Should eBay raise max P&P charged caps?

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From the 2nd of April Royal Mail business tariffs increase by an average of 11% but in some instances by as much as 63.92%. Add to that a further 20% increase by the addition of VAT to many of Royal Mail’s business services and prices are increasing by anything up to 76%.

Some businesses will be able to reclaim VAT but smaller businesses are not VAT registered and can’t. Coupled with the business rate rises, yesterday’s announcement that public tariff first class postage will increase by 30% and the cost of a 2nd class stamp will rise by 39% means just one thing – postage is going to cost more.

Introduced in 2010 for example the maximum you can charge to ship a CD or DVD is £1.25 and the most you can charge for clothing or shoes is £4.00.

Now that Royal Mail prices are set to rise is it time for eBay to revise the maximum postage rates that eBay sellers can charge? Many sellers already have to subsidise the postage that they can charge from the item price, it’s just not possible to post a pair of boots for £4.00 unless you have huge volumes. Private sellers are pretty much stuck with Royal Mail rates as they won’t have courier contracts and business sellers will struggle, especially those who sell items weighing in below 2kg which generally means Royal Mail has been the most cost effective option.

Will you be able to post your products at the new Royal Mail rates and still fit within eBay’s postage caps without making a loss? Are you looking at alternative carriers and who is offering you the best deal in comparison to the Royal Mail price increases?

If you think eBay need to revise the let us know in comments below. Equally if you can happily ship and your Royal Mail or courier contract gives you options that match eBay’s caps let us know where to get the best deals of shipping.

23 Responses

  1. The caps don’t really affect the categories I sell in, but common sense dictates that eBay should increase them in line with RM’s price rises. (they’ve done it before)

    Or better still, get rid of them altogether and let DSRs do their job. I’m fed up of seeing items that interest me on eBay with ‘free’ or cheap delivery then the seller has something like this at the bottom of the listing ‘Please note postage will be £10 for this as eBay won’t let me put more than £2.50’.

    Given that enough low DSRs for postage gougers should stop them in their tracks, I don’t really see a need for these caps any more.

  2. “let the DSRs do their job”

    The only job I’ve seen the p&p DSRs do is to force sellers (including me) to move to free P&P.

    I’ll just be raising my prices and still offering free p&p. I won’t risk “below standard” as I already skimmed close to it once in the last year due to the postage DSRs.

  3. I have opted for free postage not for any DSR advantage or potential (and variable) discount according to seller’s status, but because I got feed up with stupid questions from buyers who didn’t know how to combine orders and who asked for postage discount having paid for several items separately. And the Richard Craniums who offer to pay an extra 50 pence to have their items sent ‘Next day delivery’, because we all know that 50 pence will cover that little expense.
    From this point on – Free postage – Instant payment & don’t bother emailing me with you moans and groans, because I have a ‘Masters’ in moaning and I don’t want to hear yours.

  4. I have long felt that the caps are totally artificial. They really do not mean anything. I sell Books. Some books especially Hardbacks can be heavy. The current caps really do not cover the cost of postage on a heavy Hardback and with the postal rises the cap will become even more fictional.

    Most of my Books I sell p & p free and like everybody else I juggle with the prices. I am in a differant position to just about everybody else. I am trying(very slowly) to clear my accumulated stock(some ogf which has been in stock for 20 years) so I can retire. So I am buying very little New Stock and hoping to sell a lot from old stock(its not really working that way).

    In fact it is proving so difficult to sell my old stock that I am thinking about doing Specialist Rallies again, even though I stopped doing them because of my medical problems(mainly my back and my asthma but other bits of me are either shrivelling up or dropping off).

    ebay really has to have such as caps that represent a realistic figure or dump the caps altogether. After all at the end of the day the buyer will look at the price and decide if the p & p is fair and reasonable. If he/she has any doubts when the goods arrive and its sent by Royal Mail the amount actually charged by RM is printed on the “stamp” so if the p & p charged is wildly out them the buyer has a genuine moan.

  5. Wild idea but why don’t ebay have some kind of post widget-thingie?

    You enter the weight of the item as packed and ready to be shipped during SYI screens and select a delivery service. Ebay provides a choice of acceptable prices to charge and you pick one. As long as that service is used (and not a lesser one) then it’s fair for buyer and seller can’t overcharge/underperform. An automatic 5 star for using this service for p&p cost too as it’s ebay regulated. It could be linked into paypal postage too.

  6. There is no incentive for ebay to scrap the caps as they get a fee from everything outside the cap. So, for free post they take a % cut in fees. Increase the cap and they get a lesser fee. Free postage to them simply means more % revenue for ebay.

  7. Ebays caps have always been ridiculous. I have always thought they are there for 2 reasons

    1. Running scared of Amazon as a competitor, who have similar caps
    2. To give advantage to big retailers who have the deals and the logisitics – this seems to be the business ebay are trying to grow, always at the expense and inconvenience of we entrepreneutial smaller sellers

    Compound that with the fact customers can then leave you low DSRs if they don’t like it, even if the charge is entirely reasonable.

    Why is Ebay so paranoid? Postage rates are stated up front so why either rate them or control them, other than to stop the post high/sell low merchants.

    1. If the customer doesn’t like the post cost they don’t have to buy the product
    2. They have chosen to buy at the rate stated, so why on earth should they then be allowed to leave a damaging rating. It is their commercial decision.
    3. Overseas buyers have no idea how much mail costs in the UK so can not give a fair assessment.
    4. All post caps and DSR’s do is either make sellers build p&p into the product cost, or go bust. Way to go Ebay.

    As usual with Ebay and small sellers, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    Get rid of caps, get rid of DSRs, make buyers stand by their mature adult buying decisions without moaning, and let the market decide. If your pricing and post are too high you will lose business. Such a simple approach, and what is wrong with that?

  8. I refuse to do free P & P (i have done in the past) eBay simply profit from the the additional cost that you have to increase your price to cover P & P, with them reducing our discounts to top rated sellers (in my case to 10%) there is little incentive for me to try and achieve DSR’s even though i have 4.93 in each category except P & P which is 4.84, I will increase the prices by at least what Royal Mail have, plus more to cover the fact that I am now losing a 10% discount, if an item i am selling falls outside the postage caps i simply, mark it as courier and add the price in a large font at the bottom of the listing so eBay don’t get the additional commission from adding it to the items purchase price and thus pushing up the fees i pay them

  9. If you’ve got it use it ! Why pay for something when you can get it for free ! I have had a couple of customers use their bus pass to come and collect from me, one was a MP !

  10. The main problem is the ebay wording of ‘Free Postage’.
    We have been asking them for years to change this to ‘Postage Included’ as everyone knows (or should know) that there is no such thing as free postage.

    We process around 600 orders each week througgh our ebay platform, all of which are sent by Royal Mail (Business Packet Post 1st class).
    The majority of our orders are for below £5.00, which is now going to be very close on some to breaking even due to the new price increases.
    We calculate that to sell on ebay via 1st class post for up to 250g weight, the actual cost is £1.37 WITHOUT the cost of the product. This includes ebay fees, paypal fees, envelope, printing costs and a p;astic bag for each product.
    How is it, then, that many sellers are still offering producvts for £1.25?
    Ridiculous situation.
    Trying to communicate sellers ideas to ebay is useless as they take no notice. For instance, sellers still have to manually send an invoice reminder to each and every single non payer. Tis is so time consuming.
    Ebay needs rebuilding from the ground up, and be based on the trading laws of England and Wales so that we, who are resident here, can effectively use the system to its full advantage.
    We actually love the free postage syatem, we use it on all selling platforms, including Amazon and our website.
    It also means that we can offer a discount for those who buy direct from our retail outlet.


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