eBay Australia Is Going To Start Taking A Cut Of Postage Charges

eBay Australia Is Going To Start Taking A Cut Of Postage Charges

From 6 May, eBay Australia is going to start calculating “final value” charges for items sold on the site based on the total cost plus postage, not just the price the item sold for.

Picture: Getty Images

eBay argues the switch in policy is designed to encourage sellers to offer a “free postage” option. It’s announcement says:

This change is being made to encourage sellers to offer free or competitive postage in line with consumer expectations. Where fees on total cost has been introduced in other markets, the rate of free and fair shipping has increased substantially. This is obviously good news for buyers — but it is also ideal for sellers as satisfied buyers come back and this leads to higher conversion rates.

In reality, any purchase with free postage has that cost factored in by the seller — it’s just less obvious to the buyer.

According to eBay, 60 per cent of goods sold on eBay Australia offer free shipping. Sellers in that group won’t see any change to their final value fees. However, if you do charge for postage, you’ll now be giving a little more money back to eBay (and to Australia Post, which put up its charges last month.

The changes are part of the regular ‘eBay Seller’ updates, which also include changes to how sellers are ranked and other alterations.


  • Just another way eBay are putting up their fees. eBay merchants pay eBay about 10% of revenue for the honor of listing there. Good on eBay for having a virtual monopoly in this space.

    But make no mistake about it, “free postage” has never been “free”. It’s just included in the sale price. eBay has always been plugging the line that “buyers love free postage”, which is no surprise since they’ve always made more in fees if sellers buy that line. My experience actually says the opposite – you got better results (and less eBay fees) – by advertising an item for $99 with $50 postage, than you do offering if for $149 with free postage.

    It’s the oldest trick in the book to overstate your postage _and handling_ fees to minimize your eBay fees. I’m really not surprised eBay have changed this policy.

    I’ll be interested to see if they drop the “buyers love free postage” line now they are just taking a cut of gross revenue.

    • As xqx said, “Free postage” is a myth, so offering a singular price figure means the postage cost is included in that figure.

      So does this mean that your selling price needs to be inflated to cater for the most expensive postage destination? Or is the price going to be different, depending on where the buyer lives? I’m totally confused by this.

      • You guys are also missing the point that if you list an item for 99 cents with $10 postage, you only pay ebay fees on the 99 cents

        Ebay just wants to cash in the $10 postage

        The other bits are just marketing BS that have partial truth to mask the true intention

        • Yeah this is my thinking on why they are doing this, too many times i have seen things being sold for 99 cents but with postage of $100.

          • The situation you describe (99 cent items with $100 postage) contravene eBay’s selling policies and those listings are often removed. eBay should do better enforcement rather than implementing this ridiculous policy. I currently list items with $2.50 standard postage – if people buy half a dozen of my items they only pay $2.50. However, if forced to adopt ‘free’ postage to gain higher seller status I will just increase prices of all items by $2.50 – in that situation buyers pay an extra $12.50 just so eBay can promote ‘FREE’ postage.

    • This. I once sold two identical microphones on eBay, one with free shipping but a higher sell price and the other with $20 postage but the same amount taken off the sell price. Bidding on the latter went up until it hit the same sell price as the other, making me $20 extra (which is substantial since they were only $100 mics).

      People just ignore the postage cost I guess!

      • I’ve had my eye on items. One has “buy it now” for a certain price, one is bidding but lower than the first one. I’ll bid up to the buy price of the second item, then just buy the second item. The other one will keep going up.
        People are not smart.

      • I have sold 400 items around Australia and overseas.
        I have always found that buyers in locations away from your base are very realistic about the costs of postage and are happy to pay a fair price.
        Raising the starting price to cover postage then offering free postage will questioned as buyers want to knew the postage costs are correct.
        These eBay changes are only to get the opportunity to charge a handling charge on the postage charges. They are in the business of transferring funds only not buying and selling just like any bank does and they will charge you 9.9% plus the Paypal charges of 2.3 % approx.

  • On a side note, it’s funny the ACCC hasn’t had anything to say about 3rd line forcing with eBay forcing all sellers to accept PayPal as a payment option (eBay own PayPal).

    • I thought the seller only had to offer a secure payment option, and Paypal was 1 of 3 options (which was by far the most popular)?

  • Just got this email… this sucks, it’s not like they aren’t making a mint out of sales anyway, now they’re going to charge extra because you need to charge for postage..! Saying that most eBayers already add the cost of postage isn’t fair, those people, usually Chinese or the like have very low overheads and charge bugger all in the first place…! I refuse to sell on eBay or Gumtree, whom they own, because of the fees they charge…!

  • Seriously fuck ebay and paypal… Paypal just assisted some dude in China to steal my property by “claiming” i never sent it to him. Even with evidence that i posted it (no tracking number unfortunately) they took my money and gave it back to the guy.

    So I lost my property, the money that was paid for my property and I am out of pocket for the postage fees!!!

    I will no longer use paypal.

    • I’m pretty sure they recommend using registered/tracked postage to prevent that situation from occurring.

        • If something is that valuable to you, an extra ~$2 for tracking is a small price to pay. They inform you and give you recommendations on what to do. From what I remember off the top of my head, anyway.

          They don’t specifically hide the fact that you should use tracking/registered, and then take your money away from you.

          • you can track your item all the way into Australia on their tracking nos. BUT when international post don’t hand it over to Australia post there is nothing you can do about it ITS GONE

      • Actually I got fucked over by paypal a few years ago (as a buyer).

        I bought an item.
        The sender sent nothing.
        Sender wouldn’t reply to emails.
        I raised an issue to ebay as “item not sent”.
        Then during mediation the sender said they would resend it.
        Sender sends wrong item.
        Sender then wants me to pay for item to send it back.
        I said fuck that and raise it for ebay to sort out.
        Then ebay said – it’s no longer “item not sent” it’s “item not as described” and ruled in favour of the seller!

        Fucking retarded. I was in emails and phone calls for a month and wouldn’t budge. Don’t think I’ve ever been more angry.

        • Wow. So I guess the lesson is, don’t trust Paypal with anything.
          I haven’t been burnt probably because I don’t sell anything and don’t buy anything over $20.

        • A little while ago I bought and paid for an item on the same day as we were leaving for holidays.
          I received these very nice emails from ebay saying I had not paid for the item. I asked for an email address so that I could put a complaint in about ebay but they refused to give me one because I had no right to put in a complaint about ebay lucky for me I had printed off my receipt.
          Oh by the way the chap that owns ebay has bought himself a block of land on the island of Kauai beside where we stay so I still might be able to put my complaint in personally

      • Minkshaman – is so unfair – but specifically, I solid something to a guy who later decided he didn’t want it, ( he wanted to pirate from Foxtel, and he bought my PVR, only to decide he couldn’t use it to rip them off… after he paid for it and BEFORE it was delivered) ..anyway…. he tried not to collect it for the post office, then claimed it was “faultily” , ( by reformatting its HDD, after he took the movies on there, off).. he then made Paypal claim as “faulty item delivered”, and well, Paypal found in my favor (shock horror !) – but what really pissed me off – was he then posted a negative feedback comment in Ebay that was spiteful erroneous and a complete lie – because he seemed to be a tool in the first-place,…. but ebay wont remove it because they deem it as “his personal experience”. Ebay is a closed shop with their own little kingdom and laws and rules. Ebay don’t seem to think the rest of the world is part of their world, and ACCC etc don’t seem to have the kahunas to take them to task. And of course they are a monopoly so they charge what they like.

      • Or paypal, they once charged me twice for one payment, denied wrong doing the whole time. Fortuanately seen my paypal was linked to my creditcard my bank reversed the charges.

  • Didn’t they only recently raise their fee from 7.9% to 9.9%?
    I feel sorry for them, they must be haemorrhaging cash

  • Another possible reason could be to stop people listing items with a large postage so they pay less in fees?

    • That’s what I was thinking. Due to the ridiculous fees sellers get charged, one could get around it by listing a low price but a high postage to make up for it. eBay is now cracking down on that.

    • Yes I agree but what about us honest sellers that don’t make a cent on postage . I always charge $2.95 to track and sign as per pay pal regulations but buyers complain still . I don’t charge packing on most items so I am out of pocket on tape and paper etc that I have to buy .
      I don’t make anything on postage and they want to take out 9% . Very unfair
      They now tripple dip into all sales
      Final value fee, postage fee and pay pal fee.
      Not fair at all. It cost me $17.50 to post a pair of jeans to a buyer incl track and sign…. I would have to charge almost $20 now just to cover what they take out. So it actually is not fair to buyers either. I will be letting buyers know in the description that they pay high postage thanks to eBay and pay pal !!!

  • Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea? Haven’t you ever seen items for sale for $3 with $20 postage (usually asian sellers)? Or massively inflated postage AND HANDLING costs? I mostly always choose to purchase/bid on something with free postage

    • Yeah, you do see a lot of that, but it’s not hard to figure out who the shonkies are in those cases, and just keep looking… 🙂

    • Yes you are.. the $3 item with $20 postage was $25 with “Free Postage (plus eBay’s cut)” (seller makes the same profit from both but you paid less, cause you didn’t have to pay eBay a percentage of that postage cost).

      If you think this is a good idea, you’re saying that you prefer to pay more so that eBay can make more money!

  • Because of their business practices it has been quite a while since I sold anything on ebay.

  • Hopefully this is a start to fixing the larger issues with shipping rorts on eBay. This cuts half the incentive in having 99c products with $50 shipping fees. They just need to better display/enforce the final total including shipping when browsing items (ie, not having 99c shipping options, that no-one can actually use, maybe displaying the maximum shipping to your destination in the total price)

  • OK – serious note now – anyone have genuine alternatives to Ebay to recommend ? is there a serious alternative that is a market to both buyers and sellers ? ? I dunno, but I want viable options to consider after this last hike.

    • the flaw in your question is if you have to ask what the alternatives are, the chances are most buyers wouldn’t know those alternatives either so you’ll probably have a much smaller market to sell to.

    • I joined quicksales in 2006 and sell on there. It can be quiet at times and then get bursts of activity. It’s completely free— no relist, no listing fee, no FVF, no cuts out of postage. I also list books on fishpond but they take a FVF out of your postage. Gumtree is good but they charge $1.99 for an ad edit or repost. I have sold online since 2000 and sell approx 600 lots or items per year with 100 % positive feedback on eBay, fishpond and quicksales. Good luck.

      • I was actually going to suggest Quicksales also for the same reasons you did… it’s 100% free to sell on (unless you own a store ($5+ a month) or unless you add unnecessary features like homepage listing etc) Downside being the traffic… but if more people join up the better it can become. I also use Fishpond.. but hate the fact I have to ship straight away and then have to wait 14 days before they even give me my payment.

        In regards to ebay charging FVF on postage.. how will that work with sellers that combine on postage? I assume ebay will take a FVF from the LISTED postage cost.. not the actual charged combined postage cost.. I know a few guys that sell trading cards on ebay.. they list cards for like $1 each plus $2.50 postage for as many cards as they want..

  • I am sure in the big scheme of things it is a lot of money that eBay will be raking in but at the end of the day for me anyway its going to add about 70c to the cost so I’ll just bump prices up $1 to compensate.

  • I just received an email about this change to include their cut of postage aswell!!!!!
    I am absolutely disgusted by this… they already take a huge chunk from the sale price, plus paypal costs and now they are taking money from postage aswell!
    This means that I am now going to have to up my postage, up my sale price or effectively lose out on postage costs. This is only going to make it more expensive for the buyers on ebay.
    I am not a big seller, I only sell bits and pieces I don’t need or haven’t used so offering free postage for my items is just throwing money away. These are my items, my money that I am owed, I post the ad, take the photos while they just sit back and watch the $ roll in.
    If the problem is that people are selling items with huge postage costs instead of listing costs (which I have seen on many occasions), find those people and deal with those people directly. They pay people to sit there and ‘monitor’ posts, why not have them monitoring issues with postage instead of punishing people who actually do the right thing and charge people only the postage they should, or often even less.

    This is a very blatant case of greed!!!!!

    • Everybody should move your items to Quicksales, free to list, free to relist and No FVF! It’s slow at the moment but if everyone moves there, it will take off.

    • Hi, I am exactly the same as you. I sold $435 on eBay this month of my items I am not a shop. eBay would usually take out about $40. My eBay invoice for this month is now $81.00 because they have charged me on shipping costs.
      Then there is still pay pal.
      I don’t make a cent on shipping either in fact if I do overcharge on an item I post then i refund the postage difference via pay pal … I am an honest seller and eBay are the criminals !!!

  • This is the next logical step in their efforts to gouge everybody – first they jacked up the final value fee, then they started penalising shippers for not having free shipping (by taking away certain incentives/ratings) – they claimed it was to stop dodgy shipping prices but when you have free shipping the seller includes it in the price, so ebay get a bigger final fee – and it adds to the price for the consumer, and now they’ll take a cut of shipping costs regardless

    Observe a $10 item with $5 postage:

    Item sells for $10 – minimum final fee of $0.99, less paypal fee of $0.66 = $8.35 earnings

    With new cut on shipping (or free shipping) = $15 sale – shipping cost $5, final fee of $1.49, paypal $0.66 = $7.85 earnings

    With the new fees, you would need to increase your sale price to 10.56 to achieve the same margin as before, all of which flows into ebay’s pockets

  • I have been using eBay successfully for 7 years and have allowed for a mark up of items of 12.5% to cover eBay and Paypal costs.
    For example an item which I wanted $50.00 minimum I would list at $57.00 and have a $2.00 packing charge.
    Now it looks like I will need to add at least 39% to the item which then would be listed at $70.00 which with the postage charge become an expensive item.
    A recent item I sent to Western Australia cost $55.00 postage. This same item sent to close to my Melbourne base was would have been $14.00 approx. This item sent to USA may be $100.00 -$140.00.
    Would I get any interest if the article was priced to suit $70.00 plus postage $100.00 ??
    How would this look a gizmo worth $55.00 at $170.00 starting price.
    I think the comments if they bothered would be your on drugs mate!!!!
    Over the years I have never found a mug punter to pay silly sort of money any where in the world.
    Short or maybe long conclusion. Good bye eBay bad business practices.
    The other option of course is to sell pick up only which would narrow your market to very little.
    Peter D.

    • You may trick buyers if you sell an item and not declare the postage separately.
      However I have found that most sellers list the postage as varies to suit the buyer location.
      This allows the buyer to question the value.

  • I used to sell allot of goods through ebay.. Not anymore, These bastards along side Paypal (evil company) are such a shit fight to deal with.. So many dodgy buyers claim item not as described etc. It took me many screaming matches with Evilbay to remove neg feedback when buyers clearly do not read descriptions! Fuck evilbay fuck payapl. Higher fee’s again… FUCK OFF.

  • Simple! All ebayer sellers from around the world unite! Stop selling for a month! No money for us, but no money for ebay. Right?

  • Recently inquired about items in the U.S for sale and asked the sellers if they could do any better on the very high postage costs on the items to send to me here in oz? Their reply was that they did not set the international postage costs but (surprise! surprise!) ebay set them,so to the unlucky sellers bad luck you just lost a sale! and this is typical of the old rip off ebay.

  • Has anyone stopped to question how Ebay can legally charge fees on post amounts. It is a Federal offence to profit from postage! I charge the customer via the shipping calculator. We were all enforced to use this to avoid overcharging. I do not profit from shipping. Any company that collectively receives a discount on shipping that then charges a customer full shipping is liable for fraud. It happened to a large distributon company several years ago. Ebay is violating Federal law by attempting to profit from shipping proceeds. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW AND SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN BY THE ACCC

    • Thought exactly the same as “same no to illegal charges”. That IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to profit from postal charges. Ebay say they negotiated a discount of 10% with Australia Post for Aust. sellers. Isn’t ebay wanting to take it for themselves?
      Also, negative feedback. Instantly got one 5 months ago out of the blue. Still suffering the “guilty” 1 year punishment for something I can prove was false. Was given a sentence without a trial. Isn’t the law in Australia INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? Isn’t that

  • I don’t mind the change, as it would help to minimise the excessive postage charges some sellers have.

    what I hate is free postage doesn’t offer any benefits for multiple purchases to the buyer, which also means less chance of multiple purchases for the seller.

    • Exactly.. with the changes, it means if you offer a buyer combined postage costs ebay will still take a FVF of the LISTED cost, not the ACTUAL charged price.
      It means sellers will start offering “free” postage, upping their listing price, which means when a buyer buys multiple items, shipped “free” there is no combined postage and they end up shelling out more $$ since they are paying the included postage cost on every item

  • i think what the ACCC should look at closely is not that Ebay are profiteering from a service that they dont own, nor offer as part of their business model, nor have any input into (which sounds highly irregular and im sure other companies in Australia have been fined for profiteering from such actions), but they should look at how Australia Post has put up their prices the week after Ebay announce that they will take a percentage of the postage price. Higher postage price means more fees for Ebay, perhaps someones getting a little kickback by rubbing each others backs with the public paying the actual cost?

  • What everyone should do is protest by offering “Local Pickup’s” only for every listing and advise the buyer’s to contact you for postage fees.

  • We should be supporting http://www.quicklsales.com.au

    They have free listing and don’t take a final value you just pay a monthly shop fee which is less than ebays’s

    Plus we can make the good cheaper for the clients.

    Spread the word and get a more economical system going

    Give ebay some competition.

  • I wish quicksales could take the market share with some bold move but the buyers are sadly not supporting it as much as they should. Ebay are too big for their boots now. How can you say you negtotiated a 10% reduction for sellers from Australia Post when they are just taking it for themselves now. This means I now have to add further complication to what should be a simple sales process and charge the customer the extra 10%. How is that of benefit to them! And how can offering free postage to buyers help bring back that customer as a repeat if you are just selling your random crap and not a consistent line, another one of their statements to back up the fee hike. It’s smoke and mirrors to take more money. Yes, Ebay. We can see past your bull crappa. You will get knocked off their perch one day and I for one will be laughing. I hope that fall is a hard one. You have crippled so may people without a care and deserve your judgement day. Your constant “improvements” by the way are killing your business slowly. Who runs the show there? Kids could manage your business better. Ebay was once a pleasure to be a part of. Now its nothing but rubbish. I would rather pay more and go to the shops…that’s how much you have screwed up!

  • The simple fact is this: Under Australian consumer law it is illegal to charge for a service that you do not provide. As of yet, Ebay don’t own Australia Post so are therefor acting illegally.

    The much touted 10% saving on postage mentioned above only applies to articles up 500g in weight and only if you buy the postage labels from ebay.

    Come on ACCC do your job and stop this blatantly illegal activity.

    • I think you’ve misunderstood consumer law (and language) there. AFAICS the “not provide” requirements relate to services not being delivered, not to who ultimately owns them. If your interpretation was correct, every wholesaler and reseller in the country would be illegal.

      • I was actually referring to who provides the services. The “own” part of my statement was a sarcasm eluding to the seemingly little known fact that ebay owns paypal. I don’t have any problem paying the paypal fees as I am paying for a service. The fact still remains that ebay are not Australia Post, a courier company or any similar business. They are profiting for a service they do not provide and that is illegal under current consumer law.

        • OK, can you cite the specific section of consumer law which makes this an offence? Very little of consumer law I’ve encountered is about how a profit is made (outside of anti-competitive clauses relating to monopolies). And again, if this were true, IT resellers would have been breaking the law on multiple counts for years.

  • What about people who refuse to allow pickup on an item, even though they did not state “no pickup” on the listing, and its in the next suburb? Sick of being slugged for post for no reason…I wouldnt have bought the item if I knew I couldnt pick it up. I can but it cheaper WITH postage from further away from a seller off Ebay….

  • I agree it’s all just GREED.
    Ebay post profits in the millions. They say they want sellers to give cheap postage, but I have had to increase all mine to cover their greedy grab. By the time I pay FVF, & Post fees, & paypal fees, I am finding I have to add about 15% to the price and the postage to cover the costs. I can’t believe they can legally grab a slice on the postage.

  • If I sell a heavy item for $5 and the postage is $50, then eBay will charge me $5.50 final value fee.
    Since I am not making any profit on the postage, my gross profit is $5.00. After eBay fees, I have a negative net loss of .50c. God help me if they pay with Paypal, then it would COST me over $1 for the privilege. I say that sellers should state that there is no postage due to this fee, print my email address and ask them via email to add the postage. Then tell eBay that you didn’t sell the item.

  • Whether buyer or seller pays for postage, it should be a commercial transaction between them and Australia Post. It got nothing to do with eBay. eBay is making money on a service provided by Australia Post. I wonder why Australia Post doesn’t jack up. 🙁 🙁

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