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Q&A: eBay Carpet Sellers High Shipping Costs for Oriental and Persian Rugs

We look forward to talking with anyone who may have questions on or about oriental rugs.  We are an Independent Reviewer, and will give you our opinion for any rug, new or old.  Should you have any questions you would like to submit for a blog entry response, please do so, and be sure to include photographs of your rug.  For more information, please take a look at the bottom of this page, or feel free to Contact Us at

Question received Sunday, the 3 rd of August, 2008:

Hi Rug Rag!

Why do some rug sellers on ebay have astronomical shipping charges yet very low starting bids? 



Ebay is a very competitive market, and shipping costs for large rugs can be expensive: However, you have an excellent point about the exorbitant shipping fees posted by some sellers.  This is a tricky subject because many people don't read the auction carefully enough to see shipping and handling costs which are often described somewhere in the listing. 

Shipping costs are high as opposed to "actual" rug cost for several reasons:  First, many buyers often browse rugs by lowest price first.  If a seller lists a rug for a very low starting bid, the theory is more people will jump in.  Secondly, and perhaps most importantly (and fraudulent), sellers offer low starting bids and higher shipping costs because this allows them to evade eBay's Final Value Fee.  Ebay's Final Value Fee is a charge which they apply to the seller based on the final bid of the item itself: shipping excluded.  Sellers can elude these charges by building a large portion of the cost of the rug into the "handling" fees to generate revenue.  

Furthermore, excessive shipping and handling charges is a serious problem for two reasons: First, this is in direct violation with eBay's terms of agreement as posted on their site.  Secondly, and most relevant to the consumer, even if the seller has a return policy, you could lose your shirt in the end. 

For example, a fairly common practice situation would be a starting bid of $9.99, and a shipping and handling cost of $129.00.  It is not uncommon for a bidder to win this auction for $9.99.  However, While the seller may state they "accept returns," you may also notice they often will not refund shipping and handling charges as posted on the auction, AND furthermore, the buyer would be responsible for the return shipping, handling and insurance!  That is to say, you purchase the rug for $9.99, you pay $129.00 for shipping and handling and are out of pocket $138.99.  You decide to return the rug, and the seller will refund only the $9.99, lose your $129.00 shipping and handling fee, and then have to pay whatever actual shipping costs are to send the rug back to the seller.  Technically, by the end of the deal, you could be out over $160+ and still not have a rug, or have spend $138.99 and be completely unhappy! 

Ebay is an excellent venue, but in many cases can be seen as the essence of a "buyer beware" marketplace.  

In the cases of seeing misuse and abuse regarding excessive shipping charges, go to this link here scroll to the bottom, and submit a complaint. 

-Rug Rag


eBay Rugs and Carpet Buyer's Guide



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For all those interested in submitting a question to the Rug Rag Editors:  We'd be more than happy to help, please send some photographs of the reverse side of the rug very close up with a quarter placed on the knots, plus a picture of the fringe, the whole face of the rug and detail shot of the pile.  If the rug is worn, please include photographs of worn areas.  For rugs of any age, please be sure to check for dry areas, moth damage, odor, and whether or not the rug is straight/has right angles where called for.  If you have any questions about our assessment request feel free to send us an email.  Otherwise, we are looking for something similar to these images posted here


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