My first time experience with eBay’s (not so new) Global Shipping Program (GSP) is through my purchase of a 2nd hand graphics card from a seller based in the US. I made this purchase a week and a half ago and the graphics card arrived yesterday. I am pleased to say that it is in good condition. I have to say though that my research on the GSP after my purchase got me really worried. Read on to find out why.
The first page results of search phrases “eBay Global Shipping” and “eBay Pitney Bowes” yield some unpleasant feedback. Apparently, there are many people affected (in a negative way) by the introduction of the GSP. The more popular articles and videos are dated a year back but looking at the latest few comments posted on Pitney Bowes’ Facebook page, there is definitely reason to worry for both the seller and buyer. The 2 main concerns raised by sellers and buyers are:
- Shipping charges are way more expensive than they should be and sometimes buyers will incur unnecessary custom charges.
- Packages are “checked” and tempered with to make it lighter for shipping.
There is this video by YouTube user lukemorse1 that explains the problem (similar to many others as well):
If you watched my video, there were some similarities in terms of packaging. Inside my package, the only “protective” measure or item placed inside was a hard Styrofoam piece. There was literally nothing else to protect the content inside. Before I opened the package, the graphics card inside was moving a lot as I received it from the delivery man (you can hear the banging sound as it shifted from end to end). It probably smashed everywhere while it was on the way to my house. Thank goodness the graphics card was inside its original box that had padding (as per your standard retail graphics card) and it being tightly fitted, any pressure applied would somewhat be spread across the whole box rather than a specific area on the card.
I am not too sure who decided to have such little protection. I have contacted the seller and once he replies I would definitely update you.
The other problem lukemorse1 mentioned was about the declaration of values. Mine didn’t had any too! There was no customs value being declared, no shipping value whatsoever. This can be a huge problem especially when claiming damages from the shipping company. Not sure if it is just the sticker being customized or if values were declared internally but there is definitely no declared value on the shipment that you as a buyer can see.
The next thing I would like to address is the shipping charges. In my own experience it is pretty reasonable. The custom charges only applied as per my country’s requirements. The shipping price did fluctuate quite a bit according to the seller’s location in the US. Identically packaged items can have difference in shipping charges by more than two folds. So yes, it can be rather expensive but that ultimately depends on the seller’s location. If you’re unlucky and the item you need requires you to pay an exuberant amount of money for shipping, try messaging the seller to see if he wants to do a direct shipment himself.
There are certainly some iffy issues with the GSP and Pitney Bowes forwarding services. Ultimately, they do ensure that your package gets delivered (whether or not in one piece) to your buyer. As to the many complaints and claims of fraud and tempering, it is a possible scenario but not to the extent of it being a huge conspiracy or large scale scam of any sorts. As you see in my video, the contents inside is pretty much in great condition. Your mileage may vary but I just like to point out a slightly more positive experience.
If I do make any other purchases through the program, I will be sure to update again. As of now, I would suggest you not to be too overly worried about your items not reaching you in its supposed conditions.