If you auction on eBay, you're breaking the law!


According to this article, NC (and a few other states) are looking at making it so you have to register (and pay for the right) in order to auction something off on eBay or other similar internet-based auctioning services.

This seems ludicrous, since the “auctioneer” would be eBay, not the individual, right?

What is the rules regarding this, and how should they be changed to avoid a silly thing like having to pass tests and pay the state x-amount of money in order to auction off your old X-mas ornaments on-line?

Yer pal,

And while we’re on the subject of ebay (and Satan, this is ALL your fault – I never set fingertip there until after you mentioned something about buying a CD there!), I have a dilemma.

I was the successful bidder on a beanie baby, for $7, yesterday. The description said that the winning bidder would pay shipping. So today I get an email from the seller, and learn for the first time that she is in Quebec, Canada, and that she wants $9.05 (US) for shipping this $7 item to me!!

I don’t want to earn negative feedback, since I am a newbie to ebay, but I feel I’m being ripped off. Surveying other beanie baby auctions discloses that the shipping and handling cost runs between $3-$4.50, and indeed I won another one (these are for the kids, okay? :)) where the shipping is only $3.50.

So now what do I do? I sent her an email asking her to explain the charges, but haven’t had a response yet.


Satan, I thought you had a handle on all the legal questions, seeing as the lawyers all hold passports from your nether dominions !

IIRC, e-Bay was reported in the press recently saying they are not the “auctioneer”, hence trying to avoid liability when people were offering stolen goods, endangered species, or other items of questionable legality for auction - unlike a real-world auction house, who could get sued, investigated, whatever…

WAG: I reckon that from the state regulators’ perspective, they would want to be able to enforce laws and ensure some accountability, by someone - not just “JohnDoe36”… Then you gotta make the program self-funding, as is typical of post-Reagan gov’t programs; i.e. charge user fees, whatever, to pay for the burden of overseeing the whole kit n’ kaboodle.

The Computerworld article is somewhat incomplete and misleading. There is a much better article in today’s Raleigh News & Observer at: http://www.news-observer.com/daily/1999/12/01/biz02_side1.html

According to this article, only persons who purchase items for the express purpose of auctioning them are covered. Persons who sell individual personal items are not.


Just as a point of reference, I have won a number of things on Ebay from Canadian sellers.

All of them were LP records (you know, the vinyl ones). The postage was consistently $5.50 Canadian. Don’t know how much the cardboard cover costs. $9 USD sounds a little steep.


If you can’t get the seller to reduce the shipping charges (and you really want this item) go ahead and pay it. Then leave negative comments about the shipper.

On the other hand, if you blow this person off, and they leave negative comments about you, you can comment in your own defense.

Anyone reading your profile will see both sides of the story.

Reading the more comprehensive article actually aske more questions than answers them, though it’s not the ambiguity of the story that does this, but the story itself.

So buying items particularly for the purpose of reselling at an on-line auction needs to be licensed, but selling a bunch of my CDs doesn’t.

Okay, so how is this enforced? How does one know the difference? How does one prove it?

What if I bought something 20 years ago specifically for it’s resale value, and now that this medium is available to me, I decide to use it instead of more conventional means?

Overall, sounds like meaningless drivel that cannot be enforced at all, IMHO.

Yer pal,

Pay the shipping this time, but in the future ALWAYS e-mail ahead of time and find out exact shipping charges. I don’t know if $9 really is outragous- I mailed a CD to Canada and it cost me like $4, and that’s a really small package.

Most people put shipping charges right in thier ads- I’m always very leery about those that don’t.

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Click here for some GOOD news for a change Zettecity

Maybe I’m an idiot but when I worked in the post office as a summer job, I don’t remember shipping charges to Canada being that outrageous. Personally, I think you’re being scammed. Why? Because my friends who auction things on eBay tell me they have no idea what the shipping will cost at the time they send it, so they over-estimate by a ton “just in case” and the amount they’re wrong is just gravy.

“Shipping and handling” is just about the biggest scam in mail-order as it is. I used to have a mail-order business years ago, and we consistently charged $5.00 in S & H though it never cost more than about $3.00 for the materials and postage combined. And I’d be lying to you if I told you the 15 seconds it took to pack the product, write out the label, and leave it in the UPS out box was really worth $2.00 a shot. But it was nice having that extra income…

As a Canadian ebay seller for the last year I have to say that it sounds like Melin is being overcharged.

I must have sent close to 500 packages to the USA, and unless your seller is using an express delivery or something similar, the cost should be more like $5 or $6 US. I’m assuming that you seller is sending airmail, and using a padded envelope. If they’re using a big box, with lots of packing, then perhaps they’re paying $14.00 CDN–but I doubt it!

Having said that, I will say that postal costs here are much higher than the USA, with less service (we don’t have Saturday delivery, for example.) With over 600 completed sales (for a hard-earned feedback of 377, no negs), I haven’t yet had a parcel go astray.

Melin, try contacting the seller by email and ask how they are planning to ship the sucker, and if there is a cheaper alternative. (Between you and me, I think they’re adding ‘handling’ to pad their profits a bit.)

I usually lose a few cents on my postage to the US, as I charge a set rate: US $1.50 for small items (postcards, paper ephemera), US $2.00 for larger items (road maps, brochures, etc.), and US $3.50 for books. These are all for airmail, and I’d rather lose .50 cents or so per deal than rip people off!

If you can find out how much the beanie weighs, then go to the Canada Post website and find out what the shipping cost should be:


Don’t let this put you off dealing with out-of-country folks on ebay: 90% of my buying and selling has been cross-border, and I have nothing but good experiences so far.

Good luck from storeswallah!

I sent a package to Canada & it was expensive, plus there were, get this, four forms to do, including a Nafta. IM in USA.

I went to ups.com figured the shipping for another package recently, $18 it was, went back to that shipping store asked them, they said $34.00 The idiots double the shipping rate so they can make a profit. It’s legal to. I went to another store & it was a more reasonable $24.00 & for that they give me shipping materials.

What did the “Location” field on the item page say? If it didn’t say Quebec, I would think you should be able to back out based on the fact that the information on the item page was incorrect.

That being said, $9.50 for shipping from Canada seems high. I’ve bought and sold items from/to Canada before and don’t remember paying that much.

“Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China.”

Dennis Matheson — dennis@mountaindiver.com
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb — www.mountaindiver.com

How many laws are there? How many new ones are passed on an average day?

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

Shipping a beanie baby from Canada shouldn’t cost any more than $4-$5 Canadian or $3-4 American, if it’s going regular mail. I ship stuff from Canada to the U.S. all the time.

It sounds like she’s trying to pad a bit to account for her time in packaging, etc.

No offense, y’all, but could we stick to the OP? I thread in MPSIMS about eBay (or other) shipping issues with internet/mail-order purchases would be a good place to take it.

Please don’t hi-jack my nice little as-yet unanswered quuestions… Please? :smiley:

Yer pal,

I tried, big S… [slinking away…]