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Can anyone advise on an ebay fee issue?

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epichouse
epichouse Posts: 23 Forumite
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Hi. I wonder if anyone can clear this up:

I had an item for sale on ebay UK. It was on for £195, with postage offered to the UK mainland or for collection.

I had a question from Australia about whether I could ship it to Australia and how much it would be. I used the parcel2go site to get a quote. Parcelforce was the best price for the item, at around £235 for tracked and signed.

The buyer decided to go ahead on this item and won the bid. I then had to create an invoice through ebay's system to request the total amount from the buyer. After some two weeks, the buyer has instigated the payment. That's going through now.

However, perhaps to my own inexperience, I am a bit shocked at how much ebay is charging for the total fees. I was expecting it to be about £20. Roughly 10% of £200.

However, what they are doing is adding on the postage first, adding on some kind of import duty, then charging me the percentage on that (even though I am not using ebay's parcel services), then adding on what seems to be some made-up charge of "international fee" of £10 for no valid reason, then adding VAT, which means I am now paying £72 in fees for a sale that was only on for £195!

I have mainly three questions  - is this right? I wasn't expecting to be charged some of these things. Is there anything I should do or could to avoid at least some portion of this fee?

If not, and I just have to suck it up, what happens with the import tax issue? The parcel quote via ebay's own services is a whopping £440. The quote from Parcel2Go is £235. I will obviously be using parcel2go and ParcelForce as originally intended.

Yet, what happens if I or the buyer ends up being charged again for import tax on the item? I don't understand this stuff. Am I already being charged that in the parcel2go quote anyway?

Ebay have already eaten this amount of £43 (out of my profits), but how would the Australian importation system know this, seeing as I am not using ebay for the delivery (and never said I was using ebay on the original listing)? 

I certainly don't want to be paying another £43, and nor would the buyer.

I'm new to sending thing abroad, as you may tell! Can anyone help clear this up? Cheers.


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  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,911 Forumite
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    edited 20 April 2022 at 11:44PM
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    OP if you are a private seller on managed payments eBay will charge 12.8% (10.67% plus VAT) + a 30p (25p +VAT) fixed fee.

    If you are a business seller on managed payments eBay will charge the FVF detailed for the category plus VAT + a 30p fixed fee also plus VAT (so 36p) (business fees are advised net of VAT) 

    eBay will charge this amount on the item price and the postage, they have charged fees this way for a long time now.

    If the delivery address or the buyer is outside the UK they will also charge a small % fee called an international fee. Under the old fashioned system with Paypal, Paypal would have also done this as a cross border fee. 

    eBay collects taxes for varies countries sometimes depending upon the item price, for a UK buyer purchasing outside the UK they collect VAT, for US buyers in certain states they collect sales tax and for Australia they collect an import tax which IIRC is 10%.

    These taxes are paid by the buyer, not yourself. I recently had a transaction with a buyer in the US, Seller Hub showed the total as item + postage + sales tax but the Payments transaction showed FVF & the international fee had only been charged on the item + postage. 

    If you are a private seller on managed payments and the item plus postage was £430 the total fee % would be 12.8% FVF + 2.4% international making 15.2%  including VAT which is £65.36 in fees and this is correct.

    If import duty is 10% (£43) then 15.2% in fees would be another £6.54 including VAT. 

    eBay says FVF include the item price, postage, taxes and any other applicable fees. Before managed payments Paypal would charge their fees on the tax element dispite the seller never effectively touching the money (which was very underhanded IMO).

    Whether eBay has done the same on your transaction or whether you are a business seller paying a different FVF is unclear from your OP, are you private or business and if business which category did you list in? 

    To add, does the buyer's address include a code which would be eBay's identification number to say tax is collected? If not then I believe tax should be collected on all imports under 1000 AUD and maybe Australian customs doesn't bother checking. 

    There is an eBay board if you want more advice on this:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/ebay-auctions-car-boot-jumble-sales

    I've sent hundreds of parcels to Australia where eBay collected the tax and there was no identification on the parcel to say so and I never had a buyer complain they was billed import taxes again on import but items were all low value (under £20) and we are going back 2 years or so since posting anything there. 

    Lastly if you use P2G (well or anywhere really) you need to ensure the parcel is very well packaged as it's very unlikely you'll be compensated for damage, unless a truck rolls over the parcel, should it become damaged it simply means it wasn't packed well enough.

    As you mentioned inexperience :) you should also be aware if the buyer raises a return because something is wrong (commonly referred to as SNAD) eBay will expect you to cover the cost of return or refund without a return.

    Sometimes passing on a sale can be wise but it's a personal choice of risk vs reward.  
    In the game of chess you can never let your adversary see your pieces
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,541 Ambassador
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    The lunatic_is_my_head has covered the points extremely well , I have not seen a clearer explanation ever.

    I would just reinforce a couple of points , firstly eBay don’t hide their fees and if any other inexperienced seller is reading this then please check the fee structure before listing.

    Also overseas sales can be difficult with the export and import side of things , I have been selling online professionally for around 25 years plus now and no longer ship outside the UK except by using the eBay global shipping programme, although I know many regulars on the eBay board continue to do so with incident and have mastered the exact points to watch.

     As above , you as the seller remain responsible for the item until such time as buyer receives it in good order and in the time frame that eBay allow. Make 100% sure that you have followed any packing guidelines that the courier require, have a clear return address in case item cannot be delivered, and have read all the restrictions from the courier and P2Go to ensure that your item is allowed and insurable. Using a 3rd party to book the courier does add an extra layer of complication so read everything .

    meanwhile I will see if this can be moved to the eBay board as at the moment none of us ambassadors are able to do anything. 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • jon81uk
    jon81uk Posts: 3,794 Forumite
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    If it is of help to others, the fees are displayed here Fees for private sellers | eBay
    The international fee is clearly displayed and it states "This fee is calculated on the total amount of the sale and is automatically deducted from your sales proceeds. The total amount of the sale includes the item price, any handling charges, postage, taxes, and any other applicable fees."

    Sorry OP that it isn't very obvious until you go looking but all the fees are on the same page.

    In terms of the import charges, you may need to write a number on the package (think its an IOSS) so that when it arrives in the destination country their customs know the buyer paid the taxes to eBay and they don't get charged again. But I'm not too sure on that as I use eBays Global Shipping Programme (or I did until PayPal and then eBay introduced these extra international fees).
  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,264 Forumite
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    edited 21 April 2022 at 11:50AM
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    I think IOSS is just for EU destinations.  A code is added to the address and/ or the customs declaration which should stop charges being imposed again. 
    I'm not sure how it works for sending to Australia, but presumably there is something similar.
  • epichouse
    epichouse Posts: 23 Forumite
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    edited 21 April 2022 at 7:20PM
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    Thanks everybody. I still don't know what to do with this, my heads all over the place.

    It is a vinyl record collection, roughly worth in real terms about £230 if sold individually, but they were being sold as a job lot.

    I appreciated that with job lots of music, you have to factor in that people may not want all of them, that it is saving me time and effort than trying to list them individually, etc and that's why I let them go for £195, thinking I'd be finally getting around £175 in my pocket.  But now I'd only be getting about £125.

    To add insult to injury (my own fault), after the bid was won, I knew it was being being shipped to Australia so bought a robust plastic box to put around 150 records in, which was about another £10. I didn't want to face issues with there being damage when going such a distance. So now, I'm only really getting £115 in my pocket from a £195 sale.

    I could probably have sold them down at the nearest record shop for £115 and saved myself a headache, but I'd have been reluctant to let £230 worth of records go for £115, yet this is where I am now.

    So, I guess my choices are I just live and learn, lose the value, get the postage pick-up ordered and try and get on with it - or, try and cancel the thing entirely somehow and face the issues of that, whatever they may be, then try and sell them again or take them to the local record shop and try my luck there.

    There's a lot of alarm bells ringing at the moment because I don't understand things:

    Somebody (above) has said I may be liable for refunding the amount or paying return shipping if the buyer makes a "not as described" claim (which may not be likely at all as it was fully listed and had photographs), but by the sounds of it, ebay seems to side with the buyer if they do this, and I could be lumbered with a real problem and a hole in the pocket in the tune of £100s, either for the item or shipping back.

    What are the odds of this though? I don't know. I did state there was a no-returns policy on the item, but I guess this doesn't mean much if somebody tries-it-on?

    I can't find out at the moment what's going on with the import duty. There's nothing on the transactions, the addresses, etc in terms of code numbers to put on the label to say it has been paid to ebay. I don't know if I am paying it again with the ParcelForce amount as quoted by Parcel2Go either, which would be a kicker. So that's another can of worms that could open on me later on.

    My insecurity is telling me to just cancel it all somehow if I can, but I might be over-thinking it. Then I'd have the problem of trying to get them sold again. I don't know what to do.



       
  • epichouse
    epichouse Posts: 23 Forumite
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    I think I will just go ahead and continue with it, on the proviso that the import duty can be resolved if that happens, and that I'm not at risk of having to issue a refund or pay for any kind of postage.

    It wouldn't make sense for me to have the items posted back, as the postage to/from Australia is worth more than the items. I guess I wouldn't be obliged to take them back. I have no reason to think or believe the buyer is in any way dodgy.

    The postage service costs include tracking and insurance for the full amount of contents (£195), so I assume if some freak accident occurs and the boat sinks or the plane ditches, I won't have any comeback to face?

    What are my risks here, really? Perhaps I am worrying too much.
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,541 Ambassador
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    epichouse said:
    I think I will just go ahead and continue with it, on the proviso that the import duty can be resolved if that happens, and that I'm not at risk of having to issue a refund or pay for any kind of postage.

    It wouldn't make sense for me to have the items posted back, as the postage to/from Australia is worth more than the items. I guess I wouldn't be obliged to take them back. I have no reason to think or believe the buyer is in any way dodgy.

    The postage service costs include tracking and insurance for the full amount of contents (£195), so I assume if some freak accident occurs and the boat sinks or the plane ditches, I won't have any comeback to face?

    What are my risks here, really? Perhaps I am worrying too much.
    If buyer makes any claim about records being SNAD , and record collectors can be obsessive about the grading of an LP then you pay the return postage, not them. 

    As for insurance etc, have you checked that LPs are covered by your courier and by P2Go who are acting as a third party? 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • epichouse
    epichouse Posts: 23 Forumite
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    edited 21 April 2022 at 8:26PM
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    I did put an item description into the quotes for the contents of the parcel being quoted, I didn't see anything that's suggest it was a forbidden or uncovered item, but I can't say I have specifically looked for whether theres some small-print somewhere about vinyl records.

    If it was one or two records in a cardboard sleeve I'd be more concerned about them getting there in one piece, but there's going to be roughly 150 packed together, like one giant slab, surrounded by packing and put into a Wham! plastic box that's quite thick. I am also going to mummify the box both ways around with some thick duct-tape.

    As there were so many in the item description, the description covered a range from VG to VG+, stating that VG+ was the vast majority of them, with most looking unplayed. I included a lot of photographs of them, but they were in their sleeves.

    It would be entirely unreasonable to say the item was not as described, but I guess I am at risk if the buyer is unscrupulous. I can't see how ebay could possibly state the item was in any way mis-sold given that I'd done an extensive list of the contents, provided photo's and given a range of conditions. However, from what I am learning about ebay, they simply may not care.

    In the event of some kind of return-postage issue, I couldn't entertain having them back. The price of doing that is worth more than the contents and I'm already losing out. If there are any issues, do I not just offer some token refund rather than the buyer getting the lot for free? I've never been in such a situation

    I need to get these things booked and sent by Monday, according to the ebay notice. The buyer has made contact to say he has paid, I should respond, but I'm still sat on the fence I suppose. 
  • epichouse
    epichouse Posts: 23 Forumite
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    Managed to find what I think is the relevant page at parcelforce: https://www.parcelforce.com/help-and-advice/sending/items-we-exclude-compensation   - vinyl records do not seem to be on the list, which is good news.


  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,753 Forumite
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    epichouse said:
    Managed to find what I think is the relevant page at parcelforce: https://www.parcelforce.com/help-and-advice/sending/items-we-exclude-compensation   - vinyl records do not seem to be on the list, which is good news.


    You need to check the T&Cs of Parcel2Go.  Buying direct from a courier you get their standard terms and insurance, but buying through a third party can be a different 'product' with different terms.
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