eBay Global Shipping Program – Disadvantage for international buyers!

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):

eBay Global Shipping Program - A Clear Disadvantage

$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

17 comments for “eBay Global Shipping Program – Disadvantage for international buyers!

  1. Nick and Jane
    6 May, 2017 at 19:35

    Im a seller and the Global shipping program is great.
    Look at the name… its a PROGRAM.

    Not all Programs are great for all people. Some will be at a disadvantage.

    Its a program for sellers, not for buyers as much, though buyers benefit, Ill explain.

    As a seller, I can sell my products around the globe, and no longer have to worry about getting scammed, just like selling and shipping in the US. I also don’t have to fill out long complicated forms, duties, tariffs, etc, that make it not worth shipping internationally.

    With the global program, all I have to do is ship to a center in the US. Thats it, Im done. If there is a problem, the G.S.P. is at fault, and I still get my money.

    the biggest complainers are the people who want to have us sellers say “Its a gift” on the paperwork so they don’t have to pay.
    If the one person has a 20 dollar item, and had to pay and extra 18, then those are the tariffs taxes and such. Administrative fees are obviously only going to be a small %, maybe a dollar or two? This buyer is probably not used to paying his countries duties.

    As a buyer, you know your getting a product that your covered for, because eBay is taking responsibility for the whole trip.

    Im sure there are cases where it a disadvantage, but I “volunteered” into the GSP, it was NOT forced on me, and its been awesome for me.

    One time the shipper delivered the package to the wrong place. I would have been out of luck. Instead the GSP was at fault, and I still got my money as I did what was asked: ship to a center in the US that takes over from there.

    • 6 May, 2017 at 20:23

      Thank you for your input. You might consider the following.
      1. eBay opt-in ALL new sellers to the GSP, which is already an impudence. New sellers don’t know about this and they also don’t know they have manually to opt-out!
      2. eBay is charging import fees in general and for everything, not considering a product type and country specific free customs limits.
      3. In almost all cases they charge for the shipping much higher than a local mail service would charge.
      4. What you mean with scamming? How is scaming related to GSP?
      5. There are usually no complex form if you have ordinary goods for sale
      6. Shipping time takes often longer, not shorter
      7. Of course to declare a wrong customs value is a offense!
      8. Make yourself familiar how much GSP is disapproved my the vast majority of buyers (google is your friend)
      9. In my opinion any long time seller using GSP is reckless towards its buyers and helping eBay in the scamming. But again fresh eBay sellers don’t know better. See point 1. as eBay doesn’t tell them.

      Personally, I see ebay’s GSP as a scam from eBay to make extra money on the back of buyers. I always point sellers on that issue when I see it and you woun’t belive how many appreciate my input and then OPT-OUT once they really understand the issue.

      Cheers, Tom

      • Peter af Uhr
        26 September, 2017 at 14:05

        Been buying 2 Gibson vintage guitars now within 3 monts and The Global Shipping Center cancelled both of them……
        I dont understand why and it’s quite disturbing plus it makes me angry….
        Buying for many years never any problems before this year 2017….
        Peter Uhr

        • 28 September, 2017 at 19:13

          Hello Peter, thanks for your input. Did they gave you a reason why they cancelled? Cheers Tom

        • Raussou
          2 November, 2017 at 05:48


          I bought a very old bottle of perfume wiht 1 mm left over of perfume in it! GSP made the item twice more expensive, I would not have paid tax in Germany on delivery because under the 30€ limit. GSP blocked the item and gave no reason why. I am fuming. What Bullshit!

          • 2 November, 2017 at 06:50

            I absolutely understand you frustration and it’s exactly like you say. GSP is charging “import fees” for things where no such fees are required by customs. GSP is the biggest scam from eBay and I wonder that nobody stops them in doing this fraud day by day. Best regards, Tom

    • David
      5 November, 2017 at 01:32

      As a seller who has had money stolen from me by unscrupulous buyers and indifferent PayPal moderation I will not sell to new overseas buyers without the global Shipping Program. Even if a buyer admits to giving the wrong delivery address PayPal will side with the buyer and steal your money to refund their payment. Even when they admit they gave you the wrong address. So, if you are a buyer and want the ability to buy an item from the other side of the planet that years ago you would not even known existed, then suck it up and pay the price. Or find another venue.

      • 5 November, 2017 at 11:34

        David, as I see you are from the US. Actually many US sellers using GSP, partly by inexperience as new sellers are automatically opt-in. GSP is NOT mandatory. You have your reason to use it but I am pretty sure your international sales are low – because of the high and unnecessary costs due to GSP. An that is what I and many others complain. GSP is asking “Import fees” for items where no import fees are ever applicable. Check the duty free item list for a specific country and you will be surprised. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Best regards, Tom

  2. Verity
    2 February, 2016 at 07:56

    As a buyer, GSP is great – I know what my tax commitment is, and I get to pay it upfront, rather than being conned by organisations like FedEx (recently bought £14 of goods from a US firm, well within my £15 VAT allowance, hit by FedEx with a bill for £17.45 because one Clare Billingham reckons that one of two identical cotton phone covers was declared at $40.95 and the other at its correct price of $1.98. Other than Paris Hilton, would anyone pay $40 for a cotton phone cover? But that’s FedEx for you – shareholders first and always).

    • 2 February, 2016 at 09:34

      Thanks for your input. I guess you are one of the very few buyers in favor of the GSP as the high share does not. Ask Google! Exactly what you say is GSP advantage is the key point. eBay is charging “import fees” where no “import tax” is necessary plus the shipping costs are often far too high. Cheers Tom

  3. Danny
    19 August, 2015 at 16:31

    I bought a watch costing me 1300usd from Texas to be sent to Malaysia , the problem is watches and cosmetic is duty item exempted from tax. How the hell gsp robe me by imposing their own taxation rule, ok I can live by paying 38usd in their own taxation which I think is illegal, but the worst nightmare is I have no idea which destination courier is handling my watch, they are using funny tracking number started with upaaaxxxxxxxxxxx.. And no local courier understand what that is. Yes tracking record is provide and showing custom cleared 4 days ago and now with Robert for delivery, it has been 4 days that I am waiting not know who Robert is and which courier is he from. No information provided on either eBay or Google search. Isn’t is rediculous? Can eBay pls explain this? Is it not better is eBay is without gsp? This is a thief system and sending buyer to outer space for item bought,

    Frustrated buyer from Malaysia,


    • 21 August, 2015 at 12:17

      Hi Danny. I feel you. GSP is scrap and some kind of fraud for many buyers. eBay sees it of course different and they do what they want. eBay CS is bottom quality and do not waste any time to discuss with them as it will be useless and unsuccessful. This statement is based on my frequent experience in challenging eBay. Thanks for sharing! Cheers Tom

  4. Terence Tan
    11 December, 2014 at 23:45

    Bloody blood sucking fraud. I live in Malaysia. When I buy stuff and sent to Malaysia, it should be tax free if it’s below 500 Malaysian Ringit according to the Malaysian Customs. Now items below that amount is also taxed. WTF!

  5. Rozann Hunt
    16 January, 2014 at 08:04

    Hi Tom, I believe I am the Seller in your terrible experience with e-bay and their global shipping policy.However, I still have the item and if there is another way this transaction can happen I am willing. Thank you for your time. Rozann

    • 16 January, 2014 at 08:54

      Thanks Rozann. I sent you a private message. Best, Tom.

  6. Alex
    14 December, 2013 at 12:44

    Good article but it’s about GSP, not GPS…

    • 14 December, 2013 at 14:05

      Thanks Alex, you are right – corrected. Tom

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