Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #53

questions-answers-53It’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

We’re now into the second week of February, and sales on eBay are slowly starting to pick up again after the usual January lull. I’ve also been very busy putting the final parts together for the big Spicy Auction Templates update, so I’m glad to have made enough time for another of our ever popular Q&A posts. Remember the goal this year is to get as close to the magical century mark as possible!

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Is the shipping cost important for VAT calculations?
  • Is it ok to have an email & phone number in my eBay template?
  • How to start selling on eBay?
  • Why should we sell on eBay instead of Amazon?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I’ve noticed my suppliers only ever declare the value of the actual items on customs forms, and they never add the shipping cost that I also paid. Will customs calculate VAT based only on this figure or do they check themselves with the courier? Or should I ask my supplier to put the full value on all forms? I’m pretty sure I have underpaid VAT and am now trying to get everything sorted before I become VAT registered.

Kind regards,

Hi Christian,

Yes, customs need to know any shipping charges in order to correctly calculate VAT so you should always ask your supplier to put the correct amount on the customs form, or better yet ask them to attach the full commercial invoice. [Read more…]


My Product Showcase: Chat With Andrew

chat-with-andrewWelcome back to the 4th instalment of our new post series – My Product Showcase.

So far in this series we’ve covered:

Today I want to give an overview of one of my much lesser known products/offerings, a paid consulting service called ChatWithAndrew.com

Those of you who have been with me for the long haul may remember that ChatWithAndrew.com was actually my main blog for quite a while, back when I was running multiple blogs at the same time, split by overall topic. Thankfully though I soon realised how impossible that was, and AndrewMinalto.com was born… truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

But while I don’t post on CWA any more, you can still order chat sessions with me from there. The process is incredibly straightforward – you simply purchase either a one hour or two hour chat session with me and we then set up a time to talk! In terms of pricing, a one hour session is £67 and I offer a hefty discount for two hours, which costs just £97.

For the chat itself, we’ll use my own online based live chat software, which means there’s nothing for you to download and install. [Read more…]


How Import Taxes Can DESTROY Your Business!

import-taxesHappy Monday everyone! I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

I apologise, as I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear on a Monday morning, but today I want to talk about taxes – specifically the import and VAT that we, as importers, need to pay on goods bought from outside the EU (i.e. from China, USA, India etc.).

And actually it’s this dislike and general avoidance of the subject that has led me to write this post… as I recently received an email from someone distraught about an order they’ve placed because of the VAT and import duty.

Initially they had expected to make a healthy profit reselling the product on eBay, but they had miscalculated the import taxes! That goes completely against one of my main rules when importing – always do all of your calculations BEFORE placing an order, so that you know exactly what it’s going to cost you and how much profit you stand to make.

So today I want to share a simple and straightforward guide to calculating import taxes. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

First of all, exactly what taxes do you have to pay on goods imported from outside the EU?

And yes, this only refers to goods bought from countries outside the EU as imports within the European Union are import duty free. Just so that it’s 100% clear, the EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

But when we discuss imports, 90% of the time it’s referring to China, and that obviously means there are import taxes to be paid, which are – VAT (value added tax) and import duty.

VAT is a set amount, currently 20%, whereas import duty ranges from 0% (duty-free) to 15%, depending on the product.

The exact amount is calculated using the product’s tariff code, which is a special number assigned to specific products. And by specific products I don’t mean – doll, clothes etc. I mean really specific, i.e. pyjamas of knitted cotton for boys under 14. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #52

questions-answers-52Happy Friday!

So I’m back with this year’s 2nd Questions & Answers blog post.

This week has been all about eBay and the upcoming changes that will be taking effect on
February 20th. Judging from the amount of questions I’ve received, it’s going to be a stressful few
weeks for all of us! But really that’s the norm with eBay, their implementation of changes leaves a
lot to be desired, so it’s understandable that everyone is worried.

Unfortunately there’s nothing much we can do other than wait and see how it all pans out.

But back to our Q&A and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Was I scammed? $165 PS4 consoles from Alibaba!
  • What’s the best way to LINK eBay sales with Amazon & Magento?
  • Where I can download a good Blu-ray listing template?
  • Should I increase my price once I’ve reached the top of eBay’s search results?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

So I recently started to try out Alibaba and am still in the process of my first order. The person is located in Nigeria but the items are being posted to me from the UK. So far I have paid $165 but have been told that 5 units were posted to me, rather than just 1… they are now asking for $150 for each unit and $200 for customs fees.

The company is a gold supplier and has been for 8 years and they have sent me some tracking information but I’m very worried about proceeding any further. What do you suggest?


Hi Max,

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you have officially been scammed.

I mean, $165 for a PS4, coming from Nigeria – that is a SCAM! I’m sorry to be blunt but did you really believe that such a deal existed? You will never get pricing even close to that, and I could have told you this was a scam just from the combination of Nigeria and branded consumer electronics. [Read more…]


My Product Showcase: 60 Day Blueprint

60-day-blueprintHello and welcome back to the third instalment in my product showcase article series!

After starting off with my maiden course, Easy Auction Business, and moving on to its hugely successful follow up, eCommerce Magnates, it’s now time to cover my flagship product – a one to one coaching program called 60 Day Blueprint.

I say flagship because this is something quite different to all of my other products. While both Easy Auction Business and eCommerce Magnates are pre-created video courses, which you watch at your own leisure, 60 Day Blueprint is a personal coaching program in which I work directly with clients on a one to one basis to help them create a successful eBay business from scratch.

But, let’s go through things step by step, using the same format as in our previous product showcases, so that you know how this program was created, who it’s for, how much it costs, and everything else!

How It All Started

After the huge success of the first release of Easy Auction Business, I received a large amount of emails from people requesting a personal mentoring service, where I helped with all of the individual decisions that need to be made when creating an eBay business. Initially it never even occurred to me to create such a program, so I catered to the demand by offering individual chat sessions for people who wanted my advice on specific topics.

But it soon became apparent that this wasn’t a viable way of doing this, as I really needed to guide people every step of the way. It wasn’t just about getting their questions answered, as all EAB members have unlimited support from me, it was more about creating a full mentoring program where I’m there to help every step of the way – a “hand-holding” service so to speak.

And that’s exactly how the first round of 60DBP was done, way back in 2008. I say round because I used to take people on in bi-annual groups, one in spring and one in autumn. There was a cap on the number of people in each group, depending on how much time I could devote to this (usually 5-10 people) and it sold out every single time, with a huge waiting list of people who also wanted to get in. [Read more…]


Is eBay’s DOOMSDAY Coming On February 20th?

ebays-doomsdayAfter a long time waiting, eBay’s new seller standards are coming into effect on 20th February (so just 3 short weeks away) and I can’t remember seeing the eBay community so on edge in quite some time!

And actually this might come as a surprise to you when first looking at the new changes to be implemented, as some of the new seller standards are, on the face of it, a lot more seller friendly.

Take the dreaded defect rate for example, from February 20th the following criteria will no longer count towards your defect rate:

  • Buyer feedback
  • DSRs (detailed seller ratings)
  • Return requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer
  • Item not received requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer

Sounds good, right!? After all, one of the biggest complaints about the defect rate has always been how it penalises you even if you resolve any problems that occur (something will always go wrong, that’s just the nature of business) and that’s now no longer the case – you won’t get a defect if you do everything right and fix the problem.

There are now only two things that can result in a defect on your account:

  • Seller cancelled transactions
  • Cases that are closed without seller resolution

But it’s not all good news of course (this is eBay we’re talking about, after all) as the maximum allowed defect rate has also been adjusted to take into account the more lenient criteria. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #51

questions-answers-51Welcome Back!

And here we are again, with a new year and a new Questions and Answers blog post!

Last year we reached the magical 50th post right before Christmas and I really hope this year you’ll stay active and keep sending in your questions! Who knows – maybe we can reach our 100th post by the end of this year? :-)

For those of you who are new to my blog – every week (well, almost every week), on Friday, I publish a Questions & Answers blog post. In these posts I answer some of the questions that you – my dear blog readers – have sent in over the last week. This way my help/advice is made public and other people, with similar questions/problems, can also learn from it. So it’s a real win – win situation.

To get involved, all you have to do is contact me via my support desk here and I’ll personally answer your question there (within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri.) AND if the question qualifies (i.e. it’s an interesting topic with no confidential information) I’ll also publish it in next week’s Questions & Answers blog post. SIMPLE!

Okay, without any further ado, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do you have to mention that products are made in China?
  • Do you need a registered company to buy from Alibaba?
  • What’s the best way to reach the top of eBay’s search results?
  • Andrew, when are you going to create a course for Amazon!?
  • Should I put ALL my stock on eBay?
  • Which invoice should I give to the courier for customs clearance?
  • Is it worth importing products from South Africa to sell on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I was reading all your articles regarding branding new products, which looks very interesting and potentially useful. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the “Made in” label that you see on products. Is it mandatory to have this on the package? Also, if I have an OEM product from China, can I have my brand name and say made in Europe or a specific European country?

It will be of a great help if you could let me know about this.


Hi Thahir,

Yes, it is by law required to put “Made in” info on product packaging. And even if you’re based in Europe, if the goods are manufactured in China, you must show “Made in China” on your product’s packaging. [Read more…]


My Product Showcase: eCommerce Magnates

ecommerce-magnatesLast week I published the first post in a new series on this blog where I cover my own courses in detail, something that has been requested from me many times.

We started with my first and most popular course, Easy Auction Business, which as the name suggests is all about creating a successful eBay business.

But where do you go after that? I mean, after all, don’t I always talk about diversifying your selling channels to spread risk and ensure you’re not reliant on a single third party?

Well that’s where Easy Auction Business’ “sister course” comes in to play – so today I want to introduce you to eCommerce Magnates!

How It All Started

An eCommerce store is the logical next step of expansion for anyone who has created a successful eBay business and really an online store should be the ultimate goal for anyone who wants to create a real online business (more on why later!).

After the huge success of my first ever product, Easy Auction Business, many of my customers started to ask for a course dedicated entirely to building, managing, and running an online shop.

Well you asked, and I answered!

Having created multiple successful online shops myself, I was perfectly placed to share my vast experiences on the best way to create an eCommerce store and by doing so save my customers all the mistakes, trials, and tribulations that I had to go through in order to “crack the code”. [Read more…]


Spicy Auction Templates 3.0 Update!

spicy-auction-templatesWelcome back everyone!

As it’s another depressing Monday morning, I thought I’d try and spice things up a little bit for you, with some good news on the release of Spicy Auction Templates 3.0.

The new members’ area is 100% finished and will actually be LIVE once you’re reading this! That means that all the new templates and videos are now accessible for all SAT members:

sat-3We’re still working hard on the new and improved front website, which should be complete in the next 2-3 weeks’ time.

So, what exactly is new in version 3.0?

Basically – EVERYTHING!

We have completely re-done our entire template catalogue and created hundreds of brand new eBay templates for you to use in your business. [Read more…]


My Product Showcase: Easy Auction Business

easy-auction-businessAt the end of last year, I ran a contest on this blog in which I asked you, my dear readers, for suggestions on topics and questions that I should cover in 2016. And a few different people suggested that I should write some in-depth articles about the different products and courses I’ve created.

I actually thought that this was a very good idea, as I do get a number of questions from readers who are confused about which of my courses is for who and what they’re meant for.

So I decided to do this at the beginning of the year – to showcase my products and give an overview of each one. And that’s exactly what I’ll do over the next few weeks, starting today with my most popular product – the Easy Auction Business video course!

How It All Started

Easy Auction Business is my first creation and is the most popular from all of my courses!

The first version was released back in 2008 and since then it has sold thousands of copies in countries all around the world.

Back then I was a very active member of The Wholesale Forums, and after successfully starting my own eBay business, I wanted to share what I had learnt with others so I spent hours every week posting, answering people’s questions, and generally sharing my knowledge and experience with the countless members who frequented TWF.

And one day I was looking through my posts and realised that, in little fragments here and there, I had covered nearly everything you needed to know to create a profitable eBay business from scratch. So I decided to put it all together as a complete video course – and that’s how Easy Auction Business version 1.0 was born!

But don’t be misled by how long ago it was created (as yes, in online and eBay terms, 2008 feels like a different time completely) as the 2008 release was just version 1.0 – the current Easy Auction Business is version 3.0 and it’s completely new and up to date.

When I say a new version, I really mean it as well! This isn’t one of those marginal updates where barely anything has changed – not at all. Each time I release a new version, I redo the entire course from scratch! That’s on top of the small updates which I add in between versions.

So you may be thinking to yourself that this means it’s worthwhile to buy version 3.0, even if you have 1.0 or 2.0, if the content is so different.

Well that’s not even something you need to think about!

Nearly every marketer out there would simply sell the new and updated courses to their existing customer base, but NOT ME! My goal right from the start was to make this the absolute BEST value course out there, and that’s why I continually update it without asking for any extra payment – not even a single penny. [Read more…]

Who Wants a £100k a Year eBay Business?Show Me How!