- Shipping / Handling: Canadian Sellers have no control over the high cost of shipping out of Canada.
Canada Post rates can also change from week to week. This is due to variations in the cost of fuel and the fluctuating relationship between the actual values of the Canadian and the US dollars. Furthermore, a Seller has to deal with the fact that the cost of shipping can change between the time an item is listed and the time it sells.
In a single month (February 2009,) the Canadian dollar fell to US $0.81 but not so many years ago, it rose to about US $1.07 When the value of the dollar coin known as a Loonie (after the loon, the white and black water bird possessing a highly evocative -- even, mystical -- call, that is featured on Canada's unique bi-metal coin) decreases, a US Buyer pays $10 for an EBay item but the Canadian Seller usually only gets $8 worth of purchasing power in his or her home town.
Not all EBay.ca Sellers are, in fact, Canadian residents. Despite the EBay guidelines, there are numerous mysterious American residents who somehow acquired the use of EBay.ca They can then take advantage (some might say, an unfair one) of the lower fees for listing and selling on that web site. If you think there is a great difference between the shipping costs charged you from one EBay.ca Seller to another, it may be that one of them is actually selling out of the US.
Canadian residents are permitted to sell on EBay.com, despite the significantly higher costs. This is, perhaps, due to the idea that they can reach more customers that way. In fact, this is not as valid a reason as before, since EBay now integrates the listings from both sites. However, shoppers from around the world, including the USA, can choose where they would like to shop by specifying their EBay Preferences in the EBay Search function.
If shipping expenses are very important to you, the closer the Seller is to you the more likely that your costs will be lower. For example, if you live in Spokane, Washington it might be that an item from Vancouver, BC (Canada) could cost less than one from Los Angeles. That is especially true if the American seller only ships via UPS (United Parcel Service -- the brown van people). UPS charges more than double the regular USPS rate.
Canadians Need to Know
Also Canadian buyers better beware: If the item has to cross the border, UPS charges a brokerage fee that you have to pay at the door, and it is more than $22.
Also, Canadians buying anything with a declared value of over $49 have to pay a Canadian tax/service fee at the door.
Some US Sellers also insist that you buy insurance, which might not even be necessary. Most trackable mail is insured automatically. Also, some have been known customarily to charge for it but not actually provide proof that they bought it for you.
You should know that, for most of its services, Canada Post includes insurance against loss at no extra cost to either sender or recipient.
Please take these facts into consideration when you are giving the DSR or "hidden" Feedback that asks you to evaluate aspects of the transaction. Bear in mind that most Canadian Sellers are Very Reasonable with regard to shipping rate. It's just that we Canadians have to pay more for shipping to begin with.
In combined orders, for a second item some US Sellers customarily charge 50% of the first item's shipping fee. Others add as much as $2 handling for each separate item, regardless of whether specially packaging is required. One Seller recently (Jan. 2009) sent me 2 pairs of shoes, charging full++ shipping for the first pair and half that for the second pair. There was hardly any additional packaging other than the boxes the shoes came in, so what was the extra $12 US ($14.50 to me) for?
Because of the high cost of shipping out of Canada, up until Dec. 2007 I did not charge anything at all for handling in order to better compete with American Sellers. Now that I am retired, I can no longer afford to do that and have to charge a little to cover costs of paper, packing tape, printing inks, etc. Still, I am always motivated to try and keep costs down for my customers.
I try to be ecologically sound as well as frugal. I recycle any material that can be used for packaging, as long as it's clean. I often use local newspapers that are left on the stands, empty small boxes that may have held things from the grocery store, and fortunately local merchants are kind and environmentally conscious enough to share boxes they no longer need. My packaging may not be very pretty but this way, we all benefit. Perhaps our children and grandchildren will, too.
I try to reuse packaging "peanuts" that come with my own EBay purchases, but honestly, don't you just loathe those styrofoam bits? They get everywhere and aren't easy to gather up once they've escaped into the room -- not to mention the landfills. Most Canadian garbage collection services will not pick them up and the recycling companies will not accept them either. When I use them, I usually make a cushion of them by tying them inside a plastic bag..
To further compensate my American customers for the high cost of shipping, I definitely price my items a little lower than my competitors who live in the US. I think most Canadian Sellers are aware of the high shipping costs to US Buyers and we do what we can to save you money.
- Emailing Canadian Sellers asking about cost of shipping:
I learned my lesson about that the hard way: At first, I trusted that if I gave a rate that was too low, the Buyer would be kind enough to compensate me. They did -- only twice -- using the "Send Money" option at PayPal.
Now, if the format requires a precise amount such as for Buy-It-Now items where the customer has to pay immediately, I state a relatively high amount. That's because there might be thousands of miles separating me and the prospective Buyer. I do not know until the sale is actually made where the Buyer resides. All I can do is give my word that, if there is any significant difference in my favor, I will issue a PayPal refund.
This next section is for Canadian customers of Canadian EBay Sellers:
- EBay.ca ? EBay.com ?
If the Seller has an EBay store, sometimes they offer local pick-up. Then they have to give an address, and so you can see where the items are located. At the very least, you can find the Seller's country of residence if you look on the Feedback page below the Seller's photo (or the lack of one.) Do not hesitate to email to ask where the item will be coming from.
For All Potential Bidders: American, Canadian or "Worldwide"
I deal mainly in older toys, collectibles and vintage items -- things people have been searching for for a long time; replacements for old things that have been damaged, lost or misplaced; items with strong nostalgic significance. If I have a good reputation to maintain -- I am NOT going to rip you off on shipping.
I am always looking forward to helping you again find what you want at some future time.
- Emails about shipping during an auction
Whenever I see there is a question for me to answer about shipping
1. I have to find the item as soon as I can. It should be right at hand but it might be among lots of others, or in a pile of boxes, or among heaps of plastic bags full of stuff. (Yes, there is some organization but since we cannot know beforehand what is a "hot" item and what isn't, it may take some looking.)
2. I go to the Canada Post web site which happily, has rarely been hard to access but there is one exception.
If it is late on a Saturday night (the busiest time for auctions), I may not be able to give an accurate response. That's because, in their wisdom, the Canada Post webmasters have chosen that time for updating and maintenance. It's offline until Sunday around noon!!!
If you are really interested, please bid anyway. As I said, I will not take unfair advantage of you.
3. I choose the Canada, US, or International "Find a Rate" page.
For Canadian destinations, I need your postal code.
For Americans, I need the name of the state (not the zip, not the abbreviation.)
If you give me a zip, then you have to imagine me with two web browsers open, hoping against hope that one (you know which one) will not shut down my computer just because it does not approve of my using the other (better) one. I am frantically trying to local the state working back from that zip number. I get pages about registered sex offenders before I find a real name and not an abbreviation. Does NE stand for Nebraska? Nevada? New England -- no, that's not a state.
OK, it's Nebraska. ( Do Americans know which states these abbreviations stand for: MI, MO, MA? Is AK, Arkansas or Alaska?)
Close the you-know-which browser.
Back to the Canada Post page:
I enter my postal code.
I enter your state's name -- let's say, "Nebraska." If you are a "Worldwide" or, International, customer, I have to find the Canada Post version of the name of your country. Is it Netherlands, The Netherlands, or Holland?
Is Northern Ireland considered UK? (I think there is no listing for UK -- do I look up England or Great Britain?) Is the cost there the same as to Ireland? [Eire is not in the list.] The Peoples Republic of Anything, the Islamic Republic of Anywhere, etc. are also not on the list. Good thing I am among those who can usually figure out what name I should be looking for.
4. I take the item and put it on my scale.
It only weighs 0.45 kilograms. But if it's thicker than 2 centimeters, it cannot go in a padded envelope. If it's small, I measure it.
It's too big for an envelope, so now I have to find the right size box -- not too big or it will adversely affect the cost of shipping. Under 22cm on a side and it is not acceptable. I may have to go downstairs to my storage area to look for one.
5. Boxes fall all over the place. No time to replace them because you, the prospective Buyer, are waiting so you can decide whether to bid or not. I try not to trip as I scramble up to get quickly back to the scale.
If I do not hurry, the CanPost web site will have "Timed Out". I really hope I do not have to do the first part all over again.
6. I put the item in the box and weigh it as it is.
I may have to add up to a 1/2 kilo to that weight, depending on my estimate of how much packaging material will be required to get the item safely to Nebraska -- more in wintertime, because cold can cause old plastic, glass and some other substances to shatter easily.
I write the weight on the box, just so I do not have to do this part over and over as the evening wears on. By the way (no pun intended,) I ALWAYS forget that tape can add a significant amount of weight, and I use a lot of it, especially in extreme weather conditions when it can get unstuck due to heat or moisture.
7. I measure the box in all 3 dimensions, making sure I raise any fraction to the next whole centimeter.
I write those measurements on the box. If I have time, I also convert to inches and pounds since the eBay calculator does not work well with metric units.
I specify the kind of service (Regular, Expedited, Xpress).
I specify Delivery Confirmation (always!)
Only then can I click to see what the shipping will cost the winning bidder. Well, not always -- Canada Post occasionally offers a discount to Canadian EBay sellers but this is not indicated on their web site. Therefore, we cannot immediately pass on any savings to customers in case we end up losing money.
8. Now I go back to your question in "My Messages." There may be a few of those questions, so I have to be sure I am answering the correct one.
I used always to post the answer on the description page, so that it appears right at the bottom of that page. I did so because I thought it was best to make the response public because many bidders have email programs with Spam or Junk mail filters. They may not know about checking there for eBay emails, especially ones with a .ca ending.
I have changed my mind about this -- lately I made a significant typo regarding shipping costs, and since the questioner had not yet placed a bid, I could not contact her to make the correction and so I lost a potential sale.
Do you think some EBay Sellers are not responding to your Questions? Please read the paragraph above.
If you are all tuckered out just reading about answering a shipping question before you bid, please remember this Guide.
Serious prospective Buyers read the details in the description first, then if they REALLY want a htf* item, they ought to perhaps take the chance and bid. If you ask a question, please try to bear in mind what may be required to answer it.
*htf: hard to find