Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – Fees increase again
- Reader’s Rant – I hate the new TRS rules
- What on earth is happening to the eBay I know and love?
- Ask Molly – Why won’t the words stay still?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Well, I go away for a few days leaving the Elves in charge and I come back to bedlam. Not the Ekves – this time eBay seems to have gone off the rails: selling discounts that didn’t quite work, free pictures that are not always free, a TRS badge that seems to have shrunk and to top it all a covert fee increase.
This week: my guide to spotting the new fee increses, a super reader’s rant about the changes and a very odd listing problem that you may be able to assist with.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – FEES INCREASE AGAIN
The big news of the week must be the intention to charge a final value fee (FVF) on any postage charged to the buyer. This could add a considerable expense to many sales and I wonder if eBay deliberately messed up all the other changes introduced this week just to hide this fee hike.
As Molly already offers free postage as part of the new TRS requirements the impact on yours truly will be minimal, although I have yet to confirm if this FVF will apply to postage charged on international sales.
As a token gesture eBay have tinkered with the FVF rates, you can find out more here.
I did notice that ‘Clothes, Shoes & Accessories’ drops to 11%, which will save me a little as the Elves still don’t pay for their own fees when they sell their items in this category.
I am assuming that if a postage reduction is given to a buyer then the FVF will be removed pro rata.
Still more to come on this I am sure, it all happens on 4 September.
As ever your thoughts are most welcome, send them to email@example.com
2. READER’S RANT – I HATE THE NEW TRS RULES!
The temperature is pushing up to 30 Celsius and gograbit HQ is steadily filling up with stock ready for the Christmas rush. Despite this I am a troubled eBayer! Although we are seething at eBay’s continuing policy of ‘If it’s working we’ll change it’, we have now adapted everything in order to meet the new TRS requirements.
However, I am very unhappy about the free postage option and my concerns relate mostly to the Thomas The Tank Engine items that we list. It’s not unusual for a buyer to purchase ten of the engines and their rolling stock during the Festive Season and combined postage for these would normally be £4.20 via myHermes. Now, because our postage costs are contained within the BIN price, it seems that the customer will have to pay an extra £21.80. Because of this I can see purchasers going elsewhere to eBayers who still offer combined postage on their listings.
We have tried to get over this by stating on all our listings that discount may be available for multiple purchases but we have hit a brick wall when we try to do this. My dear wife (The Chief!) is professionally qualified in book-keeping and accounts but even she cannot alter eBay’s customer invoice form to allow a discount. Instead she has to take a long and time consuming route through PayPal in order to achieve this.
I agree and so do several other readers who enlightened me as to their view on the changes.
One of the problems of giving a manual discount is that eBay still charge fees on the discount amount. I have the same issue with multiple purchases but thankfully turnover is still good enough for me not to worry about providing any discounts so free postage actually makes me money on multiples.
It may well be that other professional sellers have to go down the same route, levelling out the playing field a little; it is the end consumer who suffers.
One thing I have considered is giving free items instead of a discount. When I had a huge load of eyeshadow compacts worth around £3.50 each it just about worked out better if I gave one away with every three purchases paid for in one transaction. The saving on PayPal flat fees, bubble bags, stamps and time coupled with the costs not incurred for actually selling the compacts meant I was a few pence up by just giving them away.
Maybe you could run a similar promotion – “buy 4 trains and get extra rolling stock”?
Over to you dear reader, have you found a way around this issue?
3. WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING TO THE EBAY I KNOW AND LOVE?
The management at Amazon must be rubbing their hands in glee. There is no need to advertise or spend money to recruit new sellers, just let eBay make a few upgrades and they will flood in.
I have only been away for two weeks and come back to what appeared at first to be a spoof e-mail informing me that the extra 5% FVF discount for early adoption of the TRS requirements didn’t actually get credited. If you have tried to calculate which sales should have received the discount then you will know it is almost impossible.
On the subject of fees, take a few minutes to check through your invoices as a small glitch meant that fees were raised for ‘picture pack’ even though it was free in many categories. eBay charged me twice but only refunded once so they owe me £2.70.
The next little gem is the announcement that all pictures are now free in all categories. A most welcome change as extra pictures of toys does aid sales and extra pictures for free removes the need for Photobucket. Beware, however, as they are free for new listings but not if you add additional pictures to existing listings so it may be worthwhile ending and re-listing.
One final observation for now is the good news that the FVF in Consumer Electronics is to have a £10 maximum with the percentage staying at 5%. The bad news for some is that the catch all sub-category of ‘all other Electronics’ is being moved alongside Vehicle Parts & Accessories with a FVF percentage of 8%. It might be time to pick a better category.
Loads more on these changes over the coming weeks.
4. ASK MOLLY – WHY WON’T THE WORDS STAY STILL?
When I am writing a sentence on my eBay page the words keep jumping around.
Finally I get it sorted out and the words stay in place, I then submit it to go live on eBay and when I review the finished work I find its all over the place again.
We try rectifying again and again but the same thing keeps happening.
Can you or any reader out there help us?”
Margaret Rose 19
How strange, it sounds like an HTML problem. After a while hidden HTML code can cause problems, just a single unclosed ‘center’ tag can move text around and similar problems occur with the ‘font’ codes.
My first thought would be to try a test listing, switch to HTML in the description and delete everything there, switch back to ‘standard’ and start again. Open another browser and copy any HTML that you know is correct such as the codes for importing pictures or links and slowly build up your template again.
Sometimes, late at night, the words on my screen also jump around and sometimes they form into small ‘Hobbit’ like cretures that dance and sing their way across the desk. [Ed - Steady now Molly.]
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
And the prize for the most rediculous question of the week goes to
‘ink123yellow’ who asked the following relating to a pair of ‘Size 12 Baggy Floral Trousers’:
“Would you be willing to pop them in an envelope and send them in the normal mail with a stamp rather than charging £3.00 postage?”
Just time for one more, this time relating to a multi-variation listing of die cast Thomas trains:
“how mutch u after?”
It took me a while to realise that this was not a spelling error or two keys hit at once but a serious enquiry about buying the lot. Who said the education system was failing!
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