Among the many changes coming for eBay sellers this fall is that optional insurance is going bye-bye. This means eBay sellers can no longer ask buyers outright to pay for insurance if they want it; they must either offer it themselves by rolling it into the cost of the listing, or not offering it at all.
(See bullet point #5 below, from the July 2009 eBay seller update:)
"Rewards for sellers delivering great buyer experiences
* New way to look at DSRs: Avoid 1s and 2s; only domestic DSRs count
* PowerSeller requirements and benefits�rewarding quality over quantity
* New eBay Top-rated seller status earns the highest PowerSeller rewards
* New minimum standard and new Selling Practices policy for all sellers
* Optional buyer charges for shipping insurance no longer allowed
* New Seller Dashboard with more insight to help you improve"
Below I will get into this in more detail, but first I wanted to address two questions some of my Yard Salers newsletter subscribers have had. When exactly is this all going down, and do we have to go into all our existing listings now and revise them? The short answers are Sept. 22 and no...but see below for more:
"When does this change take effect?
eBay is scheduled to remove shipping insurance from new listings starting the week of September 22, 2009."
"Do I have to update my listings?
No, you do not have to update your existing listings. However, you will no longer have the ability to include shipping insurance in new, revised or renewed listings. You may want to update your item or shipping and handling charges to include the cost of insurance."
A but further below I quote eBay's explanation on this in more depth. I think all sellers need to read it.
But first, I wanted to add my quick take on this. This isn't something many sellers seem to be happy about, however I don't think it's going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. I plan to continue to insure my bigger ticket items; say around $100 or more, to start. If needed I will fold this into the cost of the item.
However it has always seemed to me that if something went wrong with a shipment, the onus has been on us as sellers to take care of it. Sometimes it truly seems out of our hands, such as when something goes missing, or, in more frustrating recent cases I have had, the carrier says the item was delivered, and the buyer says he or she never got it. Any way you slice it those situations are a hassle, and cost you valuable time as a seller, especially if it comes down to filing an insurance claim.
Fortunately, those situations happen rarely for me. (Knock on wood). On the bright side, eBay does say they are offering bulk edit tools for us, so I am looking fwd. to those.
OK, more details below from eBay if you want them. Meantime, I would love to hear your take on the whole insurance situation. Feel free to post a comment on this blog.
"Optional buyer charges for shipping insurance removed: The insurance option creates the perception that buyers need to purchase shipping insurance as a protection on eBay, an experience they're not accustomed to on other ecommerce sites. In fact, sellers have always been responsible for their items until they arrive safely in their customers' hands. That's why shipping insurance will no longer be included in the purchase flow as either an option or requirement for buyers.
"Of course you can choose to purchase insurance on shipments, but not ask buyers to buy insurance separately. In some categories like Antiques, Collectibles, and Jewelry, shipping insurance for sellers is essential. When appropriate, you can include the cost of insurance in your item or shipping price."
"No optional buyer charges for insurance
"Why is eBay removing optional or required shipping insurance when I list or re-list my item?
By removing optional or required shipping insurance, we are adjusting to help meet buyer expectations for ecommerce and aligning with industry standard practices. In most circumstances, buyers do not expect to pay for the cost of shipping insurance. This change also reflects the industry�and eBay�standard practice that sellers are responsible for their items until they are safely in their customers' hands.
"As a seller, can I still insure the items I sell on eBay?
Yes, you are still able to insure your items. Check with your shipping carrier for insurance options, or contact a third-party shipping insurance provider for insurance coverage. You can also purchase shipping insurance from your shipping company on eBay when you print your shipping labels directly from eBay or PayPal. To help cover the additional expense, consider folding the cost of insurance into your handling fee or item price.
"I sell rare, antique, or one-of-a-kind items that I must insure. How can I insure these items?
There are several ways to insure items you sell. Check with your shipping carrier for insurance options, or contact a third-party shipping insurance provider for insurance coverage. You can also purchase shipping insurance from your shipping company on eBay when you print your shipping labels directly from eBay or PayPal. To help cover the additional expense, consider folding the cost of insurance into your handling fee or item price.
"Paying for shipping insurance raises my costs. What can I do?
If appropriate, you can move the cost of shipping insurance into your handling charges or item price.
"How do I add my insurance cost to my Auction-style listings?
If you list with Auction-style format, you can choose to add your insurance cost into your handling charges. You'll need to estimate the value of the item, and check with your shipping carrier or third-party insurance provider for approximate cost of coverage. You could also start your item at a slightly higher price to cover the cost of insurance.
"If I want to revise my listings, are bulk editing tools available?
Yes, bulk editing tools are available now.
"Will my listings be blocked in Relist, Sell Similar or Sell One Like This flows if they include shipping insurance?
No, eBay will not block these listings, but we will automatically remove the insurance option from the listing when a seller uses Relist, Sell Similar, or Sell one Like This. You'll see a message that eBay has removed these options from your listing.
"What about Good 'Til Cancelled listings?
The insurance option will be automatically removed from Good 'Til Cancelled listings when they renew. You'll see a message that the option has been removed.
"Does this change apply to all listing formats and categories?
Yes, this change will apply to all listing formats and categories.
"I use a third-party listing service. Am I affected?
Yes, this change impacts all third parties that provide listing and/or checkout services with optional or required shipping insurance as an option. eBay will require third parties to remove optional or required shipping insurance from their listing and checkout flows.
"I am a third-party developer. What changes do I need to make?
By September, you should remove the shipping insurance option from your product or service's listing and checkout flow."