starslayer wrote:Why?? Where does it say that? (Im playing devil's advocate) Someone who says free shipping is probably thinking same country. It doesnt say free shipping anywhere/everywhere. There has to be a "meeting of the minds". Seeing someone who lives in the USA (example) offering free shipping, and a buyer in China expecting that same offer- should ASK. Expecting it IMHO is silly.
The buyer isnt releived of all responsibility. Both parties should be clear on all terms, what edtion models, assembled, painted, packing & shipping,etc.
A few points:
1. Shipping and Handling are two separate things. Shipping is the cost of postage & packaging. Handling is the labor component. Handling is usually "free", but not always. As it is separately chargeable, and not stated, anybody who states "free shipping" is well within their rights to charge a separate international handling fee that they waive for domestic. That is not in any way "breaking" any agreement, as handling was never stated to be free. From a legal contracts standpoint, it's no different from somebody with a seller's permit charging the required sales tax or a registered importer/exporter charging their fees. From a business standpoint, those fees should be assumed as standard cost of doing business. Offering to waive one portion of the fees in no way constitutes an obligation to waive other fees. I would gladly go to court on this basis, and expect to fully recover all legal costs in the process.
2. If you look in the classified ads for car sales (5-figure transactions), and compare the terms & conditions listed as opposed to the typical 2-3 figure transactions on Btown, I think it's clear that one should reasonably expect some amount of fine print / assumptions not necessarily stated in the body of the listing that both parties would need to discuss.
3. Your example is preposterous. I've never seen anybody post "PM to accept", so it's not worth discussion. That said, if I state there is a substantial handling charge for Brazil, then that's up to the buyer to decide.
4. If someone actually demanded free shipping and handling, then the answer is going to be as follows:
- shipping to be at the cheapest, slowest method available,
- NO tracking numbers to be provided under any circumstances,
- NO confirmation to be provided whatsoever,
- ALL risk and additional fees / surcharges on the Buyer,
- NO risk to the Sender,
- ANY payment to be irrevocable (i.e. wire transfer only)
The buyer gets (or doesn't get) what they (didn't) pay for.
5. If they leave a backout, I would definitely BTR and Neg them. The deal was never closed, due to disagreement on conditions. Leaving a "backout" means they don't understand process.
6. No terms were changed, and no deal was agreed, so no backout is warranted.
7. As above, shipping isn't handling. I can offer free shipping and charge for handling, just as others often include handling but charge for shipping.
Clearly, the issue isn't black and white and, as JohnHwangBT
said, there needs to be a meeting of the minds. Both parties need to clearly communicate and cover all relevant terms of a transaction. However, if you say "free/includes shipping" in your post, you need to qualify it. You could do this in one of two ways. One, also state that you will only sell to other people within your country or two, say "free/includes shipping in the US".
Without qualifying your statement, you leave it open to interpretation and confusion. Something we should all avoid.
1. Sales tax and customs fees are required by law, handling charges are not. When a seller says "$10 shipped" it is reasonably understood by all parties that $10 includes all relevant costs. We're not dealing with a brick and mortar store here. If we were, we would expect to pay the sales tax of the relevant state.
2. Agreed. Both parties should bargain, and upon reaching an agreement (contract), execute their duties in good faith.
3. It's called a unilateral contract and, while they may not be common on bartertown, they exist, are a valid form of contract, and the example shows the danger of unclear/ambiguous terms, which was my intention.
4. The buyer didn't demand free shipping, the seller offered it. However, I understand what you're saying and agree.
5. The backout example is based on the unilateral contract which was accepted and closed by PM.
6. See #5.
7. Why would someone say "free shipping" in a post? To encourage someone to buy the item. If I saw a post for an item I wanted which was listed as "$10 shipped" I would reasonably expect to pay exactly that. If the seller then said, "by the way, it's another $5 for handling", I would be suspicious of his intentions and probably not agree to the deal (my personal position). Why? Because the seller included enough information to attract a buyer, but left out other pertinent information. It would make me feel that the seller was trying to trick me.
You either include all of your terms in your post/offer/advertisement, or none of them. If you include all the terms, the include them in full, relevant detail (free shipping to US only). If you don't include any terms, then you would negotiate them upon finding an interested party.
I prefer the second option.