Ebay: if you're not shipping internationally you're losing out

slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,446
Looking at some of the prices that guitars are selling on Ebay, I'm thinking: "I'd have been happy to pay a lot more for that". For instance, just today I saw a custom shop white Les Paul custom go for less than $1800. Earlier this week a (very rare) white Yamaha SG 3000 for not even $1400. These auctions were US only, basically cutting off 95% of the world population. Where I am (Singapore), the economy is booming (15% GDP growth or something the first half of this year). I understand there could be some issues with shipping costs (although so far I've never paid more than 200), but even for guitar parts (e.g., pickups), most sellers won't ship internationally.

Anyway, rant over. It's your money in the end. It just pains me to see good stuff go away that cheaply and I can't do anything about it.
 

ManliusGuitar

Member
Messages
964
Yeah, I can see that. For the last few years I have been around 40-45% of my orders overseas, so I definately understand the potential of international customers. On the flip side, i can understand the trepidition of folks sending guitars overseas b/c there is quite the oppurtunity for hassle and with Ebay it always seems to be the sellers fault. There seems to be added risk to send a guitar overseas comapred to stateside, true or not. But your points are valid!
 

TedShred

Member
Messages
105
Spread the word!! Seems so much of the really cool stuf is US delivery only and it almost hurts to see something that I'd really like go for way less than I'd be willing to pay. But, I guess from some of the horror stories I read on here and other places, I don't blame sellers for being overly-cautious. Too bad there's so many jackass scam artists that ruin it for everyone.

edit: Having said that though, it's actually quite pleasantly surprising how many sellers who stipulate US only shipping on ebay end up being willing to do that once you talk to them. (In those circumstances, I'll first scan the sellers' buyer feedback and click on the buyer names to see the country of origin to assess my chances of cross-border delivery.)
 
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slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,446
I don't feel like I'm missing out when I chose to ship within the states.

Maybe you don't if it's a peace of mind issue, or if it's more of a hassle at the post office. But it sounds like the economy right now is a lot worse in the US than in Asia. Moreover, retail prices here have always been a lot higher outside the US, so people are generally willing to pay more. I'm actually thinking of doing a study on this to test my own hypothesis. It wouldn't take too long to look at certain categories, collect the data from the completed auctions, and compare.

One thing I'll say though, you ALWAYS need a proof of shipment, no matter how cheap the item, even within the US. When I was still living in the US I learned that lesson quickly the hard way. I'm sure the buyer was scamming me but it was my word against hers and it wasn't worth damaging my feedback profile over. Just recently I bought an EMG EXG (active tone control) and paid $9 in shipping, then after 6 weeks had not received it. The seller had a good feedback profile so I believed him that he did ship it, but he had just posted it without proof ($2.85 in postage). Luckily it did arrive in the end, but to protect yourself and be fair to the buyer, it's a bad idea to scrimp on postage.
 
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Kadmium

Member
Messages
60
Yeah, I'd like to second slowerhand's point here. I'm in Australia and it can be pretty hard to find stuff on eBay that isn't priced ridiculously and will still ship to Australia. If you're already going to ship something anyway, there's not really that much extra involved in shipping it internationally.
 

DANOCASTER

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,301
the problem w/ International Shipping is :

many guitars ( when packed well ) EXCEED size limitations

many countries - like Spain , France , Russia - don't offer good enough tracking so that if something "goes missing" - you, as a seller, lose your item and the $$ when Paypal refunds the buyer

it's happened a 1/2 dozen times now and is really making me rethink things
 

mhz88

Member
Messages
505
the problem w/ International Shipping is :

many guitars ( when packed well ) EXCEED size limitations

many countries - like Spain , France , Russia - don't offer good enough tracking so that if something "goes missing" - you, as a seller, lose your item and the $$ when Paypal refunds the buyer

it's happened a 1/2 dozen times now and is really making me rethink things

Yep.. what happens when shipments gets stuck in Customs ? Imagine selling your guitar now, and 3 weeks later when it arrives, Customs have already opened it, and raped the guitar, buyer is now asking for refund, seller refunds and get stuck with bad guitar....
 

stuco

Member
Messages
848
Ok but lets say you sell 10 guitars to international buyers. You are selling them for more money and everything is cool but if 1 out of 10 of those ends up going bad that could easily be enough to make it not worth it. I will sometimes do it if the buyer has good feedback and a lot of transactions with US sellers. It is a pain in the butt to fill out the forms too but I know it's hard to get some things in some places so I try to help out when I can.
 

slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,446
Definitely see the point about security. You need a watertight tracking service.

I almost wonder if this could be a business opportunity for a guitar shop or guitar builder that has a good deal already with a shipping company. For instance, I bought a strat from Sweetwater last year, who shipped it with FedEx or UPS (forgot which) for $175. Surely either FedEx or UPS is reliable enough? They're not going to say "Oops, don't know where your package is. Sorry!"

So how about, say Danocaster, offering his services as an intermediary -- US seller ships to Danocaster, he verifies shipment, then passes it on to FedEx or whoever he has a volume deal with. Even with a fee of say, $50-$100 to Danocaster, total shipment costs are still within reason and a lot of the trust issue could be overcome. Of course, I'm only using Danocaster as an example. Could be Wildwood, Dave's guitar, anyone with some established track record and big enough to have a volume deal with a shipping company.
 

Sweetfinger

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,584
There's a REASON US sellers don't like to ship internationally... several reasons, actually. I just changed back to US only after doing international. A few bad apples ruin it for everyone else.
The last one was a guy in Norway who demanded AFTER the auction that I mark the item as a gift on the customs forms(I refused), then tried to shake me down for a refund because he was now upset that he had to pay excise tax on the shipping("What are we to do about this blunder?). I "informed" him about Norway's rules for excise tax and that I had done everything correctly. I told him that if he could provide any official documentation that contradicted my information that I would happily refund the tax amount on the shipping. He replied that it would be too much paperwork for this amount and ended up leaving the weakest possible positive feedback you could get without going negative.
I have no desire to go through that again.:FM

Another fun time I just remembered- Shipping a guitar to Australia which was under the !,000. AU limit for import duty when it shipped, but due to international currency fluctuation, was over when it arrived. :confused:
 

Orville Greco

Member
Messages
416
I have mostly bought but also sold a few guitars among other things from Jpn & never really had any problems, although I know that REAL problems do obviously occur.

I think any seller who might be only slightly interested in shipping outside their country of residence that they have any buyers contact them first, a few emails back & forth can usually be enough to tell if the deal will be painless. Ask the right questions, give the right answers & you`ll know if its doable.

I have sometimes emailed sellers on ebay that say they wont ship outside the US, I always make sure my email is polite & try to make the seller feel at ease & if they say no I thank them for their time, its hit/miss for sure but I have sometimes got the ok & snagged something I wanted.

If everyone keeps their cool problems can be minimized. And there are some countries where sellers shud know that have bad reps, if you dont know, read some ads, many international sellers will say they wont ship to XXXX because of customs, YYYY because of scams, avoid the problem countries & yr chance of problems again goes way down, I am lucky to be in Jpn as we buyers here tend to have good reps!

Good luck out there to all buyers & sellers :JAM ON!
 

slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,446
"What are we to do about this blunder?"
:roll :bonk :roll

I wrote elsewhere on here a few days ago about sellers who got negative feedback from moronic buyers who thought the seller should pay his customs duties. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...

Many international sellers state this (customs fees) explicitly in their product description. But yeah, it sounds like this guy was just an @$$hole and looking for any excuse. Like one seller says it so nicely: please think before bidding and note that Ebay doesn't have an I-changed-my-mind option.

Unfortunately Ebay is more interested in keeping business going than expelling obvious jerks. They're also going too easy on malfeasants by keeping feedback records only for the last 12 months.

That said, I'd still deal with international buyers, albeit selectively (for instance requiring at least 30 previous transactions and zero negative feedback).
 
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Laced Senses

Double Platinum Member
Messages
456
Selling music equipment domestically on eBay is risky enough. The chance of problems increases with international sales, and eBay and PayPal will not go to bat for the seller if there's a problem beyond his control.

EDIT: I have shipped gear internationally, but not for an eBay/PayPal sale. Never will.
 
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slowerhand

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,446
I have sometimes emailed sellers on ebay that say they wont ship outside the US, I always make sure my email is polite & try to make the seller feel at ease & if they say no I thank them for their time, its hit/miss for sure but I have sometimes got the ok & snagged something I wanted.

I did that a few weeks ago and picked up a brand new EMG SA set for 82 dollars and $13 shipping, can you believe it? I actually felt bad for the seller so gave her $40 extra. Even then I got a very good price because these go $250 retail back here.

What you say may be a good compromise, and maybe one I should try more often. That way the seller can still cherry pick buyers that seem bona fide. Although if they write explicitly "lower 48 States only" then I don't bother.
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
12,268
I second slowerhand's position - I'd love to make some of the deals I see on Ebay. Gear prizes are messed up over here and I'd gladly pay shipping from the states.

otoh it's probably good that I can't cause I have way too many guitars as it is :D
 

CyberFerret

Member
Messages
10,035
With the Aussie dollar at it's highest ever (at 0.99 US cents as of an hour ago), I know there are MANY many people here who are looking at getting gear from the US.

Gear prices here are stupidly high - even with $200 - $300 freight on top of a nice guitar, we can save nearly $1000 buying it here. Not to disrespect local sellers, as I know they have rules to stick to dictated by the manufacturers, but $1000 is $1000...
 

grungebob

Member
Messages
875
I cant speak for other countries but shipping to and from the UK is no hassle at all. I've shipped many laboratory items to the US from the UK and each time it arrives in the US USPS carry on the tracking info for the UK's Royal Mail and everthin has been seemless. Same the other way, I've bought 8 guitars from the US (not ultra high dollar guitars but $1000ish) I understand my countries import duty and factor it into my bids and each time its been delivered be it UPs USPS or Fedex the tracking a brokering has been again seemless, I have good feedback though and like to keep it that way. When people say filling in all the other forms can be a hassle I just dont get it, Its 1 custom declaration form.....how hard can writing Electric guitar and then its value be?
 

mcdes

Member of no importance
Messages
7,545
Being in new Zealand, I find it annoying as well, but I can appreciate where the seller comes from, as there are a lot if idiots out there not playing fair.

When I've bought stuff from the states, I always understand that I'll have to pay duties and taxes, and that it's my responsibility. So for anyone to try and skip out of it, or put it on the seller is just stupid.

Also, our customs department has a policy of backdating imports for tax purposes, by two weeks, basically so that when a product arrives, the tax paid on it is what it should be when you actually bought it, so any currency fluctuations don't end up screwing you over
 

teleamp

Senior Member
Messages
3,478
Since it is an hour drive to town for packing supplies, or a trip to FedEx/UPS/USPS, add that to how much time I will spend packaging an am or guitar, I don't care to wait in a line at USPS.

When I try to use the USPS shipping calculator, it never accepts the zip code.

People balk at the UPS and FedEx fees.

Every international buyer, I have dealt with asked me to "doctor" the value which would ruin any chance of a claim if something were to happen.

I'm not a retail store and can't price items to make up for losses.
 




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