Follow Scandinavian Stamps on Twitter!

Follow Scandinavian Stamps on Twitter!

Monday, April 07, 2014

eBay and "Shipping Shenanigans"

Like most stamp collectors in the 21st century, I use eBay to buy and sell stamps on a pretty regular basis. In many ways, the online auction giant has been a great help to stamp collectors in the way it has enabled us to connect with each other and with stamps we want for our collections, from all over the world.

Whatever you might think about eBay (some people love it, some people hate it), one thing is certain: It's very important to pay attention to what you are doing. Never assume anything!

Just this morning, I was checking eBay to see if there was anything new and interesting from Denmark, one of my major collecting areas. Because I look for cancels, plate flaws and varieties, I am often in the market for "lots and accumulations."

Indeed, I did find a couple of duplicated collections that seemed quite interesting-- as well as quite reasonably priced. That is, until I checked the seller's shipping terms. $12.00 to ship about 50 stamps from the UK to the US? Huh?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of the "cheapskates" who try to nickel-and-dime sellers and leave negative feedback because they were charged 50 cents for a letter that cost 49 cents to send. I understand we all have expenses when we sell stamps... personally, I charge 75 cents when I sell on eBay, because it covers the cost of the stamp (49c) plus an envelope, a glassine and the possibility that I will have to pay for a "second rate" after I've put a cardboard stiffener in the envelope. I feel that's fair, and if anyone wants to "argue" with me about that, I'd prefer they just buy their stamps from someone else.

But that's a really long way from charging US $12.00 for a letter that might cost £1.50 to mail (or about $2.50). To me, that loosely falls under the broader heading of "shenanigans" and "deceptive practices." Of course, that's just my opinion-- some professional stamp dealers may disagree with me.

Of course we always have the option to "move on by" if we don't like someone's postage rates, and that's precisely what I did. And so... the point of this article is primarily to remind people to READ the so-called "fine print" before you click on the "bid" or "buy now" buttons... and be sure you understand what the "real" cost of that stamp is.

In general, I have found that "discussing rates" with people who charge uncommonly high shipping rates is a waste of time. Why? Well, because they are typically in the business of "selling cheap stamps and making their profit on shipping" and so they are really not interested in hearing what you-- as a collector-- have to say about it. Sad... but true.

Overall, though, I continue to recommend eBay as a place to buy stamps... because the positive experiences FAR outweigh the negative ones.

What's YOUR opinion? Do you think sellers often "overcharge" for sending stamps? Do you fee that it's "fair" if stamp sellers cover their basic expenses to send stamps-- like envelopes, glassines and so forth? Do you ever try to "argue" with people who are charging high shipping fees, because you really WANT a stamp they have for sale? If you feel this topic merits discussion, please consider sharing to your Facebook page or favorite stamp forum!