eBay Daily Deal location abuse

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Location AbuseThere’s a product on eBay’s Daily Deals that I really wanted to buy. It looks like a great product priced just under £170.00.

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.

Item location misrepresentation policyWill 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!)

22 Responses

  1. Aside from the predictable raft of the same kind of crap as yesterday sort of stuff on daily deals this seems to be a massive PR problem, if they cannot get the merchants in the spotlight to behave what chance do the rest have? all it does is weaken trust in the marketplace where a great deal of buyers already shop with skepticism!

  2. There are many sellers who have address in china, many are extremely large businesses. The stock will actually be in the UK but they say they are a chinese business. Dodgy tax and vat avoidance probably

  3. Chinese sellers have been doing this for years, there was a massive clamp down about 4-5 years ago that shook out most of them when eBay requested address verification and proof of postage for these items but by the sounds of it eBay is not focusing on these false information sellers. With their new search engine algorithm pushing cross border listings down the search results is it any wonder sellers are breaking the rules to keep their sales up?

  4. This has been going on for years and now finally its made daily deals. No VAT, No UK taxes and No ebay listings fees as well as very low final value fees for the Chinese i believe.

    Well done ebay Ni Hao to you, and you shrinking growth and falling share price. !

    Plenty on daily deal from channel islands too. But lets no address these issues in relation to the poor condition of the UK and the deficit.

    Lets blame the immigrants, yeah its all their fault. Stealing our low paid farm jobs we dont want do and filling our NHS with staff shortages. Because not enough UK residents trail to fill the needs

    Kick them out !

  5. Did you contact eBay with this information? If so what was their response?

  6. 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?

    You may be happy to know that location abuse is one of the few times that eBay will force the seller to reimburse return shipping costs.

    See https://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/buyer-protection.html which applies to eBay.com but eBay.co.uk may be similar.

    Buyers may not be required to return an item if the seller’s return address location is different from that shown on the listing (in violation of eBay policies), unless the seller pays for return shipping.

  7. As a seller of digital watches, this is worse than ever.

    eBay even promotes them in the ‘top deals from selected sellers’ bar on the front page of eBay UK.

    need2u are a Hong Kong based company and sell out of a warehouse in wales, posting in plastic bags 2nd class, (not recorded.)

    Sometimes you get a message after purchase ‘your item is out of stock and will be sent from our hong kong warehouse’..

    Thier prices are maybe 20p above cost price.

    It is killing the market for UK retailers of similar items, as they dont appreciate the retail value of the good products that they sell among the cheap rubbish.

    eBay will do nothing as they pander to these giant wholesalers who make them a fortune in fees.

  8. I know this seller and here is how everything happened:

    Some carrier here in China claim that they have “special route” to ship packages to specific countries (let’s say UK) within 4 or 5 days,and the package will be forwarded by local post service (such as Royal Mail in UK), so that the sellers can fake their item location to get better sales and price.

    These carriers just collect enough packages to charter a plane to the destination. So sometimes this works well but sometimes the packages can be seriously delayed because of customs clearance, or just because they could not collect enough packages in a short time.

    But this is not for all the case. I know that there are some larger Chinese business sellers have their own warehouse or 3rd party warehouse in UK/US or AU and they DO pay VAT and UK taxes. You can not list on ebay without VAT if you specify your item location as UK.

    Hope this can explain something.

  9. I don’t blame eBay. They know the metrics of buyers fear buying from China company compared to other soft region.

    If bending/breaking this rule would double your net profit, where the increase in revenue from users who likewise wouldn’t have bought from Chinaman FAR outweighs the handful that actually notice and care….would you do it?

    D*** straight I would.

    It’s not pleasant, but at the end of the day, it always comes down to the bottom line and making money. eBay is no different from a well-oiled 8 year olds lemonade stand.

  10. A complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority may be a good way to get eBay to up their game.

  11. I report location abuse daily , to date not one listing has been taken down , ,it’s not just china , German companies are good at it too ,bet eBay.de won’t let me get away with it , they protect there home market , and value the buyer experience , btw it’s fine to sell from china as long as the buyer makes an informed choice to do so , if eBay bother to put a uk only filter button on the listing search screen , it seems crazy to turn a blind eye to this manipulation, reputation is everything eBay.co.uk should look at the buyer experience, even if there is no hitch , if I chose the uk only button ( I normally do) I feel lied to if the item arrives from abroad , that makes me mistrustful of eBay , rocket science, it isn’t guy’s


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