October 16, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #42

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questions-answers-42Happy Friday everyone!

Which means it’s time to publish all the questions you have sent in during the past week. Remember, all you have to do to get your question featured in our weekly Questions & Answers blog post series is SUBMIT it via the contact form on this page.

Even if your question isn’t selected for our weekly post, I’ll still send you a personal answer directly.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Should you use PayPal instead of Alibaba Trade Assurance?
  • How much tax do you pay on imports from the USA?
  • What is the cheapest shipping method from China?
  • Should you do a factory inspection BEFORE ordering samples?
  • How can you purchase GENUINE licensed goods from China?
  • How to create custom pages for your eBay shop?
  • Is there a tool to get keyword search numbers on eBay?
  • Can you buy and re-sell DVDs on eBay marked as “Not for Rental”?
  • Can you edit LIVE Good ‘Til Cancelled listings?
  • What is best listing format to sell unique, one-off items?
  • How to import goods WITHOUT getting them taxed at customs?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

First I would like to say thanks a lot for your blog, I have gained lots of valuable information from it.

I am getting ready to place an order worth £1000 from my supplier. I have ordered a small quantity from them before with no problems, paying with PayPal, and I wanted to know if it would a good idea to use PayPal again for an order like this or should I use Trade Assurance?

The supplier is legit but the PayPal address doesn’t have the company name (then again all suppliers I have ordered from so far have personal looking or unrelated PayPal addresses for some reason). Apart from that everything about the supplier checks out so what do you think?

Thanks for your time!

Hi Mwamba,

For a £1000 order I would still go with the PayPal option, if your supplier accepts it. PayPal essentially is the safest payment option – and suppliers know this – as if everything goes completely wrong, you can always initiate a charge back with your credit card company and in 99% of cases you would get your money back.

Suppliers know this well so very, very rarely will they try to scam someone using PayPal.

Just make sure you fund the transaction from a credit card (not a debit card or your PayPal account balance).

Lastly, it is totally common/normal for Chinese suppliers to use these “personal looking” email addresses for PayPal, so that doesn’t mean anything really.

Dear Andrew.

Hello, my name is Chris and I would like to start by first apologising for my poor typing as I can only use one finger thanks to a large stroke and cannot reach all the keys I need with one hand.

And now for my question – I have ordered some Ralph Lauren clothes from the USA totaling £500 including shipping and packaging.

Could you please advise how much taxes I should expect to pay?

Kind regards

Hi Chris,

Upon receiving your imported goods, you’ll have to pay these taxes/fees:

  • 20% VAT
  • 12% Import Duty
  • Courier processing/customs clearance fee (approx. £10-£20)

So based on your £500 order, it will be approximately £170-£200 in import taxes and fees.

Hi Andrew,

I’ve put the priority as critical because I feel everyone should know or learn about shipping.

My question is: how can I get cheaper shipping to the UK? For example, if ordering from Alibaba, the shipping costs are so dear that it becomes absolutely pointless. From small items to larger items, even courier companies aren’t providing any quotes cheap enough to actually make any profit!

Can you help with this, please?


Hi Salman,

You’re making a classic newbie mistake of trying to make your order cost effective by using a COURIER for shipping. It won’t work.

Couriers are only good for high value, small items such as mobile phones OR cheaper but super small items – like jewellery.

For everything else you’ll either need to use air freight or sea freight to keep your shipping cost per product down to a minimum.

Also, don’t forget that with many goods you have to order a certain amount to make the shipping costs viable. For example, sticking with mobile phones, if you order 5 at a time the shipping cost per product will be too expensive, but let’s say you ordered 50 phones at one time, then the cost will go down significantly.

To sum it up – choose the right shipping method for the right goods and make sure the quantity your order is enough to make it cost effective.

Hello Andrew,

My question is with regards as to whether to arrange a factory inspection before placing a sample order?

I have found a garment factory and am about to proceed with ordering samples of my designs. I have 15 designs in total, should I get samples for all 15 or just a handful so that I can see the quality? The samples are 50USD each (+60USD shipping), so I’m concerned about getting a bunch of poorly made clothes if the factory is in fact not what it seems to be.

I also noticed that the factory’s address can’t be found on google maps. Should I be concerned about this, and should I order a factory inspection before even placing an order?

Thank you!

Best Rgds,

Hi Jean,

Usually you wouldn’t do a factory inspection before placing your sample order.

Instead you should do all the preliminary research and if the supplier passes that, then you just “trust” them with a sample order. Only if the samples are good and you want to proceed to a full order, do you then arrange a factory inspection.

I would just get 3-4 samples to keep your initial costs down.

I’m not sure how accurate Google Maps is in China but it’s probably not a big deal if you can’t find their address there. Just ensure that the Alibaba profile looks good and they pass all the other filters I talk about on this blog.

Hi Andrew,

I saw your post regarding toys from China.

I recently went to a well-known UK based wholesaler who was supplying licensed RC cars. I was analysing the boxes and noticed they were manufactured in China and fully licensed, even with unique serial codes. Also I have seen the manufacturer’s (from China) licensed products at Argos and some other major retailers.

So I would like to say though 99.99% of Chinese suppliers might sell fake toys, I have found 1 of probably a handful that are 100% genuine.

I hope I am not wrong, haha.

Keep up the great work, loving your blog!

Best Regards,

Hi Haci,

Almost everything is now manufactured in China – including high end electronics like Apple products.

But you can’t mix up licensing/branding with manufacturing. The fact that a manufacturer produces a licensed toy, for example a RC car, DOESN’T give them the right to sell it to whoever they want. They can only supply those products to customers who have acquired the license of the brand/character/logo etc.

So if you would want to buy licensed products from China, you first need to work with the license owner and get an agreement in place with them, and only then can you legally manufacture those products in China.

I hope this makes sense.

Hi Andrew,

I have been trying to find out how to create separate pages on my eBay store so I can have an about us page, contact us, terms & conditions and so on. Just wondering if you have any links or advice on how to do so?

Many thanks,

Hi Sarah,

Creating custom pages for your eBay Shop is a very simple and straightforward process. Just go to Manage My Shop > Custom Pages settings where you can create/edit these pages.

With that being said, if you have recently signed up for an eBay Shop, it’s probably the NEW, Shop 2.0 format which at this stage DOES NOT support custom pages at all. eBay says they’re working on implementing this feature for the new shop style soon but at this point in time it is not possible to create custom pages in new shops.

Luckily there’s a way to REVERT back to the old shop style, which will then allow you to use custom pages!

Follow these steps:

  • Go to My Account > Manage My Shop
  • On the left side bar select Store Design > Edit Store
  • On that screen find this button/link: Revert to my old store

Once this is done, you can start creating your custom pages!

Hey Andrew,

I have a Terapeak subscription and I’m not fully aware of all its features or how to use it to its full potential just yet but I wanted to ask you if there is a way to do a search on keywords and see how many people search for that item per week/month etc.?

Similar to the way Google’s keyword planner works. On Google it’s very easy and it gives you the volume of searches per month and the average, but on Terapeak I just can’t seem to find out how to do this. I seem to only find the number of listings and average price, and I want to know how many people are searching for an item in the first place.

Do you know of any solution?

All the best and thanks for your help!


Hi Christian,

No, unfortunately Terapeak won’t give you this information. In fact that are no tools that I know of that will give you eBay search volume data.

But it’s actually not that important when selling on eBay and there are much better indicators like Total Sales, Sale-through Rate, Sellers per Day etc.

Hi Andrew,

I am following your advice on how to reach TRS status quickly, as detailed on your blog:

– Start selling home stuff
– Buy and re-sell Blu-ray or DVD discs to reach a point of 100 sales.

I think that it’s a brilliant system and so I decided to buy used DVDs and then re-sell them on eBay. However a number of the DVDs I bought are marked ‘Not For Rental’.

Can these DVDs be resold on eBay, or is that against the rules?

I know there are different disc types that exist, such as:

– Rental only
– Retail only
– Not for Rental.
– Etc.

But I haven’t been able to find out a definite answer as to whether or not I can resell these. I hope you can offer me some advice?

Thanks in advance,

Hi Alexander,

Yes, these are perfectly fine to re-sell on eBay.

These “Not For Rental” Blu-rays and DVDs are actually the standard/normal versions most people buy from Amazon or their local shop. These versions are meant for personal use and cannot be rented (rental versions are more expensive).

So yeah, it’s nothing to worry about to resell them on eBay!

Hi Andrew,

I hope you are well.

I have a question regarding GTC listings. I have a product which I’m just starting to sell. There are two considerations:

1. It has two size variations and although I will start by offering both options, I might stick with the best-selling one in the end.

2. Although I will sell the first batch in plain unbranded packaging, I plan to later on put my own brand on the product.

My question is, with a rolling GTC listing, can I edit the listings while they are active and remove the variations (or add them for that matter), change photos to show the new branded product, amend descriptions etc., without having to create a new listing?

Obviously I want to take advantage of the sales history that comes as a feature of the GTC listing so it’s quite an important consideration for me.

Hope I make sense.


Hi Tony,

In a word – YES, you’ll be able to make all of these changes.

There are some rules on what you can and what you can’t change, which you can read more about here:


Good Day Andrew!

I see a lot of your articles and talks are about boosting search results, mainly aimed at common/mass produced items, but what about one of a kind items like gemstones?

Every gemstone is unique so how would one market and boost search results for a one-off product rather than a mass produced item?


Hi Gareth,

It is much more difficult to get high search rankings for one-off, unique items as you only have ONE product and the listing ends once it is sold.

The only real strategy I can recommend is that you use Auctions more, and this is actually what eBay suggest for one-off items as well. So rather than listing your products as basic BIN listings, list them as 7 day auctions with a BIN option. Auctions get featured in search higher once they’re launched and right before they end. So this could be the best way to get your products higher up in search rankings.

And of course get TRS status if you don’t already have it and offer free P&P so that you qualify for eBay’s Premium Service badge.

Howdy Andrew.

My name is Joey and I reside in Las Vegas NV.

I truly appreciate everything you have posted on the Internet as information. I have a few questions but I don’t know if you can answer them or not. Well let’s try – how do I import stuff from overseas into the U.S. without it getting stopped by customs? Is it better to have a PO box instead of a home address?

Would this help get things to pass through customs directly to me or not? Is there anything else you can think of that would help with this, in terms of size, weight, labeling etc.?

Thank you so much in advance for your time and help.


Hi Joey,

The procedure you’re describing is called TAX EVASION and is of course illegal.

I simply can’t and won’t give any advice on such matters (not that I know much about it anyway).

Import taxes are a normal part of an importing business – if you can’t make your business profitable with them, it’s simply not a viable idea.

Alright, that’s it for today!

I really hope these tips & advice will help many of you avoid critical mistakes when starting your own online business.


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