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Old 11-15-10, 03:26 PM   #1
due ruote 
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International shipping debacle

Back in October, a buyer in Spain (I forgot to specify no international bids - mistake #1) won my Ebay auction for a pair of cycling shoes. A flat rate intl. USPS box was going to run $40+, which the buyer balked at, so I boxed them up as small and light as possible and got the rate down to around $20. I sent them via USPS with no tracking, just the customs declaration # (mistake #2). The box went out on Oct. 21, the same day I received payment from the buyer. Well, you guessed it, the buyer has put a hold on funds and initiated a dispute for non-receipt of item. The only "tracking" of any kind I have is the customs #, and all USPS can tell me is that it went through Chicago on 10/22. There's no information at all from Spanish customs, but my PO tells me that sometimes there never is, even for normally delivered packages.

I communicated the shipping info above to the buyer, and later asked the buyer to check with Spanish customs as that was difficult for me to do from the States. I have had no reply to either of those messages.

The Paypal dispute runs until 11/25, at which time I assume that if the package still hasn't been delivered, the buyer will escalate this to a Paypal claim.

Any advice on what else I can do on this end? Just let it run its course and hope the package arrives in the next week, or hope Paypal can sort it out if it doesn't?

I've learned my lesson; I don't need to hear about mistakes #1 and #2, I'm just trying to avoid a third. Thanks for reading.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:32 PM   #2
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Any advice on what else I can do on this end? Just let it run its course and hope the package arrives in the next week, or hope Paypal can sort it out if it doesn't?
That's pretty much it, I think. Say what you want about the U.S. Postal system, but so far as I can tell there is very, very little theft. You can't say that about most foreign postal services. It is very rare that an international eBay transaction is satisfactory to the seller. Most foreign bidders think eBay is some sort of negotiation platform (AFTER the sale is made).
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Old 11-15-10, 03:33 PM   #3
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All I can offer is my sympathy. Best of luck, though.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:36 PM   #4
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I'd just do what you can to make sure the buyer isn't holding the item and trying to put one over on you. Aside from that sounds like you've done what you can do given the situation. Unfortunately its always the seller that eats it when something goes wrong on ebay.

Don't beat yourself up though...even with an airtight item description you can still get screwed as a seller.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:37 PM   #5
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I ship international packages all the time and unfortunately with USPS you're just going to have to hope the buyer is honest and says he receives it if in fact he does.

Lately USPS to Australia has been brutally slow but the packages have been getting there, with the added bonus of no tracking info. Your best bet is to try to get the guy to understand that USPS can be a bit slow at times and patience helps immensely.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:45 PM   #6
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Unfortunately for international items tracking and or positive verification of delivery to the addressed is necessary. Buyers don't like it because it costs. Some frequent international sellers state that its yours upon delivery to the carrier, (I don't think paypal would really care about that) if a problem came up.

When I have purchased from overseas, the price paid including the extra for delivery verification is part of the deal, and I factor its complete price into my willingness to pay. So, in the future state the added costs for sure or allow domestic only. Or, international bidders by approval, for some countries it's just not possible to have a closed loop without really stupid money.

Working extra to reduce overseas postage is good, but remember your time is worth something too.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:46 PM   #7
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I have shipped USPS international many times. Nothing lost yet.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:49 PM   #8
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A friend of mine had the exact same thing happen (int'l buyer balked at insured/tracked USPS Priority Mail cost, so my friend sent it the less expensive way w/ no tracking or insurance). Perhaps the buyer was a cheat, but at any rate, my friend was out the item plus the refund. A very sour experience.

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Old 11-15-10, 04:14 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies. The shipping charges are more than I have invested in the item, so there's no potential for a huge loss or anything. Just figured I'd ask, as this is new terrain for me. I will definitely be more cautious in the future and I'd encourage others to do likewise. My gut feeling is the item is just held up somewhere and will ultimately be delivered. Then of course the buyer will be in the driver's seat as to whether to release the funds or simply shrug and ask "what package?"
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Old 11-15-10, 04:18 PM   #10
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This happens overseas as well. I've seen many items listed on e-Bay UK where the seller either refuses to ship to the US due to frequent loss of items or they will only ship with signed for verification. This usually adds quite a bit to the already high shipping costs, sometimes actually more than shipping alone. If you're paying for a hard to find item, and paying a dear price for it, it makes sense to insure your purchase.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:25 PM   #11
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I worked for 10 years doing international business for a large corporation in Phoenix. We'd never send any valuable product by regular mail anywhere outside of the USA even if the customer begged us to do it. If the customer didn't want to pay for traceable shipping, it was best not to do business.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:57 PM   #12
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Well, you guessed it, the buyer has put a hold on funds and initiated a dispute for non-receipt of item. The only "tracking" of any kind I have is the customs #, and all USPS can tell me is that it went through Chicago on 10/22. There's no information at all from Spanish customs, but my PO tells me that sometimes there never is, even for normally delivered packages.
So, you have some evidence versus just his word, and Paypal will reverse the transaction on that basis?

Being the only, or at least one of the few low resistances way of getting money from people, I guess you have no choice, but continuing to do business with them just enables them.
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Old 11-15-10, 05:38 PM   #13
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Based on my experiences with paypal and ebay, I can assure you that they absolutely do not care about the seller. They will side with the buyer 100% of the time. I quit selling on ebay after 2 bad deals with paypal.
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Old 11-15-10, 05:46 PM   #14
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Based on my experiences with paypal and ebay, I can assure you that they absolutely do not care about the seller. They will side with the buyer 100% of the time.
I agree.

I sell cell phone software via an automated system that uses Paypal for checkout. Our servers record when the software was downloaded to the cell phone, when it was installed, and when it was first run. Even with that as evidence, any buyer that claims they never received the software will get a refund after the Paypal dispute process finishes.
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Old 11-15-10, 06:09 PM   #15
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It almost sounds like a scam. The buyer says, "No, I won't pay that much for shipping." If the seller sticks to his guns, the buyer drops out claiming excessive shipping charges levied after the sale. If the seller agrees to drop all tracking and then ships, the buyer then says, "I never got the package."
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Old 11-15-10, 06:13 PM   #16
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It is very rare that an international eBay transaction is satisfactory to the seller. Most foreign bidders think eBay is some sort of negotiation platform (AFTER the sale is made).
Colonel, it has been my experience in international trade, the real negotiations begin only after the contract has been signed. It seems to be uniquely American to think the deal is "done", cast in cponcrete, once the contract is signed. I think this is particularly true of Asians, even those here in the USA. It's true of Middle Easterners, too. It is true of Europeans, too, however, to a much, much lesser extent. Have you ever noticed that?
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Old 11-15-10, 06:27 PM   #17
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Colonel, it has been my experience in international trade, the real negotiations begin only after the contract has been signed. It seems to be uniquely American to think the deal is "done", cast in cponcrete, once the contract is signed. I think this is particularly true of Asians, even those here in the USA. It's true of Middle Easterners, too. It is true of Europeans, too, however, to a much, much lesser extent. Have you ever noticed that?
I know I have. Having done business on behalf of the USG on several continents I concur that the U.S. is the only place in the world that I have experienced the idea of a contract as being binding once signed. Most cultures view it as the opening of a bargaining session.
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Old 11-15-10, 07:53 PM   #18
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I've bought many things from Britain. And every package has arrived safely and all were not insured. I think some international buyers are scammers.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:11 PM   #19
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Colonel, it has been my experience in international trade, the real negotiations begin only after the contract has been signed. It seems to be uniquely American to think the deal is "done", cast in cponcrete, once the contract is signed. I think this is particularly true of Asians, even those here in the USA. It's true of Middle Easterners, too. It is true of Europeans, too, however, to a much, much lesser extent. Have you ever noticed that?
Absolutely. In some cultures, everything is negotiable, and many do not respect a buyer or seller who doesn't bargain. It's cultural, not selfishness or miserly, because I've found many of the cultures for whom negotiations are a given also to be the most generous to a neighbor in need.

Then again, at one time, when you made an offer to purchase a home, and it was accepted, that was the end of it. These days, it's just the beginning.......
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Old 11-15-10, 08:19 PM   #20
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I bought an ebay item from England five weeks ago. Not cheap, but I'm not complaining about the price. Seller has 100% positive feedback, replies to my emails, seems honest and clearly has a reputation that he values.

But the item has not arrived. What do you recommend, talk to paypal?

At any rate, I have complete sympathy with both parties here.
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Old 11-15-10, 08:27 PM   #21
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Colonel, it has been my experience in international trade, the real negotiations begin only after the contract has been signed. It seems to be uniquely American to think the deal is "done", cast in cponcrete, once the contract is signed. I think this is particularly true of Asians, even those here in the USA. It's true of Middle Easterners, too. It is true of Europeans, too, however, to a much, much lesser extent. Have you ever noticed that?
Yes, I would generally agree. As others have said, though, I think it is mostly attributable to cultural differences. That said, I prefer to do business our way. It sure is a lot faster and less complicated.
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Old 11-15-10, 09:57 PM   #22
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That said, I prefer to do business our way. It sure is a lot faster and less complicated.
I agree, it's the American way.
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Old 11-15-10, 11:53 PM   #23
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Yes, I would generally agree. As others have said, though, I think it is mostly attributable to cultural differences. That said, I prefer to do business our way. It sure is a lot faster and less complicated.
There's some pretty xenophobic comments on here... Making out that the "american way" is the best way.
There are unscrupulous and dishonest people from every culture, nationality, religion and walk of life.
If you don't want to ship internationally keep the auction for your own countrymen / women
I've made some great purchases from the states (i'm in NZ at the moment) - sellers have been very helpful and honest.
I've also sold to the US and many other countries and on the whole people have great
The only problem iv'e had with a buyer was with a guy from Canada - he was a completely unreasonable w***er but every other canadian i've met has been cool....
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Old 11-16-10, 12:34 AM   #24
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I think you are somewhat mistaken. Calling someone a xenophobe is an insult. There is no "phobia" involved.

The "American way" derives from a simple principles such as, "your word is your bond", "deliver the goods once you sign the contract", etc. Very simple, honest and forthright principles that make for good business. Many, most all of them are codified in US law. The nothing "xenophobic" about it.

Of course there are unscrupulous people in all societies. That completely misses the point. The point was that in other places, signing the contract is seemingly just the beginning of negotiations, a waypoint, not the agreement. For them, this is not necessarily "unscrupulous", it is the way it is done. Some places also require bribery as a means of securing a signature on a contract. It is unscrupulous to us but for them, it is a fact of life.

Honestly, the American way is the best. I'll make no bones about it.

P.S. - Please note that all the countries you cite, wherein you have had good business dealings, have a strong tie back to western Europe and western civilization.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:27 AM   #25
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"Calling someone a xenophobe is an insult."

if i've insulted anyone i apologise


"Honestly, the American way is the best. I'll make no bones about it."

In America maybe. I'm English so would say that the English way is the best.


"Of course there are unscrupulous people in all societies. That completely misses the point. The point was that in other places, signing the contract is seemingly just the beginning of negotiations, a waypoint, not the agreement. For them, this is not necessarily "unscrupulous", it is the way it is done. Some places also require bribery as a means of securing a signature on a contract. It is unscrupulous to us but for them, it is a fact of life."

Well that's true but generally only applies if you are doing business in the said country. Ebay has (or should have) it's own rules / guidelines that all buyers/sellers no matter where they are from should abide by.

The OP mentioned having trouble with someone from Spain - that's in europe if i'm not mistaken.
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