Time to stand on my soapbox once again and bemoan the injustices inherent in being an overseas (i.e. non-US based) card collector!
Since starting this blog I’ve written at length about the problems in collecting outside the US. From obscene (and often random) import duties and admin charges to actually finding sellers who are prepared to ship internationally, the odds have always been pretty much stacked against us! Such is our lot in our collecting lives!
When USPS increased their shipping rates at the end of January 2013 the writing was already on the wall for anyone based in the US wanting to send parcels abroad. And while domestic US prices saw a small increase it was the cost of international shipping that was a real shocker!!
Late in 2012 eBay introduced their Global Postage Program, designed to help streamline the purchasing and shipping process for both sellers and international buyers. While I championed the program as far as getting hold of boxes of wax, I did envisage some potential issues with the purchasing of singles.
Anyway, the reason for my current musings have come about while scanning some eBay listings today, on the hunt for some potential bargains in Cardinals jersey and bat relics. I started to notice a familiar pattern with regard to lower cost items and inflated shipping prices due to seller’s listing international shipping through the GPP.
Check these out, and pay close attention to the cost of the card against the cost of the postage –
As you can see, if I wanted to ‘Buy It Now’ on the David Freese relic I’ll end up paying over $18 extra in postage due to the sellers use of the Global Postage Program. If the seller sent this without using the GPP it would likely cost between $5 and $8, depending on the type of packaging used. Postage on the Miggy, as you can see, is even more!!
Yet have a look at this Adam Jones as an example of a listing without the GPP –
Here the postage for the single card is $6.50 – a much more realistic proposition! To be honest there will plenty of overseas collectors out there who would baulk at the idea of paying $6.50, but it’s important to remember that this amount is down to the machinations of USPS and NOT the seller!
So where does that leave us now?
To be honest, the purchasing of single cards off eBay for international collectors is a costly proposition! Through the USPS increases and eBay’s implementation of the GPP things have gotten worse almost overnight, and the singles market for international collectors is all but dead.
If USPS sounded the death knell then eBay pretty much put the nail in the coffin! I know that there are alternative ways of getting your singles (COMC, Collector Revolution) but it doesn’t take an idiot to understand that eBay has far and away a greater variety of cards on offer.
So all I can do at this stage is send a message out to US sellers on behalf of all overseas collectors! I know there are a lot of you who won’t ship overseas for a variety of reasons, and I appreciate that. But to those of you who do ship internationally I implore you to not use eBay’s Global Postage Program when listing singles!
As I’ve demonstrated above the price that buyers have to pay in total for a single card is extortionately high once the GPP admin fees are figured into the final shipping cost. I’ve spoken with several sellers recently who weren’t even aware of the impact the GPP has, simply because they don’t see any extra fees being added as part of their listing process.
But the fact of the matter remains in that when the postage amount far exceeds the initial value of the card itself then no-one will ever want to buy it, which affects both the buyer and the seller. There are several cards today that I would have happily picked up had the postage amount not been inflated by the presence of the GPP in the eBay listing!
This might not matter to most sellers as international custom will only make up a miniscule percentage of their business, but without the option to purchase singles from US-based sellers our collecting options become severely limited and there’s a real danger that this could turn a lot of international collectors away from the Hobby!
And I don’t know about you guys, but I think that will be a crying shame!