Tuesday, January 21, 2020

eBay's Packing Slip Inaction

In June 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can charge sales tax on purchases made from out-of-state businesses.  Prior to this ruling, most Americans paid very little sales tax online.  The only sales tax paid was on transactions with businesses that had a physical presence in the buyer's home state, such as Walmart.

As of June 2018, very few states had enacted laws assessing sales tax on online purchases.  As the few states which had enacted laws began to reap the benefits of having those laws in place, the vast majority of the remaining states quickly began passing sales tax laws for all online purchases.

This page on eBay lists the states for which sales tax is collected from buyers.  As of this writing, 38 states plus the District of Columbia charge sales tax on all online transactions.  This is problematic for me as an eBay seller, simply because eBay hasn't changed its packing slip to include sales tax.  What are they thinking?

I find that most all other sites quickly adapt to change, while eBay lags behind by a couple of years.  I am sure that eBay has been informed that its packing slip does not indicate the sales tax that has been charged to the buyer.  You would think that they would want to fix it in a timely fashion, but months have already gone by with no change.

I always print a packing slip and place inside the package simply as a safeguard in case the shipping label gets ripped off of the package.  I know of one past case when a shipping label did get ripped off of a package that I mailed.  The package was sent to the mail recovery center where it was opened.  The packing slip was found with the buyer's address, so the package was forwarded to the buyer.  

It is very important that the buyer's address is inside the package so that a damaged package can be recovered.

Most buyers probably do not look at the packing slip.  I toss all of the packing slips that are inside the packages that I receive.  However, some buyers might look at the packing slip.  If so, then the packing slip had darned well better have the actual amount that the buyer paid for the item.  That's where eBay is failing us.

The following image shows the eBay packing slip total as compared to the PayPal packing slip total for the same eBay transaction.

I feel that I will look bad if I use the eBay packing slip.  The eBay packing slip does not acknowledge the sales tax, like the money just vanished into oblivion.  As the seller, I never receive the sales tax.  The $0.79 collected by eBay never reaches my account and will be sent to the buyer's state.  However, the tax ought to be shown on anything that the buyer will see.  The PayPal packing slip shows exactly what the buyer paid. 

I now have to go into PayPal to print the packing slips.  It takes longer, and it annoys me.  Since I have to go to extra trouble, I have added the URL of my Etsy shop to the PayPal packing slip.  If I have to spend extra time getting the packing slips printed, then I'm going to advertise my Etsy shop on them.  I'm probably never going to get an Etsy sale from inclusion of the URL, since most buyers never look at packing slips.  However, I gain personal satisfaction in just knowing that the Etsy URL is on the paper.  Take that, eBay.

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