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#1
Old 01-05-2009, 08:56 PM
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ebay buyer wants to combine shipping, but i dkd not offer it, what is my response?

That is to say DID not offer...

I recently put a bunch of old "Globe Publications" books on ebay. These are the kind of small books you see in supermarket checkouts. "How to Win at Bingo" "1000 Cat Facts" etc. One buyer bought the majority of them, and wants to combine shipping. I never expected any of these to sell, much less to one buyer.

I intentionally did not offer combined shipping. Most went for the minimum $.99 bid, and carried $2.00 or $3.00 shipping. This is just to make it worth my while to deal with this, otherwise the stuff was going in the trash. What are my obligations? What should I do?

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 01-05-2009 at 08:58 PM.
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#2
Old 01-05-2009, 08:59 PM
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Your obligations are exactly what you laid out in your auction. If you don't want to combine shipping, you certainly don't have to. Personally, since you'll likely toss them all in one box, I would do it.
#3
Old 01-05-2009, 09:02 PM
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Want to bet the buyer resells them?
#4
Old 01-05-2009, 09:02 PM
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IANAL, much less a contract lawyer. I don't think you have any obligation to combine shipping, since each was listed individually with its own shipping charges, and you never offered to combine it.

That said, if I were you, I would agree to combine the shipping. It's a lot less hassle for you to throw them all in, and ship, one box versus many. I'm sure you could hold him to the $2-$3 charge for each item if you really wanted, but I'd just throw them in a single box and charge him the actual shipping cost.
#5
Old 01-05-2009, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
What are my obligations?
You're certainly well within your rights to not combine shipping. Can't argue with that.

Quote:
What should I do?
However IMO, you should 1) combine the shipping, 2) chalk it up as lesson learned for not stating it explicitly in the auction description, 3) move on with your life.

(My perspective as a seller with 3000+ items sold & 100% feedback.)
#6
Old 01-05-2009, 09:08 PM
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If you are inflating your shipping charges to offset the fact that your items sold for 99, that is against eBay policy and could result in negative feedback or a buyer reporting you for it.

I would charge the seller the amount it actually costs to ship them all in one package. And if I were the buyer, I'd be pissed off as hell if the seller insisted on shipping each item individually and charged me $2 shipping for each one.
#7
Old 01-05-2009, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
I intentionally did not offer combined shipping. Most went for the minimum $.99 bid, and carried $2.00 or $3.00 shipping. This is just to make it worth my while to deal with this, otherwise the stuff was going in the trash. What are my obligations? What should I do?
I think that you should combine shipping. Yeah, you won't make money on the shipping like you thought you would, but on the other hand you are saving a LOT of time and energy by putting them all in one package.

Next time, just put "I don't combine shipping" on your listing. Or list the price you want to sell the things for, rather than trying to make it up on shipping (as a buyer, I really hate that). The buyer probably wouldn't have bid if he knew you didn't want to combine.
#8
Old 01-05-2009, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
...trying to make it up on shipping (as a buyer, I really hate that).
It's actually a violation of eBay policy to charge excessive shipping.
#9
Old 01-05-2009, 09:17 PM
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Yah, I guess I will ship them off with combined shipping. But part of shipping is the hassle you go through, packaging, driving to the post office, waiting in line, etc.

As far as the guy reselling them, the cover price of these things is like $2.00 so, so they didn't exactly hit the jackpot...

Like I say, I hate to throw good things away, so I put them on up. Credit my New England Stepmother!
#10
Old 01-05-2009, 09:17 PM
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If you didn't offer to combine shipping, you don't have to combine shipping.


But you're a dick for jacking up shipping to cover the item's cost.
#11
Old 01-05-2009, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
It's actually a violation of eBay policy to charge excessive shipping.
But aren't you allowed to charge more than just postage? Boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, gas to go to the P.O., time in linee, that stuff isn't free.

If someone charged me $10 for shipping, say, a DVD, yeah that is excessive. $4? Not so much.
#12
Old 01-05-2009, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
If you didn't offer to combine shipping, you don't have to combine shipping.


But you're a dick for jacking up shipping to cover the item's cost.
See my last post.
#13
Old 01-05-2009, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
But you're a dick for jacking up shipping to cover the item's cost.
Actually, it would seem as though a reasonable fee were being charged to cover handling. You do know boxes and envelopes and gasoline and time waiting at the post office are not free, correct?
#14
Old 01-05-2009, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
If you didn't offer to combine shipping, you don't have to combine shipping.


But you're a dick for jacking up shipping to cover the item's cost.
And in fact that isn't the issue at all. In fact, the items cost me nothing. If I had known this would happen, it wouldn't have been worth all this to me, the stuff would have been in the trash.
#15
Old 01-05-2009, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
But you're a dick for jacking up shipping to cover the item's cost.
He didn't. He jacked up shipping to cover his hassle level; presumably, the shipping charges were clearly identified in the postings. If not, then yeah, he's a dick.

I'd offer to meet him halfway, or maybe a little more than halfway, were I the OP.

Assuming he bought 10 of your items, which you said would cost $2.50 each to ship, and it will cost you $.50 per item to ship them combined, I'd offer to ship for $1.00 per item or something like that.
#16
Old 01-05-2009, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I'd offer to meet him halfway, or maybe a little more than halfway, were I the OP.
Sounds fair. Cut the shipping in half. Maybe I will try that. He did ask me what I wanted.
#17
Old 01-05-2009, 09:38 PM
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I wouldn't combine the shipping charges. You neither stated you would nor did the buyer ask before they bid. This should be a lesson learned for the buyer, ask the questions before you bid.
#18
Old 01-05-2009, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
It's actually a violation of eBay policy to charge excessive shipping.
That rule was put in place not for situations like this. It was implemented more because people selling, for example, a camera for $5 and the shipping would be $150. They did this becuase ebay doesn't (didn't?) charge fees on the shipping cost, only the final sale amount.
#19
Old 01-05-2009, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
That rule was put in place not for situations like this. It was implemented more because people selling, for example, a camera for $5 and the shipping would be $150. They did this becuase ebay doesn't (didn't?) charge fees on the shipping cost, only the final sale amount.
So, ebay is just protecting their own economic interests, so they aren't cheated out of fees, big time. Understood. Otherwise, buyer beware, caveat emptor, etc.

Anyway, I am not trying to be a dick, just trying to get a reasonable re-imbursement for my trouble.
#20
Old 01-05-2009, 10:02 PM
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Sure, shipping and handling includes the cost of shipping and handling. There's time costs and postage to be paid.


But where there is only one buyer, and where combining would lower the costs for both postage and handling (one big box is presumably cheaper than 10 smaller ones), and the OP doesn't want to combine the items because then it wouldn't be worth his while, well, I can only conclude that "Shipping and Handling" doesn't just include shipping and handling, but also includes an extra "something".

Why else would Shipping and Handling costs not go down at all when there isn't as much shipping and handling to be done?

If the OP had said "well, I'll pass on the postage and packing materials savings, and a small deduction for the labour" I'd have more respect for his use of the term "Shipping and Handling".
#21
Old 01-05-2009, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by freckafree View Post
If you are inflating your shipping charges to offset the fact that your items sold for 99, that is against eBay policy and could result in negative feedback or a buyer reporting you for it.

I would charge the seller the amount it actually costs to ship them all in one package. And if I were the buyer, I'd be pissed off as hell if the seller insisted on shipping each item individually and charged me $2 shipping for each one.
Except: 2.00-3.00 shipping is NOT excessive for a single item. If the OP had listed the shipping at 10 bucks or something like that, then that would likely qualify as excessive. (anecdote: I once listed a chandelier, that I'd considered putting out for the trash, with 60 dollars shipping. It turned out to be a pretty hot auction. All the people who were interested questioned the shipping.... but that *was* a genuine figure, confirmed with two different packaging shops, and in fact the final figure was more than the 60 dollars. Just goes to show that *sometimes*, large shipping amounts are appropriate).

The decent thing to do would be to cut the shipping as a nice gesture, given that you really *will* be saving some time etc. by packaging them together. If this were something breakable which required individual packaging or lots of padding, you wouldn't be saving any time by combining, but with books? I'd do the nice thing even though you didn't specifically state you'd combine shipping.

FWIW, the buyer should have contacted you *before* the listings closed and asked if you'd consider combining the shipping under the circumstances.
#22
Old 01-05-2009, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
FWIW, the buyer should have contacted you *before* the listings closed and asked if you'd consider combining the shipping under the circumstances.
To use an internet cliche, THIS.

I honestly did not expect all these to go to one person, who BTW, pretty much sniped the auctions at the last hour...

Post bid, the person's moral ground is shaky at best. Perhaps I will offer (I really want to use a gender specific pronoun here, like "him") this person half off the total shipping for his orders, and give him a link to this thread where we all agonized over it.

Crimeny, I have already wasted much more time here discussing it! But it is the principal of the thing. I am new to selling (not buying!) on ebay and want to do the right thing.
#23
Old 01-05-2009, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabby_Cat View Post
Sure, shipping and handling includes the cost of shipping and handling. There's time costs and postage to be paid.


But where there is only one buyer, and where combining would lower the costs for both postage and handling (one big box is presumably cheaper than 10 smaller ones), and the OP doesn't want to combine the items because then it wouldn't be worth his while, well, I can only conclude that "Shipping and Handling" doesn't just include shipping and handling, but also includes an extra "something".

Why else would Shipping and Handling costs not go down at all when there isn't as much shipping and handling to be done?

If the OP had said "well, I'll pass on the postage and packing materials savings, and a small deduction for the labour" I'd have more respect for his use of the term "Shipping and Handling".
Well, does "Handling" include all the time I took to individually photograph the books, edit the images for correct size and orientation in gimp, and manually transcribe each and every Table of Contents for the listing? If you averaged it out, I probably spent half an hour on each of these things. And the guy now wants them for 99 cents plus my actual postage?

I guess the lesson is, don't sell inexpensive things on ebay because it just isn't worth the trouble. That would be a shame, because I have bought many items on ebay with similar prices and "Shipping and Handling" and am very glad to have them.

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 01-05-2009 at 10:42 PM.
#24
Old 01-05-2009, 10:42 PM
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If you don't combine the shipping, will the books be packaged and sent separately?
#25
Old 01-05-2009, 10:44 PM
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Just for an example, here is a typical listing:

cite
#26
Old 01-05-2009, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by cckerberos View Post
If you don't combine the shipping, will the books be packaged and sent separately?
Again, what does this have to do with it? I did not offer to combine shipping, a specific ebay option. And you are forgetting handling. Whatever that means. As someone who has bought a boatload of stuff on ebay, I never questioned the "shipping and handling" charges, even when they were more than the postage shown on the package when I got the item.

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 01-05-2009 at 10:47 PM.
#27
Old 01-05-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Well, does "Handling" include all the time I took to individually photograph the books, edit the images for correct size and orientation in gimp, and manually transcribe each and every Table of Contents for the listing? If you averaged it out, I probably spent half an hour on each of these things. And the guy now wants them for 99 cents plus my actual postage?

I guess the lesson is, don't sell inexpensive things on ebay because it just isn't worth the trouble. That would be a shame, because I have bought many items on ebay with similar prices and "Shipping and Handling" and am very glad to have them.
No, 'handling' doesn't include that. That should be included in the purchase price.

FWIW, I don't sell anything on eBay for less than five dollars. With the insertion fees, final selling price fee, and PayPal fees, it's just not worth it. I scrounge boxes out of storage (free) or charge the actual price for packaging I buy. I charge actual postage.

Given the fees, I think the best way to sell inexpensive items would be as a lot. Five 99 items for $5, plus postage.
#28
Old 01-05-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Again, what does this have to do with it?
You are charging for individual shipments and then not shipping them individually.

Charging individual shipping and combining it on your own is a great way to get a ton of negatives on your account, plus a Paypal claim from the buyer.
#29
Old 01-05-2009, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
You are charging for individual shipments and then not shipping them individually.

Charging individual shipping and combining it on your own is a great way to get a ton of negatives on your account, plus a Paypal claim from the buyer.
So when I am bidding on multiple items from a seller myself, I should just ASSUME that they will combine shipping, even though it is a specific criteria for an auction? Good to know!

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 01-05-2009 at 10:58 PM.
#30
Old 01-05-2009, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cckerberos View Post
If you don't combine the shipping, will the books be packaged and sent separately?
If they want to play it that way, why not? I will be happy to package them separately, as long as I get what I specified when I put the item up for auction.
#31
Old 01-05-2009, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Again, what does this have to do with it?
If I were the buyer, I'd probably grumble about you not combining shipping but then suck it up. Combining shipping on small items like you're selling is standard, but as you've said you didn't promise to do so in your listing. But if a buyer didn't combine shipping thus making me pay for individual shipments and then I didn't actually get individual shipments, I'd probably file a complaint or leave negative feedback.

BTW, assuming you haven't already told the seller otherwise, you could claim that you can't combine shipping because each of the books has already been packed individually so you could get them out the door as soon as they sold.
#32
Old 01-05-2009, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Given the fees, I think the best way to sell inexpensive items would be as a lot. Five 99 items for $5, plus postage.
The problem with items like this, is that, especially for books, individual buyers have different interests. I would not expect "Cat Facts" to have the same buyer as "How to win the Lottery".
#33
Old 01-05-2009, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
No, 'handling' doesn't include that. That should be included in the purchase price.
From QED's link

Shipping and handling charges may include:

Actual Shipping cost: This is the actual cost paid to the carrier (i.e. postage) for shipping the item.

Handling Fee: Actual packaging material costs may be charged. A handling fee in addition to actual shipping cost may be charged if it is not excessive.
#34
Old 01-05-2009, 11:07 PM
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I listed a bunch of books. If people wanted to buy two books instead of one it was no problem to combine shipping, because I could usually put two books into one jiffy bag (which is what I had for sending out the books). But if someone wanted more than two, they wouldn't fit in the packaging I had, it was a hassle to go find packaging that would fit, so I didn't. Obviously it costs more to send more stuff.

But in all cases I corresponded with the buyer and explained my reasons for either doing it or not doing it, and it all worked out. Basically I wanted to get rid of books, though, and make a little money, or at least not lose any!

ETA: I did once list a bunch of books as a "lot"--they were all mysteries with "Shadow" in the title. I had some people who wanted only one of them, and asked if I would break them up. I did not. And I did not sell them, either.

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 01-05-2009 at 11:08 PM.
#35
Old 01-05-2009, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cckerberos View Post
BTW, assuming you haven't already told the seller otherwise, you could claim that you can't combine shipping because each of the books has already been packed individually so you could get them out the door as soon as they sold.
You have a devious mind. I like you.
#36
Old 01-05-2009, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
But in all cases I corresponded with the buyer and explained my reasons for either doing it or not doing it, and it all worked out. Basically I wanted to get rid of books, though, and make a little money, or at least not lose any!
Yeah, well that was kind of the purpose of this thread. To find out HOW I should correspond with this person.
#37
Old 01-05-2009, 11:16 PM
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Look, I have to put this to bed. And go to bed. How does this sound? Offer the buyer the books for 1/2 the total shipping charges, and if they don't like that, they can cancel the purchase with no negative feedback. How much more can I do? Obviously, I am not retiring on this crap, so why worry? Like I said upthread, this is my New England Stepmother who hates waste doing this. I should have just trashed the lot.

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 01-05-2009 at 11:17 PM.
#38
Old 01-05-2009, 11:20 PM
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And, just to clarify, I should say that my Stepmother has gone to her reward, so this is the feelings she instilled in me talking.
#39
Old 01-05-2009, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Want to bet the buyer resells them?
Rotsa ruck to him! I was surprised they went at all.
#40
Old 01-05-2009, 11:28 PM
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You are posting repeatedly on a message board trying to find a way to stuff a bunch of envelopes, as opposed to taking a shoebox to the post office.

The reasons you dont want to combine shipping are:

1: It's easier for you to ship multiple small items than one large.
2: It costs much more to ship a single larger item than multiple smalls.
3: You want to collect a much larger set of shipping fees.

The first 2 reasons above are clearly not true, and I can't think of any other reasons.

"Making up for your work in selling" is not something that should be included in shipping and handling; those costs are not part of delivering the item to the buyer.

Even though you don't have any duty to combine the shipping, I have to agree with some of the others that you're just tacking on extra profit that should have been included in the sale price.

So many posts to argue your case? The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
#41
Old 01-05-2009, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
So when I am bidding on multiple items from a seller myself, I should just ASSUME that they will combine shipping, even though it is a specific criteria for an auction? Good to know!
No, you should assume they will provide the service they've advertised.

If you charge multiple shipping fees, and then ship a single box, you're not providing the service you've advertised. And in that case, you are violating Ebay's excessive shipping policy, as well as opening yourself up to a Paypal claim and a litany of negative feedbacks.

Good luck with that.
#42
Old 01-06-2009, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
No, you should assume they will provide the service they've advertised.

If you charge multiple shipping fees, and then ship a single box, you're not providing the service you've advertised. And in that case, you are violating Ebay's excessive shipping policy, as well as opening yourself up to a Paypal claim and a litany of negative feedbacks.

Good luck with that.
The bottom line is that even ebayers on the Dope can't agree on what is right and what is wrong. As I said, I have no problem sending the items out individually, like that is going to help the bidder.

So, answer me this- Why does ebay encourage you to offer combined shipping, if it is presumed that everyone does it? Factual answer please!
#43
Old 01-06-2009, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ivn1188 View Post
So many posts to argue your case? The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
I am not arguing any case. I am soliciting advice. I have already stated that I am willing to meet the guy halfway, and if he doesn't like it, he can take it or leave it. In light of that, if he accepts my offer, I see no scenario where he has a legit complaint.
#44
Old 01-06-2009, 12:37 AM
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In fact, since he is a winning bidder, I am obligated to ebay for not just listing fees, but their commission on the sale, which I am, at this point, willing to eat. More and more, I just want to tell the dude to f-off.
#45
Old 01-06-2009, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
So, answer me this- Why does ebay encourage you to offer combined shipping, if it is presumed that everyone does it? Factual answer please!
As a means to drive more sales, thus increasing their commissions.
#46
Old 01-06-2009, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
As a means to drive more sales, thus increasing their commissions.
So, if it is assumed, how does it drive more sales? Why just not make it a rule and save everyone the trouble?
#47
Old 01-06-2009, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
So, if it is assumed, how does it drive more sales?
It's not always assumed. Many sellers have learned that is more effective for them to state their combined shipping policy in their auctions, so as to avoid being in uncomfortable situations such as the one you found yourself in.

(Selling on Ebay is very much a learn-by-experience thing, as you're also finding out)

Quote:
Why just not make it a rule and save everyone the trouble?
Some sellers will not or can not combine shipping. Generally, I've found that those who refuse to combine shipping are using shipping/handling as a means of lining their pocket.

As for why Ebay doesn't make it an across-the-board rule, I can't speculate. I will note that not long ago, Ebay implemented "maximum shipping" rules for a number of categories.
#48
Old 01-06-2009, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
It's not always assumed. Many sellers have learned that is more effective for them to state their combined shipping policy in their auctions, so as to avoid being in uncomfortable situations such as the one you found yourself in.

(Selling on Ebay is very much a learn-by-experience thing, as you're also finding out)


Some sellers will not or can not combine shipping. Generally, I've found that those who refuse to combine shipping are using shipping/handling as a means of lining their pocket.

As for why Ebay doesn't make it an across-the-board rule, I can't speculate. I will note that not long ago, Ebay implemented "maximum shipping" rules for a number of categories.
I object to the phrase "lining their pocket". It is a tired old phrase, usually used by leftist types. How about, "charging enough to make it worth the while". After all, the shipping costs are spelled out in advance, and a few bucks for dealing with all the trouble isn't exactly usery. The bidder can see the shipping/handling costs before making a bid. If they consider that unfair, that is their problem. Perhaps ebay should break down the charges. Make shipping equal to the actual cost, and handling a seperate charge. Tell me, did you vote for Obama?
#49
Old 01-06-2009, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Tell me, did you vote for Obama?
Ooooookaaaaay....
#50
Old 01-06-2009, 01:52 AM
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You know, I was with you at the beginning of this thread. Now you're just being a dick. It's obvious what you wanted to do in the first place, charge the separate shipping charges, so just do it. Why did you even bother starting this thread?

Last edited by Amp; 01-06-2009 at 01:52 AM.
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