Buying from multi-variation listings is never a pleasant experience, well that is if you want to buy more than one variant. Yesterday I was foolish enough to purchase seven items from one listing and as always eBay make it nigh on impossible to buy multiple variations. Then for my trouble I was massively overcharged on the postage.
I’d like to make it clear from the outset that I don’t blame the seller in the slightest. It’s not their fault that eBay make the buying experience so unpleasant and it’s not their fault I was massively overcharged on postage.
When you want to buy multiple variations eBay provide no mechanism for doing so. As soon as you add one item to your shopping basket you can adjust the quantity pretty easily – eBay even highlighted that I had added the “Last One” of a particular variation to my basket. What eBay don’t make easy is for the buyer to say they’d like to purchase more variations.
There’s still no easy method to go back to buy more variations and unlike most shopping carts on the Internet when you “Add to basket” eBay insist on taking you to your shopping basket expecting you to check out. Why I can’t add items to my shopping basket and stay on the page I’m currently viewing I do not know.
Having struggled to purchase seven items from one multi-variation listing I was then faced with the postage cost being massively inflated. For an item cost of £1.50 the seller specified a perfectly reasonable postage cost of £1.10 plus £0.40 for each additional item.
That’s not what eBay charge though, eBay count each variation purchased as separate times and charged me £1.10 seven times over. Instead of the seller specified £3.50 postage eBay gouged me for £7.70. I had to pay 120% more for postage than the seller wanted to charge me.
I know I’m being ripped off on postage and I’m not happy. I know I could have contacted the seller and asked them to reduce the postage amount. I know I could have chosen not to make the purchase. I know there’s an outside possibility the seller might refund some of the postage. I also know it’s totally eBay’s fault.
Purchasing on eBay should be a zero touch transaction. I don’t want to communicate, I don’t want to talk and I’m pretty sure the seller just wants to list and ship and has no interest in discussing postage with me. Quite simply eBay’s buying mechanism is antiquated and arduous and even with the shopping basket hasn’t really changed much over the last 10 years as far as checkout goes. They scrapped 3rd party checkouts preventing sellers from being able to correct eBay’s shortcomings so we’re stuck with what eBay have cobbled together over the years.
Questions for eBay
1) Why send me to the shopping basket every time I purchase an item?
2) Why not provide me an easy route back to buy more items from the same multi-variation listing?
3) Why not fix postage so I’m charged the amount for additional items as specified by the seller?
4) If I was to leave Negative/Neutral Feedback or Detailed Seller Ratings due to the overcharged postage would you notice and do you protect the sellers of all multi-variation listings when more than one variation is purchased?
I’m guessing that eBay’s standard answer is that the seller should offer free post to eliminate the problem. That simply means they’d be even more uncompetitive as “free” means “included”. The truth is that they don’t have a solution.
I don’t expect answers from eBay. I don’t expect they could fix the problems in the near term however much they wanted to, the site is simply to big and complex. Sadly I also don’t expect buyers to be happy being overcharged for postage and I don’t expect sellers to be happy getting dinged on their “How reasonable were the P&P charges?” Detailed Seller Ratings.
No one is winning, something needs to be done.