Wednesday, May 04, 2005

How to Sell on eBay Internationally without risk

I have been selling internationally on eBay for years, but it is not a step to be taken lightly. All the bases need to be covered. I will go through some very important do's and don't that can save you time and effort.

eBay allows you the opportunity to sell all over the world. It is exciting to communicate with a customer from England, Australia or Japan via email. It is almost as if you are speaking in person. It also opens a huge market! Many US sellers do not sell internationally so you can receive higher bids and more interest in your product; but you need to follow the guidelines I will explain below to ensure your payment.

There are only two methods of payment, which will ensure absolute zero risk regarding sending product overseas:

1. The first is wire transfer directly to your bank.

You can contact your local bank and they will walk you through a wire transfer transaction. It is very similar to the process of having a payroll check deposited in your account. As soon as a payment is deposited electronically into your account it can never be touched by any source other than by you, the account owner. Once the bank notifies you that payment is wired or transferred into your account, you can ship the product.

2. The second is, which is a division of Western Union. This was originally called and the name has been changed to Western Union (R) Auction Payments.

Payment for this method is completely processed via email. You will then receive a physical check from Western Union. This usually takes three to four days after your email confirmation. Very Important! Do not ship the product when you receive the email confirmation. Wait until you physically receive the check from Western Union.

I do not accept cashier's checks, even from US customers. There is a common misconception that they are as good as cash. They are not! There have been cases where blank stolen cashier's checks, or even bank checks have been forged.

I also do not accept credit card payments from overseas buyers. They offer no protection from fraud as they do in the US. Even if it states Master Card or Visa, they are not governed by the same rules and laws of the United States.

Shipping product internationally is more work, but the rewards can outweigh the time involved. Unlike shipping products within the US, the first major difference is the "customs form". These forms are free and supplied by the shipping carrier you chose, whether it is the US Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS, Etc. You will need to state the weight, the item and it's value, the destination, etc.

Important lesson - I learned this the hard way! I have a FED EX account, which allows me to print a label and send an item from my computer without having to go to a shipping company. I receive a discounted rate on my shipping as opposed to taking it to a Mailboxes, etc. or a shipping house. I shipped a computer using my account. I didn't realize I would be charged duty taxes on the item, which was an additional $150.00. Ouch!

Now when shipping internationally I use only the United States Postal Service, and the complete shipping amount is paid to USPS upon delivery. Country duty taxes will be collected from the buyer, not you.

Shipping internationally can be rewarding and interesting! Make sure you only take payment in the methods described above, be aware of the shipping procedures, and send via

How to Ship eBay items to APO and FPO addresses

How to ship to these addresses safely Increase your Ebay sales by selling to these addresses. There are many eBay Sellers who will not sell to these addresses due to the fact they do not understand exactly how to do it with no risk.

What is an APO or FPO address?

"APO" stands for "Army Post Office".

"FPO" stands for "Fleet Post Office".

These are addresses primarily used for military personel. The person may be overseas or in any one of the many US bases located across the US and around the world. Military personal are often moved from base to base as well as having tours of duty overseas. This system allows efficient direction of their mail to the location they are at. Support our military personnel and sell your eBay auctions to them.

The rate you pay for shipping is for the US rate to whoever the APO location is in the U.S, At that point the US post office will take over and send the package to the appropriate person, wherever they are in the world.

The easiest way to prevent fraud with any online purchase is to send with delivery confirmation, and insurance (if the item is lost or damaged in transit to your buyer) an added level of protection is to send with return receipt.

There is extra paperwork and time involved to ship ebay auctions to these addressees, to compensate for this state in your eBay auction that you will ship to APO FPO addresses but there is an additional charge of $X.XX The eBay buyer will understand and actually be grateful to receive your product due to the fact many eBay Powersellers will not ship to these addresses period APO and FPO are "US" addresses. Most are PO Boxes administered by the US Government FedEx, UPS and DHL do not deliver to APO and FPO addressesI have found USPS website to be less expensive the fed ex UPS and DHL in most occasions you can also order free packing tape and boxes online via their website.

APO and FPO addresses are not classified as International addresses. An "International" address is one that is:

1. In a foreign country

2. Is an address of that countries postal system

3. Not part of any US Postal System

Sell your eBay auctions to APO and FPO addresses safely. Follow the simple steps outlined above and support our military personal by offering them the items you have for sale on eBay. It is important to insure your package and use a return receipt which will prove delivery of you ebay auction item.