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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ebay adventures (pt 3 of 3)

Then there is the issue of shipping. On eBay US, you can limit the bidders to domestic locations, or you can add Canada, or you can add all international buyers. I’m a bit torn on that. It’s true that you can expand your market by making international shipment a possibility, but you also expand your potential problems.

I never seem to have gotten a realistic estimate for foreign shipping online; usually it takes an actual trip to the USPS station with the box all ready to go. Then, after getting it estimated, you have to send out a new invoice to the buyer and wait for a response. And that assumes the item has already sold – I’ve gotten questions along the lines of “how much to ship to X?” I can make an estimate, but the farther off your estimate is from the eventual actual cost the more chance you run of having a dispute with someone who likely does not speak English. Though I have to say that my experience in this regard has been pretty positive so far; modellers are a pretty reasonable bunch in total, and their English is going to be by definition better than my Czech, Russian, Norwegian, or whatever.

The biggest downside of foreign sales is that you can’t get a delivery confirmation for international parcel rate, the only rate that is anywhere near reasonable price-wise. Luckily it has not come up yet, but what do I do if someone claims that the box never arrived? I honestly don’t know the eBay rules on that, and hopefully won’t find out anytime soon.


  1. Kevin,
    I sold some of my stash on eBay a couple of years ago. Same hassles, but eventually I came to realize that by using a true auction ($1 min, no buy it now, etc) and adding a $1 fee as my handling cost with price of the box on top of that, I found I was able to cover the shipping overseas if not precise on the estimate. Some items I lost (paid more shipping) but others were less and since I wasn't out for a profit I figured it evened out in the end.

    Good luck!

  2. Tim: I do like the minimum bid option, if only so that I'm not forced to give the item away if it happens that all the modellers are out of town that week ;) I am after some profit at least - or I wouldn't be selling things - but I haven't had any big losses yet. Fingers crossed...