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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Save Money on Shipping

Save the seller time, get your item sooner, and cough up less money for shipping.

I hate being ripped off, and one of the most common rip-offs on eBay is inflated shipping charges. The problem is that most sellers who overcharge for shipping don’t even know they’re doing it.

Sellers want to cover all their costs, so it’s the buyer who ends up footing the bill for packing materials, shipping charges, insurance, and the bagel the seller ate while waiting in line at the post office. But even those who charge only for shipping charges may still be charging their buyers too much, simply because they don’t know a cheaper or more efficient shipping method.

The problem is that most sellers don’t care how much they spend on shipping because, in theory anyway, the buyer is the one paying for it.

Tip

If you don’t know what method of shipping a seller is using, just ask. You have a right to know what you’re paying for, and many sellers will be willing to use a cheaper (or faster) shipping option if you request it.

A Little Knowledge Can Be Dangerous

Fortunately, every buyer has access to the same tools sellers use to estimate shipping costs. The first thing to do when quoted a shipping charge that seems a tad high is to look it up for yourself.

The three largest couriers in the U.S. are FedEx (http://www.fedex.com), UPS (http://www.ups.com), and the United States Postal Service (http://www.usps.com), and all three have online shipping-cost calculators. (Most couriers in other ...

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