Monday, 4 June 2012

I am sorry, we do not ship internationally

One of the irritations that 'international' collectors such as myself face, is the unwillingness of eBay sellers based in the USA, to ship cards outside of their home country. Vast swathes of auctions featuring cards that I would like to bid on, seem to feature the dreaded 'no international bidders' phrase in the description. Invariably this means that, accompanied by a small shake of the head, I simply have to move on to the next auction, in the hope of finding a seller who is willing to ship overseas.

Occasionally matters are though made worse, when you come across an auction from a long standing seller, with no apparent fear of oversees shipping and you still are unable to complete the purchase of the card of choice. This happened to me today, when I chose to hit the Buy It Now button on a very nice looking 2010 Limited Decade Dominance Materials Prime Signatures card of Clyde Drexler. Over the last week, I have found myself focusing my attention on his cards and this particularly one drew my attention, being serial numbered only to five and offered at a price that I thought was a fairly attractive one.

Having hit the BIN and (apparently) secured my purchase, I sent a request for an invoice to the seller. But, within the hour, the seller had issued a cancellation request for the auction, accompanied by a message stating that they "...did not feel comfortable with international shipping". Whilst I considered attempting to convince him the error of his ways, I have long held the view that (as with a real world transaction) until I have handed over my money, the seller is able to set the terms of a particular transaction. I thus accepted the cancellation and accompanied by a small shake of the head, moved onto the next auction.

The outcome of the auction has though been irritating me, as in over 12 years of buying and selling cards on eBay, I have had no problems whatsover with the combined services provided by the US and UK Postal Services. The USPS is just as efficient as shipping envelopes to London, United Kingdom, as it is London, Ohio. A single card, held in a top-loader and packed in a padded envelope can be shipped to the UK via USPS airmail for $2.99. A certificate of mailing, will add a further $1.15 to that cost. Within four days that card will have found its way into my hands without any problems. For high value cards (which I personally regard as in the $150 - $200 plus range), then using the Priority Mail Service at a cost of $16, provides additional protection.

I appreciate that there are going to be countries throughout the world, where the postal services are not as efficient as those operating in the USA. But, to exclude buyers from major developed markets seems a little narrow-minded in my book. Thankfully, there are enough sellers in based in (amongst others) the USA, Japan, Germany, France and Australia that seem to have gained sufficient experience of the effectiveness of the workings of postal services throughout the world, not to restrict their market to just domestic customers.

1 comment:

Will Clapton said...

Very well said. I have completed close to a thousand transactions to and from the USA and never encountered any problems. Thankfully, I'm noticing that more and more US sellers are willing to ship to the UK (and for a fair price too). Long may it continue. The stubborn sellers are losing out by restricting their sales to just one country. By opening up to the global market they would increase their final sale prices, thus compensating for the occasional lost package (which is extremely rare).