Are you against eBay immediate payment via PayPal under £350?

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Yesterday we were contacted by a seller who is jolly uptight. His annoyance relates to the requirement of immediate payment via PayPal for Buy it Now items under £350. He describes the move a few months back as the “worst decision in the history of eBay.”

He said: “Forcing immediate payment for Buy it Now items has got to be the worst decision in the history of eBay & is also contradictory. It has no benefit for buyers or sellers. The only reason eBay has done this has to be that they will make more money on the 10% fee charged on postage cost if the postage is paid on every item.”

Here is the eBay UK policy: “For items priced below £350 on with a specified postage cost and where PayPal is the only payment method offered, buyers who click Buy it Now are asked to pay immediately.”

We don’t think getting immediate payment from buyers on sub £350 is a bad thing at all. And the reason isn’t about fees. Chris and I recall the bad old days of non payers, the scourge of NPBs (Non Paying Bidders). That was a genuine problem that has since been alleviated and that’s a good thing. The plague of NPBs is old news these days. And it used to be the source of daily grumbling.

That’s not to say that there aren’t issues. Because the shopping cart feature isn’t available for overseas sellers, the immediate payment facility does mean that when it comes to international sales it’s not possible to combine purchases and get a shipping discount.

That’s not right but, as always with eBay, the reason is cock-up and not conspiracy.

Isn’t the general approach to take payment immediately the right one?

29 Responses

  1. You gloss over the fact that the shopping cart isn’t available for overseas buyers, as though this isn’t important.

    This issue has been there for years.

    Given that Ebay is supposed to be a global marketplace, shouldn’t they have fixed this by now, as it stops international buyers from buying from UK sellers.

    A far simpler solution is to have ONE option for buying, i.e., the basket.

    This is the normal mode of buying on many websites and takes away the current confusion.

    Buyers can then buy more than one item without the need to make messy postage/shipping refunds – note that Ebay holds onto the fvf for postage even if refunded !!!

    But there’s nothing for customers on Ebay to see that they should use the Ebay basket for multiple purchases – because Ebay DOESNT TELL THEM !!!


  2. The “non paying bidders” argument only applies to auctions. The immediate payment requirement only appies to BINS. The real issue is that ebay has to constantly compromise as it has multiple sellers with different shipping charges and two totally different sales methods. Until ebay rationalises some of this by ditching auctions altogether, imposing fixed shipping charges, and even making sellers anonymous by making sellers agents of ebay then it is difficult to see how ebay can make a basket work on ebay in the way sellers would like it to work.

  3. The lack of an overseas shopping basket function is a huge problem for my business and has resulted in many unhappy punters – I get at least one message every day about it. However there is a work-a round – tell your buyers to log-on to and all of a sudden everything works as it should. QED

  4. The forced immediate payment is the biggest single issue with eBay for sellers like myself.

    eBay would only ever tell me something along the lines of “some buyers are asked to make immediate payments for some purchases to some sellers”. This is hopelessly vague.

    I sell low value items and it is normal to sell perhaps ten to an international buyer. In fact I offer free global shipping when a buyer purchases ten or more items – except that despite offering the tools to do this through “Promotion manager” eBay often forces immediate payment for each item along with full shipping charges for each item. In some cases, a buyer will make ten separate payments with full shipping charges and then understandably demand all of the postage back. eBay will keep the 10% on postage ten times and PayPal will keep a cut having made a fixed charge ten times. All profit is gone.

    The only work-around that I have found is to ask the international buyers (who take the trouble to contact me) to send me a list of the say ten things that they require and I then cancel those ten listings and make a single listing to include free or reduced shipping. This is ridiculously time consuming and both a bad buying and a bad selling experience.

  5. NPB has been alleviated?????

    Can you please tell the 10% of winning bidders this news because they have not caught on yet.

    We are relisting over 300 items a month due to NPB (Auctions usually, but not exclusively). But that’s OK, because eBay doesn’t suffer, just us.

  6. eBay agents have been telling me everyone has ticked the immediate payment box for months now but yesterday I got to the truth so thanks for doing this article. Why has immediate payment been forced on us? The tick box for immediate payment was there for anyone to use…it still is there. Immediate payment does not stop non payment for auctions or accepted offers and in turn puts off any overseas buyers who feel cheated by having to pay postage on every item. Why is there an option to create our own discounts when there is no way for the buyers to see the discounts due to a failure of the Shopping cart that has been ongoing for as long as the shopping cart was introduced? It’s just a waste of time creating any sales for ovcerseas customers. As for the five year long shopping cart cock up! Not a conspiracy? Why has it not been mentioned for years then? The markdown manager sales are no longer visible to overseas customers as well. eBay is a continuing contradiction and these gigantic problems damaging overseas trade are unforgivable. If they removed the shopping cart we could all go back to the days of overseas multiple sales. Then everybody wins. The very fact they have never publicly mentioned the shopping cart failure is gut wrenching. What is the point of a shopping cart with one wheel? Tamebay can you please ask them what is going on? I was in a conversation with support via email asking WHY has it been forced upon all sellers? After ignorring my question 3 times in a row they then sent a message saying that emails to this address are not received! It’s like dealing with North Korea. Please try to get an answer from them. If this is not a ploy to make money from the global shipping programme then why has Immediate payment been forced upon us and no longer optional? I would love to know what they say.

  7. You can set your postal options for 1st payment and then more for each additional purchase. Plus if your willing to pay tracked on the first payment you get a really good deal on the rest. Also on a lot of items it is cheaper to buy individual items and send them by themselves by the time you add in weight costs depending on your courier deal.
    I require immediate payment on everything. However people seem to get away with not checking out on, am always finding some item needing paid for.
    Immediate checkout and payment is essential for us.
    I also remember the days of a load of items sitting their unpaid for for days on end and having to go through the whole open a case then wait another 4 days what a total nightmare that was.
    It is only overseas as we are basically forced to supplement post domestic.

  8. Ebay don’t sell anything, so they don’t quite understand how merchandising works. Retail Stores treat customer flow as a Science, the whole idea is to get your customer once in, to buy more. Ebay just don’t get it. Too busy mugging pennies off postage I guess.

  9. In the same way ebay ‘educated’ buyers about the money back guarantee, why can’t ebay now educate them about how to make multiple purchases by waiting for a combined invoice if the seller chooses to offer it ?

  10. eBay has screwed this up bigtime.
    Sales to US and other worldwide destinations via .com are a fraction of what they were 5 years ago. The current level of the GBP imples that it should actually be the total opposite.
    A site that lets me create postage rules like ‘free shipping worldwide’ with a spend higher than £X and then has no system for it to be used is missing many screws.
    A few buyers still buy multi items and expect postage refunds which is as time consuming as it is tiresome, not to mention all the ill gotten fees not refunded by both eBay and PayPal.
    Most potential buyers simply don’t bother anymore. A few do get in touch enabling sales to be taken away from eBay ….

  11. I stopped selling internationally on ebay the moment ebay plonked fees on shipping. The weak pound won’t make me change my mind as multiple sales waste time to sort and ebay and paypal scam fees. My website on the other hand is booming on the international sales front mainly to expats and with no feedback DSR risk to the business. So on ebay overseas demand is there if you can stomache the issues and the fees, which I am not prepared to.


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