Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The work week that I was expecting to be busy has been just that so far - and I don't expect it to let up.

With that, there will be a delay - or possible cancellation - in this week's One Sheet, One Set feature. I realize I am letting countless of loyal readers down with this one. Please, find it in your heart to understand (note the over-dramatization).

Instead, I will give you a quick opinion piece. This one has been on my mind today as I stumbled upon a hockey card board topic on 'ebay gauging'.

First the set-up, then my thoughts.

An ebay seller sets up an auction item and indicates a certain dollar amount for shipping. Pretty simple. The seller lists a number of items (hundreds of individual auction items).

A buyer comes along and is interested in 5 of the seller's auctions. He bids on them and wins them all.

The buyer receives a grand total and is shocked to find that there has been no shipping discount given for winning multiple items. The end result, he is paying 5 times the amount to ship 5 cards than he 'probably should have'. Looking back to the auction details, it does not indicate anywhere that there would be a discount on shipping if one wins multiple items. By the way, the buyer made no attempt to ask the seller ahead of time.

Still with me?

I can see both sides of this one. On the one hand, the buyer assumed that the seller would just put the 5 cards together in one envelope and cut the buyer a deal on shipping. I think in most cases, sellers are aware of this and practice it regularly. On the other hand, it's called 'buyer beware'. The seller has no obligation to do this. For the record, I think sellers who don't give some sort of discount are horrible people and should be destined to a life licking 'old-school stamps' for huge corporations who need to send out a billion Christmas cards in less than 2 days....moving on. Believe it or not though, there are people out there who don't give a crap.

Ultimately, I would have to side with the seller. I think the onus is totally on the buyer to communicate his intentions ahead of time and ask - rather than assume - if a discount would be possible. If the buyer gets no reply, then move along or accept that you might get dinged a ridiculous amount for shipping.

The fact that the buyer is now quite upset and looking at reporting him only adds fuel to the fire. I think the fact he assumed - and assumed wrong - makes the bitterness in his mouth quite potent.

One thing I learned years ago when I first started working as a video news editor - NEVER ASSUME! ASK!

In the end it can save so much time, energy and potential heartache.

Who knows, maybe the seller is 'teaching the buyer a lesson' for assuming. I think the buyer 'got it' in spades.

My only thought now is will the seller combine the items into one envelope (and thus take advantage of the assumption) or deliver out 5 cards in 5 seperate envelopes?


  1. here's my take. First, shame on me for not inquiring and assuming the logical that the seller would combine shipping. Second, after asking the seller to combine and he refuses, I pay for my winnings. Five auctions, five payments. Paypal allows you to pay individually. If he doesn't want to save me money, I'm not saving him money by saving him paypal fees.
    Second, a friendly email back to the seller after payment to remind him that these were indeed five seperate auctions and i expect five seperate shipments. If I do not receive said, expect negative feedback.
    This will force the seller to ship five bubble envelopes, and five times the postage, thereby costing him more money than if he had done the logical and combined shipping.

    I don't tolerate ignorant ebay sellers, if they want to try and gouge me, I will make life as difficult as I can for their troubles.

  2. I too would be expecting 5 separate bubble envelopes.

    I hate ebay gougers as well. The nice thing is 99 out of 100 sellers are honest, ethical and do their best to work with the buyer.

  3. I totally agree with Brian--if the seller charges me five seperate shipping charges, then I will send him five individual Paypal payments.

  4. God, the ebay game is ruthless! I have to agree with Captain, but ultimately the onus is on the buyer. If it doesn't say in the auction 'will combine shipping', then don't expect it...e-mail first!

    Depending on the price of the cards (or whatever else is up for auction), I think the only way these guys can make money is by charging a little extra for shipping. That 1 cent I paid for Milli Vanilli's Greatest Hits (kidding) just isn't going to pay the bills, y'know?