Anyone hate Pitney Bowes shipping as much as I do? A lot of eBay sellers are using them as their international shipping solution now as part of the Global Shipping Program, but I'm actively avoiding auctions that use their service. Not only do they automatically charge customs duties (rather than letting the customs agents decide whether to charge or not), but shipping is slow as shit since you have to ship it to a third party first. Not to mention the possibility of the PB inspectors damaging the product when they open it up for inspection. I'm sure there may be some benefits using them, but I've yet to encounter anything positive.
Yes. Some sellers from the US choose this method. To be fair to the seller, they can be unaware of the overseas shipping since it is being taken care of by another party. I have heard the Global Shipping Program has had its fair share of problems for sellers that usually have very good reputations when they started receiving negative feedback. Feedback they feel could have been avoided had the program been without its flaws. I remember the first time i bought over a year ago, where a third party was involved, the shipping cost was very very good, but got charged a very small amount for duty, which was odd since this never happens. But it was only a few dollars, no probs. I also bought recently where Pitney Bowes were involved, and shipping was twice as much. I ended up ringing Paypal, and refunded me half the shipping.
From a sellers point of view I like it. All of my shipments have arrived intact and quickly. I personally dont have to worry about things being lost in the mail or disappearing after they reach the stateside hub. I dont have to figure out shipping for each country individually. I dont have to spend time with customs paperwork. If a buyer asks me if I can ship directly I look at each case individually and make a decision based on my comfort level. The buyers know the total cost up front so it is truly their decision if they decide to buy. Most serious overseas buyers already use a specific freight forwarder they have personally set up with a US address. I can say from a sellers point this makes it much easier and once it reaches the hub I no longer have to worry about packages getting lost or missing items. Those are always my biggest worries with shipping through overseas customs.
It's good that you can argue the shipping charges. There is something odd about how the system calculates customs/shipping. On one BIN auction, the shipping and custom charges totalled near 40% of the BIN price using standard USPS shipping into Canada. Extremely high for that type of service. For smaller items, the shipping customs could be near 1:1 depending on the shipping costs.
Feedback is an interesting point. On one hand it's not the seller's fault, but on the other it really is. It's not their fault they have to go through PB and their processes if they want to be part of the program, but on the other hand they are entirely responsible for getting the package to the buyer; there is no passing of responsibility from the buyer's POV. So if a buyer were to pay for Global Express shipping and gets delivery a week later than the service standard because it has to be shipped through and inspected by PB first, I certainly wouldn't argue if someone says negative feedback should be left.
Ultimately, I say stay away from auctions that involve PB and try to deal with the seller directly.