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.
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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.