I experienced myself what it means to buy international via Ebay and how international transactions are affected by Ebay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP). Ebay or eGREEDY as I call them is of course stating it’s all for the benefit of their customers. Fact is the GSP is far more complex than you think and you will face much higher costs and longer shipping time until your purchased item is on your desk. For NEW sellers it’s MANDATORY to participate the GSP if you are in their scope of countries otherwise you can’t sell international. At the beginning GSP was optional nowadays you have to OPT OUT of GSP as it’s now the standard setup when you sell at eGreedy. GSP is heavily under critics by eCommerce websites but as eBay is the biggest fish in the pond they can do what they want. We all know how worse eBay’s customer service is working and they don’t care about users opinions at all.
The information given here is taken from eBay the website, several websites and blogs, eCommerce sites.
What is the Global Shipping Program? (click to see full Terms & Conditions)
The Global Shipping Program is a new program that makes it easy to sell to buyers in many countries around the world—simply by shipping your items domestically to a US shipping center. Once received by the US shipping center, international shipping will be handled for you, including preparing customs forms, remitting applicable import charges that are prepaid by your buyer, and international shipping to the buyer—with tracking—using a fast, reliable carrier. Enrollment is FREE!
How does the Global Shipping Program work?
Whether you are new to international selling or you already list and sell items on a global basis, the Global Shipping Program lets you sell your items internationally yet ship domestically, making global sales as easy as easy as domestic ones. Once you enroll in the Global Shipping Program and apply it to your new and active listings, your eligible items will be visible to millions of international buyers on eBay.com.
Furthermore, for all Global Shipping Program items, the total item price, including import charges, will be automatically calculated for you and displayed to your buyer at checkout. After an international buyer purchases the item, just ship the package to the US shipping center. The Global Shipping Program will do the rest—package processing, customs forms, payment of applicable import charges, and international shipping with tracking.
The Global Shipping Program is available to buyers in these countries. As additional countries are added, your listings will be updated automatically to include the new countries.
Do items ship faster internationally through the Global Shipping Program?
Items that ship through the Global Shipping Program generally arrive within one week after departing the US shipping center. Packages not shipped through Global Shipping Program can take much longer. Packages that use the Global Shipping Program benefit from professional customs processing, which helps expedite delivery times. According buyers experience frequently posted on the web it takes often longer via GSP.
Are there any restrictions on items that can be shipped through the Global Shipping Program (size, weight, category limits, and restricted items)?
Yes, there are restrictions. (Full details – see eBay website). For example you can’t sell paper money via GPS as this is one of the restrictions. Before introducing GSP it was easily possible.
What happens to my package when it’s at the US shipping center?
The US shipping center is managed by a third party global shipping and technology provider. When your package arrives at the US shipping center, that provider will oversee the sorting and processing of your package and will arrange for international shipment of your buyer’s order by various shipping carriers from the US shipping center to the delivery address designated by your buyer.
How are the shipping charges calculated for the international leg?
The international shipping charge your buyer sees is derived from a number of factors, including the buyer’s location, shipping weight, and package dimensions. A network of shipping carriers will be used by the provider to provide fast, reliable and traceable services. For complete details, see the Global Shipping Program. If you list an item with a low sale price, consider the economics of shipping globally using a traceable service.
It’s frequently reported that eBay OVERCHARGES! Just google and you will find plenty of articles. The definition how the calculation works is everything else than clear!
How are the import charges calculated?
Import charges quoted to buyers are derived from real-time proprietary estimates of applicable import charges by the third party global shipping and technology provider and include applicable customs duties, taxes, brokerage, and other fees. These charges are calculated based on a number of factors, including: the item price, total shipping price, shipping weight, package dimension, country of manufacture, and item classification. For additional information, see the Global Shipping Program.
This is also a “black hole” as the definition how to calculate is everything else than clear. By my personal experience they charged me 25% import (based on the sales price) while in Thailand it should be just 7%! And in every country you are tax free until a certain amount. I believe the high share of the fees are “handling fees” by their third party service Pitney Bowes Inc.
Her is my example (personal experience):
$17.88 additional cost for a so called “Import charge”. Item value was $20! Insane!
I asked eBay for a statement:
I am very surprised that I have to pay $18 for the so called import charges due to the GSP for a item value of $20!!! No country would charge any customs, tax or other fees at this low item value!!! Please explain and please do it in a way I understand and not just by a automated answer by sending links to the GSP terms and condition as I looked in there already and the definition how the import charges are calculated are everything else than clear.
Thomas, it is not uncommon for buyers to pay additional costs such as duties, taxes and customs clearance fees. Since international shipping rates may or may not include pickup with customs clearance. Your package will arrive, but then you might need to pay extra international fees. Even if duties and taxes were not applicable there may still be an administrative fee for processing the goods through the border.
Sellers have no control over this, and as the rules are quite complex, will most often not be able to tell you whether or not duty will apply to the item they are selling. As a buyer, it is important to be aware of what custom charges may apply for your country and product before you bid or purchase your item. It is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure the item can be legally imported into your own country, and, unless arrangements have been made to the contrary in advance, to pay any taxes and duties that might be assessed at the border.
What a bullshit – sorry!
“Let me be very clear. Based on my own experience, frequent postings on the web and also by independent analyzes by eCommerce websites it’s nothing else for eBay / eGreedy than to make more money and to become even more greedy!” Many even say it’s a SCAM as they charge “import fees” on items where no such fees is required by customs!
International buyers definitely have to pay much higher (unnecessary) fees due to eBay’s GSP. Period!
- Higher (over priced) shipping fees
- Longer delivery time
- Tax and duties for everything – no tax free / duty free items