Shipping Is Getting Expensive

Emily noticed that the weird puppet crap she was thinking of buying on Ebay would make her PayPal account explode:

I know shipping products can be expensive, what with the rising fuel costs and all, but this shipping charge from the UK to Utah is ridiculous! Maybe the seller’s just padding the fee, I don’t know. :)



Edit Your Comment

  1. chemmy says:

    Yeah I saw several of those over the weekend. When I clicked on the items to check them out, the shipping fee the shipper had entered was completely normal….

    eBay’s pretty buggy as of late… not including how they’re screwing and losing sellers like crazy.

  2. chemmy says:

    Yeah I saw several of those over the weekend as well… I clicked the item and the shipper’s shipping fees were perfectly normal.

    eBay’s pretty buggy lately… Not including how they’re screwing over their sellers and losing them like clockwork…

    I feel bad for the seller… I bet if people were sorting to list “lowest to highest” they just got screwed!!!!!

  3. chemmy says:

    Argh… and my buggy computer today… Sorry for the double post. Comp froze and I didn’t think my comment was taken… Happy Monday.

  4. forgottenpassword says:

    LOL! I thibnk somone screwed up! lol

    But seriously I have a serious issue with obviously padded shipping fees in order to increase a seller’s profit margin. I understand that ebay is screwing its sellers, but that’s hardly good reason to pass the screwage onto the buyers.

    When I sell my stuff on ebay, I make it a point to advertise that proof of “ACTUAL SHIPPING COSTS” will be provided (the reciept) in the shipment to PROVE I am not trying to screw over my buyers. And if shippig is less than what I advertised…. I include the difference in the package along with the shipping reciept & the product.

  5. Bladefist says:

    eBay is like the last to regulate this. Amazon,, everyone that allows normal people to sell things, regulate the shipping costs so Joe Blow doesn’t rip everyone off on shipping.

    I don’t know why this is so hard. If ebay will give me 200$ a hr, I’ll write the code needed to calculate shipping off weight from ups,usps and that field can now be derived. Pretty simple stuff here.

  6. NotATool says:

    Shipping from the UK to Utah? Maybe the seller is just trying to protect themselves from the declining value of the dollar?

  7. forgottenpassword says:

    I personally just love the excuse (lame justification)sellers use to charge unrealistically large shippig fees by saying something like…. “its shipping AND *handling* that I charge for… meaning the worth of MY time to process your order,box it up & travel to the Post office”


  8. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @forgottenpassword: Please explain to me how inflated upfront shipping costs screw the buyer. buyers should simply take that into account when they bid. If you’re willing to pay $300 for a Wii and shipping is free, bid $300. If shipping is $100, then adjust your bid to $200.

    If anything, it screws eBay, because they make less of a cut off final value fees when the bids are low because shipping costs are so high.

  9. K-Bo says:

    @Bladefist-미국사람: Some sites over regulate shipping. I sold a book once on amazon, and they limited my shipping to the point that once I actually shipped it, I only made about $3 off the book, instead of the $10 the buyer was supposed to be paying. I quit trying to sell then, $3 isn’t worth the time and gas it took to go ship it.

  10. forgottenpassword says:


    You forgot the auctions that are “buy it now” auctions.

    Then there are the set reserve prices as well.

    And its STILL passing on the screwage to the buyers when the actual cost of shipping the product is inflated to offset ebay’s increasing fees & increase the buyer’s profit margins.

  11. forgottenpassword says:


    corection: should read “increase the SELLER’S profit margins” in that last line.

    Note: consumerist comments need an edit function.

  12. alice_bunnie says:


    Actually, I had a problem with collecting $4.99 in shipping and then only reimbursing me media mail rate when I was selling things on their used book site. Why should they make almost double the rate when they were doing absolutely no work at all but offering a little data storage space and brokering service? Especially after collecting all the fees. I decided I’d rather donate them to Goodwill and take a tax deduction or do Paperback Swap.

  13. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @forgottenpassword: So what if it’s a “buy it now” auction? If price + shipping is more than you want to pay total, don’t buy it. You’re talking as if someone sees the price and the shipping cost, clicks “buy” and then is surprised when they’re added together.

    Furthermore, if you make your maximum bid + shipping on a reserve auction and it’s not met, don’t bid again.

    What’s so hard about that?

  14. forgottenpassword says:


    I just have a problem with people advertising a false (inflated) shipping cost. That’s all. Especially when they do it so that their item listing shows up as a seemingly cheap price (until you see the obviously infated shipping).

  15. timmus says:

    “its shipping AND *handling* that I charge for… meaning the worth of MY time to process your order,box it up & travel to the Post office”

    I sell on eBay only once every month or two, but the hassle of shipping is not a trivial thing, especially in today’s culture where the post office makes it a royal pain in the ass to send a two-pound package. Frankly it’s not worth my time to send a $4 knicknack if I have to set aside 30 minutes to drive 14 miles and stand in line and mail it. So should it languish in my house because handling is “wrong”, or would you rather be able to buy it by throwing in an additional $3 on top of what it’s worth?

    For power sellers, I have no sympathy about handling charges since there’s people doing the job already and it’s definitely just skimming money to bump up business revenue.

  16. JustAGuy2 says:

    I just wish eBay’s site would let me not just sort by “item plus shipping,” but just show “item plus shipping,” or bid a total price including shipping.

  17. dragonfire81 says:

    Sellers don’t pay ebay fees on shipping costs, so some will inflate shipping costs to pocket more money from a sale.

    It’s technically a banned practice but it goes on all the time, I think what’s it in the screenshot is simply an error, given that the items aren’t high value.

  18. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @forgottenpassword: Well that’s fair. On a purely emotional level, it’s annoying, but I think it’s actually a pretty clever way to circumvent eBay’s final value fees, as long as the inflated shipping is presented upfront.

  19. Bladefist says:

    @alice_bunnie: @K-Bo:

    Well thats unfortunate. I’ve used amazon several times and have felt very good about the selling situation. Basically I took the approach of getting the best shipping speed for the money. So if they gave me 4$ for shipping, and 9000 class mail was all that afforded, thats what I got. But typically they gave me enough. If you use USPS, it’s like 6 dollars for priority 2-3 mail.

    I guess it depends what your selling and for how much. If its 10$ total w/ shipping, you may not make enough. Usually the stuff I was selling 50-100$ college text books, and I made good money off it.

  20. forgottenpassword says:


    I personally have no problem waiting a couple of weeks (for my item) if it saves me a few bucks.

  21. econobiker says:

    @dragonfire81: Exactly – especially on very low value commodity items. The last three cell phone belt cases I bought were for 1¢ with about $4.99 or more shipping. When I got one of the cases it was in a small bag with 60¢ or so shipping postage. Gaming the system they are for sure, but it is cheaper and easier than me going to the mall ($9.99 case plus 10% sales tax plus gas/time). I am sure this type of stuff slips below ebay’s radar versus say selling a high value item like an almost new laptop for $1 plus $1900 shipping and handling…

  22. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Whenever I have sold on eBay (I buy a lot more and only have a couple hundred transactions) I have charged within $2 actual shipping (if not actual).

    If I sell again, I intend to mark it up to about what others are charging as I don’t want my item to appear more expensive. I wish I didn’t have to do it, but as long as others do, I would have to follow to remain competitive.

    Any time where that argument holds water, the practice is unfair and shows a market place shortcoming. Unfortunately as too many people say I just take it into account bid anyways, there is no economic force to correct the market.

    I don’t know why eBay doesn’t stop it, it directly affects their bottom line in final value fees and takes them one more step from being a first class market to flea market. I used to always be able to find what I needed on eBay (new or used) and buy it at a fair price. Now it is full of junk, most of it more expensive than you can get elsewhere. I have purchased $5k tape backup systems and $8k routers on eBay in the past, and these categories are probably not infested, but ever look for a cell phone?

  23. ChuckECheese says:

    Buried somewhere on eBay’s impossible website is their policy on shipping fees. eBay will cancel an auction if they get legitimate complaints that the shipping fees are too high for the item. I read complaints in their forums from sellers who had their auctions canceled. In such a case, eBay will not refund your fees.

    It is manipulative at best to charge an inflated shipping fee, because you have to hunt through the listing to find the fee listing. I purchased software via eBay, and was charged $14 for shipping. The seller sent it book rate in a recycled paper envelope, total price about $2 + time and travel. I have a (tiny) bit of sympathy for people who would like to make a living selling on eBay, because eBay’s fees and policies are making it harder. In toto, it’s easiest to avoid eBay.

  24. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @ChuckECheese: This is one case where I really do think it’s unethical to inflate the shipping fee, when the seller intentionally tries to hide it inside the listing.

    But for the majority of listings when the shipping charges are two lines below the bid price, I can’t really be sympathetic to buyers. If I got an iPhone for $5.00 but paid $100 in shipping, that’s still a great deal in the end even though it obviously didn’t cost that much to ship.

    People just have some strange hangup about paying unfair shipping fees completely irrespective of the total cost.

  25. dogmaratt says:


    People that make a living selling things on EBay shouldn’t have to eat the cost of rising shipping. Same with EBay and Paypal fees. You know how it goes.

    Shippers raise their prices when gas prices go up…why shouldn’t EBayers?

    No one is forcing anyone to buy anything off EBay. You know what the terms of the auction are, including shipping. Don’t like them, don’t buy.

    This really got me too..

    “”its shipping AND *handling* that I charge for… meaning the worth of MY time to process your order,box it up & travel to the Post office””

    Regardless of what you might think, shipping materials, time, gas and wear and tear on vehicles is not free.

  26. krom says:

    Ebay’s shipping calculator is buggy as all get out. I once overcharged a guy in Alaska for shipping a car radio because Ebay’s calculator said it would be $24 and it was actuall more like $14. My weight was right and my class was right (priority). I threw in insurance and parcel tracking and anything else I could think of in order to make sure he got his money’s worth (still came up short), but I was annoyed at Ebay for completely screwing up the cost.

  27. fuzzymuffins says:


    shipping fees are the difference between a bargain and getting screwed on ebay.

  28. madanthony says:

    To those who are complaining that eBay isn’t doing enough about overcharging and shipping, they are doing some things – including the new DSR’s (detailed seller ratings) – those stars that have been added to feedback. One of them is for shipping. eBay is already giving lower prices and some other perks to powersellers with all DSR’s including shipping above 4.8, and I get the impression they plan on tying more stuff to DSR’s in the future.

    I’m not a huge fan of them, since one low rating can drop your rating sharply if you aren’t a big-time seller who has a lot of other ratings to offset it, and because many buyers don’t realize how much shipping costs.

  29. vastrightwing says:

    I take price + shipping into account when I bid. It’s just a hassle to have to comparison shop having to do that. But that’s the way it is. The next person to come out with a trading platform that works better than ebay or Amazon will be a hero.

  30. Skankingmike says:

    I don’t know where all this Hate of eBay stems from.

    I use eBay a lot as a seller and a Buyer.

    Never had a problem except for when Sellers try to be dueche bags but that happens even when you deal with regular business’s.

    and is owned and operated by eBay, and only allows certain things to be sold on it.

  31. wickedpixel says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Another example of how it screws the consumer is that if you need to return the product the seller isn’t obligated to refund shipping charges.

    Say you want to buy a widget that normally costs $10 plus shipping. The seller lists the item at $2 plus shipping that’s inflated by $8. Sure, it works out to the same total cost to you, but what happens when the product shows up not as expected, and you want to return it? You’re only getting $2 back for it, not the $10 it’s really worth.

  32. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @wickedpixel: That’s a great point to keep in mind if a seller offers an extended return policy.

    For items that show up “not as described,” though, and if you pay with PayPal, I *think* that if you open a dispute and ultimately get refunded, you get the whole PayPal payment back, including shipping, once you pay out of your pocket to ship the item back to the seller. When I look at my past transactions it doesn’t even separate price and shipping, it’s just one lump sum.

    So it’s probably not an issue if something’s wrong right off the bat, but definitely if you want a refund directly from the seller.

  33. akalish says:

    Many ebay sellers deliberately inflate shipping costs (though the example in this post looks like it had to be an error) because ebay’s cut is only calculated on the final sale price (i.e. it excludes S&H fees, so the seller makes more money).

  34. milk says:

    @timmus: Who actually stands in line at the post office anymore? Between printing labels online and the APCs, I never spend more than 60 seconds in there.

  35. says:

    A number like that looks like an eBay bug.

    If it was intentional, it’d be $5,999,999.99 so it didn’t look inflated 8-)

  36. Blueskylaw says:

    I feel more disturbed that there are people buying Prince Philip Fridge Magnets.

    Repressed childhood princess fantasies?
    Any psycho-analysts that want to chime in on this one?

  37. nikkomorocco says:

    @pyx: i do the same, but i still gotta drive there to use the APC. the model of “pay this much shipping, sometimes you come out ahead and sometimes you lose” i find works a lot better than shipping fees of whatever.

    i charge an extra buck or two for shipping because it IS time and it IS gas that i have to use to get the package out. if you don’t dig on what you might pay, just dont bid on the stuff.

  38. Mr. Gunn says:

    Many times for popular items you can make more profit padding shipping than you do on the item itself.

    That’s why ebay sucks for some things.

  39. Blinker says:


    I charge actual shipping as well but I DO add a $3.50 “handling” fee, but its only to pay for bubble wrapping and packing peanuts. Those things arent cheap. 1 roll of bubble wrap and 1 box of peanuts at Office Max is around $40.00. which is usually enough for about 11 packages since I package good. That means Im spending around $3.50 per box just in packaging materials. So not everyone is trying to recoup sellers fees.

  40. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Must be the new fuel surcharge.

  41. Bryan Price says:

    I paid $124.00 for a 99 cent item to be shipped.

    It was a nice Persian rug, shipped FedEx to me, in two days, well packaged.

    It ended up being too wide for where we want it to go, but it’s too beautiful to not use, so we’re going to use it as a runway path in our TV room.

  42. nardo218 says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: I wouldn’t call it clever…

  43. UNSTOPPABLE says:

    Ebay broke the system when they started screwing with the fee structure. Greed plain and simple. It’s next to impossible to find any kind of REAL bargain on eBay now and there’s nothing more frustrating that paying the crazy “shipping fees”. More often than not I use it to find something that I can find in my area and usually end up paying retail anyway. Too bad because eBay was fantastic a few short years ago.

  44. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Another reason for sellers to bend you over on shipping fees is to discourage returns, since you won’t get that amount back.

  45. Get Free International Shipping says:

    The shipping fee of the stuff you’re trying to buy online is absolutely ridiculous. You could buy a lot of items with the money you’re going to spend in the shipping fee. By the way, Dino Direct has an unbeatable offer and the service is always prompt and painless. Buying stuff online has always been a nightmare when it comes to the shipping costs. We’ve been putting together a list of other retailers and stores that offer free international shipping if it appeals….