February 19, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #54

questions-answers-54Welcome back!

Another Friday, another Questions & Answers blog post!

Tomorrow is a BIG day for eBay sellers, as the new performance standards go live on eBay. And earlier this week we had something of an anomaly online – a post about eBay that was positive! Feel free to have a read of it now if you don’t believe me 🙂

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

  • How to organise shipping when importing from China to the US?
  • What documents do you need to open an eBay Business account?
  • How to sort out accounts with HMRC on your own?
  • Can I split shipments to avoid paying import tax?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

My name is Chelsea and my friend and I are looking to start importing from Alibaba.com, with the goal of selling on eBay or Amazon.

We both work from home so see this as a good opportunity to make more income for our families. We have been researching importing from China to the US, but do you have any advice for us as to the best way to do this?

We’ve looked at FedEx but aren’t sure if they’re the best courier to use? We want a company that will take care of all the paperwork for us as far as customs goes.

At the moment we’re just getting started so any advice to point us in the right direction will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Chelsea and Candice

Hi Chelsea and Candice,

Any courier company will do the “paperwork” for you – i.e. clear goods through customs and deliver them to your door. So from that perspective, it doesn’t matter which company you use.

Price does of course matter though, and you really want to spend as little as possible on shipping, provided the service is the same.

What I recommend you do is ask your supplier to get the BEST quote for your order. Usually suppliers work with specific couriers who give them the best possible prices, far lower that what we could ever arrange from our end. So really there’s no point in trying to do this yourself as you’ll just end up paying more. (more…)

February 12, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

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. (more…)

February 5, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

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. (more…)