When the rational professional goes over the edge. Hey, been there done that.
International selling can be the most challenging task of successful sellers on eBay. It also drives many of them absolutely nuts. Even the usually calm, rational and friendliest of professionals suddenly become voodoo doll piercing savages with a bottle in one hand a swinging machete in the other. It is hard to blame them. Frustrating news can arrive like bullets in multiple premature e-mails or worse, undeserved feedback!
OK, so here's the thing. You're into it or you ain't.
eBay is a www-dot-com activity. That means aliens visit from around the globe and unless you put up electronic barriers to keep them off the front porch, they are at the door. And why not? Your stuff is so irresistable how can they help themselves! So if you do not want the aliens, you must go to the preferences, My eBay, include text, graphics, flashing gifs, mpegs WHATEVER to get the proactive message that you only sell domestically. Once the gate is open, the cow has left the barn or whatever and she is REALLY hard to get back in. Remember, folks don't read auctions, especially once they have won and have fallen in love with your thing-a-ma-jig.
You're into it. Now deal with it.
Congratulations! You have joined the ranks with most sellers on eBay and have the world at your feet. And their headaches. Hopefully the occasional pain in the butt will be so far outweighed by the positive business experiences, you will be thrilled with the results. Remember, all retail has its issues. Non-paying bidders, complaints about product, chargebacks, NSF checks, whatever. If we balked at those, we would never get this thing off the ground.
Some ideas for making nice with Canada/US
As a Canadian seller on eBay, I know that we have some negative baggage from customs, mailing times, whatever. If we start off on the right foot however, I think our auctions can set a tone for international selling. I designed the second one when the US went to Iraq. It is in all my auctions and my US buyers adore it! Feel free to use them.
Some ideas for those pesky "Where is it?" e-mails
Auction ends Septober 1. You ship on the 3rd. You know it's going to take at least a week, maybe three. Out of your control. Septober 9th the e-mails start. Did you ship? Are you ripping me off OR WHAT??
Dear ***, Sorry you have not received your item yet. It was shipped a day or two after your auction ended. While I agree this is not lightning delivery speed, I am not ready to call out the RCMP just yet. Give it a few days and if it is not there by ****(5 days later) get back to me and will take good care of you. Thanks again for your business!
It's been three weeks and still no package! What are you trying to pull? I am filing a non-selling seller, a chargeback, negative feedback and I am suing you. You ruined my anniversary and my wife is leaving me. Sincerely, Harold.
Dear Harold, Sorry you have not received your item yet. It was shipped a day or two after your auction ended. I am sorry you are having troubles due to delayed shipping but Canada Customs is delaying delivery, not us. We shipped promptly and in good faith. We have the paperwork to show PayPal, eBay and will work with you to track your package. As for your marriage, best of luck with that.
What the *^$# is going on here??? When I received my package, the delivery guy wanted $17 or he would not hand over my item! I paid YOU the full amount and now YOU want more? Forget it and you can $%^&*(&!! ;LIH% you @#$%^&**().... (edited for space) - Frank.
Let's back up a minute here. In your auction template, add this line in a prominent place:
CHERISHED INTERNATIONAL BIDDERS: ANY TAXES, DUTIES OR CHARGES LEVIED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. THANKS!
Dear Frank, The charge you are referring to is either duty or taxes levied by your goverment for import into your country. It has nothing to do with us.You can call your post office and try to get the package delivered to you again and pay the fees or it will be returned to us. At that point you can pay to have it re-shipped or we will refund your purchase price minus shipping. Thank you.
Ding Dong. Stick-em Up!
When a package crosses a border, there are certain forces that are like drooling dogs waiting to cash in on the opportunity. Depending on the method of delivery, they may get their chance or not. If you want to reduce the odds of your international recipient to get nailed with extra charges, send the package by mail. Couriers add brokerage fees, which can be hefty and painful. If the mail requires additonal fees for tracking and signature, so be it, it will still be less than brokerage. Now there still may be taxes to be paid, but like death and wrinkles, these are inevitable.
Please please please PULLLLLEEEASE mark my package "GIFT"...
Oh yeah, and mark my $5000 Rolex as a $5 value. Next to "who leaves feedback first?", probably the most debated question on eBay. No debate required. It comes down to managing risk. I have never heard of anyone being charged or punished for this crime of the century, but I am not everywhere at all times now am I? If you are the least bit uncomfortable about marking a package gift, don't do it and amend my proactive statement above:
CHERISHED INTERNATIONAL BIDDERS: ANY TAXES, DUTIES OR CHARGES LEVIED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. WE WILL NOT FALSIFY CUSTOMS DOCUMENTS OR MARK PACKAGES "GIFT". THANKS!
No one needs to know why or how you came to this conclusion. It is your decision and your buisness. Entering into a debate about it is beneath you.
That's it for now.
I hope to add more to this guide as I come up with more info!