1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. Ask Me a Question!
  6. /
  7. Page 3

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #19

February 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

questions-answers-19Hello & Welcome to yet another weekly Questions & Answers session!

If this is the first Q&A post you’re reading, this is how it works – you (my blog readers) can send in questions related to eBay, importing, or any other general online selling topic using this contact form and each week I pick the best questions and answer them publicly on this post. Rest assured, even if I don’t publish it here, I do personally answer every question via email.

So if you have a question or two you want me to answer for you, click here to submit a support ticket and I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours, Mon-Fri.

Today’s questions are:

  • What happens when a Chinese supplier under-declares the value of goods?
  • How to re-brand products to increase their value?
  • Can I sell copies of “patent pending” products?
  • Best way to sell mobile phone cases on eBay?
  • Where to host your website for maximum speed and reliability?
  • Why are shipping costs from China that high?
  • Are import duty and declaration fee two separate fees?
  • Can I use Western Union to pay a 9 year Gold Supplier on Alibaba?

Let’s get started!

Hey Andrew,

I read your blog post on importing from China and was wondering if I could ask a couple of questions?

I recently made a couple of orders from china after having a successful run with products, totalling £750.

I have been shipping with EMS even though there is a 2-4 week delivery time as it’s cheapest by far and via courier the profit margins are nowhere near as good.

One thing I came across is that though the supplier asked me for the value to declare and I said just put the total of all items, once in my trial run it was put as much lower.

Do you know what happens if your Chinese supplier under-declares the value of the goods being sent? And also I was wondering if it would actually be cheaper for my supplier to send 12 units individually rather than as a lot? As each one is under $20 they do not receive import VAT. I’m guessing import VAT is payable on the whole package rather than each unit inside?

Is this illegal, importing separate packages?

I’m in a learning process at the moment and want to ensure I do it correctly and your blog was very helpful.


Hi Matt,

Yes, absolutely – import duty and VAT are payable on the total order/shipment value; it really doesn’t matter how many boxes are used or how many items are in each box. If it comes in one shipment, value is calculated on the whole order.

If your supplier undervalues goods, there are two scenarios that can happen:

1) Customs stop the shipment because they think the declared value is too low. Then they contact you and ask for proof, such as invoice and payment receipt, to verify the actual order value. This is a very common procedure and doesn’t involve any fines against you. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #18

February 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

questions-answers-18It’s Friday, which means – time for another Questions & Answers blog post!

Today we’ll cover these questions:

  • Can you start an eBay business using just a mobile phone?
  • Do I need an EORI number when ordering samples from China?
  • How to cancel transactions on eBay WITHOUT getting a defect?
  • Where’s the best place to buy jewellery in bulk?
  • Do I need responsive eBay templates in 2015?
  • Should I pay PayPal fees when buying goods from Alibaba?
  • Courier OR freight forwarder – which one is cheaper?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for all the information and the link you sent me! I have one more question and then I will finally be ready to start. I do not have a laptop or a working computer at the moment and because of that I only have my mobile phone to access eBay so my question is, can I start buying and selling using just my mobile or do I need to buy a laptop or a computer to build a full time income on eBay?


Hi Alex,

In a word – YES! You can definitely start selling using just your mobile phone and mobile eBay/eBay app. It won’t be as handy as working with a computer but you can still do it. You can still take product pictures, write descriptions and list items for sale. Yes, you won’t be able to use listing templates or format them with a visual editor BUT if you have no choice, you can still use just a mobile phone to get started,

Building a full-time business on eBay takes time and capital to invest in stock though. The more money you can invest, the quicker you can grow your business. But it’s not only the amount of money that determines whether you’ll make it work or not. Even more important are your personal qualities – how driven and how motivated you are!

I know a person who started on eBay with just a few hundred pounds and turned that into a full-time income in 7 months, working with the used goods model. He only managed this because he was highly motivated and spent every free minute he had on his business – looking for products to sell, creating listings etc. etc.

If you have loads of unwanted items, you can simply start with them – risk free! You can learn everything you need from my blog, such as how to take great product pictures (even with a smart phone) & how to create beautiful listings and then you simply get started! There’s really no risk in selling off unwanted items from your home and it’s a great way to get some experience. And if you’re good, you’ll create some decent start-up capital by doing this which you can then invest in importing goods from China or buying wholesale.

Lastly, if you need a step by step program on how to achieve this, take a look at my Easy Auction Business video course (instant access).

With the help of my course, the sky really is the limit! Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #14

December 5, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 16 Comments

questions-answers-14Hello & Welcome!

It’s time for another Ask Me a Question! post! Soon I will have to do this two or three times a week as the number of questions I receive from you has increased significantly! 🙂

That’s fine though, after all the whole point of me posting these is that more and more people can hopefully learn from them.

So to not waste any valuable web space, here are the questions I will be covering today:

  • What’s the best way to send a 115kg package from China to the UK?
  • Do I have to register for VAT if I only sell digital products?
  • How to reduce time spent on support requests on eBay?
  • How to use barcodes with Linnworks?
  • How to improve productivity and grow my eBay Business?
  • How to properly set-up two eBay and PayPal accounts?
  • Why aren’t my items selling on eBay?
  • Tips & Tricks for selling second hand goods on eBay for profit!
  • How to increase my email subscriber conversion rate?
  • What to do with my eBay business when going on holiday?
  • Do I need to upgrade my eBay account from Personal to Business?
  • Does your Easy Auction Business course work in the USA?
  • Do I need to register a company to import goods from China?
  • Will My Suspended Account Affect Sellers on eBay?
  • Can I buy genuine Xbox controllers from China?
  • How to hide your supplier details from distributors?
  • Does Amazon steal your supplier information?
  • Can I make a full time income selling at market stalls?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I’m looking to start importing from China and I think I may have found a profitable product to sell on eBay.

I’ve been talking to a supplier on Alibaba and can get 90 of this item at $7 a piece so let’s call it £400. It will be in 5 cartons with dimensions of 75x44x76 and gross weight of 23kg per carton.

I’ve had a quote from FedEx for £1300 before duties and taxes, which eliminates my profit completely. Would the best way to ship this be via air freight? And if so after dealing with the forwarding company and any tax and duties, will it be significantly less than the £1300 quote? The total estimated sales on eBay with this item would be £1400.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,


Hi Adam,

Sending 115kg goods worth just £400 via courier is not a good idea at all. As you can see from the quote you got, the shipping cost is way, way too much – eliminating any potential profit you may get out of this deal.

So you have two alternatives:

  • Air freight
  • Sea freight

If you send these goods via Air freight, you’ll receive them in a relatively short time, 5-10 business days. The downside will again be the cost as while it will be cheaper than courier, it will still be too expensive to make this profitable, considering the weight and order value.

So the only option left for you is to send these goods via Sea Freight. Shipping cost per pallet will be approx. £200-£300 plus of course you’ll also have to pay the freight forwarder’s fee, import duty and VAT. Shipping time will be roughly 30-40 days. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #11

September 12, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 11 Comments

questions-answers-11Happy Friday everyone!

It’s time for another Questions & Answers post and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Is it safe to order from a Vietnamese supplier?
  • What are the best products to sell on eBay?
  • Do your courses rely on dropshipping?
  • How does Alibaba Escrow payments work?
  • Why is there a difference between eBay and Terapeak results?
  • How to safely import cosmetic products from China?
  • Can I manipulate eBay’s selling limits?
  • Where can I get Turbo Lister?
  • Can I make money selling jewellery sets on eBay?
  • How does Terapeak’s 7 day trial work?
  • How to print shipping labels using a thermal label printer?

If you have a question or two, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via my support desk here.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I posted a buying request for blue & white pottery on Alibaba & received several quotations. One of these was from a supplier in Vietnam (DKB VIETNAM ONE MEMBER COMPANY LIMITED; website: http://craftviet.vn/).

This supplier has the designs I am looking for but my problem is that they are not a Gold member & don’t accept escrow. My second choice is a Chinese company that is a Gold member, but their designs are not exactly what I am looking for and they also don’t accept escrow (both companies are requesting payment via TT).

So is it safe to buy from the Vietnamese supplier? Is it difficult to report a problem if the supplier is not Chinese?

How can I proceed if things go wrong (i.e. I don’t get my shipment despite payment)?

Thanks for this great blog.

I personally wouldn’t deal with a non Gold member supplier on Alibaba. But I can understand that in some cases, with harder to find products, you do in some cases have to consider suppliers that are not Gold members.

If you really, really can’t find any alternative suppliers for these products, I would recommend doing a company check using a 3rd party inspection service. That is if you can find such services in Vietnam… with Chinese suppliers it’s much simpler as you can simply use one of the inspection agents listed on Alibaba’s inspection portal.

If you can’t verify the company, I would stay away from them. It’s just too risky to deal with an un-verified company who doesn’t accept any safe payment methods. You can of course make a small sample order to test them out but even if that goes all well, it doesn’t guarantee that they won’t scam you on a bigger order. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#9)

August 29, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

questions-answers-9Welcome back to our weekly Questions & Answers blog post series!

In today’s post I’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Buying football shirts from AliExpress to resell in the UK
  • How do I get my free guide to customers?
  • Does my order already include VAT?
  • Creating a hands-free business using a fulfillment house
  • Importing fake football shirts from Thailand
  • Should I start with an eBay store or just use listings?
  • Creating an eBay and Amazon business selling used books
  • Do I need to add VAT to the items I sell on eBay?
  • Starting an eBay business from scratch to support me and my daughter
  • Best product to sell on eBay?
  • Becoming a slave to my own business!

If you have a question for me that you’d like to see featured in a future Q&A, then please get in touch here.

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I just recently bought 3 football shirts from AliExpress and found them to be unbelievably cheap, at a price of $60 for 3 and I was thinking of maybe getting more to resell. However is it illegal to buy shirts from here and resell them in the UK? It sounds like a great idea but was just worried about tax and VAT etc. – could you please help??

Many thanks,

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your question.

From the sound of it, you have just bought 3 FAKE football shirts! Which are obviously unlicensed and illegal to sell online.

You’ll find many cheap suppliers in China that sell football shirts from top Premier League and other European teams, as well as US ones. But just so you know – they’re all FAKES! And that’s why the price is so cheap. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#8)

July 18, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments

questions-answers-8It’s Friday and time for another Questions & Answers blog post. It will be a slightly shorter one as it’s now the middle of summer and I’m really trying to take a break from business activities to spend some quality time with my family.

Still, over the last week I have received some interesting questions I would like to cover:

  • How to get goods imported from China through UK customs?
  • How to manage orders when going on holiday?
  • Is it possible to start an eBay business from Pakistan?

So without further ado, let’s get started!


First of all, your blog has amazing information! Thanks so much 🙂

I have ordered 1,000 wooden photo frames from China and I am getting them shipped into Southampton, UK. This is my first time ordering from China and I ordered a few test products first and loved the quality and price so I went ahead and ordered the full 1,000.

I paid in dollars via PayPal and the ETA is around 25th July 2014.

Is there a service anywhere that can collect my order when it comes into the port at Southampton? Then pay the relevant fees and tax and then invoice me a bill? As I am really stuck with the whole process of collecting my order from the port and paying the fees!

The company I have ordered from has already arranged the shipping to Southampton and I just need help with the last bit now – getting my goods through customs and to my actual address in the UK!

Please ask if you need more information about my order.


Hi Rachel,

Thanks for your question.

From the sound of it, you have purchased goods on FOB basis which means that the goods are loaded onto the ship in China but you take care of customs clearance and delivery of the goods to your address in the UK. This is perfectly fine and is the most commonly used method when importing goods from China via sea freight. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#7)

July 11, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

questions-answers-7It’s Friday, so time for another Q&A session!

Here are the topics we’ll be covering today:

  • How to register a new company and stay under the VAT threshold?
  • Can I transfer the feedback from my personal account to a business account?
  • What are “grey imports”?
  • Should I sell unique products on Amazon?
  • Does your program work in Australia?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I saw a comment that was left on one of your blog posts about VAT and trying to stay under the threshold via registering separate businesses.

I currently resell branded products online (clothing and shoes on eBay and Amazon) as a sole trader, staying just under the threshold. My current business would not be profitable if I had to charge VAT so becoming registered seems like a bad idea.

I am looking at designing and ordering my own unbranded products, imported from China, then also selling these online as a new Ltd.

My accountant tells me that HMRC would most likely consider them the same business as they are online even though they are not selling the same type of product. Firstly I am looking at towels but there is not a specific area I will focus on… My accountant does not seem 100% sure so I wanted to ask your advice on the viability of having these as two separate businesses?

Kind regards,

In cases like these, it’s all about how HMRC interprets your situation and whether they feel it’s ONE business or not. The law on this is quite vague and unfortunately that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#5)

May 9, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

questions-answers-5It’s time for another Q&A session. As always I have received a lot of questions from you over the last few weeks and so have picked out the ones I think would be most beneficial for others or those that are simply the most interesting in nature.

Here are the topics we’ll be covering today:

  • No VAT & Import duty charged by a courier?
  • How best to import & ship electronic cigarettes in wholesale?
  • Which PayPal account do I need?
  • Which course is best to start with?
  • How much to invest in each trader on eToro?
  • Can the same principles be applied to Amazon?
  • What taxes are there to pay when buying from Ali Express?
  • How to import bulk garden furniture from China?
  • Do you need a separate business address for eBay?
  • Do Chinese suppliers include VAT in their prices?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Please note: I do not edit or alter your questions in any way as I want them to remain authentic and exactly how they were sent to me, so please excuse any small grammar or spelling mistakes.

Let’s get started! Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#4)

April 15, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments

questions-answers-4It’s time for another Q&A session. I have received tons of questions from you over the last two weeks and have picked out the ones I think would be most beneficial for others or those that are simply the most interesting in nature.

Today we’ll cover:

  • Where to find electronic suppliers in China?
  • When to upgrade from a Personal account to Business Account on eBay?
  • What’s the difference between Alibaba and Ali Express?
  • Does your program work in the US?
  • How come so many eBay sellers can offer free shipping?
  • How to start an eBay business from scratch?
  • How to pay VAT and import duty for imports from China?
  • Is this a profitable product to start with?
  • What’s the difference between the different training programs you offer?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Please note: I do not edit or alter your questions in any way as I want them to remain authentic and exactly how they were sent to me, so please excuse any small grammar or spelling mistakes.

Let’s get started! Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#3)

March 14, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

questions-answers-3Hello & Welcome!

It’s Friday again which means time for another of our weekly Questions & Answers session. Thanks for all the questions you have sent in this week. I can’t publish them all as that would take too much time but I have tried to pick out the best and most interesting ones to share with everyone else.

Today we’ll cover:

  • Can I Import copyrighted iPhone cases from China?
  • Can I use FileZilla WITHOUT owning a hosting account?
  • Can I import from China being an individual, not a company?
  • Is Western Union a safe payment method?
  • Company refuses inspection before I send money to them!?
  • How to minimize the risk of getting your PayPal and eBay accounts banned?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Please note: I do not edit or alter your questions in any way as I want them to remain authentic and exactly how they were sent to me, so please excuse any small grammar or spelling mistakes.

Let’s get started! Read More…