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Old 29th September 2017
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Re: Is this the end for Ryanair?

Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
@Naughty Nigel - JC makes a similar arguement about the UK economy under the Conservatives, post Brexit, ie race to the bottom, but I'm guessing (by previous discussions eg has TM shot herself...) you won't be supporting the extreme left wing Labour Party.

I have to ask you in relation to Amazon and eBay, do you boycott both of these? Personally I try to avoid eBay but I spend quite a bit with Amazon, mainly buying books.
In answer to your direct question: I avoid Amazon wherever possible, with the possible exception of books and CD's, but only if I cannot find them anywhere else.

My experience of other items bought directly from Amazon is patchy at best, and includes a camping gas stove that gave off dangerously high levels of CO. Amazon clearly doesn't have any kind of quality programme to ensure the quality or safety of any of the goods that it sells, but will presumably withdraw products if it receives a sufficient number of returns.

Hardly satisfactory is it?

I think it is worth noting that whilst Amazon's prices often appear attractive, (although often not), the margins and fees that they expect dictate that the original product must have been very cheap in the first place.

With regard to eBay, I often use it to search for items of interest, but I will then do my utmost to track down trade sellers independently. Most are only too pleased to fulfil orders at lower cost outside of eBay, thereby avoiding eBay's and PayPal's extortionate fees. (Likewise items found on Amazon.)

However, eBay and Amazon listings are consistently ranked very high by internet search engines, which makes them difficult to avoid from a business selling perspective.

I have, with great reluctance, listed a small number of our more popular products on eBay over the past few weeks for an experimental period whilst we set up our own online ordering system. This decision was not taken lightly, and was made primarily because our box-shifter competitors have been there for some time, and are making some sales, although their margins must be negligible.

I have to say the whole process has been expensive and fraught with difficulties. In addition to their listing fees, eBay charges a 12% final value fee on the gross amount (including postage and VAT). This equates to more than 15% on the net amount, as VAT and postage are of course passed directly to HMRC and Royal Mail respectively. In addition, PayPal charges 3.4% plus 20 pence per item.

To make matters worse, PayPal holds on to your money for about a week after the sale has been made, and they grab it back and lock your account if a customer changes their mind and asks to return an item; even if well outside the statutory 14 day return period.

Given that resellers' margins are typically between 20 - 33% you will see that eBay and PayPal receives by far the lion's share. Amazon charges 15%, but such is the stranglehold that these corporations hold on the internet and online marketplace that they are becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.

eBay have recently announced new measures "to protect buyers from transactions outside of eBay." This includes prohibiting company logos, labels, phone numbers and any other means by which buyers can contact sellers directly. On the one hand they say they are increasing the quality of photographs so that buyers can see what they are buying, but they will automatically blur out any contact details. Any listings containing contact phone numbers will be deleted.

I will let you draw your own conclusions on this.

With regard to your references to JC; I didn't intend this to become a party political issue, and I don't really see that it is. Labour always says that it wants to protect the rights of workers, but let's be clear; Labour is only really interested in the public sector and those who belong to powerful trades unions. Shop workers, for example, have long had a very poor deal in my view, but they have no political clout and so are easily exploited. This can now be extended to the vast numbers of low paid warehouse staff and delivery drivers on zero-hours contracts who spend their lives distributing cheap tat from China.

Indeed, almost everything that we are discussing here started during or before the Blair years, and Blair did noting to stop any of it, so I don't see that party politics has a lot to do with it.

If we think the unthinkable a future Corbyn government might well try to outlaw zero hours contracts, but it would be far more difficult to kerb the power of the big American online sellers that we are discussing, or indeed, ruthless airline bosses based in Ireland. However, based on recent events it seems that some of them are perfectly capable of engineering their own downfalls. 'Bring it on' is all that I can say.

Naughty Nigel

Difficult is worth doing
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