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Scam warnings. Aggressive tone?



7:46 pm on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I recall a thread listing warning signs for scamming a while back. After dealing with a customer this morning, I think I have another to add... 'Strangely aggressive behavior'. Anybody else ever get this kind of thing?

I get a lot of people asking how much it will be to send stuff to their country. In one particular large country, they for some reason have a rather short max length size limit for the postal service there. This rules out postal for most of our items going to there. UPS/FedEx and the others are of course, way more... Plus you've got broker fees and all that. So lots of times I have people asking to quote how much the other services will cost. I gave up taking the time to quote an exact amount, because 99.9% of the time, the people say... Forget it. Which is no surprise. I wouldn't even feel right about charging what it would cost, because it's crazy to pay 4 times what the product is worth. So I usually just tell them that, and that's enough to get the idea across. Sometimes I ask them if they travel to other countries or something... Maybe we could send it there.

So I get one of those yesterday, and once again I politely explain the situation... Today I get a terse reply back from the guy, the tone of which is basically like... 'Are you going to tell me the amount? Otherwise I'll find somebody else.'

I've had people take this tone a few times before. It always raises a red flag for me. It reminds me of those scummy car salesmen that try to intimidate you and make you feel stupid for not instantly buying a car... "Well, OK... But it's going to be gone by this afternoon".

I can just imagine spending hundreds to ship the stuff, and then Mr. attitude not only does a chargeback on the merchandise, but also all the shipping.


8:04 pm on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

because it's crazy to pay 4 times what the product is worth

Not necessarily, if the item is exactly what the customer needs/wants.

Tell them the courier costs, at least approximately, and let them make up their own mind about whether it's worthwhile.


8:06 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have always thought that if the shipping was high compared to the cost of the item, then the buyer was probably engaging in something fraudulent, but lately I have found that indeed, honest people out there are willing to pay several times the cost of an item for its shipping because, as buckworks says, it's for something they really want. Also, I have loosened up some in terms of which countries I bar from completing the sale, even been sending stuff to Serbia. No evil eye, so far, so good.


8:42 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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When there is no other way to obtain what you need and/or want badly you will agree to pay very unreasonable shipping charges. If it is something anyone can get anywhere, then it would be questionable to me. We may not like it but go along because it is the only way to get things.

I am getting ready to order a garden tiller that I want badly and will need to pay shipping twice - once to a friend in the mainland US and then for him to actually mail it to me. Just bought an iPad the same way. When businesses won't or can't ship, you resort to workarounds of whatever cost to get what you want. I am in the US but not on the mainland and only US mail will deliver to my address. Friends in Alaska are in the same boat. Unless there are other suspicious factors in a sale I don't think that should be used as a deciding criteria.


8:59 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some observations of mine in international shipping:

1. Some customers see a rate of $20.99 to the US and think 'well it can't be than twice that to Australia!". I normally respond saying 'I can investigate a rate for you but normally it's around $100+ to xyz. Let me know if you want me to track down an exact rate for you'. If the customer is expecting too low, they won't come back. If the customer doesn't really care about a shipping price, they'll ask for the exact rate (and subsequently they might also feel more obligated to pay after requesting more work from you). Which leads to point number 2...

2) A lot of customers, as others mentioned, don't care about the shipping price. It might seem absurd to us to pay $200 shipping for a $200 item, but that's the mindset of us living in the largest consumer economy in the world where we can get anything we want. International customers can sometimes be the least price sensitive folks around.

3) When shipping prices start to exceed $100, I always send customers a link to our return policy which states something along the lines of us not being responsible for shipping fees in excess of $100 no matter what (our sympathies if you receive your product DOA, but it's the risk you'll have to accept).

4. Further to point #3, when shipping prices start to get high, screening your customers really becomes important. A friendly banter about what they're going to use the product for normally eliminates any potential scammers.


9:02 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have had people pay over $30(US) to ship an $8 item to Europe or Australia. Who am I to argue. Of course, depending on the product, USPS Priority International Flat Rate is not bad, as little as $12.95 to Canada and Mexico, and $16.95 to all other countries. I ship a lot a small, light weight items this way and the customers really appreciate it when you offer them that option versus regular International Priority which can start at twice as much. (Don't mean to sound like a sales pitch.)



11:03 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

The thing that gets us is the max length limit. My most popular item for overseas needs a 60" box minimum. I can fudge an inch or so, but that's it. The two max length limits for postal is 42" or 60". Most of the more progressive countries are the 60". I'm told it has to do with the conveyor sorting systems and what they're rated to handle, and just how much effort a service wants to make. Virtually all of mainland Europe is the 60", as are other fairly progressive areas. For some odd reason Australia is 42". Have no idea why. So I get a lot of people from there wondering what the deal is. Item cost is about $150, postal cost would be about $45 or so overseas, but it's about $300 or more on other services, before tax or broker, which would make it even higher. I helped solve the problem by offering a slightly lower performance custom version of the product, just for people in Australia which is shorter... but of course most people want the big one. Wholesaling is out... I just don't want to deal with that and the demand really isn't large enough.

I get all the stuff about high shipping rates. If you can't get it, you can't get it. But I was more weary of somebody getting a crappy tone for no logical reason. Just makes me nervous. If they're a hot head about that, who knows what they're capable of. And this particular order would have been about 3k by the time you added in shipping. My Spidey senses were just tingling a bit.


11:31 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I've taken a different position with the "at any shipping cost" guys when the shipping cost exceeds the valuta of the product.

"We will consider shipping the item if you provide up front the shipping costs, as we do not believe this is a rational purchasing decision."

As far as "agressive tone" I remark, "I don't like your tone. I choose not to sell to you." Case closed.

Then provide them with the costs, plus 5%. We don't ship until we have the shipping costs in hand, processed via banking, before we ship the item, ie. hard cash in hand.

Amazing how many of those say thanks, but no thanks.


1:52 am on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

we do not believe this is a rational purchasing decision

Figure out a better way to say it than that! Nothing will be gained by insulting your potential customers.


3:43 am on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

You're over-thinking.

When you buy something in a store, you don't bring out the calculator, feed in some numbers and conclude: 1% raw materials, 4% transport to factory, 2% factory labor, 3% manufacturer's overhead, 5% manufacturer's profit, 10% overseas shipping, 15% shipper's profit, et cetera... You just buy the ### thing, or you don't.

If you want something that isn't available locally, what difference does it make if 75% of the cost is "item price" and the other 25% is "shipping"-- or the other way around? It's either worth the total cost or it isn't.


4:14 am on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have had people send me an aggressive tone email about how the were not satisfied with our products and wanted us to send a replacement. They are also unable to produce an order number or some proof the actually purchased something.

Go with your "gut feeling" if it does not feel right, then do not do the transaction.


8:18 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Well... The guy wrote back and was considerably nicer this time around. Plus, I looked in the records and found he had purchased before. After thinking about what everybody said, I guess I'll agree to do it. He has given me some of the prices for similar items where he is, and it's like 5 times more money. Maybe my prices are too low. lol I think maybe we tend to side with the people who never think anything is cheap enough and aim for them, when in reality there might be a whole other group of people that can afford a lot more.

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