant Conundrum". Woman Very Happy

Community Member
Posts: 472
Registered: ‎02-21-2005

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

in reply to rose-dee

I think I've just found the title for a book about my eBay experiences: "Constant Conundrum"

 

 

I think I may have seen them perform at Lee's Palace some years ago.  

Community Member
Posts: 5,569
Registered: ‎08-29-2005

Re: Is it legal for Ebay to charge a percentage of the shipping costs? It does not seem ethical to

in reply to snoopwiz

Which made this come to mind

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pBYKVESAyk

 

Don't even have to change the words.