Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – Immediate payment update
- Reader’s Rant – Free postage, don’t get me started
- eBay password reset email – spoof or not
- Ask Molly – Do you offer discounts?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
A strange thing happened at HQ this week, I shut all the shops and had a few days off. When I say “days off” I mean that so much junk had piled up in the shed, garage, lounge, Elves’ bedrooms, hall, etc., that I had to take drastic action and sort it out. Three trips to the tip with stuff that “might be usefull one day.” All sorted now and I can move around again. I found two Elves I didn’t know I had and several hundred pounds’ worth of toys buried under bubble wrap and bags – result.
In this edition another reader’s rant about eBay changes, this time free postage. Also my thoughts on immediate payment; they don’t make for pleasant reading.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – IMMEDIATE PAYMENT – UPDATE
It’s all change again with the policy of immediate payments as eBay intend to roll out the need to complete checkout irrespective of the payment method to be used. If checkout is not completed then the item remains on sale.
I am not a fan of immediate payment as my exposure to non-payers is manageable and I do get loads of multiple buys across all three business areas. I had added payment by cheque to my toys in the hope that I could circumnavigate the new ruling but alas it seems not. Nobody pays by cheque so that is of no consequence, what I do not want is buyers wandering down my pick and mix listing for train track, buying a £3.00 item misunderstanding checkout for payment, buying more and paying each time and lumbering me with a stack of 20p flat fees.
If the buyer uses the shopping basket and asks for a total at the end then all is well, I just can’t see this happening. Reactivation of the micro-payments PayPal account will combat this a little but as your payments received will be split across two PayPal accounts then the merchant discount applied may well drop and for the Micro account it is unlikely to hit the £1,500 per month need for any discount at all.
All my items are free postage so the issue of refunds on postage for multiple purchases does not apply, I just don’t give any. If however you make multiple sales outside of the UK and your buyer pays individually then you will have received more then enough shipping monies which you should really refund or risk poor feedback and a non-returning customer. The issue here is that fees are to be charged on all postage income as well as item sale price so as it stands now you will be down 10% or so on any discount you subsequently give.
I have yet to see anywhere confirmation that fees on overseas shipping will apply in the same way as domestic postage and I am assuming that all postage charges will now be chargeable.
One final point on this general subject is whether it remains viable to sell anything outside of the UK at all. I already pay 8% of any shipping charge made in VAT as it counts as turnover, my PayPal fees also rise, this month 2.4% will be charged, usually this is a little lower at 1.9%. If I am to be stung for eBay fees as well then the added cost may make the whole exercise untenable. Even with TRS discounts and no VAT on eBay fees a £3.00 shipping charge to Europe will cost me 53p (24p VAT, 22p eBay fees and 7p PayPal fees). It also has the effect of pushing up my turnover and as I sit on the flat rate VAT scheme there is a limit of £230k per year.
This 53p is very close to the cost of a 2nd class UK delivery using the Royal Mail OBA (large letter) so I may be just as well dropping Europe and selling only to the UK. Bet eBay never thought of that one!
As ever your thoughts are most welcome, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. READER’S RANT – FREE POSTAGE, DON’T GET ME STARTED
I just thought I would tell you I found your site very helpful and affording significant comfort as I am now sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand how the latest myriad eBay marketplace improvements (aka fee rises) is going to work.I run primarily penny collectables and ceramics auctions. Approximately 4,000 a year. Regardless of value I start every auction at 1p.To that end, I’m in no position to offer free postage. Every eBay customer knows there’s no such thing as free postage. The top rated seller rosette is not worth £15k+ in absorbing full postage costs a year to me (I charge it at less than real cost anyway) and we’ve made the decision here on eBay wommpomm to not offer free postage. As you so rightly point out free postage can cost my buyers more too. I am at a total loss as to how this works on international postage or in the real world, how they’ll credit combined postage fees back if a buyer makes multiple purchases over say two or three nights, or if the customer is in, say, the US but want items delivered to a UK address.I’m also quite aggrieved as I’ve been a holder of TRS ever since they launched it, I have in the main happy customers and will continue to always do my best and behave properly. They’re messing deep with the building blocks and not for the better in my view. They would have been better just increasing the fees, at least there would have been clarity.I share your view that Amazon will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of what looks like total confusion, chaos and incomprehension on a worldwide scale. The Amazonization of eBay has long been a worry to me and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I work with a number of powersellers who are all fizzing and actively looking for alternative platforms.Roll eyes despairingly…”
3. EBAY PASSWORD RESET E-MAIL SPOOF OR NOT
This is a great e-mail and it looks perfect with all the correct colours and logos and the reason is that it is not a spoof, it is from eBay. So why mention it I hear you ask? Well if you had an e-mail like the one below you could be in danger of having your account hijacked.
This email was sent automatically by eBay in response to your request to recover your password. This is done for your protection; only you, the recipient of this email can take the next step in the password recover process.
To reset your password and access your account either click on the yellow button on the right or copy and paste the following link into the address bar of your browser:
you did not forget your password, please ignore this email.This request was made from:
IP address: 126.96.36.199
ISP host: 188.8.131.52
Here’s how the scam works: A fraudster, I think this one is in China, tries to log in using your ebay ID, obviously they don’t know you password so they click the ‘Forgot your password’ link where they are asked to enter the ebay ID which of course they can easily get. The next screen asks for any two of the following 3 pieces of information:
1) A personal question such as ‘What is your pet’s name?’ or ‘What street did you grow up on?’
3) Your phone number
Business sellers will have their postcode on on every listing and may well have the same number under which their eBay account is registered, so that’s two correct answers then. The scammer hits continue and eBay asks them to check their email. The email will go into your account as it is the registered contact address, you may not spot this. eBay also offer a solution if the e-mail didn’t arrive, firstly check you bulk folder and if still no joy click another link.
This page asks if you would be liked to be called on one of the numbers you have registered with eBay or another number if you prefer. The scammer will enter their own number, eBay will call them, they will confirm that they were expecting the call and eBay will give them a 4 digit code which they enter on to the page and they’re in.
The answer to this problem is not to have the same phone number on your business seller contact details as you do in the main eBay registration section. Put a mobile number on one and a landline on the other.
If you decide to change your business contact phone number you can do so like this: My ebay > Account > site preferences > Business seller preferences (show) > Business seller information on the View item page (edit) & sign in > change telephone number or remove it if you so wish.
This is not quite the end of this saga as the new number (or no number) will only be added to new listings. To amend active listings you need to use the ‘bulk edit’ tool:
My eBay > hover over ‘activity’ tab and click sell, scroll down to ‘active selling’ and click the top box which highlights all listings on the page (up to 200), click edit.
Your listings will be loaded, again click the top box and all of them will be selected. Now for the clever bit which fools the tool into thinking you have made a change whereas in fact all you want to do is refresh your seller information: click edit and then ‘item location’, delete your postcode and re-enter exactly the same postcode, this will be enough to force the change. Follow the on screen instructions and then repeat if you have more than 200 listings.
4. ASK MOLLY – DO YOU OFFER DISCOUNTS?
Do you offer discounts/savings for multiple purchases? If so, how do you do this with P&P included, if not do buyers get annoyed if you bundle purchases without a reduction in cost?
I am thinking of offering discounts for multiple purchases but not sure how to do it. I believe I would need to send the buyer an invoice, however I’m not sure how this works or at what point it is sent and how the buyer will know they need an invoice. Any thoughts appreciated.”
I do for toys and DIY items but with the cosmetics I don’t offer any discount and all these are free postage, that is to say the postage costs are built in and the total selling price is governed by the marketplace anyway.
I do get the odd request to reduce the price if the buyer buys more than one but generally I don’t as I am happy to wait for the sale and if the total trips over £30 then I have a policy of recording them at an extra £1.10 cost. Sometimes by reducing the price by a pound it can end up costing me more. So far nobody has complained and feedback is good so every double order makes me money or rather saves on postage and the PayPal flat fee.
As yet I have not found a way of sending a combined invoice for multiple free postage items as the postage charge would have to be a minus. A refund through PayPal is time consuming and will still cost you the eBay fee on that amount. Notes on the listing to contact you before buying more than one item don’t work and are to complicated for buyers so I am still pondering the problem and open to any ideas from readers.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to email@example.com. I will reply personally to every email I receive and, remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips or stories.
– END NOTE –
That’s all for this week. Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Another landmark at HQ this week as Molly’s feedback score passes the 46,000 mark with DSRs of 5, 5, 4.9 and 5.
Good news also for fans of The ebay Business Handbook as edition 4 is well under way. In fact I am about two-thirds through writing it. The main delay is down to eBay who keep changing the goal posts so I have to revisit the section and re-write it. Expect the new edition in Spring 2014.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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