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Rants & Rumours: The eBay Global Shipping Center

Ah man... this is something that I’m not sure how I feel about. On one hand, it’s a really cool & efficient tool for sellers that want to open themselves up to international buyers. On the other, it opens up buyers to delays and potential nonsense when getting the item they ordered. Sellers who use it also seem to have higher shipping fees, so I would believe that it drives a higher overall cost to the buyer as well.

So what is the eBay Global Shipping Center?

From what I’ve gathered - it’s a service offered to sellers where eBay (in conjunction with Pitney Bowes, I think?) will handle stuff like customs declaration, duties, taxes, etc. on items that are crossing the border. Awesome, right? Takes the burden off the seller, and makes sure it’s all done (and done correctly) so the buyer’s not getting hit with duties and taxes when packages arrive.

From my experience it’s not that great. 

Tracking: keeping tabs on your items location can be confusing. The first item I had from this, I thought my card was mistakenly delivered in Kentucky. I’m in Nova Scotia - that’s not even close. Turns out there ends up being 3 tracking numbers - one of the seller sending it to the Global Shipping Center, one for after they hand it off to their people in Canada, and one number that’s supposed to cover the whole deal from seller to buyer. That wasn’t clear to me, so when my card arrived in Kentucky at the Global Shipping Center and was marked “delivered” in the tracking, you could see why I was absolutely confused.

Delays: the whole process adds AT LEAST an extra 2-3 business days to shipping time while they do their thing & prep it for shipment. 

Carrier: I enjoy that USPS hands off to Canada Post. In a normal world, I'm honestly not home throughout the day that much. This shipping service, once they move to Canada, hands off to Intelcom, who Amazon also uses. The problem with that, for me, is they can't access my mailbox or parcel locker. If I'm not here to receive it, then I need to drive across town to get it (whenever I have time during business hours which isn't that often!). Now currently, the world isn't normal and I've been working from home so it's a non-issue.. but once I'm back in the office for work I'll be hesitant to engage in any items using eBay's Global Shipping.

Cost: As I mentioned before, I have nothing to base this part on other than personal experience but this service seems to come at the cost of the buyer, not the seller. Cards I have bought using this method vs. USPS or other mail services seems to carry a higher cost. I mean it makes sense - it’s being shipped twice (once in the US, then from the US to Canada). I don't feel right saying the cost for the service should fall on the seller, as eBay already takes A LOT in fees from them, but it shouldn't 100% fall on the buyer either. It adds more benefit to the seller than the buyer to use this. Maybe something half way, where the buyer pays a slightly increased shipping and the seller endures a small fee for using the service? I don't know.

Another issue with this is that if eBay is taking the ownership of declaring customs on something, they need to ensure accuracy. They can't take a sellers word for it, so they need to open and inspect each package. As a collector that makes me uneasy. The video below outlines what a bad situation that is for buyers, especially those grabbing collectable items.

What lead me to make this post is my own current issue with this. I have a Aaron Nola Relic/Auto card I ordered that is seemingly in limbo.

This has been sitting at the Global Shipping Center for about a MONTH now. November 4th it arrived and there’s been no updates since. I know it isn’t the sellers fault, but reaching out to them (although they were extremely honest) didn’t help.

So not only is my stuff just not moving. Seemingly quite a few cards have just straight up not been delivered for this guy.

I’m not entirely sure what the next steps are, and who it falls on to get on eBay’s case about the card that’s just sitting. I ordered cards both before and after this one that stayed about 3 days at the Global Shipping Center, so not sure what happened here. I’ll be sure to post an update once things are resolved.


Just as this post went live I got an email from eBay, and I’m not happy. The card was damaged, so they sent it back to the seller and refunded me the amount I paid.

In most situations buying something I wouldn’t care that much, but I can’t find a single other one of these cards on eBay. I guess that means I’m just out of luck when it comes to this one. 

To summarize this whole post: 
the eBay Global Shipping Center really, really sucks.