Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Totally Hair Barbie's International First Class Flight

AA Totally Hair Barbie

After being listed on eBay for only a few hours this past Saturday morning, my African American Totally Hair Christie (box date 1991) sold in a buy it now and was mailed the same day.

Prior to the sale, a potential Russian buyer sent an email which conveyed her eagerness to own this doll. Paraphrased, it read, "I need this doll now... I want to do the buy it now... but can you check first class international shipping for me?"

I was planning a trip to the post office anyway and told this buyer I would take the doll with me to get the exact amount for 1st class international shipping. Prior to her email, I didn't realize I could offer first class shipping to international customers for a Barbie-sized package. I had selected the international priority shipping rate as the only option.

Before I left, the Russian buyer replied with a link to the USPS online postage calculator showing the first class international shipping charges based on the weight of the package and wrote, "It's midnight here.  I'll be going to bed soon and don't want to miss this doll."  I felt pressured and told her the calculated price was probably correct, but I would take the package to the PO and get back with her in about 40 minutes.  There is nothing worse (well, there is, but when selling there isn't) than undercharging for shipping, especially international shipping.

After I returned, I checked my email and discovered an Italian buyer had already swooped the doll up and paid the $35 priority mail international shipping. I was shocked and wondered/thought, "Did I have her priced too low? Oh well, she's sold and I'm glad." 

I felt bad for the Russian eBayer, to whom I apologized profusely when I informed her the online calculated shipping charge was correct but the doll had sold.  She expressed her regret for having missed out on the purchase.

I then immediately changed the shipping option for international customers from international priority to international first class. This will potentially cost them 50% less than international priority mail for Barbie purchases. Lesson learned.

If you sell worldwide on eBay, offer first class international shipping for small packages.  Lowered shipping costs will open your items up to more bids from international customers.

dbg

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11 comments:

  1. You have to be careul with this option. If the package is not a particular size or shape 1st class doesn't apply unless you debox. I had this issue when sending to Australia. Thankfully the postal clerk helped me get the package out for the correct price.

    Some countries 1st class is not an option. Since my France issue I make sure to get my packages scanned in so if the buyer says they didn't receive it there will be no chargeback on you.

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  2. Thanks Dollz4moi -- I always get my prepaid packages scanned in at the PO, too. I would only recommend using the 1st class international rate for pink-box size packages that are not placed in oversized boxes. I used an Integrity Toys shipper for this particular doll. For some of the collector series Barbies that are in larger boxes, first class may not be enough postage.

    dbg

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  3. Congrats on the sale. Don't you have another one in your stash you could sell to the Russian buyer. Just kidding. LOL! The Russion buyer probably should have paid for it while waiting for the answer. I am sure you would have refunded extra shipping money. I guess he/she probably learned a lesson, too.

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  4. I wish I did have another Totally Hair Christie to sell her, Vanessa. I definitely would have hooked her up.

    dbg

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  5. I Think This Is The Best And Beautiful Belinda´s Facemold I Ever Saw Since I Became A Collector!
    She´s Absolutely Pretty!!

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  6. Really, Jorge? This face mold has always been my least favorite.

    dbg

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  7. A lot of american sellers don't seem to -want- international buyers though. I'm glad you're not xenophobic that way, and I wish more people were like you. :)

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  8. Hi Alrunia,

    As a rule, I open my auctions up to worldwide eBayers.

    There are, however, some international sellers who prohibit bids from US customers, too.

    dbg

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  9. Thanks for the information about your international shipping. Size and weight of packages do make a difference in shipping.

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  10. Hi Debbie,

    First Class Mail International (FCMI) doesn't have online proof of delivery, so be careful to insure the package for item price + shipping if it's worth an amount you can't afford to lose. (I use online third-party insurers U-Pic and Shipsurance.) That way you're covered if the package is lost, or if the buyer falsely claims they didn't receive it. Some buyers are aware that with FCMI you won't be able to prove delivery to eBay and PayPal, and will take advantage of that.

    I love your blog!

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  11. Thanks for the heads up, Jen! I will be sure to include insurance in the cost of shipping internationally.

    I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

    dbg

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!