Breaking Down an eBay Issue

Off that bat, I consider myself a pretty considerate and understanding person.

Those of you who have known me for a while, through the blog, on Twitter or through the odd trade or two, will hopefully attest to this very fact (thank you very much)!

The only reason I mention this is because I’ve just run into an issue with a seller on eBay that I wanted to share with you and hopefully get your thoughts on the matter. Last October I entered my 15th year of trading on the ‘Bay and this is the first time anything like this has happened.

In a nutshell…

I found a box of 2014 Topps Baseball on eBay from a seller based over in the US who goes by the username of tntnorthnj. Ordinarily I wouldn’t name names but I’d like other international buyers to be aware of who they might be dealing with!

The box was listed at $54.89 with $7.00 international shipping. Now, before I go any further I’d like to point out that ordinarily the shipping on a box like this is usually in the region of $25.00+ so I knew that there must be a mistake with the amount and I wanted to capitalise. A bit mercenary of me, but what the hell!

I offered a cheeky $51.00 and the seller countered with $54.00. Since the postage was sooooo low I decided to bite, accepting the counteroffer and paying the $61.00!

So far so good, and all above board! Here’s a look at the listing –



Anyway, everything went through OK and the seller even left me some positive feedback, and off I go to bed safe in the knowledge that I’ve gone and snagged myself a bargain.

Zzzzzzz… Zzzzzzzz…

Morning comes along far too quickly and I have a quick look at my phone to check emails. Hold on a sec… What’s this!?!? A refund for $61.00 for the box I paid for the night before, including a message that says – “This item cannot be shipped abroad”

Now wait a bloody minute!!! I think it can and you’ve got a listing that confirms this. So I send off a message through eBay to query this and get a reply that says – “We do not ship wax internationally anymore, shipping costs got too expensive”

OK… I’ll concede that it is pretty pricey to ship outside of the US, but when there’s a listing that clearly states that the seller does ship internationally and which clearly states the cost of shipping internationally, I’d like to think that this is something that should be honoured. I even checked the description to see if I’d missed something that said NO INTERNATIONAL WAX SHIPPING (or something along those lines) but nothing! Here, take a look –


I contacted the seller again just over 24 hours ago to query the issue and have so far heard nothing back. In all honesty I’m not expecting to hear anything either.

So here’s my issue… When a purchase goes through eBay is keen to point out that this is a binding sale between the buyer and the seller. Everything I did from a buyer’s perspective falls in line with this and I’m happy with my part in the proceedings! Unfortunately our seller doesn’t seem to agree that the usual selling rules on eBay apply to them, and that it’s OK to refund a transaction (without my agreement) just because they realise that they’ve undercharged on the shipping!

Now I’m sure that this is something that we’ve all done before and we’ve probably had to just suck it up. A few years ago I sold a load of D&D modules to a buyer in the US and I woefully underestimated the shipping costs. I sold the modules for £15.00 (approx $25.00) and charged £12.00 (approx $20.00) for shipping. I forgot to consider the weight of the items and the total cost of shipping ended up being £30.00 (approx $50.00)! So not only did I not make any money on them but I ended up having to spend some of my own money to send them overseas! Not once did I consider ending the deal or refunding the money!

So, where do we go from here??

Am I within my rights to think that the seller should have honoured the transaction (despite suffering a potential loss on shipping costs)? or is the seller within his rights to arbitrarily refund what I paid without even consulting me first?

Should I report the seller to eBay? and will they even be in a position to do anything about it? I mean… I can’t imagine they can force a seller to honour the original sale and send the box over at the original transaction price, can they?

Am I able to take this any further? or should I just leave some feedback and move on?

Personally I think the seller is a bit of a shyster who obviously thinks that the usual rules don’t apply to them! The best thing is the seller hasn’t even made any attempt to alter their listings for wax boxes, so they are still showing with international shipping at $7.00!

So come on the guys!! Who’s going to be the first to get the ball rolling on this one? I’m sure you’ll have an opinion either way so let me know what you all think!

As I said at the top, I like to think I’m a pretty understanding and considerate person, but sometimes…

5 thoughts on “Breaking Down an eBay Issue

  1. That’s who I bought my box of 2014 Topps Series 1 from, but I am in the US and didn’t have to deal with international shipping. It appears that they sell a lot of stuff, so it would do them well to sort out their international shipping and either decline to offer it or fix the prices. I don’t know what you can do aside from leaving negative feedback on the transaction. If it’s any consolation, their packaging was terrible. They just stuck the box in a big envelope and sent it off with no padding or protection of any kind.

  2. Heya, actually a bit surprised that he didnt came back to you with a message. I ahev bought loads of cards from him in the last two years, always without any issues so a satisfied buyers here from this guy. I do feel your frustration that when you think you got a bargain fair and square it is annoying when in the end it doesnt happen….personally i would move on and not spend any negative enery on the issue, but that’s just me of course !

  3. I feel your pain. If that happened to me, I’d be annoyed. I like the dutch card guy’s response. I’d probably move on and try to forget about it.

  4. I’d leave the negative feedback, and just forget about the whole thing. There’s nothing that is going to make the seller go through with his end of the deal, even though I think he’s completely wrong to cancel the sale. No need to spend any more time or energy on it.

  5. I think it’s fair for a seller to pull out. But they have to give ebay a reason so ebay can keep track of people who persistently do this, because it should be avoided.

    Obviously you were aware of how much postage should be, so you were prepared to pay more for the item, because when their low postage was taken into account the total amount seemed fair to you (and it’s the total amount I take into account as a buyer or seller). In all fairness they might not have researched shipping costs abroad thoroughly before listing (although when they started making offers with you directly they should have done this – an agreement is an agreement).

    I have had experience of having to consider cancelling the sale of an item because postage turned out to be way higher than I anticipated. On this occasion I had accepted international bidders on an item and got a rough idea, before listing, how much it was going to cost to post a particular item… but the winning bidder turned out to be from Russia, somewhere I had not posted to before, and to my surprise it was going to cost me double what I expected to post there. From what I recall, I nervously sent them a message, apologising, and explaining, and giving them an option to pay the extra (I really thought it sounded like I was just trying to make more money out of them, which wasn’t my intention). I think due to a language barrier they didn’t reply after a few days (I think I stated in the massage I would give them three days) I just refunded them and relisted the item (with an amendment to the shipping options).

    I’m quite reluctant about shipping certain items abroad, and where I do now I think I exaggerate the price of postage to ensure I’m covered (but explain in the listing the postage is to cover the costs) – if a potential buyer isn’t happy then they can look elsewhere. For local buyers, one can’t over charge for postage.

    Equally, I have heard of buyers bidding on an item, with the postage amount being clear, and then complaining (although not to me) about postage costs being too high. Again, a buyer could pull out, but ebay will give them a non-payment strike and the seller has to relist their item.

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