eBay ponder compulsory P&P

No primary category set

The one thing I’ve always disliked when buying on eBay is hidden postage costs. I want to see the cost stated clearly at the top of the listing so that I know exactly what the cost will be prior to bidding.

It appears that eBay are in agreement, a post by Richard Ambrose on the UK PowerSeller board [log in required] says that eBay are “at the early stages of considering a move to make it compulsory to specify at least one domestic P&P cost on every listing”.

Many sellers have included costs in the body of their auction description, this can be because they use carriers that surcharge to deliver to various offshore UK islands and Scottish Highlands. It’s even harder to quote for large items such as furniture, pallets and motors that are traditionally charged based on distance rather than per parcel. Sellers of these types of goods would have to rethink their delivery strategies to use a single delivery charge covering the whole of the UK.

On my own auctions I’ve long taken the attitude that I’ll charge an average price and won’t penalise UK buyers based on where they live. This simplifies the carriage charges and allows a buyer to purchase knowing exactly what they’ll pay.

A further problem currently is an intermittant glitch that removes postage costs from Shop Inventory Items. This problem has been around for a couple of months and randomly deletes all postage information from live listings. Previous sales from the SIF listing had postage, but from the day it disappears the only option is to cancel the listing and restart it. This glitch needs fixing once and for all prior to any change in postage policy.

In general however I’m in favour of the change, and so should most sellers especially when sorting search results by total price (Cost plus P&P) becomes more widespread. If eBay sort search results so that listings without P&P specified appear below all listings with P&P visibility will be reduced immensely.

There is of course a get out clause and I’m not sure how ebay will manage this one…. there is always the option to specify the first P&P cost as “Collection in Person £0.00” and then specify further charges for delivery within the listing body. This would skew search results and allow sellers to specify alternate delivery charges (which could vary by post code destination) and I believe would in general be detrimental for buyers. Sellers however are likely to make use of it, if the option is available.

4 Responses

  1. I think that fixed more transparent P&P would be great. Some items that we sell we are forced to surcharge the P&P because other sellers do a silly item price and load the shipping cost. To compete we have to do the same thing. I would much rather have a fixed “proper” cost for P&P, bith as a buyer and seller.

    However here is the “but”! I think this would require ebay to improve the P&P display element of the ebay flow so that one can differentiate costs for differing areas/countries, I imagine this would be complex at 1st for both ebay & sellers but would improve the fairness and overall use ability for a buyer. and gone forever would be the countless emails asking for shipping quotes!

  2. If eBay are going to do this, they *at least* need to give sellers the ability to distinguish between the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, the highlands, IOW, Man, etc. etc. etc. Imagine the uproar from US sellers if shipping to Hawaii or Alaska had to be the same price as the continental states :O

  3. I can’t imagine how I could put P&P on a listing for a large machine.

    The pallet carriers have seven bands according to postcode with a spread of some £80 between the lowest and the highest.

    Averaging isn’t an option because of the spread. If I quote the highest, I’m ripping people off. If I quote the lowest I’m ripping myself off.

  4. need to give sellers the ability to distinguish between the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, the highlands…..

    Damn right they do… but the one I really have a problem with is the Channel Islands, they’re technically not even in the EU and whilst I’m happy to ship to anywhere in the UK at a flat price that doesn’t include shipping internationally 👿



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