Padded Prices on E-Bay

 Posted by on 9 February 2005 at 5:49 pm  Uncategorized
Feb 092005

I haven’t bought anything on eBay for quite some time. However, I’ve been searching for a decent deal on an iPod remote controller recently, because Apple only sells it bundled with an unneeded pair of earbud headphones. To my great frustration, I’ve noticed an annoying scam on many of the listings. Basically, some sellers are substantially padding their prices with absurdly large “shipping and handling” fees. The hope, I think, is that unsuspecting buyers will focus on the listed price and fail to notice the high shipping charge buried in the description until the item is already purchased.

For example, this iPod remote seems like a really good deal at $8, since most sell for almost $20. It’s a small, lightweight item that would cost about $2 to ship. But in fact, the seller is demanding a $17 shipping charge. For just a few bucks more, I may as well buy the remote plus headphones from the Apple Store for $40.

From what I’ve seen, such padding shipping charges are now ubiquitous on eBay. It is an easy enough problem to fix. EBay could have a special field for shipping price that would be listed alongside or summed with the price. (Update: Such a field does exist in the product description page, but it’s often just used to tell people to look in the description. And the shipping price isn’t shown in the indexes of listings.) And it’s too bad that they haven’t done something like that, since it both disgusts and burdens buyers like me.

I would send this post to eBay, but I don’t see any way to do that. Oh well!

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