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I experienced myself what it means to buy international via Ebay and how international transactions are affected by Ebay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP). Ebay or eGREEDY as I call them is of course stating it’s all for the benefit of their customers. Fact is the GSP is far more complex than you think and you will face much higher costs and longer shipping time until your purchased item is on your desk. For NEW sellers it’s MANDATORY to participate the GSP if you are in their scope of countries otherwise you can’t sell international. At the beginning GSP was optional nowadays you have to OPT OUT of GSP as it’s now the standard setup when you sell at eGreedy. GSP is heavily under critics by eCommerce websites but as eBay is the biggest fish in the pond they can do what they want. We all know how worse eBay’s customer service is working and they don’t care about users opinions at all.

The information given here is taken from eBay the website, several websites and blogs, eCommerce sites.

What is the Global Shipping Program? (click to see full Terms & Conditions)

The Global Shipping Program is a new program that makes it easy to sell to buyers in many countries around the world—simply by shipping your items domestically to a US shipping center. Once received by the US shipping center, international shipping will be handled for you, including preparing customs forms, remitting applicable import charges that are prepaid by your buyer, and international shipping to the buyer—with tracking—using a fast, reliable carrier. Enrollment is FREE!

How does the Global Shipping Program work?

Whether you are new to international selling or you already list and sell items on a global basis, the Global Shipping Program lets you sell your items internationally yet ship domestically, making global sales as easy as easy as domestic ones. Once you enroll in the Global Shipping Program and apply it to your new and active listings, your eligible items will be visible to millions of international buyers on

Furthermore, for all Global Shipping Program items, the total item price, including import charges, will be automatically calculated for you and displayed to your buyer at checkout. After an international buyer purchases the item, just ship the package to the US shipping center. The Global Shipping Program will do the rest—package processing, customs forms, payment of applicable import charges, and international shipping with tracking.

The Global Shipping Program is available to buyers in these countries. As additional countries are added, your listings will be updated automatically to include the new countries.

Do items ship faster internationally through the Global Shipping Program?

Items that ship through the Global Shipping Program generally arrive within one week after departing the US shipping center. Packages not shipped through Global Shipping Program can take much longer. Packages that use the Global Shipping Program benefit from professional customs processing, which helps expedite delivery times. According buyers experience frequently posted on the web it takes often longer via GSP.

Are there any restrictions on items that can be shipped through the Global Shipping Program (size, weight, category limits, and restricted items)?

Yes, there are restrictions. (Full details – see eBay website). For example you can’t sell paper money via GPS as this is one of the restrictions. Before introducing GSP it was easily possible.

What happens to my package when it’s at the US shipping center?

The US shipping center is managed by a third party global shipping and technology provider. When your package arrives at the US shipping center, that provider will oversee the sorting and processing of your package and will arrange for international shipment of your buyer’s order by various shipping carriers from the US shipping center to the delivery address designated by your buyer.

Side Small Size Stretchy FM29 Thigh Snug BESTON Women's Zip Suede Half High Boots Fit Wine How are the shipping charges calculated for the international leg?

The international shipping charge your buyer sees is derived from a number of factors, including the buyer’s location, shipping weight, and package dimensions. A network of shipping carriers will be used by the provider to provide fast, reliable and traceable services. For complete details, see the Global Shipping Program. If you list an item with a low sale price, consider the economics of shipping globally using a traceable service.

It’s frequently reported that eBay OVERCHARGES!  Just google and you will find plenty of articles. The definition how the calculation works is everything else than clear!

How are the import charges calculated?

Import charges quoted to buyers are derived from real-time proprietary estimates of applicable import charges by the third party global shipping and technology provider and include applicable customs duties, taxes, brokerage, and other fees. These charges are calculated based on a number of factors, including: the item price, total shipping price, shipping weight, package dimension, country of manufacture, and item classification. For additional information, see the Global Shipping Program.

This is also a “black hole” as the definition how to calculate is everything else than clear. By my personal experience they charged me 25% import (based on the sales price) while in Thailand it should be just 7%! And in every country you are tax free until a certain amount. I believe the high share of the fees are “handling fees” by their third party service Pitney Bowes Inc.


Her is my example (personal experience):

$17.88 additional cost for a so called “Import charge”. Item value was $20! Insane!


I asked eBay for a statement:

I am very surprised that I have to pay $18 for the so called import charges due to the GSP for a item value of $20!!! No country would charge any customs, tax or other fees at this low item value!!! Please explain and please do it in a way I understand and not just by a automated answer by sending links to the GSP terms and condition as I looked in there already and the definition how the import charges are calculated are everything else than clear.

Thomas, it is not uncommon for buyers to pay additional costs such as duties, taxes and customs clearance fees. Since international shipping rates may or may not include pickup with customs clearance. Your package will arrive, but then you might need to pay extra international fees. Even if duties and taxes were not applicable there may still be an administrative fee for processing the goods through the border.

Sellers have no control over this, and as the rules are quite complex, will most often not be able to tell you whether or not duty will apply to the item they are selling. As a buyer, it is important to be aware of what custom charges may apply for your country and product before you bid or purchase your item. It is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure the item can be legally imported into your own country, and, unless arrangements have been made to the contrary in advance, to pay any taxes and duties that might be assessed at the border.

What a bullshit – sorry!

“Let me be very clear. Based on my own experience,  frequent postings on the web and also by independent analyzes by eCommerce websites it’s nothing else for eBay / eGreedy than to make more money and to become even more greedy!” Many even say it’s a SCAM as they charge “import fees” on items where no such fees is required by customs!

International buyers definitely have to pay much higher (unnecessary) fees due to eBay’s GSP. Period!

  • Higher (over priced) shipping fees
  • Longer delivery time
  • Tax and duties for everything – no tax free / duty free items

39 comments for “eBay Global Shipping Program – Disadvantage for international buyers!

  1. Roger
    9 August, 2018 at 01:20

    Many of the above criticisms of the GSP are fair and valid. There are a few which need highlighting. It is very expensive and often unjust charges are levied. Sometimes GSP (Pitney Bowes) charges import duties when there are none. Yes, it’s just a scam. Getting in touch with these companies is difficult. They say use email or phone us or call in to an office.These procedures (in my experience) rarely work as they should. However, from a buyers point of view there is one major benefit… time. Your parcel shoud arrive in two weeks door to door and you do not have to worry about paperwork. You always know where the parcel is. This is very important to consider if the goods are valuable or urgent. In my experience 1St Class International USPS mail can take three months to arrive. Standard Internatioanl or Economy anything up to six months. You pay your money and take your choice.

  2. Linne
    6 August, 2018 at 15:59

    I can’t remember receiving any information on the GSP when it first came to eBay. So, when I placed a bid on an item an won the auction I had no idea that I would have to pay 20-30 USD extra on top of it!

    You can at least see the total cost of items that you have the possibility of adding to your chart, but on auctions you have no clue what so ever! It just says “See import charges at checkout” which is crazy – I want to know what the total is going to be before I commit to buying something. Shady as hell if you ask me, can’t be legal??

  3. Bob Bobco
    11 July, 2018 at 04:15

    In Canada, Consumer and Corporate affairs, under Consumer and monopolies laws nailed Amazon for 1.1 million.

    Compared to the overt and blatant frauds by misrepresentation committed upon Canadians by Ebay, what Amazon did was smal potatoes.

    I wonder if Trump secretly has shares in Amazon? Its not like Ebay does not know there is a problem, just Google GSP and see how many positive results show up. It seems very very important that the GSP go on, even though it certainly affects, and decreases Ebays income through loss of fees on items not sold because buyers avoid the GSP. I wonder why this is.

  4. Diane
    26 June, 2018 at 22:22

    A couple months ago Global Shipping mixed up my parcel with someone else’s. They received my $120 item and I received their $10 item. Never did get my item.

    Am waiting for another parcel thru Ebay and Global Shipping. Tracking shows my parcel has been SITTING at the Global Shipping center for more than a month now. Ebay seller says it’s out of their hands. Guess I won’t see that parcel either.

    I wouldn’t mind paying extra with this program if my parcels arrived quicker but they arrive a couple weeks later. Now within a 3 month span, 2 of my parcels have NOT ARRIVED at all.

    I can see it being easier for the Seller, but I will not be a Buyer again if Global Shipping is used.

  5. Mudi
    13 June, 2018 at 20:25

    Comparing eBay GSP charge to Amazon Shipping charge for the exact same item, valued $25 USD:

    Amazon $7.55
    GSP $25.56

    Go figure!

  6. Lukas
    24 April, 2018 at 19:22

    I’ve just been stung by the Global Shipping Program on 2 purchases and searching for “ebay global shipping program charging extra” brought me here.

    I purchased on ebay AU site from a US seller and a EU seller respectively.

    On both occasions my order states one price and my credit card charge states a different price. These additional charges (still) do not show up on my Order Details on ebay.

    It’s between $14-$18 extra AUD.

    In contacting ebay AU support I seemed to get a support centre overseas (not US?). They simply said not to worry about the extra charge as it is legitimate and to do with conversion rates. When I raised that the conversion rates listed on my order are different to what has been charged on my credit card, again was pointed to the (supposed) fact that the conversion rate changed between me ordering and the payment being taken. Unlikely given the US markets were closed at the time. In any case, the conversion rate has only changed by 0.7% in the past week, so, again, unlikely to be an actual conversion rate change and to happen on two orders as well…

    Allegedly, it would point to either a hidden charge under the GSP or ebay non US sites are not displaying correct currency conversion. I’m not sure which is the case or whether something else is going on altogether…

    I purchased items last year from the US (sent to Australia) and I’ll go back and check the order details, however I believe they charged out to my credit card as per the order details and stated converted currency etc.

    At this stage I’ll be wary of GSP.

  7. Mary J
    11 April, 2018 at 00:29

    Did you realize that charging fees fraudulently is illegal? Telling a customer that import fees are x amount of dollars when they should be zero is illegal. That is theft by deception and it is a felony criminal crime due to the high dollar amount they are scheming.. Think of how many customers that don’t know what import fees should be. It could be their first purchase. They pay it blindly.

    As far as getting screwed by buyers. That can happen in the states as well. I have heard of people returning empty boxes that get tracked. eBay sees the package was delivered and sides with the buyer. People have sold items for parts and when the buyer gets it they report that it doesn’t work! eBay sides with the buyer even though the auction has IT IS FOR PARTS, IT DOESN’T WORK all over it. Pathetic. eBay is threading shark infested waters right now.

    IF YOU ARE EVER SCREWED by eBay as a seller ie. you get ripped off by the buyer and eBay sides with them when the evidence is otherwise. AND You have contacted the Resolution Department (NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE THEY ARE USELESS) and filed an appeal, that didn’t go in your favor and you still feel that you are in the right. Then you MUST contact the attorney generals office in the state where eBay resides which is California. Also, contact the FTC and report fraud. You can do this online. Google FTC file report fraud.
    This can also be done for those import fees. You’d need to contact the attorney general in California and Kentucky. Since the Global Shipping Service that is ran by Pitney Bowes is based in Kentucky. The more people that do this the better. I read that a buyer reported this fraud to customs in his country and they were very helpful. Customs discussed the of blocking packages that come from GSP due to fraudulent charges. Apparently, multiple people had been contacting their countries customs department to report this. I say keep doing it, once packages are blocked that are sent by the GSP aka Pitney Bowes, they will change their ways. Also, contact sellers and tell them that you are interested in their item but will not use GSP and explain why. Show them how to look up fees right on the listing page for any country. Most sellers don’t know how to do this.

    Don’t bother with the BBB this is a scam as well. It is a for profit business that allows companies to pay to get A ratings. Anyone even Comcast aka crapcast can get an A rating with them. It just takes dollars and believe me the BBB begs for it and often get it. The BBB also screens complaints and doesn’t send all complaints to the company. Any information you find on the BBB is bogus BS. It is sad because they make people believe they are part of the government but they are far from it.

    A class action lawsuit is perfect for each of these issues. There are a number of class action law firms in California and Kentucky. Seek them out and give them a call. It will not cost you one cent. They take a percentage when you win. Nothing if you don’t. Check Google to see if any class action lawsuits are active against eBay now before contacting an attorney. If so, contact the firm handling the suit to join in.

    Here is the direct link to the FTC complaint page.

    And the Attorney General’s office in California

    Attorney General’s Office in Kentucky: Round Stiletto Platform 13 Pumps High Toe Joogo Shoes Heels Size Dress Women Leopard 5wXxCqAg

    Attorney General’s Office Connecticut Pitney Bowes corporate office location
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    You will need the following information. Please write out your complaints for each before going on the website. Gather as much data as you can. The more the better. Make sure the grammar and spelling are correct. Use just paste your complaint in and it will show you what needs to be corrected. The more professional your complaint is the better chance it has at being taken seriously.

    Pitney Bowes Corporate Headquarters. 3001 Summer St. Stamford CT 06926. US (203) 356-5000

    eBay Headquarters 2025 Hamilton Avenue San Jose, California 95125. USA. (408) 376-7400

    GSP Kentucky location: Pitney Bowes, INC.1850 Airport Exch Boulevard Erlanger, KY 41018 US (859) 457-6805

    Good luck.

    • 11 April, 2018 at 07:51

      Thank you for your very detailed feedback. It seems you are deeply involved in this issue. Yes, they need be sued! Thanks, Tom

    • michael Le Blanc
      12 April, 2018 at 00:45

      I just purchased another item (stupidly) using the GSP from the U.S. to Canada. $12 U.S. paper magazine ad page with $18 U.S. shipping. How does it take $18 to ship a piece of paper through the mail from the U.S. to Canada? I’ve had ‘expedited’ similar mail sent to me for as little as $4 in a rigid cardboard envelope, the fees through the GSP are simply ridiculous…I’ve also had to pay duty on items less than $20 which I shouldn’t have had to do at any time. By the time I receive the item it has more often than not cost TRIPLE by the time I receive it as compared to my winning bid. I’m done with this whole GSP. I’ve had items through this travel on up to 20 or more trucks back and forth all over the U.S. before getting to Kentucky, massive fuel usage and thousands of miles instead of a straight line when the seller was less than 200 miles from me to begin with.

      • 12 April, 2018 at 08:28

        Michael, I fully understand your pain. Thanks for reporting another bad case on this Scam. Cheers, Tom.

        • dave patterson
          13 April, 2018 at 00:17

          Hi great article,and agree with everything you say.However when I saw on my paypal invoice that half of the shipping went to Pitney Bowes,I immediately tried to find out who the F is taking my money without my permission.They did not respond to my communication so I went on their facebook page and called them thieves and asked for them to justify themselves..Had to do this 3 times and then I got a reply asking to communicate by private email.I won’t say what I said back but never heard from them again.As you know there is no way to take this up with evilbay or payenemy,so if customers did this on mass then their pr job ponsy facebook would fail and they might think twice about defrauding us.At no point did PB dispute anything. Just been on twitter my comment deleted before it posted.It was very polite so no reason apart from censorship.They own us and most of the world are oblivious
          cheers dave patterson living in France trying to buy from UK

  8. Nick Athanasatos
    4 April, 2018 at 10:30

    I would not ship Internationally without Global Shipping Program.
    Too much risk with eBay/PayPal mediation.And sending directly through USPS they’re it reliable? I know two people who work for USPS and they say”they don’t pay”
    I hope that’s not true.
    Once an item gets to GSP it’s they’re responsibility.
    If Global Shipping can keep it’s prices affordable it is an overall GREAT service.
    Automatically opting in new people to Global Shipping Program protects them from seriously getting burned( loss)
    They have to make something for this service.
    I think the buyer gets a good estimate for customs duty as well. Directly sent..customs can be anything..though it’s supposed to be a certain percent in practice buying one of’s not.

  9. Nick and Jane
    6 May, 2017 at 19:35

    Im a seller and the Global shipping program is great.
    Look at the name… its a PROGRAM.

    Not all Programs are great for all people. Some will be at a disadvantage.

    Its a program for sellers, not for buyers as much, though buyers benefit, Ill explain.

    As a seller, I can sell my products around the globe, and no longer have to worry about getting scammed, just like selling and shipping in the US. I also don’t have to fill out long complicated forms, duties, tariffs, etc, that make it not worth shipping internationally.

    With the global program, all I have to do is ship to a center in the US. Thats it, Im done. If there is a problem, the G.S.P. is at fault, and I still get my money.

    the biggest complainers are the people who want to have us sellers say “Its a gift” on the paperwork so they don’t have to pay.
    If the one person has a 20 dollar item, and had to pay and extra 18, then those are the tariffs taxes and such. Administrative fees are obviously only going to be a small %, maybe a dollar or two? This buyer is probably not used to paying his countries duties.

    As a buyer, you know your getting a product that your covered for, because eBay is taking responsibility for the whole trip.

    Im sure there are cases where it a disadvantage, but I “volunteered” into the GSP, it was NOT forced on me, and its been awesome for me.

    One time the shipper delivered the package to the wrong place. I would have been out of luck. Instead the GSP was at fault, and I still got my money as I did what was asked: ship to a center in the US that takes over from there.

    • 6 May, 2017 at 20:23

      Thank you for your input. You might consider the following.
      1. eBay opt-in ALL new sellers to the GSP, which is already an impudence. New sellers don’t know about this and they also don’t know they have manually to opt-out!
      2. eBay is charging import fees in general and for everything, not considering a product type and country specific free customs limits.
      3. In almost all cases they charge for the shipping much higher than a local mail service would charge.
      4. What you mean with scamming? How is scaming related to GSP?
      5. There are usually no complex form if you have ordinary goods for sale
      6. Shipping time takes often longer, not shorter
      7. Of course to declare a wrong customs value is a offense!
      8. Make yourself familiar how much GSP is disapproved my the vast majority of buyers (google is your friend)
      9. In my opinion any long time seller using GSP is reckless towards its buyers and helping eBay in the scamming. But again fresh eBay sellers don’t know better. See point 1. as eBay doesn’t tell them.

      Personally, I see ebay’s GSP as a scam from eBay to make extra money on the back of buyers. I always point sellers on that issue when I see it and you woun’t belive how many appreciate my input and then OPT-OUT once they really understand the issue.

      Cheers, Tom

    • David
      5 November, 2017 at 01:32

      As a seller who has had money stolen from me by unscrupulous buyers and indifferent PayPal moderation I will not sell to new overseas buyers without the global Shipping Program. Even if a buyer admits to giving the wrong delivery address PayPal will side with the buyer and steal your money to refund their payment. Even when they admit they gave you the wrong address. So, if you are a buyer and want the ability to buy an item from the other side of the planet that years ago you would not even known existed, then suck it up and pay the price. Or find another venue.

      • 5 November, 2017 at 11:34

        David, as I see you are from the US. Actually many US sellers using GSP, partly by inexperience as new sellers are automatically opt-in. GSP is NOT mandatory. You have your reason to use it but I am pretty sure your international sales are low – because of the high and unnecessary costs due to GSP. An that is what I and many others complain. GSP is asking “Import fees” for items where no import fees are ever applicable. Check the duty free item list for a specific country and you will be surprised. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Best regards, Tom

      • Lukas
        24 April, 2018 at 19:29

        I don’t mind paying the price, if it is reasonable, but the issue I have faced is that the charges on my order (including currency conversion) do not match the actual charges taken out of my credit card. The extra charge is not stated ANYWHERE – it just appears magically in your credit card charge.

  10. Verity
    2 February, 2016 at 07:56

    As a buyer, GSP is great – I know what my tax commitment is, and I get to pay it upfront, rather than being conned by organisations like FedEx (recently bought £14 of goods from a US firm, well within my £15 VAT allowance, hit by FedEx with a bill for £17.45 because one Clare Billingham reckons that one of two identical cotton phone covers was declared at $40.95 and the other at its correct price of $1.98. Other than Paris Hilton, would anyone pay $40 for a cotton phone cover? But that’s FedEx for you – shareholders first and always).

  11. Danny
    19 August, 2015 at 16:31

    Small BESTON Half Zip Size FM29 High Stretchy Thigh Wine Suede Snug Women's Side Fit Boots I bought a watch costing me 1300usd from Texas to be sent to Malaysia , the problem is watches and cosmetic is duty item exempted from tax. How the hell gsp robe me by imposing their own taxation rule, ok I can live by paying 38usd in their own taxation which I think is illegal, but the worst nightmare is I have no idea which destination courier is handling my watch, they are using funny tracking number started with upaaaxxxxxxxxxxx.. And no local courier understand what that is. Yes tracking record is provide and showing custom cleared 4 days ago and now with Robert for delivery, it has been 4 days that I am waiting not know who Robert is and which courier is he from. No information provided on either eBay or Google search. Isn’t is rediculous? Can eBay pls explain this? Is it not better is eBay is without gsp? This is a thief system and sending buyer to outer space for item bought,

    Frustrated buyer from Malaysia,


    • 21 August, 2015 at 12:17

      Hi Danny. I feel you. GSP is scrap and some kind of fraud for many buyers. eBay sees it of course different and they do what they want. eBay CS is bottom quality and do not waste any time to discuss with them as it will be useless and unsuccessful. This statement is based on my frequent experience in challenging eBay. Thanks for sharing! Cheers Tom

  12. Terence Tan
    11 December, 2014 at 23:45

    Bloody blood sucking fraud. I live in Malaysia. When I buy stuff and sent to Malaysia, it should be tax free if it’s below 500 Malaysian Ringit according to the Malaysian Customs. Now items below that amount is also taxed. WTF!

  13. Rozann Hunt
    16 January, 2014 at 08:04

    Hi Tom, I believe I am the Seller in your terrible experience with e-bay and their global shipping policy.However, I still have the item and if there is another way this transaction can happen I am willing. Thank you for your time. Rozann

    • 16 January, 2014 at 08:54

      Thanks Rozann. I sent you a private message. Best, Tom.

  14. Alex
    14 December, 2013 at 12:44

    Good article but it’s about GSP, not GPS…

    • 14 December, 2013 at 14:05

      Thanks Alex, you are right – corrected. Tom

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