FAQs: How do I give a discount on an eBay invoice?

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Creative Commons License photo credit: PinkMoose

Lots of sellers seem to be asking on various eBay forums recently about how to give buyers discounts on their eBay invoices: it must be the credit crunch. So even though most experienced sellers know the answer to this one, here goes for the newer ones:

you can’t discount more than the postage amount. There is a “seller discounts/charges” box at the bottom of the invoice: this will allow you to add on extra amounts, and to take off up to the same amount as the postage charge. But if you enter a negative amount *greater* than the postage, you’ll get an error message saying that you’ve entered an invalid amount.

The easiest way to get around this is to invoice your buyer direct from PayPal (click the request money tab at the top of any PayPal page). Remember, though, you’ll be charged FVFs on the full sale price by eBay, so it makes sense to negotiate before the buyer buys, and either alter the price or agree to use Best Offer: that way, you’re only charged FVFs on what your buyer’s actually paid.

We’d hope that in the era of pushing free postage, eBay will see fit to change this silly restriction and allow sellers to change prices post-sale if necessary.

11 Responses

  1. I certainly hope that eBay do not allow post sale price editing. Why add another complication?

  2. of course there is the radical move of not giving any blooming discounts in the first place…problem solved!!

  3. I can think of any number of reasons for giving legitimate discounts, for instance last night I lowered the price on a listing following an email from a buyer. He’d run out of Best Offers but was trying to make a multiple purchase of a relatively heavy but free post item.

    More than happy to simply lower the BIN price as he was taking the entire quantity but it would have been quicker and easier just to give a discount off the invoice and if there had been any quantity left I couldn’t have simply lowered the BIN price.

    In forcing sellers hands on free post in a lot of cases eBay aren’t making buyers lives easier and will either lose sales or make selling a lot more complicated. Ability to adjust invoices would at least go some way towards rectifying the matter.

  4. In my opinion the end result would be buyers asking for post sale discounts, which is not a great idea & actually may end up in more negative “buyer experience”.
    It’s worth remembering that changes have an impact on the whole selling community.
    I would recommend giving free postage a descent run before drawing any conclusions on how it effects buyers.

  5. There’s another very good reason for allowing for post sales discounts – the ability to issue “loyalty” vouchers to buyers. Would be fantastic to send an email with a code for a 10% discount for a future sale within say a month of the original purchase 🙂

  6. eBay have managed to integrate PayPal discount vouchers I’m sure they could integrate seller issued ones. I may be tempted to issue a voucher if a buyer could use it in a seamless way which didn’t delay/interfere with the check out stream but if I had to manually update the check out….no thanks.

  7. This is yet another reason why eBay is far behind the standard ecommerce experience–at least here in the US. Bonanzle has a shopping cart and coupon ability–as well as Best offer functionality.

    My own website has a shopping cart and allows me to create promotions to send to my buyers.

    I only sell on eBay to drive traffic elsewhere and the fact that eBay has neither a cart or coupon functionality means that customers are quite happy to abandon eBay in favor of offsite venues. I’m able to offer a better, easier buying experience for a lower price.

    So, for me, it’s a good thing eBay’s buyer experience is so awful. Saves me quite a bit in FVF and listing fees.

  8. when I list something the price I set is the price I want for it, it is not a negotiating position.

    the item is mine, you want it, you pay my price.

    discounts?? PAH!

  9. @ # 5

    That’s what having your own website is good for. There you can give a 10% discount and not have to lose another 6% – 15% to FVF. That’s exactly what the top four rated eBay sellers do.

    If eBay wanted us to give discounts off the stated price they’d lower our FVF to match.

  10. Further to your point above about sending invoices through Paypal.

    You can set up boiler plate Ebay Invoices in Paypal which speeds things up.


  11. #3 I agree with Chris – there are many reasons for sellers to offer discounts and that should simply be an issue between the parties involved – eBay are there to facilitate sales transactions not control every aspect of the interaction.
    We have hit this problem in the last week where we sell items as singles, twinpacks, triples etc and had experimented with ‘free’ postage but we often do a deal if a buyer buys enough so post invoice change is a fact of life.
    Now we are snookered (apart from using Paypal refunds) so we will simply kick free P&P into the long grass – we don’t need this hassle nor can we afford to waste our time messing around like this.
    Just like with NuLabor I’m afraid joined up thinking is in very short supply at Ebay.
    #5 We can all dream can’t we?
    pip pip


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