Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – International selling promotion.
- Can you help with tax charges?
- Those pesky Elves.
- Ask Molly – Is recorded delivery worth using?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Still quiet, but only a week to go now until the long awaited January payday. This time last year I had hit my year one fixed rate scheme VAT limit and only opened the main shop at weekends so the downturn in business was not so apparent.
The good news is that I have been able to update my inventory and finally get round to listing all those things I wish I’d never bought.
In this week’s edition my thoughts on ‘recorded delivery’ and a plea for help from a reader with spiraling costs relating to import duties.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – INTERNATIONAL SELLING PROMOTION
I received a lovely email from eBay this week asking why I had not registered for the ‘International selling promotion’ which has been running for a while and finishes at the end of February. I can only assume from this note that not very many sellers opted in.
The scheme offers zero insertion fees and zero final value fees on ebay.es, ebay.it and ebay.fr. They go on to ask if there is a problem with the language, or could it even be the possibility of poor feedback from overseas buyers.
No, it is none of the above. Firstly Spain and Italy are by far the worst countries ever encountered for ‘lost’ items. Don’t get me wrong I love the countries but something is certainly amiss with the postal service. Even when I did ship internationally these two countries were blocked.
Unfortunate timing could be cited as the second reason for the lack of enthusiasm from yours truly. The new and somewhat controversial policy of charging fees on shipping costs would mean quite an increase in overheads after the promotional period ends; around 10% hived off to eBay on top of any VAT charges that may apply to the seller.
So no eBay, Molly won’t be signing up for this promotion, it just ain’t worth it.
2. CAN YOU HELP WITH TAX CHARGES?
Here’s a question for you the reader, as I source all my stock from within the UK I have no personal experience of the tax payment structure and therefore am not aware of any shortcuts that may be possible. Please read the following and let me know what you think, there must be a way to get round the extra charges.
“I have been selling on eBay for two and a half years and sourcing my products from China. I get charged tax by HMRC when goods arrive at the UK border, but in addition to that I get charged by the delivery company a handling fee for paying the tax on my behalf. Parcelforce charge a minimum of £13.80 and Fedex a minimum of £10.50. I am just wondering whether it is possible to pay tax to HMRC directly and avoid incurring the handling fee by the delivery company? For example by having an HMRC Import tax account? As I buy small stock each time (around £200) these extra charges are eating into my profit.”
3. THOSE PESKY ELVES
Regular readers will know of my good hearted and well intentioned attempts to provide a better life for a number of ne’er do well Elves. I feed them [Ed - occasionally], provide them with a warm bed [Ed - for them to share on a rota basis] and give them gainful employment [Ed - does the phase 'legal minimum' mean nothing?]. Yet now I am being petitioned by readers of this very bulletin calling for reform.
“I would just like to inform you that as an avid reader of your bulletins and books (its your fault I am now a full-time antiques dealer, but I love it), and as a customer of one of your elves, I am very upset at the way you treat them and am seriously considering starting a union. EUA, the Elf Union Association. Our intention will be to ensure a minimum wage, a warm bed inside the house, not in the shed, and two one-hour breaks per working day of no more than 18 hours.
I look forward to your response.”
In 1788 a law against the use of young Elves under the age of eight as chimney sweeps was enacted. Furthermore, the master sweep (Molly) had to offer proper clothing as well as decent living conditions and had to allow the children to go to church on Sundays.
4. ASK MOLLY – IS RECORDED DELIVERY WORTH USING?
“I have been using Royal Mail ‘signed for’ service for some time but a few recent issues are making me wonder if it is worth paying for.
“Twice since Christmas a buyer has asked me where their item is and of course the website shows nothing, the tracking update just isn’t there. Am I missing a trick somewhere?”
I do use recorded delivery for orders over £30 but not for the insurance compensation offered by the Royal Mail should it be lost; I gave up long ago trying to claim anything from the Royal Mail, their staff are trained in the ancient mystic art of not refunding.
If the parcel is delivered and recorded by the postie then my buyer cannot claim it was not delivered. Anybody tempted to make this claim whilst the parcel is en-route may just leave it alone and look elsewhere, I think that it helps.
If you do run into problems with a recorded item going missing it may be worth finding out your buyer’s local delivery office and ringing them. If the parcel has been taken back to the depot they should be able to tell you.
Although not many of my orders are over the £30 threshold, so far all have made it using the recorded option. Standard mail is another story – I am still losing six items per week. There must be a huge pile behind that cupboard by now.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. 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.
Do you have Sky Broadband? If so check out the offer for a new faster router – free of charge. It is dead easy to install, easy to use and you should be able to sell your old one for £20, you know it makes sense.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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