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Dealing with sellers who overcharge on shipping

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  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    Update: Seller refunded the full difference between what they charged and what postage actually cost.

    I stand firmly by my feeling that, if a seller is charging me a handling fee on BL, then the actual shipping price should be correct. You can buy a reasonable postage scale for under $20. PayPal makes it so easy to print and ship as well. I realize this may not apply to non-US transactions, but I only buy in the country so that's how I approach the issue.
    cheshirecatmargot
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,062
    edited November 2014

    , I could really care less as it is almost not worth it to even bicker

    Sorry to nit pick but it is "I couldn't care less". I could care less implies that you are annoyed but there are worse things in life, and therefore are indifferent. Which makes no sense in your sentence structure. If that is so I apologise, but, if really doesn't bother you than it is couldn't. Sorry to have a go but the phrase really annoys me.
    Sorry, forgot I was in an English and Grammar class and not a forum about LEGO.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,926
    edited November 2014
    You are right. Ensuring you are understood by a random stranger on a forum; whose only ability to understand is through written words means you can write as poorly as you want.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,062
    edited November 2014
    My point is that in a rush people tend to have redundancy in their posts, spelling errors (though with spell check that should not occur as much as it does), double negatives, etc. But to point out everything people do in their posts that is a grammar or language error is going to take up most of your free time.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    iccarus said:

    Update: Seller refunded the full difference between what they charged and what postage actually cost.

    I stand firmly by my feeling that, if a seller is charging me a handling fee on BL, then the actual shipping price should be correct. You can buy a reasonable postage scale for under $20. PayPal makes it so easy to print and ship as well. I realize this may not apply to non-US transactions, but I only buy in the country so that's how I approach the issue.

    Then you have to add an extra fee to cover the cost of that scale too. If you think you'll do 500 transactions in the next year, do you add an itemised 4c to the bill so the buyer knows exactly what they are paying for?
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,926
    edited November 2014
    @madforLEGO‌ I don't spend my time correcting every error I see, because, as you point out I would have no free time. I think you will see, if you weren't in a rush with knee jerk reactions, that I politely corrected your syntax not your grammar or spelling; because I did not understand your point. Are you indifferent to the situation? In which case you are correct to say "I could care less". Or do you not care at all? In which case "I could not care less" would be correct.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    I don't know any buyer that is obsessed with the postage being at cost, but that the cost for shipping and handling/postage and packaging is reasonable and transparent.

    The reason that most buyers feel aggrieved by postage costs is because of misrepresentation (as someone politely coined it). I am much more inclined to buy from someone that offers free postage as then I know then I can compare like-for-like with other sellers and know that there are not any hidden charges.

    Most online retailers have switched to offering free delivery in the UK as buyers prefer it. It prevents businesses from reducing retail prices to look more attractive and trying to recoup profit in the delivery costs.

    In any business, costs are calculated as part of the product profit and loss, and delivery costs should not be any different.

    BrickLink would do well to push free delivery as it's retail model encourages price sensitivity, so have little to differentiate themselves on anything other than price and therefore the temptation is to transfer costs outside of the unit price.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    I cannot see how free delivery will work on BL. Unless of course, you only sell nationally and not internationally. Even then, you will find minimum purchases of probably at least £20, if not higher. BL sales are mainly parts, and vary massively. It is not straightforward to include shipping on a per piece basis.

    Minifig prices, for example, will need to include shipping price if free postage is needed, so every minifig will go up by at least £1 to account for postage - that's if it goes to a UK buyer. Or should I add £4 on top, in case an international buyer purchases and requires free shipping. So a £1 minifig then costs £5 so free international shipping can be included. Or do we have multiple prices for each part, depending on where in the world the buyer is.

    I'd prefer it to remain as is, or at least what it will be when automatic postage costs are implemented, or more sellers use the quote system. Seller tells the buyer what an order will cost, buyer decides to buy or not.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    Free postage only really works in countries with a flat postal rate and would not include international sales. I don't know about you @CCC, but most of my buyers are based in the UK and I suspect that that's the same for the majority of sellers.

    As for every minifig increasing in price, that's not a problem if it's the same for all sellers. Sellers can already offer discounts for bulk sales, which offsets the reduced cost for selling multiple items and posting them as one package.

    It would actually be a lot more efficient system, both for the buyer and the seller, so it's a win-win.
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    To use the quote system, wouldn't the seller need to basically package the order and see how much it would cost. Then, if the buyer decided not to purchase, they would have to disassemble the package they just sorted out. Sounds inconvenient. I don't see too many sellers doing that.

    Granted, I haven't really sold on BL before, only Amazon and electronic Bay.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    So instead of pricing an order then adding on postage and then comparing, to compare you would have to price an order where free postage is included for every part, then work out what the discount is before you can compare sellers.

    Free postage works well on single items like DVDs or games. It might work well on sets on BL. But parts orders are very different. I wouldn't want to have to price minifigs at my price plus a pound each then discount an order of n minifigs by (n-1) pounds. I'd prefer to charge my price, then add on £1 for postage.

    And for parts, I definitely wouldn't want to charge £1.01 for a round 1x1 plate with postage included, with a discount for multiples.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    Free delivery works well with most items, which is why Amazon and most other major retailers offer it. I accept that it's slightly more complex with small parts, but it would still work well if every seller had to offer it.

    As for minifigs, it would work exactly like DVD or games as their weights are nearly always the same.

    The quote system just makes more work for sellers and is utterly flawed.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    It works well only if you want to order one though. If you order more than one, then to compare sellers you have to start to compare seller discounts as well, which will probably vary from seller to seller and also with the number ordered. That is more complicated than comparing a base price plus p&p.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    Not if BrickLink introduce a service to compare total cost for an order from all sellers.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    edited November 2014
    I know this is getting away from the OP, but it is Interesting to hear everyone's view on this. Seems a bit split between those who see postage as a fixed price that should only be the exact cost of the postage. Then others who see the postage cost as part of the purchase price and have no real intrest in what it costs the seller to post. They want to know an upfront cost so they can decide if the the value of the item + postage costs is still attractive.

    I fall into the second category, it's just the way I have always shopped online. I'd never buy anything online only based of the item price.

    Another thing to remember is that large retailers would never pay the same postage rates the average person does. They negotiate much better rates, so you have no idea what kind of handling fee/extra profit they may be factoring in. Obviously with free postage this becomes a bit moot.

    As a eBay seller I have charged more then cost before, but this had nothing to do with me trying to make a profit. It use to be realitivly hard to have listed postage charges for ever location, especially international.

    Even now for anything larger then what fits in an Aust Post 3kg prepaid bag It doesn't help using the automatic eBay calculator as I use a courier to ship to the western states (Australia) due to it being cheaper. One thing I learnt about eBay is that not having an up front postage cost listed really does hurt sales, so I'm better off having something listed that covers all locations than a "please ask for postage quote".

    International Is the same, cost varies so much. I generally just charge a pretty high flat rate that covers everywhere in the world. I don't get many international buyers but that's fine.



  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    augen said:

    Not if BrickLink introduce a service to compare total cost for an order from all sellers.

    Which they could equally well do by adding P&P to the order.

    The other problem is that for larger orders, you need combinations of sellers. It is not always possible for one want list to be fulfilled by one seller. Even if itvis, it is often better value to use two sellers or more.
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439
    monkey said:

    ^I've tried to explain my reasons earlier in this thread. It has nothing to do with haggling.

    It is NOT enough to know the price beforehand and accept it. Unless you are making a gift which they buyer certainly isn't, you don't just agree to pay period - you agree to pay *for something*. That's how the world works and any seller denying it is kidding themselves, and will get burned.

    By all means, charge the buyer more if you wish but be honest about it. Don't state that the money is for postage and expect the buyer to be happy when you've spent less than half of it for the purpose. If anything, that's unreasonable.


    Have you ever tried to order from a foreign Amazon site for example? I can guarantee you that they don't charge exact shipping but usually a lot more. The only thing is that you can't see the postage cost on the package so you can't easily see how you have been 'scammed'.

    Also a lot of online stores have a shipping cost scheme of 'X dollars if you spend less than Y dollars' and free if you spend more. Also 99% sure that X dollars is not their exact postage cost.

    I think what's unreasonable is to require the seller to provide you a breakdown of his costs. Why do you care? If my shipping fee is say 4 USD why do you need to know that 3 USD of that is the postage cost I pay at the PO, 0.5 USD is VAT, 0.2 USD is income tax, 0.2 USD is cost of packaging materials and 0.1 USD is the cost of some fees (for example eBay's fee)?
  • smellywormsmellyworm Member Posts: 34
    When buying anything online you have to take the total cost into account. If you feel the "price" is fair who cares how they charge it? If you purchase something online and you are happy paying 6 dollars does it matter if its 5 for the item and 1 for shipping or vice versa? Stop being babies.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,434
    I don't think anyone has a problem work how much the shipping and handling is but there should be no mysterious charges. Want to charge a $100 handling charge? Go for it but you should have to post it. Don't hide it in your shipping costs.
    Chang405jadeireneVaderX
  • scotty12scotty12 United States, IowaMember Posts: 732
    I understand the point of the original post. Sometimes people can get a little carried away. I don't like it either. But if I had to guess, he/she has gotten away with more times than not. There's enough people out there that just pay whatever and don't say anything and let things slide and slowly it becomes the norm. I still think it's easier to deal with high shipping rates than making reasonable trades on Brickset.
  • mshielsmshiels Member Posts: 14
    Why is it everyone expects to get shipping 'at cost'. I doubt very much the big retailers are really giving you cost shipping. With the discounts they get and volumes they probably make a bit on shipping. We charge handling to cover worms/tapes/boxes since we always use new boxes for protection. They are not cheap ranging $3-$6 for our biggest one.

    Believe me you don't want someone recycling boxes like I have received and had MAJOR customs nightmares. How about a 'fresh veggies' box shipped internationally, OUCH, or the other one was 'fish'. NOT GOOD IDEAS!!

    I am just confused on why people think the quoted price must be exactly the cost of shipping? It's sure not that way on any other site - and you have no way to tell!!
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    A seller is ONLY overcharging you if you agreed to pay : set 100$, shipping 20$ and you in fact get an invoice that states : set 100$, shipping 30$

    It does not matter one bit to you what the seller pays for actual shipping OR what he paid for the set in the first place. Do you want a refund too if you find the set for sale at another venue for 90$?
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited December 2014
    ^^ and ^ I don't think anyone is, but if a seller charges a high shipping price, especially if you have a separate handling fee on top then expect negative feedback if the postage/shipping/handling doesn't seem like good value. If its shipped in a bin bag for example. As the seller refunded in this case, I dont see the issue any more.
  • Brettj666Brettj666 Member Posts: 3
    pcirone said:

    What did the neg say, something like, "seller would not comply with my unreasonable demands" ??

    I am sorry, and not attacking you, but I will never understand the concept of wanting to negotiate after the fact.. if I were the buyer or the seller.

    As a bricklink seller (and buyer), if I quote you $5 for shipping and it only costs me $3, I am refunding (without you asking) that $2.. You paid me (and agreed to do so) based on the shipping costing $5, but because it cost $3, it doesn't mean I get to keep that $2, it was an error on my part and I OWE you that money.

    As a buyer, I would expect the same. if someone doubles the shipping on every order, they aren't being honest and forthright.
    monkeyVaderX
  • Brettj666Brettj666 Member Posts: 3
    iccarus said:

    I fully admit I made a mistake by not asking about the shipping price before paying. That's on me. For what it's worth, the seller did email back and said he would be reimbursing some of the overcharge. Not sure how much yet, but he agreed what he charged was a mistake and blamed it on an estimating error.

    You had an expectation that the seller would be honest about shipping though..
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Belleville, IllinoisMember Posts: 1,376
    I've read this thread with interest as I sell frequently on Bricklink. It often happens that I UNDER estimate the cost of shipping. Just last night I was packing a shipment that I charged $14 shipping for. I underestimated the shipping and it actually cost $19.75 (larger bx dimensions on a Winter Village Cottage). I ate the difference. Is it right for me to go back to the buyer and ask for the difference? I did not as I quoted the price and the buyer has paid it. There have been other times where the shipping has gone a few dollars in the other direction, I don't feel that the postage should be refunded as, again, we agreed on a price for shipping and the buyer has paid.

    I'm not talking $10's of dollars, but on larger orders I may end up $5 either way. My advice to you is that if you have a question about the cost of shipping, raise it BEFORE you pay. Once it's paid, I consider it an agreement.
    oldtodd33monkeyhangerLostInTranslationlego007
  • Brettj666Brettj666 Member Posts: 3
    augen said:

    Free delivery works well with most items, which is why Amazon and most other major retailers offer it. I accept that it's slightly more complex with small parts, but it would still work well if every seller had to offer it.

    As for minifigs, it would work exactly like DVD or games as their weights are nearly always the same.

    The quote system just makes more work for sellers and is utterly flawed.

    A set from Canada to Australia has cost me $196 in shipping, but from Canada to Canada it's $38.

    Since there's no such thing as free shipping, it's always included in the price, what side does someone stay on?

    Either I lose money shipping to Australia or someone gets ripped off buying inside Canada.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    Brettj666 said:

    pcirone said:

    What did the neg say, something like, "seller would not comply with my unreasonable demands" ??

    I am sorry, and not attacking you, but I will never understand the concept of wanting to negotiate after the fact.. if I were the buyer or the seller.

    As a bricklink seller (and buyer), if I quote you $5 for shipping and it only costs me $3, I am refunding (without you asking) that $2.. You paid me (and agreed to do so) based on the shipping costing $5, but because it cost $3, it doesn't mean I get to keep that $2, it was an error on my part and I OWE you that money.

    As a buyer, I would expect the same. if someone doubles the shipping on every order, they aren't being honest and forthright.
    So there is a benefit to always overcharging, then refunding. Since that way, you are never out of pocket as you will never mistakenly undercharge.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    I never trust "free shipping" because I've had sellers just wrap the product in butcher block paper and mail it. A bit of rain, rough handling or just the normal wear of shipping and you end up with a damaged purchase. I'm always happy to pay more for shipping to ensure that what I purchased arrives in pristine condition. As a seller, I try to pack everything very safely and then I always get the seller a quote on shipping cost to the penny. Perhaps honesty and quality matter more to me than most but that's something I can be happy with.
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    I agree with a few people here. If I agree to pay for an order based on $x for shipping, then I am expected to pay that amount for shipping. If it cost the seller more/less, it is out of my hands and I don't think about it again. I look at total cost (order plus ship) and see if it is worth it to me. Normally shipping is going to be aroudn 3-5$ in my experience, so I'm usually not too worried about it. But I haven't ordered any huge sets/boxes before.

    I don't think the seller is required to refund the difference by any means. If they happen to make money on shipping, good for them. They are running a business and the buyer agreed to pay. That's the whole point of selling, to make money. I realize, not everyone here is a greedy seller milking other AFOLs out of money, but the few people that do this as a hobby probably want to get rid of pieces/figures and make some money to buy new LEGO for themselves. If it happens to be an extra dollar or two, what's the difference?

    If you constantly lose money on bricklink sales, then you might want to consider not selling. You should at least break even, if you want to be able to maintain anything.
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