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Subject: Shipping Costs For Games Won In Auction rss

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Mike Guigliano
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Hello BGG Community!

Ran into an issue recently, and just looking for feedback on common practice and resolutions.

The issue comes from shipping games won in an auction (if you didn't get that from the subject).whistle

Recently I was quoted a shipping price for a couple of games that I won in an auction. I paid the cost of the games, and the shipping total that I was given buy the buyer. The shipping quote was given to him buy the shipping service. A couple of days later I received a message from the seller saying the quote that he had received from the USPS was incorrect, and asked me to cover the extra $12 that it took to send the package, bringing the shipping cost over $28. The seller had already sent out the package.

On the day that I received this package, I also received another box, of similar size and weight. This other box's shipping cost was considerably different, coming from approximately the same distance. Box "A" cost $28+ to ship, box "B" was $10 and change.

I'm curious what your "typical" practice is, as a seller, when you quote a buyer a specific price, then find out the quote you received was "incorrectly" given to you from the shipping service.

In the past, I just take is as a loss, as it was my mistake.

Thank you, as always.
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Daniel Kim
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I've had this happen (as the seller) and I said shame on me for not doing my due diligence of getting an accurate quote. I covered the difference. It sucks, but it's on me.

And thinking about it, if actual shipping costs came out to be that different, I might have not even shipped and consulted with the buyer first. If I shipped, it's a done deal.
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Kevin Marema
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Any time I've ever given someone a shipping cost, they pay, then it ends up being different from what I told them, I eat the difference. In my mind, the buyer shouldn't be punished because I didn't do my due diligence to get them a proper shipping cost.

That being said, I rarely have my quoted and actual shipping costs be different because I take a lot of time to make sure I get it right.

A difference in $12 is a HUGE mistake on the seller's part, and it almost sounds like they quoted you the cost of a flat rate box but then what they were sending you didn't actually fit in a flat rate box. I'm just speculating, though.
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Matthew Chhay
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As the sender, I would probably just take it at a loss too.

As a buyer, I had someone come back to me due to miscalculated shipping, but they only asked me to pay 50%.

I think 50% is fair for both parties if the real shipping costs turns out to be much larger than quoted.
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Gene
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clarkkent22 wrote:

I'm curious what your "typical" practice is, as a seller, when you quote a buyer a specific price, then find out the quote you received was "incorrectly" given to you from the shipping service.

In the past, I just take is as a loss, as it was my mistake.


I would tend to do the same. If it was my mistake than I wouldn't pass on the difference in cost to the buyer.

Years ago I shipped a game to Iceland. When calculating the mailing cost, I priced it as if going to other European countries I had sent to recently. I didn't realize that Iceland had a much higher cost to send to. I just chalked it up as a loss. Never thought to ask the buyer to cover the difference in mailing cost I had quoted to him.
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Troy Eisenberger

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I certainly don't ship and then expect to change the amount. Once I send the package, I think it is fair to assume that all $ exchanged is the final amount.

I use the USPS online tool, try to determine if flat rate or std. priority is cheaper, and then pass along the quote to the buyer. If it less than a dollar cheaper, I won't do anything. If it ends up being more expensive, I will eat the balance. It is too much of a hassle to me to make multiple trips to the PO.
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Alex Johns
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Mike,

first off, did you attend Dice Tower Con? your name looks familiar.

next, I just finished an auction where this problem happened to me. I quoted a shipment to a gentleman who won 5 games from me. quote and actual shipping ended up being $5 different, so I just took it as a loss.

personally, I feel if you quote someone a price, then stick to it. If the actual shipping cost differs, it is on the auctioneer who quoted wrongly. now, a $12 difference is a lot, that to me sounds like the auctioneer didn't do his/her due diligence and get actual quote. for my auction, I went to PO with games already packaged and got exact quotes. then, left with games, sent marketplace quotes with shipping price, then sent after I got paid. for the one item above I mentioned, since it was a bulk item with special shipping considerations, coupled with the fact I didn't have a box for it, I had PO give me quote at weight of 5 games, and we added some for future packaging. turned out, packaging weighed more than we estimated, hence I took it at a loss. my bad.


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Ian M
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from another point of view: recently I bought an item through BGG and the seller quoted me shipping cost without including tax. After sending the item to me he sent a message indicating his mistake, and that he would not expect me to make up the difference. I decided to be an understanding type and sent him an extra $1.30 by PayPal.

Mistakes like the one you describe are the seller's responsibility. If the item has already shipped and you paid what was asked in good faith you can't reasonably be expected to make up for the seller's miscalculation.
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Mike Guigliano
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I love this community. Such quick responses to almost any question that's asked, whether it's about rules, components, or shipping...

So great!

ajohns78 wrote:
Mike,

first off, did you attend Dice Tower Con? your name looks familiar.



I sure did! Have been to years 2, 4, and 5. Already set up to be at it again in July. meeple

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Ben R
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clarkkent22 wrote:
Already set up to be at it again in July. meeple



There goes all the good deals in the virtual flea market

IMHO, the main problem is that the average seller has no idea how to ship correctly.

For example, I've shipped 5 large games from FL to UT for $18, via FedEx. $28 is outrageous. Just got a quote to send MvM(big & heavy) from FL to KS for $16.65

Most people package up their games, take them to the post office, and pay the price. I rarely buy games from auctions these days, but when I do I always email the seller and make sure that they will either ship responsibility, or allow me to send them a prepaid mailing label, which is a win-win in my book.

Lastly, remember that some people are using "pack and ship" services, which are super expensive, and expecting you to pay.

See you in July Mike, any progress on your prototype?

Oh yeah, forgot to say the seller should have eaten the difference, plain and simple.
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Keith B
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This is why A)I have a Fedex account and whether I'm buying or selling, I use if for my shipping in 99% of cases, and B) When I sell, I do discounted or free shipping and build it into the Soft Reserve or BIN. That way shipping cost is 100% on me and there will be no unfortunate misquotes of shipping cost.
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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I eat the difference. It was my error.

I do though, if I overquote shipping by a reasonable amount, refund a portion of the difference too.

But the buyer is paying ME to ship the game, not paying the carrier... they should not expect to pay exactly what the carrier charges.

This bites both ways though in the example you cited. I've many times estimated a big huge box and lost, sometimes even $10-12. On me.
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Travis Morton
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It depends on shipper too. UPS is my favorite to receive from, but hell if shipping from where I am is not a pain. Also some ;ave access to commercial rates which are much better.

I use USPS Flat Rate almost religiously as a seller.

Here is a mind blowing quote I just had to give an inquired:
Tiny Epic Kingdoms + Heroes' Call + Logan Stones = 2lbs 10.8oz

Flat Rate Medium is about $13.85
Non-FR Priority =$14
Bulk Rate = $15

Needless to say I have not heard back from my hopeful buyer
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Ray
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I try to keep it at a nice flat rate for bidders and take a little bit of a loss with the hope that knowing exactly what they will pay ahead of time will encourage more bids.

And after someone tried to charge me 30 bucks to ship Eclipse, I knew how it felt to feel ripped off after the fact
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Gunky Gamer
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Mistakes can happen, but that seems like a pretty big difference between estimate and actual. A seller shouldn't give a price and take payment until they have verified the costs. Especially using the USPS. You put the stuff in a box, weigh it, measure the dimensions, enter the start and end locations, and, voila, the site gives you a price. Unless you conduct the transaction during the couple of days around a rate hike, how can you go wrong? I've easily shipped a hundred packages (including to you) via USPS without a single issue like what you described.

Just curious, was your bid based on having first received a shipping estimate? In that scenario, I think the seller has a responsibility to either be accurate or to just say, "I don't know," not give an estimate, and let you make your decision. In this case, I think the seller has to swallow the cost of their mistake.

Otherwise, just about every auction says right up front that the buyer is responsible for shipping costs. As a seller, the policy I have is I don't charge anyone until I have the actual shipping price. If I made a mistake at that point, I'd definitely eat a small difference. If it were larger, as in your case, I'd put myself at the mercy of the buyer while accepting that I might have to eat it and be gracious about it. But I don't think the seller is at all obligated to do so. The buyer signed up for the shipping cost and it's theirs to pay.

This is exactly the kind of scenario I'd expect a Ranger's fan to find themselves in.
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Larry Rice
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It used to be that shipping large items wasn't so expensive, but I've been noticing that I just can't ship cheaply any more - particularly if games don't fit in flat rate boxes and I'm shipping from CA to the East Coast. I've even found it cheaper to ship games individually in flat rate boxes over putting them together in one big box.
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Todd Snyder
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shipping ... so much 'fun' (:

There is a balance of trying to get an accurate estimate fast, so that the buyer can pay you and get the ball rolling, and getting an exact shipping price, but taking longer. Both have their advantages. If I have only 1 or 2 packages to ship, I'll tend to get the most accurate estimate I can - but if I have dozens of packages to ship after a large auction, and I have buyers emailing me asking for estimates (starting as soon as the auction closes, heh), I will often go the 'fast' route more often where I don't actually box the game up first and just try to estimate the size and additional weight of the packaging.

Shipping prices can change greatly due to the size of the box and the Zone you are shipping to. One inch can make a big difference, and I've been hit before where I thought I could ship a game safely in one sized box, but then had to go with a larger box - or I thought I had a certain sized box I could use, but then had to use something else.

Since the estimate was so far off, my guess is the shipper either made a mistake when checking the shipping cost (entered in the wrong size/weight), or they thought they could ship at a discounted price, then couldn't. At the start of the year, USPS changed where online pricing no longer got the discounted commercial rate. For certain packages, this doubled the price of shipping, or more. You can get the USPS commercial discount if you print the shipping through PayPal - but the interface isn't as quick if you have many labels to print. You still get the commercial rate if you ship in the Regional Rate A or B boxes, but you have to pay for those through USPS.com.

If I'm off a few dollars on my estimates, I'll just eat it. If I was off $12, I would *ask* the buyer to split the difference or such, or I would see if I could use a different carrier (FedEx will often be cheaper if USPS gets to be 'expensive') and check with the buyer to make sure that is OK before shipping it out.

Good luck!
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Mike Guigliano
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Thanks for your feedback, guys!

BentlyCash wrote:
clarkkent22 wrote:
Already set up to be at it again in July. meeple



There goes all the good deals in the virtual flea market

See you in July Mike, any progress on your prototype?


Hey Ben!

I'll attempt to leave some deals in the flea market for you. whistle

Prototype is static. Haven't gotten it to the table since GenCon. soblue
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William Springer
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I'll agree with everyone else in saying this is the seller's responsibility.

This actually hit me pretty hard recently - I listed an item for sale with flat rate shipping and didn't specify continental US only. It was purchased by someone in Hawai'i and I lost over $20 on shipping. [ouch]

Shipping does seem to be getting a lot more expensive these days.
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Kai Axford
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One of the best auctions I've seen (think it's live now)...is for each item, the seller actually took the time to measure the box, to determine the required shipping container...and then include that it in the item description.

Memoir 44
Medium Flat Rate USPS - $15


Made it super easy when I bid..knowing that whatever I bid, I'm in for $15 right up front.
Ended up giving that guy same GG just for the idea..even though I didn't bid on anything. "Just a lil sumthin...ya know..for the effort."
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Garret Wehrman
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Khexhu wrote:
I bought a 10 pound postage scale for $15 or less on Amazon so I get accurate weights.

I use Paypal USPS Shipping which is discounted up to 33% off what you pay on USPS.com.

I've not figured out a way to prequote it that way so as long as the buyer pays with paypal I actually send them a small shipping refund unless the difference was under a dollar.

Had someone recently GIFT me the paypal funds which actually prevents you from shipping thorugh paypal (Since your saying no transaction was taking place).

Of course this saves me the fees which is actually less savings then the shipping discount, goes to me instead of the buyer, and is technically fraud on the buyers part (well a violation of Paypal ToS minimally) but I'd bet anything almost every seller is keeping the difference in these shipping discounts so its not widely known by buyers.

Ebay does a similar thing but since they estimate the prices the seller is free to keep the difference as additional profit so I can see that as a precident for not refunding.

Short answer is shipping is complicated and those who do not do it often do not know how to get the best rates. You don't have to run a business to save greatly on shipping.

Flat rate is a lazy approach but at least as a buyer you know what the seller paid and that they didn't profit on it.


You can use www.PayPal.com/shipnow to get a quote of the discounted price before someone purchases.
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Matt D
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I've done a number of auctions, and I have a pretty straightforward policy (I think).

I, as others said, went out and bought a scale. Admittedly mine is a relatively cheap foodscale, but it covers up to 10 or 12 pounds I think. Beyond that, I can just hold the box and get on my digital scale to get close enough.

For the most part, I ship using USPS Regional Rate or USPS Flat Rate, both of which are essentially flat rate (USPS RR has a weight limit at each size, but games aren't dense or heavy enough to hit it -- it'd have to be solid books or something to exceed the weight limit). RR is great if someone is in your half of the country (or if you're lucky enough to live in KS or MO), otherwise flat rate can be compelling.

I usually offer to use parcel select if it makes sense - the downside to that is by the time you add in the $50 in insurance and tracking service, you may as well sent it priority which includes both already.

That being said, I will not accept payment until I am very confident in the price of shipping. I will literally box the thing up (but not tape it) to weigh or confirm that it will fit in said box, and then confirm what the price is. Then once I am paid, I tape it up and send it.

In this scenario though, I would most certainly, if I made a goof, not ask the buyer to pay the difference. Maybe I could see reaching out and saying, "Hey, I made a mistake, shipping would be another $12, do you still want it?" But no way would I ship it and THEN demand the $12.

As far as I'm concerned, you paid, he shipped, it's on its way to you. It's not like he has any leverage to get the $12 he never should have asked you for anyway. Different people will feel differently about this stuff, but from a practical standpoint, the seller can't do anything aside from leave you negative feedback. At which point, which do you think would have more long lasting impact:

Feedback on buyer: After shipping item, buyer refused to pay extra fees required. Do not sell to him! (Or just a negative with no comment)
vs:
Feedback on seller: After confirming price and sending payment, seller requested additional costs after having shipped the item.

As a buyer, that feedback would keep me from buying anything from that seller. As a seller, the feedback wouldn't bother me because I wouldn't make the same mistake (or if I did, I wouldn't expect the buyer to own my mistake).

Up to you how you go with it, but if it were me, I'd probably send back a terse (ok, that's kinda laughable - I'm never terse) "No, thank you, I paid what you confirmed." and let it go.
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Dennis Parsons
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Flat rate is not always a good rate. Maybe for things that are heavy, it might make sense, but youre almost always going to pay more shipping flat rate.

Please investigate the use of regional boxes from USPS. You can order a supply delivered right to your door for free. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes (B2 or A2 are nice) and can accomodate many sizes of board games. For shipping a single board game or even multiple small sizes, you're going to come out ahead of flat rate.
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Dustin Crenshaw
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My personal experience, is estimated prices on USPS can come out quite differently when actually shipping.

If the difference is big, I always give options to the buyer before shipping. If it's small (like $5 or less). I will go ahead and ship it, so not to cause delay and hassle. I will usually ask they pay atleast 1/2, but if they do not want to, no hard feelings as I misquoted the price.
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Patrick McNamara
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In my auctions, I always try to get single games in USPS Flat Rate boxes so that I and the buyer know up front exactly what the cost will be. If they win multiple games, I box everything up, weigh it myself, and go to usps.com for a quote. Also, I think we might have played a game at Dice Tower Con last year. See you in July. Working on bringing a prototype of my own.
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