• The Bulletins and Marts are again available online. The network connectivity problem has been fixed. Thank you all very much for your patience.

I won’t buy through Ebay’s “Global Shipping Program”

Tim Orr

NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Member
Donor
Sep 27, 2008
1,739
343
83
Boulder CO
Country
Region
I saw a clock I very much liked on Ebay. It was located in the UK. I placed the order. Something I'd never seen before popped up: My clock would be shipped using Ebay's "Global Shipping Program." There was an additional charge for this, but it was relatively small, and I figured it probably covered taxes or duties or handling, so I went ahead.

I could find nothing on Ebay's site that detailed what this additional charge was. Besides, I really wanted the clock, and it was not a negotiable item.

I got notice that my clock had shipped, then a day later, notice that my order had been canceled and my full payment refunded by PayPal. It said the item was "Restricted."

In spite of contacting Ebay three times, I never got definite answers to my inquiries. Ebay basically said, "It might have been this – It might have been that," but never told me exactly why the shipment was restricted.

Ebay suggested the clock might contain mold or fungus or other creepy-crawlies, and that Ebay's handler in the UK, Pitney Bowes, would not ship the clock to me – or return it to the seller – because it might have to be fumigated upon arrival at either location.

They suggested shipment might be forbidden under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The seller did say the case is "mahogany," but of course, I have cannot be certain of that.

I know little about CITES. The clock is clearly quite old, probably a century or more. I do not know if there is a CITES exemption for "antique mahogany." In any case, Ebay only said this might be the problem.

There is also, I understand, UK law prohibiting shipping antiques out of the country without a valid export license. I don't know if seller has a license. He had 740 completed sales at the time, 238 active sales (of which 98 were clocks), a 100 percent positive rating from buyers, Ebay membership for 4 years, and appeared to have a UK-side store. Difficult for me to imagine he would not have the appropriate license. In any event, if that's the reason, why wouldn't Ebay say so?

I was able to glean, from e-mails with Ebay, the seller, and online searches, that had the seller not used Ebay's "Global Shipping Program," there might have been no problem.

Seller says he was told it was the mahogany that rendered the clock "restricted." However, he also says he has been told the clock will not be returned to him.

As I said earlier, Ebay suggested that Pitney Bowes, their partner in the Global Shipping Program, might not return the clock to the seller, and might decide to destroy it.

I can't imagine any export license law allowing the destruction of an antique. I would have strong objections, as a longtime member of NAWCC, to any destruction of a horological artifact, regardless of whether a law was broken.

I also can't imagine any competent "Global Shipping Program" agent accepting a shipment without verifying the materials used in manufacture, the validity of the seller's export license, etc. Are there no procedures? Is there no "declaration" process?

In online searches, I found mentions that such "restricted" items might be returned to the seller or might even be offered by Pitney Bowes at auction (!). I also learned that both the buyer and seller might be fully compensated financially by PayPal. I can't verify any of those things. My payment, as I said, was fully refunded.

At this stage, Ebay, perhaps annoyed at my persistent questions, has told me it considers "the matter closed," so I don't expect to hear anything more.

I see precious little benefit to me, as a buyer, from Ebay's "Global Shipping Program." Such benefits as there are seem to relate to the ratings that a seller might receive in a transaction, largely preventing negative ratings.

At this stage, I don't have the clock. Seller doesn't have the clock. And, the clock might be destroyed.

Accordingly, I will, in future, watch out, and not make purchases through Ebay's "Global Shipping Program."

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

novicetimekeeper

Registered User
Jul 26, 2015
11,485
1,024
113
Dorset
Country
Region
GSP is definitely a benefit to sellers, I don't think there is much, if any, benefit to buyers.
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,315
603
113
64
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
I have seen Global many times when looking at auctions on Ebay from the states. I will not pay extra, so i avoid all of those with Global shipping.
 

Rick Hufnagel

Just Rick!
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Oct 25, 2018
2,724
4,142
113
37
Pittsburgh pa
Country
Region
Pitney Bowes is rubbish. I avoid the GSP unless it's something I know is already broken and I dont need it in any reasonable amount of time.

I'll bet they just didn't have a padded envelope large enough to fit the clock... For some reason I think they repackage everything into padded envelopes.

Such a shame about the clock. What a mess.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,176
1,521
113
France
Country
Region
I absolutely agree the GSP is a disgrace. I avoid it like the plague. When I do purchase an item I really wish to acquire and GSP is 'forced upon me', I always write a scathing comment in the feedback. It probably has little impact - but makes me feel better.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: PapaLouies

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
6,724
1,052
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
If the problem is mahogany it seems that the shipper reacted wrongly.

There is a CITES protection on mahogany


It is to protect large leaf mahogany from being over logged and illegally logged. None of this shoudl apply to an antique since this took effect in 2005 and to my knowledge does not apply to antique products.

We see it on watches that have straps that may be hides of endangered special such as alligator of crocodile.

It seems overkill but i suggest that whne buying any product with forest of game materials that has to go through customs that you check the CITES requirements. When in doubt require the seller to get CITES certification. If not needed get official notification it is not needed,

This will protect you and the items and materials endangered.

It will not protect from stupid people with power.
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,315
603
113
64
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
It is very unfortunate this happened and i do hope the clock will not be destroyed. I have asked sellers too please remove the global shipping and let me pay regualr postal rates. They told me no, so i gave up and just ignored auctions that had that in it.
 

T.Cu

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
212
38
28
Country
Region
I have emailed a number of sellers who had switched to the global shipping program and were now charging a great deal more to ship from England, asking them why their shipping was now so high. One just flatly told me he/she just didn't have the time or energy to go through the Royal Post and that was the way it was.
My guess is the sellers somehow make more money using GSP, though I don't know this for sure. So far I have been able to resist buying from a seller if they won't ship more reasonably than the GSP charges.
For even very small and light items they will state a shipping charge of almost fifty dollars sometimes, when the Royal Post will be half that at most.
So I email the sellers, I explain to them my interest in lower shipping costs, so at least they'll know some people are looking at these newly exorbitant costs for shipping.
Does anyone know when this GSP started up? Seems like fairly recently.
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,176
1,521
113
France
Country
Region
I have emailed a number of sellers who had switched to the global shipping program and were now charging a great deal more to ship from England, asking them why their shipping was now so high. One just flatly told me he/she just didn't have the time or energy to go through the Royal Post and that was the way it was.
I live in France & regularly purchase watches from ebay sellers in the UK. While I cannot say when the GSP started, what I do know is that many UK sellers started it to use it as a result of BREXIT as they now he to fill in Customs Declaration form CN 22 when shipping to Europe. GSP charges custom charges on items shipped to Europe as a matter of course, many of these charges are NOT required following the deal reached between the the UK and the EU. It is an absolute disgrace. I suspect the latter cannot be said for shipments from the UK to other countries where custom duty will be payable.

As an example from an item currently advertised:
Price: £295​
GSP postage : £19.17​
Import charges (to France): £81.56​
TOTAL: £395.73​
The average shipping cost that I am charged for a pocket watch using Royal Mail is between £12 & £15. Providing the watch is English and the Customs form CN 22 is completed 'English Pocket Watch over 100 years old' , for values entered up to £500 I have never been asked to pay duty and delivery via Royal Mail/LaPoste has taken between 7 and 10 days. Using GSP two journeys are required, from the seller to the GSP centre and then to the buyer - more expensive and often twice as long.

For anyone who hasn't seen it here's the CN22 form which can be filled online

1635237446763.png
I have exactly the same form and process to send watches for repair in the UK - again this far no duty and no problems.

John
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
6,724
1,052
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
FWIW I beleive the Global shipping program was invented to deal with nations with corrupt postal services. I liked the idea until I tried to use it.
 

Tim Orr

NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Member
Donor
Sep 27, 2008
1,739
343
83
Boulder CO
Country
Region
Good evening, all!

I no longer seem to be seeing the "Global Shipping Program" in Ebay listings, at least not directly referenced. I note there's a line in the lower part of the price and shipping section of listings as follows:

"Any international shipping and import charges are paid in part to Pitney Bowes Inc. Learn More "

If you click on the link, you go to a summary of the Global Shipping Program, as does the link here, .

Best regards!

Tim
 

T.Cu

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
212
38
28
Country
Region
Funny, I received an email just yesterday from an English ebay seller who, in reply to a query of mine last week about his shipping costs, said he'd just "not paid attention" to the choice he could make about how his stuff was shipped, so was using GSP, and had been wondering why he'd "had no sales for three months". And so he said he was going to rewrite his ads to include the Royal Mail. FWIW.
 

Tim Orr

NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Member
Donor
Sep 27, 2008
1,739
343
83
Boulder CO
Country
Region
Good evening, all!

I was able to make contact with the seller today, who revealed to me that he has, in fact, been compensated for the value of the clock, but has been unsuccessful in finding out what will be the disposition of the clock.

As I reported earlier, there have been some reports that such seized items are sometimes auctioned. I can only hope that's the case, and that the clock will not be destroyed. That would be a loss to horological history.

I doubt I'll ever know.

Best regards!

Tim
 

J. A. Olson

NAWCC Member
Dec 21, 2006
4,762
574
113
WI
Country
Region
Whenever any company uses the word 'might' so many times, you know their integrity is full of more holes than a block of Swiss cheese.
 

Bruce Barnes

Registered User
Mar 20, 2004
1,994
59
48
Sadly, Ebay is "the only game in town" and their fee structure is abominable.........
Bruce
 

Forum statistics

Threads
169,773
Messages
1,481,796
Members
49,157
Latest member
DavidEckman
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,965
Last update
-