Sadly I’m not going to make the purchase because quite frankly I have no confidence in buying from this seller on eBay. The reason is that the seller is lying to me – they’re claiming to be based in the UK but in reality they’re shipping their products from China.
The listing states that the product is in the UK and that they ship to Europe. However the seller is, according to eBay, registered in China. When we looked at the business seller details displayed on the listing we didn’t understand their address as it’s in Chinese characters and their phone number begins +0086 – the country code for China.
We don’t want to accuse anyone unfairly of location abuse, the seller could have already shipped his stock to the UK and be using a fulfilment house. They’re not.
We did a test purchase and the product arrived today from China. Just to make sure we telephoned the courier and they confirmed that the item shipped from China.
We did a little investigation and have identified a second eBay account owned by the same seller. This time he’s listing on eBay Australia with the item location “Sydney, Australia”.
I honestly have no problem buying goods from overseas, it’s one of the best parts of eBay that I can purchase goods from around the world just as easily as I can from the UK. But I like to know when I’m purchasing from abroad.
Will I get clobbered for customs charges when the item is delivered? Maybe the seller is paying these up front in which case they could make the purchase more attractive by telling me this in the description.
If the seller is lying about their product’s location what happens if I need to make a return? What happens if the product turns out to be faulty? Do I have to ship the product back to China? What will it cost?
This isn’t the only seller who’s product location is suspect. There’s another deals seller based in China who state that their products are in London and have a warning in their item description that buyers may need to pay customs duty but that the seller tries their best to avoid them. I do hope that they’re not shipping the items marked as gifts.
Location abuse shouldn’t ever take place on eBay, but we know it does and we know that it’s hard for eBay to police. However if there’s a Chinese seller participating in the Deals program then they should be squeaky clean and up front about where their product is shipping from. We also think it would be a nice touch if all items on the deals program used eBay’s new returns fields specifying how many days I have to cancel the purchase and who pays the return shipping.
If a seller has fantastic products but they’re based in China and shipping from China, that’s what should be stated on eBay. I’ll buy them if they’re a good price, so will thousands of other buyers. Just don’t try to pretend products are in the UK when they’re not because that’s the one way to make certain that I won’t purchase from you (barring of course the test purchase we made… so I guess the seller kind of wins this time around!)