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HOW To LOSE International Customers with eBay’s Global Shipping Program!

January 16, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 139 Comments
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One thing I always advice to my Easy Auction Business and 60 Day Blueprint customers, after they’re up and running in the UK and making good sales, is to expand internationally!

Most people seem to be unaware of this fact, but after America, the UK is in general one of the cheapest and best places for shopping and this provides a big opportunity for us sellers to offer products abroad and make good money. The margins are often even better than when selling locally due to higher prices and less competition and this makes international orders very lucrative.

I’ve had a few clients who have started selling internationally just to bolster their sales and make some extra money, and eventually their exports eclipsed their sales to the UK! A customer of mine actually discovered such an amazing market for used/retro video games in Australia that he stopped selling in the UK entirely and instead solely sells his products in Australia, using a fulfilment company to process orders.

So don’t underestimate the potential opportunity of international sales, as they can actually contribute a large percentage of your overall sales.

Now I have always said that the best way to sell internationally on eBay is to list directly on the regional eBay site of the country you want to sell to.

That means if you want to sell to Spain, list on eBay.es, if you want to sell to Australia, list directly on eBay.com.au, etc.

This, combined with shipping yourself using the best/cheapest method possible, is the best way to do things in terms of search ranking, views, and therefore SALES.

And that’s why I’m so confused by the growing popularity of eBay’s Global Shipping Programme!

For those of you who don’t know, eBay’s Global Shipping Programme is basically a service run by eBay that allows us sellers to offer our products for sale internationally BUT they take care of all the work!

They show your listings to international customers, then if an order comes in, you simply post your item to a UK address and eBay takes care of everything from there – including international postage, export/import charges, customs, tax etc.!

I know what you’re now thinking – “that sounds perfect! No wonder it’s becoming so popular…”

Well not quite. While it does sound great on paper, there are some significant flaws with the system:

Slow Delivery Timeframes

As rather than posting the item directly to your buyer, you instead have to post it to eBay’s UK Shipping Centre, where it is processed and posted internationally, the overall delivery time is extended by a few days.

According to eBay, “items generally arrive within 3-5 days in the EU and 7-10 days for non-EU destinations”, which is not too bad – but there’s still an unnecessary delay when using this process.

Import Tax for All Orders

This depends on whether or not you’re shipping within the EU, for which there are no import taxes (for now at least!) or if you’re shipping to somewhere else, like Asia, Australia or the US.

Now I know I shouldn’t really be saying this, as technically import tax should be paid on all applicable orders – however we all know that for small, one-off items, the majority of the time they’ll slip through and your customers won’t have to pay anything extra.

However this is never the case when you using the Global Shipping Programme, as eBay pre-charge these beforehand, adding additional cost to your buyers.

And lastly, and most importantly:

Excessive Postage Charges

This is really the main reason for me disliking the Global Shipping Programme and always suggesting against using it – the postage charges can be ridiculously high! In particular for small and lightweight items (which are best suited to selling internationally in the first place) which can be posted very cheaply using Royal Mail.

Now before you tell me that this really doesn’t matter, as you’re not the one paying the postage charges, your buyer is… that’s of course still a huge negative! It puts the cost of your product up significantly which will result in less sales and less profit for you. Even if buyers are willing to pay, I would still much rather charge more for the product (more money for me) and pay less on postage.

That’s just plain common sense really.

But how bad are the postage charges? Are we talking 10-15% more expensive, which while not ideal, is maybe worthwhile when taking into account the benefits and ease of using the Global Shipping Programme…

Well let’s find out for sure!

That’s right, it’s time for one of our trademark pricing “experiments”!

I will search on eBay for certain items and check the shipping cost using the Global Shipping Programme and then compare that to Royal Mail to see how big of a difference there is.

In total I’m going to test 4 different items and 3 different countries for each one (just to make it as fair as possible).

Those countries will be: Italy, Finland and Australia.

I’ll do my search on eBay UK, searching for buy it now listings only, and setting shipping to the different country:

Alright, let’s get to it!

Item No.1 – Protective Silicone Sleeve Case for Smok Tech Alien Kit

GSP Postage Costs:

To Italy: £9.64

To Finland: £13.18

To Australia: £10.68

Royal Mail Postage Costs:

To Italy: £2.45

To Finland: £2.45

To Australia: £3.30

WINNER – ROYAL MAIL

So a huge win for posting yourself, with shipping prices being 4-5 times LESS than when using eBay’s Global Shipping Programme.

Let’s move on to the next item:

Item No.2 – iPhone 7 Tempered Glass Screen Protector

GSP Postage Costs:

To Italy: £9.66

To Finland: £13.20

To Australia: £10.70

Royal Mail Postage Costs:

To Italy: £1.52

To Finland: £1.52

To Australia: £2.25

WINNER – ROYAL MAIL

Round 2 was even more one-sided! For some strange reason, eBay’s shipping fees were exactly 2p more than for our first item, even though this can easily be posted as a letter! You could post this item to Finland directly with Royal Mail 9 times for the cost of posting it once using the Global Shipping Programme. That’s just crazy!

So far it’s not even close, so I want to try testing a larger item that will have to be sent as a parcel, rather than a large letter or letter.

Item No. 3 – Lego Simpsons House

Now this is going to be a tough one for Royal Mail, as we all know how bad their postage options get with heavier and larger items. And this particular Lego set is 58 x 48 x 12cm and weighs over 3.5kg boxed! Plus as it costs nearly £200, I’m only going to used tracked shipping methods… so let’s see the results:

GSP Postage Costs:

To Italy: £27.23

To Finland: £30.82

To Australia: £30.09

Royal Mail Postage Costs:

To Italy: £54

To Finland: £62.10

To Australia: £88.30

WINNER – EBAY’S GLOBAL SHIPPING PROGRAMME

As I expected, a complete reversal here, with the Global Shipping Programme being a much better option for such a heavy item. In fact Royal Mail don’t even send it via their Airmail service, and you’d have to use Parcelforce instead.

Last but not least, let’s test an item that falls in the middle – something that can be sent as a small parcel.

Item No.4 – Nintendo 3DS XL Console

But once again I’m only going to be looking at tracked options, as it’s an expensive item.

GSP Postage Costs:

To Italy: £12.49

To Finland: £15.74

To Australia: £34.67

Royal Mail Postage Costs:

To Italy: £12.50

To Finland: £12.50

To Australia: £18.15

WINNER – ROYAL MAIL

And there you go. While the 4th and final round was closer, it was still a win for Royal Mail and overall the results sum up the point I was making perfectly.

As convenient as it is for sellers, eBay’s Global Shipping Programme has a fatal flaw – it’s just far too expensive, in particular for small and lightweight options, which are the ones best suited to selling internationally in the first place.

So my conclusion and final advice is this – if you’re just starting out and want to keep things as simple as possible, then by all means use the Global Shipping Programme, so that you’re at least getting some international orders in, without having any extra hassle.

BUT don’t be lazy – as soon as you’re able to, start listing directly on regional eBay sites such as eBay.de, eBay.fr, eBay.com.au, etc. and start posting internationally yourself.

You’ll sell a lot more this way, which after all, is the whole point!

As always, if you have any questions or comments then I’d love to hear from you.

Otherwise, happy Monday everyone and have a great week. I’ll be back on Wednesday with our next blog post.

All the best,
Andrew


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139 Comments
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  1. Dave Williamson

    Strangely, France seems to have disappeared from the GSP drop down menu of countries to be given postal rates to. Other Euro countries are still there but not France. I’m having to send an invoice to any French buyers and post direct.

  2. Danny Heaver

    Who on earth thinks that the Global Shipping Program is becoming “more popular”??
    It is hated by everyone…. Very few people I know in Australia buy from usa anymore, as it is just ridiculously expensive!
    Just a rip-off disguised as the Pitney Bowes packaging Co.
    There must ensure a “kick back” going on acknowledge to EBay, no other explanation!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Danny,

      As I explain in the post, un-educated sellers are ones that are happy with this program. But they don’t even realise how many customers are NOT buying from them because they use this program…

      Andrew

      1. Dave Williamson

        I’m the only seller worldwide of one product, at a non-ridiculous price, so, now that nobody knows what duties may be payable to European shipping, it’s easier to leave it to GSP and my customers are happy to pay their high shipping costs.

  3. Hi if you list in local eBay sites. Do you have to create an account for each site I.e new e-mail, account etc..

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      No, you need just one account and it will work on all regional eBay sites.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. The only issue I can see with my below comment is that if your a seller that ships thousands and thousands of items a week you may end up having hundreds of items you need to modify taking up your time so again it depends on your personal situation how many combined shipping requests you you may receive. If it’s a few a week not a problem if it’s hundreds a week you could be rather time-consuming.

  5. Ashley New

    With regard to previous comments there are ways around combining postage for multiple items. But you need to be able to to communicate with your buyer. I speak one language English yet I’m able to speak multiple languages simply by using Google translation. However if the buyer simply clicks and buys on two or three items there’s nothing that can be done, he or she needs to communicate with you first to enquire about combining postage. You the seller simply then has to to modify the listing to offer international shipping to the destination of that particular customer and offer free postage for any and all extra applicable items that can be combined

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing that!

  6. Ashley New

    I would also add that yes low value small items that can be sent via Royal Mail in Jiffy bags are a waste of time using global shipping.

    However large items that I send are usually 5 to 15 kilos electronics hi-fi audio visual equipment I would estimate my sales to be around 60 to 70% overseas sales. so at the end of the day it depends on what your business is

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, that is correct. It depends on the business – what kind of items (size/weight) you’re selling.

  7. Ashley New

    There is one crucial item you left out regarding how great global shipping is. Once the global shipping firm in the UK has your item your responsibility for it ends. Therefore if the item gets damaged or lost you the seller and no longer responsible so no chasing courier companies providing photographs and details for insurance cover and the long delays and stress this causes sorting it out. As it’s out of your hands this is a huge Plus for items of a delicate nature and a definite win for the global shipping program which is why I wouldn’t use anything else

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ashley,

      Yes, of course – that is a good advantage to have for sellers, no doubt about that. And IF you sell mostly such “delicate” items, it is a good protection/insurance.

      Andrew

  8. Another big problem is that the Global shipping program does not combine items for shipping so that the cost difference goes up many times. Two maps I mailed from the US were going to cost more than US$300 via the global shipping program. Via a friend US$60.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, that’s another disadvantage…

  9. adrian moles

    Everyone is aware of how expensive GSP is and would for obvious reasons love to opt out but how do you list on multiple eBay sites with the same speed and ease? Almost 40% of my business comes from being listed on GSP but I don’t speak any other languages ie to list on a Spanish eBay site for example and the time it would take to list on individual sites would kill me and then I would have the same item on various sites which could cause complications, is there a way around all of this?

    Adrian

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I don’t sell on eBay anymore so don’t know exactly what the latest rules are there, BUT there are online software/tools that allow you to list on regional eBay accounts from “English” interface. I think Auctiva also offers this:

      https://www.auctiva.com

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  10. Lynn Bennett

    Andrew
    You talk as if you have a choice not to use the global shipping program?
    I thought that was the only option if you sell internationally on eBay?
    I do agree though about the GPS being exstushionate.
    I almost feel embarrassed when people are paying more on postage than what the actual item of clothing I’m selling is worth.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It is optional.

      You can opt-in or opt-out from the program in your account settings.

      Andrew

  11. Lewis Neilson

    You are comparing a standard service to a tracked and fully insured service. The prices are competitive if you compare it to Tracked and Signed.

    GSP doesn’t handle small items very well, nor do said items require a tracked service.

    I’ve only had one issue with an item being waylaid with GSP I lost £300 on lost or delayed items last month alone with RM standard.

    There is a major issue with GSP you cannot combine orders so the customer often has to pay multiple times.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lewis,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, that’s the whole point! You don’t really need a Signed service for small/cheap items, yet via GSP you don’t have an option – it is Tracked and expensive. Super expensive for small items compared to Royal Mail standard Airmail service.

      That’s the whole point of this post – from a customer perspective, GSP is overpriced for almost anything below the 2kg mark and as you can see from the comments – many, many people are not buying anymore from sellers who use GSP.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  12. Hi Andrew,
    I know this thread is knocking on a bit, but do you know if you can off GSP and also international shipping from yourself.
    I expect probably not but worth asking as gives buyers an option.

    One other thing on the main article.
    With the price comparisons, I assume that the Royal Mail prices are standard airmail and not tracked. The PB – GSP prices would – should be tracked.
    To me that is a very important difference, especially with proof of delivery and protection. Royal Mail prices as International Tracked and Signed and Tracked would be much closer, if not more.

  13. Hi, Your post missed a big point out: Clients are charmed Double for the postage. e. g
    An item from ebay costs 100 + 13 gbp for shipping, but then the GSP shipped bills te end client via ebay an extra 13 gbp for the shipping. I had this with six items from the UK to Belgium, and instead of paying the advertised postage of 13 Gbp, I paid 26 gbp! This was via PitneyBowes.

    Ebay Customer service told me I accepted their T&Cs for their GSP programme when I bought. I was livid since I paid extra unseen charges from Ebay-PitneyBowes on my credit card totaling 78 pounds over a two month period.
    I closed my ebay account down, after having used them since 2004.

    Regards, Sophie

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Sophie for sharing this, yeah – it’s a TOTAL mess!!!

  14. Louise.truss66@gmail.com

    Thank you, that info you’ve share is extremely helpful and as I suspected, which is why I googled ‘EBay international postage charges’

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Louise, glad I can help! 🙂

  15. Paul Kelly

    Thank you so much for putting this out there.
    In my experience eBay tries to manipulate sellers into this rip-off system and shuts out what should be the buyers choice of postage method.
    I have 2 incidents recently where both buyer and seller were done a dis service by trying to force this postage method on the buyer.
    Contacted eBay help which was like talking to a statue.
    An unmitigated ripoff by eBay’s liaison with Pitney Bowes.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, totally agree with you, Paul.

      I’m super happy that I don’t have to deal with all that eBay drama anymore.

      Andrew

  16. I often contact US sellers asking them to avoid Global Shipping. Last week I was billed $19 but the seller took it to the post office and paid $4. He refunded me the difference. Obviously eBay is making lots of money off global shipping. In my experience it usually is much slower using Global Shipping – up to 1-2 weeks difference. I, like many Canadians, will continue to avoid American sellers using Global Shipping.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us John!

  17. Looks like the MAIN business of eBay is logistics now. The online marketplace is optional.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Probably not the MAIN business, but I’m sure it contributes a lot to the bottom line.

  18. Four times I have had small items go missing from ebays Global shipping programme now when I send via that service I use first class signed after that it no longer is my responsibility lets hope ebay investigate all of the missing items and who is responsible.

  19. MR MICHAEL WILLIAMS

    As a UK buyer – I have recently purchased an OPPO Blu Ray player from a seller in the USA – He used Ebay’s Global Programme and everything was fine up until it reached the UK then it has suddenly gone off the radar – I have waited well over a week after it has arrived in this country and nothing! As I have already paid import duties I am promised it will be quicker going through customs. So along the way I know someone has had stealing fingers. I rang Ebay customer services today and have been told a refund will happen but I stated the problem has happened as soon as it gets here and is not the issue of the seller and the person I spoke to agreed with me. I am absolutely gutted as I wanted a region A player the same as my OPPO region B player and it is hard to find a mint one and the seller willing to send to the UK. Surely they can pinpoint where it has not been scanned and gone missing! An absolute waste of time and effort and I have to do this all over again. I am not happy I can tell you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      At least you will get your money back but I totally get your pain – what a waste of time!!!

  20. Terri McGovern

    I’m in Canada and made a purchase from a seller in the U.S. The seller should have received $67.59, which is what eBay told me he received. The truth is that eBay took $19.59 from the seller for that purchase! This is unacceptable.

    When I was notified that my package was being shipped to KY, I thought the seller shipped to the wrong address! Unfortunately, I complained to the seller when it wasn’t his fault.

    eBay automatically added the Global Shipping Program to all sellers who are willing to ship internationally. I am opting out of this scam!

    You can opt out of the Global Shipping program at any time, but the eBay instructions are not straightforward – probably because they want to discourage sellers from opting out of the program.

    This is the way to opt out of Global Shipping Program:
    1. Sign in to eBay and hover your cursor over your name
    2. Go to Account Settings
    3. Go to Site Preferences
    4. Select Edit beside Offer the Global Shipping Program, and then Opt out.

  21. The only time I used GSP ( a few months ago actually) I was hit with excessive import/shipping charges; paid willingly as it was a special item I needed to add to my music collection. 6 weeks later and after receiving no updates, I contacted Ebay so as to find out where my package is.

    They just went on and refunded my original payment (plus all shipping costs and the extra charges) but this marked the first occasion ever I had to declare an item lost in the mail – after 26 years of receiving packages from all over the world. Sums up my experience with GSP I guess – disappointing!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      At least you got your money back…but yeah, it’s a total mess!

  22. Hi, I found your page because I am in France and just now didn’t buy a US duvet cover on ebay because not only were shipping charges super high, but import / VAT etc. fees were 13 euros on a 26 euro item rather than the 5.37 euros it should have been. Pitney Bowes is making a killing acting as an unnecessary middleman. Will not even look at anything with GSP anymore, sigh.

  23. Timo Leipälä

    Global shipping of smaller items from USA to Finland is extremely expensive, Shipping of a single postcard may cost as much as $50. Their partner in Finland is UPS and its office is about 15 kilometers from my house and this arrogant company is focused on delivering things to companies, not for private persons. They may come during office hours and because the door of the staircase is closed they go away without informing about that. So in practice one has to fetch the items. The last time when I bought a global shipping item UPS claimed that they had delivered the item but did not claim that I had received it. I never received it and did not get my money back because the parcel was “delivered”, I do not know where. After that I have only bought things sent directly by the sellers.

  24. I fully agree with these conclusions. I have been buying on Ebay for very long with more than 1000 items on my list… Since this GSP has been more or less imposed, I am not buying anymore when the GSP is enabled. It is far too expensive to ship to Belgium. I am usually buying small items like model figures and the average costs are over 10 £ where Royal Mail is charging 2 £. Five times more for only putting the model in a box (as there is no customs fee to pay within Europe). The situation is different for the US or perhaps where valuable items are shipped but in my particular case, I avoid bidding when GSP is offered.

  25. Steve Adisetya

    I plan to buy 2 items, same seller on ebay. Each Item price is $32.5 and $30 shipping cost, no import charges. If I combine it, the shipping cost 2 items is $50. But the import charges is $68. It’s more expensive than not combine the shipping!!
    In my country you got import charges is the item price above $75, and if I got import charges will be still cheaper!
    Funny

    1. with GSP the seller can not combine orders. you pay for 2 separate packages. very expensive

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense at all…

      Try looking for a different seller, who doesn’t use GSP.

      Andrew

  26. I too am having a nightmare. I ordered a coat from Illinois on 21st Jan. Now due to snow it took USPS 5 days to get it to the Global Shipping Depot at Erlanger Kentucky. It arrived on Saturday 26th Jan, but it has only been cleared through customs at the depot today, Thursday 31st Jan. I am suppose to receive it by Monday 4th at the latest, but it’s still at the depot now. It really is a poor programme, which takes your money and then provides you with a poor service!!

  27. There are several showstoppers with GSP for any company buyer. With all other carriers, VAT is fully deductible for a buyer company. But with GSP its not possible to deduct VAT, because P&B do not provide any legitimate paperwork to the buyer. Thats true – P&B provides NO legal evidence to the buyer as to what fees/VAT they supposedly have paid. And it gets worse – without proper paperwork, the buying company may become liable to pay VAT+customs in addition to all the GSP expenses – there are numerous examples where this has happened.

    Perhaps P&B pulls an old classic trick – declare a lower value to customs authorities, and pocket the difference amount of “custom charges”. Try getting P&B or eBay to provide you a correct invoice where VAT and customs are separately specified (as tax law requires). You’ll see that they just won’t do it and simply stalls until you get tired of dealing with them.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, it’s a total nightmare…

      I can’t see how anyone at eBay may think this is a good program!!!

      Andrew

  28. I’ve just read all the comments and notice that my particular gripe regarding GSP has not been mentioned.
    I live just outside Hamilton, New Zealand and despite numerous attempts to juggle my address, which has a street name and number followed by the destination Hamilton followed by a zip code followed by a country, GSP concludes that my address is too remote to be able to send items and refuses to accept my bid. This happens every time I try to buy from a seller using GSP.
    If this is happening to buyers who live in the 4th most populous city in New Zealand, how many other buyers are being barred from using E-Bay around the world? And probably without the sellers knowing that they are barred.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Another nail in the coffin, lol

      Thanks for sharing this Stuart! The system is so ridiculous that I wonder how eBay hasn’t noticed a negative effect on this for international sales.

      Andrew

  29. Hello, thanks a lot for this article. eBay’s GPS have been driving me nuts. I started buying Matchboxes and similar (Made in England) die-cast toy cars few months ago. Best market to buy from is USA. And so I came across this shipping differences. The shipping price, when buying (usually on auction) could be many times higher with GPS as compare to USPS International. Sometimes it’s is even double or more then the actual price of the items. For example, I bought 5x Matchboxes each $20, shipping for each is aprox. $10, plus this mysterious “import fee”. With Global there is no way to combine shipping for all 5 to one shipping, even when all 5 are shipped in one box. So instead of paying around $20 max. for all five, it’s $50 plus about 5x$5 import fee . And that’s not all, the Global processing does trigger attention of Canadian Customs and while they would not charge any Duty, they will request Canada Post to charge Canadian Sales tax of 13% on total price including the shipping cost. Compere this to USPS International e.g. $20 – that includes up $100 free insurance and tracking. Funny part is, that in both cases, it is delivered to my door by exactly same people, that is Canada Post. I have received over 50 packagers of Matchboxes in past several moths using USPS Priority (some times 1st Class), it all came with 100% accuracy, never lost or damaged and never customs charged any duty, even wen in some case the value was well over $100 and declared as Merchandise (not “gift”). So I am trying to avoid buying/bidding from US dealers using Global.

  30. without telling us the GSP charged $50 extra delivery from their kentucky depot to australia, in addition to the $30 delivery charge stated on the ebay order page. will NEVER buy from ebay again.

  31. J. Drysdale

    In Canada we have a very low de minimus of $20CAD = $15.20USD currently. eBay set up Global Shipping solely to take advantage of this in Canada & other countries who also only allow very low value on-line imports. (Mexico is one of them.) They are making $$$$ from Canadians, Mexicans and likely others from the brokerage fees they charge. This is about $7.50 per order. If the item is less than $15.20US then they charge a higher amount for shipping. In Canada, for orders over $15.20US, they also charge GST or HST and duty, if applicable. Goods are only duty-free from the USA if they are made in the USA from American materials. The duty is usually minimal but the taxes can be high depending on where you live in Canada & the cost of the item in Canadian dollars.
    Many Americans have no idea of these costs as they see eBay on a different platform (ebay.com) while Canadians only see ebay.ca which includes prices in CAD. It frustrates me that I’m paying more to ebay/Global Shipping than I am to the seller. Global does not even inspect the item – they just rip the package open to ensure there is something in it, then they slap on some ugly brown tape to cover the hole (which often doesn’t get completely covered), a new label & mail it forward. It is often sloppy & probably took no more than 30 seconds but eBay gets their $7.50. An eBay rep who is also a seller told me sellers are strongly encouraged to keep their shipping cost low and their item price higher. eBay just happens to get a cut of the item price but not the shipping cost plus they are more likely to collect brokerage fees.
    Last year eBay set up another office in England so now the shipping costs to Canada are astronomical. I haven’t made a purchase from Britain since then.
    I have made over 200 purchases on ebay over the last 18 months & I am so tired of the extra costs because of increasing numbers of sellers using GSP that for the last month or so, I have been thanking sellers for not using GSP if they mail directly to me. I have even been suggesting to some sellers that they reconsider their use of GSP because of the higher costs for Canadians.
    Now, guess what has happened? Starting 2 days ago ebay has now blocked me from seeing the shipping cost until I look at each item individually. This is too funny! I’m flattered to think my comments are so important!
    Regarding your comments about items slipping through a county’s customs – Canada Customs has full authority to check any package or envelope they want. However, we know our Customs offices are currently overwhelmed by the rapid increase in on-line purchases so they are not able to check every item. Most of my purchases are under $60US & I have not had to pay any customs charges in over a year unless eBay sellers use GSP. Another reason I truly dislike GSP.
    Bottom line – eBay is not doing this for sellers or buyers – they doing this solely for themselves & to heck with Canadians & Mexicans. (Trump would approve.) Millions of $7.50’s add up very quickly in eBayland!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us, I completely agree with you!

  32. I feel so frustrated by this “service”. I used to shop on eBay ALL the time and I have stopped due to most sellers using this service. At first I would just scan through based on who used it or not and avoid sellers it but I just found it frustrating as so many use it now. I buy small items and the shipycosts are just insane! The duty and taxes are applied to all items and not researched at all. Many of these items have no duty and we don’t have tax in my province which leads me to wonder is this fraud? Who is getting this “duty and tax” I am paying for. I feel so sad that eBay is no longer an option for me. I live in Canada and you can just put it in the mail. Good grief!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, it’s totally crazy! I still don’t understand HOW sellers are not seeing this? And how eBay is nog seeing this????

  33. My issue is the other way round since I am, sadly, in the middle of trying to get delivery of a GSP shipment that was posted to me a week ago from a seller in Ohio.
    The GSP seems to use a number of different carriers for different parts of what passes for their process. Mine started off well, with Fedex getting the package to the to the Pitney Bowes shipment centre. In fact it ground to a halt for a time, because Fedex tried to delivery it on a Saturday, and the Pitney Bowes outfit was closed! A ‘global shipping centre’ that closes on Saturday!!!????
    Eventually it left there and from the waybill numbers on one of the multiple carrier sites that are involved in the process, ended up crossing to the UK on a Virgin Atlantic freight flight.
    I know it landed in the UK on Wednesday morning, but it is now somewhere in hands of an outfit called 13TEN, who seem to have no credible function. They are unable to tell me where my parcel is. Another outfit also involved is ‘WNDIRECT’ who have a page which references the package.
    13TEN cannot tell me who the UK carriers are ‘you’ll have to ask the seller’. Who? The seller in Ohio who simply ticked the box saying user GSP? He obviously won’t know so it must be Ebay themselves. But there is no way of communicating with them. Their tracking now says ‘In transit with destination courier’. It thinks the ‘destination courier is 13TEN, but they aren’t a courier at all, merely another middle man. The whole process is a shambles. I have quite a few parcels delivered by DHL and EMS-Parcel Force. Their services are properly integrated and professional. The GSP is an amateurish mess. And expensive too…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah it is what it is….

      You will simply have to wait until your package shows up.

      Andrew

      1. Michael

        I did, and it has! I think the problem they need to fix is the curious and unexplained tracking gap between its arrival in the UK on Wednesday morning and its move to the end courier. Reading around sites like this, I understand the various involvements better, but it would help those of us who don’t come across GSP use often to understand what’s going on.
        It arrived well packed, and not repacked by the way.

  34. It seems that part of the problem is that a lot of sellers don’t seem to know how to avoid using GSL, since eBay has chosen to introduce it in an aggressive manner. It pretty much forces GSL on them. If you’re a new seller, you get the new dumbed-down interface where GSL is the only shipping solution offered! To use a different shipping method, you have to first switch the interface to classic (if you can find the link ´– which is hidden from the seller hub) and only then you can choose a different shipping solution.

    There should be clear options for both the buyer and the seller to use whatever shipping they request.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, I agree – I choice between shipping methods for the buyer would be best solution to avoid over-paying.

      1. Thanks a lot to Jason. One of the friendly dealer/seller was trying to switch to USPS from GSP to help me lower the shipping cost, but came back with the problem of having the GPS as the ONLY option, whenever he tried to select going International. I send him your comment and waiting to see, if he can now switch to USPS International shipping option by going to “Classic” interface. This GSP si a huge money milking set up by eBay. As I have to factor in the extra delivery price for going with Global, I would rather offer higher price to the seller or buy more.

  35. My first experience with ebay GPS lately and still ongoing, near completion, and am thinking positive, despite all the horror negative comments that these guys will pull through
    To be honest it’s got a first rate tracking system, which you have to pay for, but it’s peace of mind really and seem to know what they are doing (well, let’s be honest, they damn well should

    To get a complete rundown, hit the link on the right hand side at the very end for the guys who actually run the show “Pitney Bowes” https://parceltracking.pb.com

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi PJ,

      The problem is not in service quality here…

      The problem is that if you use GPS for small items, you lose out BIG time due to high shipping prices which customers don’t want to pay. That’s the problem here.

      Andrew

  36. What if you sending an item that weighs more than 2 kgs to the US? I use Royal Mail for all international sales but won’t be able to use Royal Mail for this parcel that weighs 2.5kg. What other option do I have other than GSP? Thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, if the package is more than 2kg and goes to the US, GSP probably will be cheapest option.

      You can of course compare prices from couriers on websites like ParcelMonkey.co.uk but in general, courier packages to the US are very expensive.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  37. As an overseas buyer (EU) if I see the seller using the eBay Global shipping programme I immediately look elsewhere. Their prices are utterly ridiculous. I have complained about this time and time again but they take no notice.
    A good example is a 128Gb SD card – weight, practically nothing yet eBay will quote £19 for sending it to a EU country. Actual cost by RM, even when packaged, about £2.65 for regular post or £7.85 tracked and signed for. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind pay £19!
    The problem is that, as a UK seller using this programme you don’t get to see the stupid prices eBay are quoting, so you don’t realise that potential customers are just going to look elsewhere.
    My advice – forget the GSP unless it is for bulky, heavy or VERY expensive items (and even then I have found courier services that do a better, cheaper job than eBay), just quote UK and EU shipping costs. It’s not difficult to find prices from the RM website or pick up a pricing brochure next time you visit your local PO, but also remember that eBay will charge you their fees on the TOTAL selling price including postage.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Exactly my thoughts David, Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

  38. Nathan Carter

    Does anyone know where the Pitney Bowes processing center is in the UK? I’m having something shipped from Birmingham to the US and they say it hasn’t reached their center yet. It’s been a week since there seller shipped it. Britain isn’t that big of a place. It shouldn’t take a week to send something between any two places on the island. I could probably walk that far in a week

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry Nathan, have no idea…

  39. the GSP program has had one effect on me as a buyer, I haven’t bought anything from the USA + I’ve started using Amazon. i.e. recently I was interested in a used Asus micro computer shipping + duties were almost as much as the computer, for a bit more I bought a new Beelink micro computer from Amazon. BTW in +/- 200 purchases from the USA over several years, Canada customs has charged me tax and duties maybe 2 or 3 times. With Amazon if I don’t care when I get, I will select the cheapest way possible but if need an item urgently I can get it next day. (I’m not endorsing Amazon over eBay in any way just sharing my personal experience.

  40. I think GSP is very good and helps me alot. I agree with small items royal mail is one of the best options. but i also sell large heavy items and this can cost quite alot, as some quotes i get for aboard are high, using GSP means i just ship to the UK. And postage quote is normally cheaper for the buyer.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, for big/heavy items GSP can work ok.

  41. Ray Trivass

    I live half way down France and am amazed at the length of time a small switch valued at £15 is taking to arrive from the UK. Posted by seller to GSP on 25th, arrived at GSP on 28th! Email from GSP saying item will arrive between 6th July and 11th July!!
    If seller had used Royal Mail it would have arrived with me about the same time as it arrived at GSP!
    Global Shipping Program stinks! I have decided not to buy in future from sellers who only use GSP unless I am absolutely desperate for the item ( not time wise but availability wise).

    1. Bordes Cecile

      I agree… I came to the same conclusion that GSP is yet another eBay scam to ask more % $ on total amount (global fees) imposed to the seller on one hand since eBay decided to include the postage/shipping cost to the value of the sale at the end of transaction…. and on the other hand, assuming it does not “matter” since the buyer “agrees” to pay the extra charge (often above a very low postage announced on the actual listing! another scam but that time from the seller who wishes to minimize the end selling fees) of which he/she-the buyer- often does not quite understand the consequences… like automatic Customs charges… I got “done” a few times mostly with items from the US- it appears that there convenience and laziness are worthier than cleanliness !!:-).. with heavy unnecessary custom fees on products which usually do not call for it… This has not yet happened from Brits despite the so called Brexit since it do not yet apply … but will at one point. So sad! I do sell on eBay but at times, I am a buyer mostly,
      Now to come back to the issue…. as a buyer purely for my own use, I am a collector, I therefore now avoid at all cost ALL eBay members using the GSP service regardless of geography…

  42. Hello Andrew,

    Very informative, thank you.

    I’m very new to selling on ebay, let alone selling internationally.

    However, I have an item I would like to offer internationally, and like your advice to list directly on regional eBay sites, but I don’t really understand how this works.

    For example, do I just to log into each regional ebay and list the same item over and over? If so, and it sells in Spain, do I then need to manually remove it from all the other regional sites?

    Thank you in advance,

    James

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi James,

      Yes, that is exactly how it works – you just list the item directly on regional websites.

      Andrew

  43. Darren Travis

    would you have to set up a new ebay account for each country?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, your universal eBay account/login details work with all regional eBay websites.

      1. Darren Travis

        would I be charged to list on international ebay sites or would the cost be included in my free listings?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Don’t know that as I don’t sell on eBay anymore.

        It used to be that you would pay for international listings separately.

        Andrew

  44. The main reason I hate this program is that 99% of the items I buy are disability goods. These items are actually tax free for import to the UK for use by a disabled individual, subject to the correct papers being filed. The GSP doesn’t take account of this, it wants me to pay the taxes upfront. Where do these taxes actually go when the Revenue isn’t asking for anything? I can’t even get the money back from HMRC after the fact as they don’t have it! When you are importing £600+ goods, the taxes are a very serious business indeed.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      That’s a very good point indeed Rose, Thanks for sharing this with us!

      Andrew

  45. Hi, I’ve read this with interest.
    What I’m still confused about though, is the customs fees and custom admin charge. Are you accounting for that? Or are you sending everything without a customs label? Global shipping includes a fee for processing through customs. If I buy something from America, I prefer to choose sellers using global shipping because if I don’t I can’t tell how much I’m going to get charged at customs when the item comes into the UK. And I get charged Royal Mail’s £8 processing charge.
    So… I’m assuming my buyers overseas would get charged customs and processing charges on top of the reasonably low Royal Mail standard international shipping?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Frankie,

      Yes, it does include that.

      BUT actually in many countries post office does not charge anything for the Customs process/declaration so it’s not like in every country you have to pay £8 for this process.

      It will vary from country to country though.

      Andrew

  46. Great post. Please note that eBay doesn’t run the Global Shipping Program. It is actually handled by Pitney Bowes. They do all the shipping out of their hub in Kentucky for those in the US. Which is why if you have a problem with the GSP no one at eBay can help you. In fact, they[eBay] didn’t even know that Pitney Bowes handled the shipping or even how to reach them. The GSP and Pitney Bowes was not on their employee number sheet. I located the data on Google and gave it to the eBay rep who was stunned because she idea it wasn’t eBay. But graciously happy to learn. Apparently, they don’t bring this up in training. A real shame for any customer service rep receiving questions for a service they know nothing about, nor have they been given the slightest bit of information to help manage customers who have questions regarding this service.

    If you call the phone number to the Global Shipping Service in Erlanger Kentucky you probably will not get an answer. If you do, understand that whoever answers the phone isn’t customer service. It’s entirely possible that you’d get a warehouse worker who just happened by the phone. These people will not be able to help you do anything. Please don’t call them because it is wasting your time.

    Also, Stamps.com and Shipstation have a service called the Global Advantage Program. This is entirely run by RRDonnelly, a logistics company. This is exactly the same service that eBay offers through Pitney Bowes. The only difference is that it is only available through Stamps.com, Shipstation.com, and Endicia.com unless another shipping service has begun offering it that I am unaware of. The hub location is out of New Jersey. A surcharge of $2.50 fee is onto each package that more than likely goes to RRDonnelly for the service. You can even raise the surcharge amount if you want to poke your customer more. The difference, from what I understand is returned to you. I cannot think of a single reason to up the surcharge rate. Even with high gas prices, your sold price should reflect this already. Crazy, indeed.

    Personally, avoiding these third-party services is the best way to gain and keep customers. Let’s face it no one likes shipping fees. Which is why I ship all my items on eBay free within the US. I charge the exact rate that I have to pay for shipping outside of the US. This is Not the rate I’d get if I walked into the post office, FedEx or the UPS local hub (NOT A STORE) which are much higher. I use the eBay or Paypal shipping rates.
    NEVER ship using shipping stores like Mail Boxes etc, UPS stores, Pak n Ship, Pakmail, etc These stores are individually owned and charge outrageous fees for their services. UPS stores are not the same as going to the UPS hub to ship a package. Hubs aren’t stores, you must have a label on the package already. A UPS store is nothing but a high priced shipping store that will pack and box your items. The UPS rates they give are WAY HIGHER than real UPS rates. I honestly don’t know how they get away with screwing people like this. To give you an example, I needed to ship a large package. I didn’t have any more shipping labels on hand for UPS with my account number on them. So I figured I could just go to the local UPS store. I asked for a label and they said they don’t have those. That I’d need to get them from the hub or at a UPS drop box location. Scratching my head I thought, “what?!” but this is a UPS store. I had already gotten a quote online for the package but decided to ask them for another quote for the heck of it. I am so glad I did. I was quoted online $48.79 but the UPS store wanted $114.87 for the SAME package! I was like how is that even possible and they told me that they are independent of UPS and their rates will be higher.
    Needless to say, avoid shipping stores entirely because they all do this.

    It is not difficult to ship internationally. The post office is very easy to work with and can tell you exactly what needs to be done. Research the web for help and of course ask questions. Just avoid countries that are notorious for never delivering packages aka stealing them in customs. You can find those by Googling countries to avoid shipping eBay.
    Good luck and Happy Shipping!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Many Thanks Marie for your comment and for sharing your insights! 🙂

      Will be very helpful for the people in the US.

      Andrew

  47. Beef LoMein

    This is an older string, but I feel obligated to add my two cents against Global Shipping. I attempted to send a package from the United States to Albania. Between the incompetence of the USPS and eBay (and despite a very clear address) the package went not to Albania, but to Thailand and disappeared. Never again–either DHL or USPS, tracked by the same vendor, end to end.

  48. Thank you for writing this article and making people aware. I bought a laptop from the UK two weeks ago but didn’t realise that it would be sent to me in France via GSP. Needless to say the tracking hasn’t updated during the past 13 days and I have no way of finding out if it will actually arrive on the date given – i.e. tomorrow. It seems unlikely since it is still in the UK. I will certainly not buy anything else that might be sent via GSP – no proper tracking, more expensive and glacially slow.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Lizzie!

  49. Jorge graca

    Global shipping is a fiasco rubbish I purchase something from the UK the seller posted on the 29 January throw the GPS and the eBay don’t help me they only tell me to wait.
    I pay £21.64 for a parcel from the UK to the republic of Ireland witch go to take between 12 to 17 days to arrive. This is eBay for you guys.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It is definitely not an Express service Jorge.

  50. Hi Andrew,

    Great article, thankyou. I found your examples both interesting and helpful.

    I’ve been thinking of selling items outside the UK to hopefully increase sales, and thought GSP may be the way to go as I find all the different postage costs and customs taxes a daunting prospect!. I’m not so sure now after reading the negative comments about the programme.

    I set up one item (a mens blazer jacket) with GSP just to see what the costs would be like for postage in different countries.

    As it seems one of the big issues people have with GSP is the import taxes, I then removed countries where there was an estimated import cost, leaving countries that only have a postage cost and no estimated import charges. That left me with the EU countries, Australia, Japan and New Zealand Is that correct that Australia, Japan and NZ don’t seem to have to pay import charges when Jersey do?! I wouldn’t want a customer to think they had no charges to pay and then be hit by a fee they weren’t expecting when the item arrived.

    Also, Is there an easy, simple way to set up postage costs manually? I sell clothing and shoes, and each item is often a different weight and size although they are usually under 2kg. Or can you set a table in generals bands of weights? Are postage fees for an item the same to all EU countries, of do they differ within the EU?

    I want to expand my horizons and sell abroad, but I must admit I’m confused and quite wary after reading comments. I don’t want disgruntled buyers complaining about postage costs and am wary buyers may try it on and I’d have to pay return costs from abroad.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sarah,

      From the comments you should already realise that GSP is a BAD, BAD idea!!!

      Especially if you sell items that are mostly below 2kg.

      Just send them via Royal Mail Airmail and it will be cheaper, faster and easier for you and your customers.

      Andrew

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