Jump to content

Dealing with International Bidders on eBay - is it worth it?


kristof65
 Share

Recommended Posts

Ok, I know a lot of sellers don't want to deal with international bidders, for a variety of reasons. Me, I figure letting them bid just increases my potential bidders. Since I ship to/from Canada on a daily basis, it's not really a big deal for me.

 

Until recently, that is. Lately, I've been having problems with some international bidders not liking my shipping rates - I won't ship anything without a delivery confirmation, which of course, raises shipping costs. I've the same policy for domestic bidders as well, and yet not one of them has complained.

 

I began asking international bidders to contact me before bidding to get a shipping quote, so that misunderstandings would be averted. Guess what, that's still not working - I'm still having international bidders place bids without contacting me first, then complaining about my shipping rates when they win.

 

So - what's the best way around that? Not deal with international bidders at all? Restrict them to just Canada, since I've never had problems with them? (Can I do that?). Just keep to my guns, and realize that not all international bidders aren't unreasonable?

 

What are your thoughts - are the increased sales potentials worth the hassles?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 20
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

It's been quite a while since I was doing some serious ebay selling, but when I did, I always accepted international rates. Some of my highest sales went to international buyers. But, the few problems that I've had were also with international buyers about half the time (sometimes rate complaints, sometimes no contact after winning). Payment is sometimes slower. But, accepting international bids did make my overall total higher.

 

I also put in the "please contact me for international rates" clause with delivery confirmation and mention that I prefered to ship via Global Priority Mail or Global Express Mail. Also the comment that I'd be happy to ship internationally, but the rates can be surprisingly high (even to Canada).

 

You might try giving a possible price range for international shipping to help scare off the ones that aren't serious.

 

That said, people generally don't read things, so that won't always help.

 

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ship internationally all the time...a majority of my commissions and sales have been to Europe in the past couple years. I have not had any problems with international bidders, except over what to declare on the customs forms. But I usually have it marked as "Priority International Only" in my internatoinal shipping preferences, and bidders can perfectly well see for themselves how much that will cost them. I even tried free shipping to USA only and Priority International, but the piece still went to the UK. These packages are usually between 20-25 dollars USD for shipping. But remember that with the value of a US dollar against the theirs, they're getting a good deal. I can only think that if you're up front with the cost and don't tack on too much handling, that it's simply a case of telling them the information was there and not hidden in any way. Don't take it personally if you've been up front and honest. Some people will always argue for a bargain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm - those are some good points. I'll rethink my next few auctions terms with your tips, and see if anything changes.

 

I've found there are certain things I'd rather not do - like accept Money Orders or ship internationally, but the higher resulting prices are nice. I've never been able to quantify how much more money those things are making me, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have to say that at this point easily 50% of the gaming material I sell goes overseas. I have only had one instance of a slow paying buyer and I have only had one instance of a buyer arguing with me about shipping. All my auctions state that I ship by US Priority Mail but I don't require insurance or delivery confirmation. If I excluded international bidders my sales would drop like a rock. I accomodate them as much as I can and I have a number of repeat overseas bidders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I would keep to your guns if you want to keep international bidders (international bids are always a good thing IMHO). With as many problems as it sounds like you are having..maybe try placing the "International bidders MUST email me for shipping quotes before bidding" immediately after the description. With its own line in bold in the auction listing proper. I've also found that giving the USPS web address along with a note that they can estimate rough shipping there too also helps. You really can't say your terms enough in enough places if you still get folks surprised by shipping.

 

 

Maya~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I don't require insurance or delivery confirmation.

 

I don't require insurance, but I do require delivery confirmation. I ship about 20 packages a week with Fedex for my company, and even though they have tracking and delivery confirmation, you'd be amazed at the number of people who claim they didn't get their package - often times 2-3 months after the fact. Having a delivery confirmation from FedEx is often the only reason those complaints go away. I see the hassles and time that costs my company with a delivery confirmation, I can only imagine how much worse it would be without them - I completely abandoned shipping via regular mail because of a couple of nasty instances with customers. I'm simply not willing to deal with those type of issues for myself, particularly with international mail where the risks are greater.

 

I'm starting to think that I'm not outlining my terms in clear enough language, and I'm not taking advantage of the tools eBay is offering. Can some of you guys who are doing well with international bidders point me to some of your listings to see how you're doing it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You shouldn't have to deal with emails at all...you can set international shipping options--all you need is the weight/size of the package, how much handling you want to add, and the buyer can click, put in their address and know exactly how much you'll charge them for shipping and handling. You shouldn't have to babysit them at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just looking at one of your Auctons, Sue, and I'm not setting something up right (nice Scottish Clansman, BTW). I like how your auction is calculating all that shipping stuff.

 

I'm going to have to spend some time figuring out eBay's shipping tools (they're new since the last time I sold anything).

 

Thanks to everyone who's responded - it's nice to know that the international auctions ARE worth the hassle, and that the issue here is me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I don't require insurance or delivery confirmation.

 

I don't require insurance, but I do require delivery confirmation. I ship about 20 packages a week with Fedex for my company, and even though they have tracking and delivery confirmation, you'd be amazed at the number of people who claim they didn't get their package - often times 2-3 months after the fact. Having a delivery confirmation from FedEx is often the only reason those complaints go away. I see the hassles and time that costs my company with a delivery confirmation, I can only imagine how much worse it would be without them - I completely abandoned shipping via regular mail because of a couple of nasty instances with customers. I'm simply not willing to deal with those type of issues for myself, particularly with international mail where the risks are greater.

 

I'm starting to think that I'm not outlining my terms in clear enough language, and I'm not taking advantage of the tools eBay is offering. Can some of you guys who are doing well with international bidders point me to some of your listings to see how you're doing it?

 

I can only go with my own experiences on this which obviously differ vastly from yours. I only ship via USPS, I have only had one instance of a package going missing since 1999 and that was to a US address and none of my overseas packages have gone missing. I have been averaging about 10 packages a week for the better part of three months now.

 

I simply state at the end of my auction descriptions that I will package and weigh their item(s) and send an invoice with the proper amount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can only go with my own experiences on this which obviously differ vastly from yours. I only ship via USPS, I have only had one instance of a package going missing since 1999 and that was to a US address and none of my overseas packages have gone missing. I have been averaging about 10 packages a week for the better part of three months now.

 

I simply state at the end of my auction descriptions that I will package and weigh their item(s) and send an invoice with the proper amount.

Over the last five years of shipping stuff for my company, I've only had 3-4 items go missing, and another 3-4 items get damaged. That's from probably around 5,000 packages overall shipped. Incoming packages I've had 5-6 go missing, and at least two dozen damaged from improper packaging. Of the ones that went missing, half were shipped via USPS - and even then, my suspicion is that they arrived, but we were being defrauded. Now, out of all of those shipped, I've had at least 100 claims people haven't gotten their packages. In some cases, this is understandable - we ship to a business, it arrives, and someone signs for it, then misplaces it before it gets to the person it's supposed to go to. But a good majority of the customers we serve are sole proprietors, and we ship to their homes. Only a couple of times I've found they really didn't get it.

 

So I do trust the shipping companies, it's the recepients I'm having problems with. And that's for a fairly limited customer base in the US & Canada. It's been long enough since I've sold on eBay that the only experiences I have to go on are my business ones.

 

Like I mentioned, it's been 4-5 years since I've last sold on eBay. Before now, I didn't even offer international at all. But this time around, since I've had experience with shipping to/from Canada via work, I opened it up to international shipping, hoping to raise my final selling prices. So in a way, I'm kind of new to part of this, and learning what works/doesn't work, and what's changed about eBay. I'm up to about my 50th auction in the last month or so, and I'll keep going till I've sold off my Magic cards, and a lot of my excess games (gotta fund my new games, you know).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as an International Bidder, all you need to do is be very specific about what your postage charges will be up front. It's then up to the buyer to decide whether or not they want to pay the price.

 

Say something like "I am only comfortable shipping with delivery confirmation. Because of this, all International packages will be set via FedEx, which has a minimum cost of $X (you can calculate the exact cost to your country here (with a link)). This is for your protection as well as mine, and a tracking number will be provided once the package has been sent (as long as you are happy with that extra work). I charge $X for handling."

 

Make it obvious, and very clear - if I'm looking at buying stuff in the US, I have a reasonable idea of the USPS rates for a package sent to Australia, and automatically factor that in. If you aren't happy using that cheaper option (particularly when what you want to use is so much more expensive), just explain your reasons, and make it obvious what people should expect to be paying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I type this I just had an auction sell via BIN to an international bidder.

About 30% of my minis sold go to overseas bidders. I have never had any major problems with overseas bidders (knock on wood). I clearly state my shipping options. I ship most of my minis via 1st class international (small boxes) and let the buyers know I cannot insure international auctions and will not be held responsible if they go missing. This has not detered international bidders in the least.

 

I have only had one international bidder be a dead beat and that item was sold with little problem to the 2nd bidder.

 

What pisses me off is when I state in auctions I will not ship overseas (for large lots, armies, books) it never fails I always get one international bidder who wins and I have to go and find out what it will cost to ship. It depends if you take Pay pal. That is the most sure fire way to get paid from overseas buyers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always list my items as shipping worldwide. I bring the item in a box to my local post office and weigh it on the self-serve scale. Then I add 5oz for packing material. A tad much, maybe, but it keeps me from getting burned. I'd used eBay shipping calculator before, underestimated the weight of the package, and paid more to ship than I made form the auction!

 

When international bidders ask me for shipping quotes, I provide the estimate the eBay calc gives me to their country, and also provide them with the total package weight if they'd like to add it up themselves. Funny thing is, I don't think I've ever gotten so much as a single bid from those who inquire about the shipping costs. The winning bidders I do get from outside the US have never complained about the cost and have always paid *crosses fingers to ward off the Jinx*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Artists

I attended a seminar last year with info for FLGSes on how to use the Internet, including using Ebay to sell used items or items that weren't selling locally. I didn't take detailed notes on this part, but they mentioned that while they occasionally have problems with international buyers, the profits are worthwhile enough for them to continue to sell internationally. They also mentioned choosing shipping options that allow for tracking and signature confirmation. Dunno if that helps at all, but I figured I'd pass it along for what it's worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...