Why is the shipping cost counted towards tindie's percentage?

I’d really like to understand the rationale for the cost of shipping being included in calculating tindie’s fee. I saw (and was infuriated by) this at feeBay as well and I simply cannot see any value added that justifies it. A fee based on a percentage of product’s price is perfectly reasonable but skimming shipping as well? When the organization does nothing to help in that area (and, in feeBay’s case, actually makes it harder)?

What am I not understanding? Or is this just “how the game is played”?

Thanks,
Dave

Good question - theres a very good reason. If we didn’t we’d start to see games where the price of the product is super low- but the difference was made up on the shipping charges. Basically gaming the system which creates a bad buying experience.

Emile

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So instead every seller gets punished because it’s somehow “inappropriate” to punish the actual offenders?

What a crock - enjoy your skim/scam!

I’m sorry you don’t like it - but we’ve never had push back on this. With over 16k orders & 3.3k products over the last 2 years, I feel like we’d have heard if it was a problem.

Anyway good luck and wish you the best!

Emile

Founder & CEO

@davidl how would you propose to distinguish the people who have legitimately high shipping expenses from the ones who are inflating their shipping prices to scam Tindie? And why discourage people from offering free shipping by making this proportionally more expensive?

As far as I’m aware, charging commission on the total bill is standard across the whole field, and as @emilepetrone points out, for good reason. Charging commission is a service fee - not a punishment.

The fallacy of Tindie’s stated rationale for skimming shipping is that it discourages “gaming the system which creates a bad buying experience”. That’s utterly ridiculous - artificially inflating Tindie’s cut cannot possibly in any way discourage “gaming the system.” If anything, it may reduce the spikes but very likely only actually increases the “noise floor” of inflated shipping costs (i.e., not as many egregious offenders but who wouldn’t pad their shipping when they realize Tindie is skimming it anyway?). It’s still left to the individual buyer to complain if it seems the shipping cost is unreasonable. And then what happens? It’s dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as it should be anyway (without the skimming).

As I’m sure you’re aware, shipping cost is a horrible multi-dimensional problem in size, weight, distance, and a host of other factors. But the shippers’ API’s generally use size, weight, distance, and maybe starting point, so it shouldn’t be insurmountably infeasible to gauge reasonability of a shipping charge.

And that’s what it all comes down to - reasonability. Is some small, single-digit percentage of a item’s price a reasonable fee for what Tindie does? Absolutely, given the quality of the site’s support for the overall transaction process. Is counting shipping AND the payment processing charge as part of the item’s price reasonable given that Tindie does nothing for shipping and shovels the same bits around whether the transaction is $5 or $5000? (And don’t believe for an instant that Tindie isn’t already making money on the “%+fixed” payment processing fee.) So Tindie is double-dipping by including shipping and payment processing in their fee calculation. Is this in any way reasonable? Sorry, no way.

So the next “justification” becomes “thousands of orders” and your “…is standard across the whole field”. So? How laughably irrelevant are both of those? The real answer is “because we can”. The next red herring someone will roll out is “…but it’s a trivial amount of money in the end”. Again, so? That’s not the point. The point is reasonability.

A double-dipping skimming scam fails the reasonability test. Period.

(And yes, there are other shop sites that don’t appear to be running this same Tindie-style skim/scam. At least, it hasn’t yet become obvious. Tindie’s big hook is its more “techie” clientele, so it gets the volume and the attention in this space and everything’s just wonderful, right? Until you peel the onion and apply even a little reasonability.)

You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

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Crazy shipping cannot be justified.

Also your sneaky hiding the total.

The OP has a fair point.

Cheers

T

Shipping, especially when insured, has become more expensive over time. Some items sold on Tindie require additional and special packaging. Many of our sellers don’t benefit from buying packaging in bulk and all these little costs add up on orders.

In regards to why we charge our 5% fee on the total order value (items + shipping), as Emile explained it’s because otherwise low-priced items with high shipping rates are added to Tindie. The total order value is what the payment processing companies charge us when the order is placed.

Please bear in mind we are also charged a fee when we disburse funds to sellers, based on the order total minus our 5%. Additionally, since Paypal and Stripe no longer reimburse fees for refunds, we have for the most part been eating these when a buyer or seller cancels an order.

Overall, because Tindie doesn’t charge a listing fee and sellers get to set their shipping rates, the fees and overheads paid on Tindie are still low compared to other platforms.

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