Are eBay’s tests costing you money?

20pLook after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, or in this case look after the twenty pees. Tamebay reader Andy has just contacted Tamebay because he’s added up that a few 20p pieces here and there are costing him around £7000 per year.

He points out that as announced in the last Seller Release, eBay are testing compulsory immediate payment. Buyers taking part in the test will no longer see the “Commit to Buy” page but are taken straight to checkout and the item won’t be considered sold until paid for.

The good news is that immediate payment for fixed price items means no more unpaid items. The bad news is that every time a buyer pays it’s a separate PayPal payment and you’re charged at your merchant rate discount plus 20p. If the buyer made all of their purchases and then made a single payment you’d only get charge the 20p once.

Andy, who runs the Perfect-Darts shop on eBay, has some buyers that who buy ten items one at a time over half an hour or so, who used to either request an invoice total or pay all at once. Now they’re making ten separate payments costing Andy £2 where it used to cost him 20p.

According to Andy’s calculations he’s already getting about 100 extra 20p charges every day which adds up to over £7000 per year.

eBay say “If you offer postage discounts for multiple purchases, make sure you update your listings with how to add all items the buyer wants to purchase from you to their shopping basket“. Quite frankly we think that’s a bit daft! Are eBay really suggesting that you put instructions on how to use eBay in your item descriptions – surely it’s eBay’s job to make sure buyers know how to use the site?

Descriptions should be, well descriptions of the product, not an eBay instruction manual. Quite apart from anything else how many buyers even bother reading descriptions these days anyway? I know I don’t.

Is this a problem that’s badly affecting you? It’s likely to only affect sellers in categories where buyers routinely order multiple items from a single seller. It won’t affect you if you’ve got savvy buyers willing to add items to their eBay shopping basket and then make a single payment, or if they’re making all of their purchases before they pay in one transaction.

Those pennies do add up though, especially when it’s twenty pennies at a time. Do let us know if you’ve seen a dramatic increase in multiple single orders from a buyer where previously you’d have seen one multiple item order.

We’re pretty sure that it’s not eBay’s aim to fleece you out of every twenty pence they can get their hands on. It’s much more likely an overlooked unforeseen consequence of them trying to ensure you get paid. That being the case here’s a suggestion for eBay… how about if a single buyer makes multiple purchases within say a four hour window, PayPal waive the 20p charges from all but the first payment.