Valentines canceled on eBay in Post Code lottery

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One of this week’s “Weekly Deals” has brought up an annoyance that has peeved me for years on eBay – sellers that discriminate according to where in the UK you happen to live.

The deal for for my dear old mum on Valentines day would have been perfect, but because she lives on the Isle of Wight (not “Isle of White” as per the listing!) I’m not allowed to buy them. The seller is offering free delivery, but is being selective as to where they’ll deliver and are excluding huge chunks of the UK with a list of over 200 prohibited Post Codes.

I know many sellers have battled this dilemma for years, some couriers charge different rates for delivery to the far flung reaches of the UK, but is it really fair to discriminate against buyers based on where they live? Why would a seller want to ban 100s of 1000s of potential customers?

There are a number of solutions – work out your average cost to deliver across all UK Post Codes and charge that – over the course of a year it’ll average out. Choose a different courier – Yes that might be a radical solution but why wouldn’t you want to deliver to everyone that wants to buy from you?

So as a seller, how do you handle deliveries where the courier may surcharge for certain areas? Do you bump the price to some of your customer? Do you average your delivery charges over the course of a year? Do you use a different carrier for some deliveries or do you simply swallow the difference and absorb it?

As for the Weekly Deal on eBay – I’m surprised eBay let it through. Why would eBay promote a listing that a ton of their customers aren’t allowed to buy? It’s hardly what I’d call a good buying experience to have your order canceled, especially when it’s themed around flowers and Valentines Day. I’d recommend boycotting the listing, visiting Arena Flowers via PayPal offers and giving them your custom instead.

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