Thursday, July 06, 2006

eBay wakes up!!!!!

In my spare time, I buy and sell military surplus and almost anything else that catches my attention. I prefer to sell at flea markets, car shows, and gun shows. As I tell people at work, I prefer to sell "belly to belly". I enjoy the interaction with live humans as opposed to the coldness of the Internet. My older son describes my selling style as "heckling". He may be right. It is rare that I let someone walk by my space without saying something to them. Call it whatever you want, it works. I manage to come home with money in my pockets and less stuff than I left the house with that morning.

When I can't get to the flea market or other events due to weather or schedule obligations at my real job, I sell on eBay. I don't enjoy selling on eBay quite as much as live selling, but it has some advantages. You have almost a worldwide audience. Last week I sold two MOLLE packs to a guy in the Czech Republic. I have sold to people in other countries such as Australia, Honk Kong, Germany, France, Great Britain, Iceland, and California. Yes, I know that California is not technically a foreign country.

What I don't like about eBay is shipping and handling charges. This is a way that some sellers use to cheat customers and eBay. Let's say that you are searching eBay and you find that perfect MOLLE II hand grenade pouch that you wanted in woodland camo. The auction starts at $.01 or you can Buy It Now for $.05. WOW! My perfect grenade pouch for only a nickel!!! How can they do that?? Here's a hint! Before buying anything, check the shipping costs. In this case the shipping costs were $12.20 for First Class Mail or $14.40 for Priority Mail. This for a pouch that weighs three or four ounces. Just for the record, a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box will ship anywhere in the USA for $8.10. You can fit about 20 grenade pouches in that box. These bandits make their money on shipping charges. Why do they operate this way? First, their eBay fees are based on what the final sales price is for an item, not including shipping. Second, they grab buyers' attention with the low price. So they rip off both eBay and the public. Not bad for a day's work.

eBay has finally come to life on this subject. Beginning June 19, they started cracking down on sellers who use this business model. We will have to wait and see how long it takes to end this practice. I can't believe that they have waited this long. Their own research shows that the TOP thing that buyers hate about eBay is seller charging ridiculous shipping charges. What took so long guys???

A final note about the grenade pouch. I checked the price before I listed one that I was selling. I sold mine for $5.99 plus actual shipping. It went to the Czech Republic for less than the other guy wanted to ship his to North Carolina.


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