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Ebay Purchases.
Old 12-28-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
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Ebay Purchases.

I can't figure out how sellers from China can sell items for let's say .99 cents with free shipping when the shippings cost are more then I paid for the items.

Another example was I purchase an led controller for $17.00 and I added up all the stamps on the package and it totalled $22.**. This doesn't include the packaging, paypals and ebays profits etc. I don't get how they can make money on a buy it now sale.

Even if they got the item for free, is there shipping cost free also? I just don't get it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:03 PM   #2
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Are you sure it was 22 dollars? Not 22 RMB for example? Or 22 fen? (22 Chinese cents) Airmail from mainland China and Hong Kong to US is cheap.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:58 PM   #3
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I have never understood this either and I am curious. I have frequently bought stuff from ebay or meritline or dealextreme or a number of other e-tailers that sell stuff direct from China/HK/Taiwan with free shipping. Stuff that costs a buck or two.

Are they boxing up a few thousand orders into a cargo container and using a freight forwarder? I just can't believe they can make any money after paying for international shipping. The economics of these deals intrigue me.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:18 PM   #4
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Are you sure it was 22 dollars?
Anything is possible, I did see the $ sign on each stamp adn there were approximatly 15 of them. Either way, I've bought stuff from them that was worth maybe $40.00 here for 42 cents including free shipping on Ebay. Even if it was a knock off the packaging here costs around $2.00 let alone the stamps and labour to ship this stuff.

I remember purchasing a set of Sony headphones worth $300.00 here for .99 cents including the pouch from Ebay (china). Now I can't believe it's real even thought it's listed as such, but for working around the house I couldn't care less if they lasted couple months but it's been about 8 months and they're still working great. Heck the Sony pouch was selling at the Sony store for $7.99. My kids liked it so much they each wanted a set.

Back to the orginal topic, even if the items were free to them, are the packaging and stamps free also, since there's not much to make on a .99 cent item after ebay, paypal, packaging, postage, take there cut.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #5
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Were the items on auction ? A lot of sellers do .99 auctions to gain interest and hope the item will go for more . Unfortunately a lot of auctions end at the initial bid so they lose money.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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I think sometimes you're buying from the people who actually make the products for the brand name manufacturer, and some items inevitably fall off the conveyor belt on their way to the shipping department. The old "fell off a truck" phenomenon.

That said, I've been extremely pleased with some of the items I've bought this way. Quick shipment and first class products.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:14 PM   #7
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If you guys are buying memory cards, camera batteries etc. from China off ebay, I'd advise against it. They're ALL fakes, no matter how they're branded, and are generally of inferior quality, many completely inoperable, and some will damage your equipment. They sell them so cheap because they cost them pennies apiece to manufacture, and the quality is reflected. Do a search on ebay about Chinese and other countries counterfeit electronics items. Ebay is and has been trying to squash these products. I'm not saying that you might not get one (memory card, for example) that works...somewhat, but the odds are not with you. There are also many complaints about items that did actually work, but didn't come close to the stated capacity...ie 32 GB memory cards that only had about 1 GB or so of actual storage. Same with batteries etc. I'm just like anybody else, I'd love to get a deal on some name-brand stuff, but the Chinese stuff's track record just isn't so great.

As far as shipping costs, I've done a fair amount of buying & selling on ebay, and basically, it's a matter of averages. As a seller, you might take a loss or not much of a profit on some items you sell, but then on other deals you can clean up. So....it averages out...generally speaking. I did pretty well buying & selling silver in the early 2000's. Also pretty decent since then on other stuff. Now...I'm about to start clearing out my storage unit & also empty some boxes I have stashed around here. Hopefully I'll make a couple bucks!
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:32 PM   #8
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It's pretty simple, those great deals for knockoff crap from China on Ebay come with a hidden cost- you get to support your neighbors here in the US who are now collecting 99+ weeks of unemployment. There's no free lunch.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:03 PM   #9
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I have a former client that assembles all its products in the US, though many components are manufactured outside the country. They are having no end of problems with China companies counterfeiting their products.

It hurts us and probably doesn't help the Chinese all that much. Stay away!
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:47 AM   #10
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It seems we may have gotten a bit off topic. This thread wasn't to debate whether these items were counterfit or not since. The question was, how can they afford to ship something from China, where the shipping costs are more then what the item sold for? I'm talking about the buy it now with free shipping.

It has nothing to do with the quality of the product.

Just this week I bought a plastic case to hold a memory card for 6 cents. I don't really care about the quality since I'm sure it will last for years. I'm also sure the packaging and stamps cost more then 6 cents and I'm not including ebay or paypal fees.

Thanks for all the responses people. Group hug now!!
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:35 AM   #11
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Just for the record, the items I've bought this way were only accessories, for cameras and radios (nothing electronic, just mechanical).
I typically paid between 5 and 10% of what it would have cost me to buy these things from a local store. When I analyzed the postage on the packages I received, it appeared to me that the amount was approximately equal to the shipping charge I paid.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:03 AM   #12
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I just bought 2 replacement batteries for my camera, through Amazon. I intentionally bought 2 different brands, both were about $8-$9 each. They also had batteries that were $1.50... I decided that was too cheap when Canon OEM batteries were around $35 or $$40. I haven't used them yet but they do both say made, or assembled, in China. They got reasonable reviews on Amazon and so... I'll let you know. My SO got some really cheap lithium ion batteries made in China or Hong Kong - through Amazon - that tested fine but don't work. He has equipment to test that sort of thing. Look great, don't work.

So I'm a little off topic but... I'll be curious what happens when I charge the batteries and try out the camera!
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:25 AM   #13
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I just bought 2 replacement batteries for my camera, through Amazon. I intentionally bought 2 different brands, both were about $8-$9 each. They also had batteries that were $1.50... I decided that was too cheap when Canon OEM batteries were around $35 or $$40. I haven't used them yet but they do both say made, or assembled, in China. They got reasonable reviews on Amazon and so... I'll let you know. My SO got some really cheap lithium ion batteries made in China or Hong Kong - through Amazon - that tested fine but don't work. He has equipment to test that sort of thing. Look great, don't work.
I just bought a pair of Canon replacement batteries (through amazon). They never claimed to be Canon OEM batteries, and even stated that they don't have the fancy electronic chip that Canon OEM batteries have. But they work roughly the same. And cost $2 each (including shipping) whereas the OEMs were $20+ from ebay (possibly fakes) and $30+ from a reputable merchant. At the end of the day, I could not justify spending $60 for batteries that go in a $95 camera.

Still curious how they ship these things from Asia for so little.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:42 AM   #14
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My Dream--I wouldn't put it passed the Chinese to fake the postage. Granted the items might cost more than the price we are paying, but if the line is used and paid for by making the real products during the day and knock offs at night, then the knock offs are essentially free. All they need to do is pay for shipping and if those stamps are faked then the shipping is essentially free. Don't discount the cost savings of the exchange rate either.

Another option is for the manufacturer to use the items as loss leaders to get you to trust them so they can sell you stuff that is a bit more profitable.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:38 AM   #15
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Volume. They may be losing money, but they make it up in volume. Kind of like when I'm driving and aren't real sure where we are but we're making great time.

Also have bought the super cheap stuff which often works enough.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:55 AM   #16
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The question was, how can they afford to ship something from China, where the shipping costs are more then what the item sold for?
Putting most of the cost down to shipping is a trick to minimize the fees paid to eBay.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:08 AM   #17
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Putting most of the cost down to shipping is a trick to minimize the fees paid to eBay.

Surely you're not implying that the Chinese are manipulating their currency?
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:49 AM   #18
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Putting most of the cost down to shipping is a trick to minimize the fees paid to eBay.
And I understand that, but it sells for 6 cents including free shipping. As I've said before the bubble wrap packaging and postage has to cost more then 6 cents so they have to be loosing money on every item. There is so much on it on ebay or other online China/HongKong seller.

I'll give you another example, I bought a Seiko watch from a Hong Kong seller for $80.00 including shipping. During Christmas I was at a Jewelry store and asked them if it was legit. The appraiser was hesitant in giving me an answer but since I bought something at the store he told me it was authentic. They had the same Seiko watch on sale in the store for $325.00 + tax. I have a friend that is heavily into watches and he also told me it was authentic. I just don't get it.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:58 AM   #19
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I just don't get it.
Seems like the simplest answer would be theft "fell off the truck".
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:02 PM   #20
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Seems like the simplest answer would be theft "fell off the truck".
...the turnip truck?
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