Why do so many sell old HP calc to US users only?


If you look at all the HP-15C sold on eBay, most of them do not ship outside US, why?

This exclude all other than the US people to bid on the item.


For any kind of item sold on eBay, I delightfully ignore those territorial exclusions. I strongly suspect that sellers set this flag out of sheer ignorance.

Most of the items I bought so far were for US only. There are few cases when eBay blocks you from bidding. A simple email to the seller asking permission to bid solves the problem.

I live in Canada BTW.


I live in Canada also. In most of the Q&A's I have seen for US only shipping, the seller has stated that he will only sell/ship inside the US, although I don't have any real stats on that... Hopefully you are right and all it would take in 'most' cases is an email/question to seller. --- JeffK


In nearly all circumstances when I've asked the seller if they would sell to the UK, they have refused. When a reason has been given, it has cited paper work or postal problems. The only time I've been able to persuade someone to post to the UK was for a small item that was easy to post (HP85 ROMs).

Some sellers who do sell internationally don't give themselves any chance of getting outside business because their postage costs are astronomic. The other day, there was an HP9830 on auction that I really wanted to have a bid at but the post cost was about $480!!! Given the additional import charges, I would have been over $600 down before I even made a bid. In those circumstances, there is no point in the seller offering international postage!



Laziness probably. They see it as an additional hassle. I have found there is quite a demand for HP stuff around the world and marketing outside the US will, if nothing else, raise the bids. ;)

I get a lot of interest from Europe, and especially Australia and New Zealand - very active collectors in these countries. Probably half the calculators I have sold have gone overseas.

There are some countries I will not ship to. Most of South America for example, which seems to have oppressive tax laws. I always get a request from someone in Brazil to lie on the customs forms and declare a value of $27.50. Even Mexico has an annoying amount of paperwork so I don't ship there either. Its a good lesson on how taxes and regulations can quickly shut down economic activity.


Most of South America for example, which seems to have oppressive tax laws.

In Brazil electronic items are taxed 60%, which is really high. So I had a good surprise in 2006 when my HP-50g, purchased from Samson's Cables, arrived: despite the $145.99 invoice, I wasn't charged any tax! Even with taxes and $25 shipping & handling it would be a good deal because the 50g price tag here is about $390.

While I agree some tax should be applied to new items it's hard to understand why used and obsolete items, which are not a threat to any national economy, are still being taxed.

Edited: 24 Aug 2009, 4:21 p.m.


Any tax which is levied to "protect an economy" is a misguided protectionist regulation which hurts the economy in the end. As you have shown before, these high taxes make it difficult for Brasilian individuals and businesses to acquire the technology they need to compete.

Tax should only be levied, at a reasonable level (no more than say 20% in any category) for the purpose of raising govmt revenue with a minimum of economic distortion. That's my opinion but clearly, many "progressive" politicians see a completely different scenario...


It may be postal regulations/customs forms is the reason, as some have suggested.

However, I think another big reason is payment issues. PayPal seems the preferred method for most sellers. I have not checked recently, but times past you could not get seller protection for international shipments. Then if you accept a foreign check, your U.S. bank charges a hefty fee for depositing it. It has to be drawn on a U.S. bank to avoid these charges. Even if the seller states all these conditions in the auction, he can't stop someone from ignoring them and winning the auction. So to avoid dealing with these issues, the seller simply limits the sales to within the USA. My opinion.


Paypal is a big one. If you want to be paid by paypal and you are in the US and the buyer is overseas, you have no protection as a seller if the buyer files a "He didn't ship it" claim or a "He shipped me a rock instead of the item" claim.

The seller is then out their $$ and their item.

Overseas, I tend to recommend bidpay.com, but that just adds to the "hassle" sometimes.

Sorry. I have lots of friends overseas. :-)


Paypal is a big one.

On eBay Australia every seller MUST accept PayPal as a payment option, no exceptions.

A sneaky by-product of that monumentally stupid move Ebay Australia tried to push some time back to make PayPal the ONLY form of payment allowed on Ebay. Luckily the government watchdog stepped in and told Ebay to shove it. But the bastards snuck through that rule in all the confusion and protest.



I have pretty much given up on ebay for that reason. For small stuff, with the required paypal fees, you waste too much money.


PayPal should not be a problem, just look at users stats.
If they are high positive, then there should be no problem.
I have more than 100 feedback from sellers on what I have bought on eBay, all positive...


Feedback is good--it is the cost that kills it.


Quite often I met US citizens selling on TAS who have never ever sent anything out of God's own country so far. At least they appear this way and/or even claim it themselves. Sometimes I as a foreigner have to tell them the postage or these nice flat rate opportunities USPS offers. Feels a bit strange.

Well, states in Europe are slightly smaller, so most people do international mailing here on a pretty regular basis -- and we benefit from the EU (at least here ;) making it unnecessary to fill extensive custom forms. So it isn't a big hassle when we have to write a word and a number on a tag to satisfy customs for any items to be shipped e.g. to the USA.

Just my 20 milli-Euros based on purely personal experience.



It is a pain, I agree. I think mostly they don't sell to other countries because they don't have to. Somewhere within a population of 280 million you might just find a buyer for anything. For me the problem is even worse, as very few people want to buy from South Africa, thinking it is another Nigeria. Selling things internationally is the only way for me to aquire the funds to buy stuff from international sellers as the South African Rand is not so strong. US$100 is a substantial percentage of my income. But I understand the hassles of shipping abroad. I may pick up a 42s for 1000ZAR, shipping, packaging & insurance is another ZAR450. eventually I have to sell something I aquired for US$125 at US$180 just to break even. Now try and explain to somebody his money is safe if he buys from you in South Africa...

But international selling widens the horison, most of my collection is sourced from abroad.



Mailing to a non US destination requires filling out customs form and placing part inside parcel, a minor hassle.

Some sellers refuse to ship outside the original 48 states. I could find nothing to indicate additional hassle to Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.

I didn't check Fedex or UPS or other services.

Maybe an active seller can give more info.


Alaska, Hawaii, PR and such usually require more postage. I think many US sellers don't want to deal with situations where the postage will have to be discussed with the buyer. There may also be the perception that outside the "Lower 48" states, one has less recourse if the sale goes bad.

You've all seen the questions that get posted on eBay sometimes: "I want purchase widget. How much for postage you send my brother in Paris for him send to me widget in Irkutsk? It travel by dog sled. I pay when I get." A few of those, and people get nervous.

I have sold (a camera lens) to someone in Europe once. It worked out, but it was a hassle. Between language issues, misunderstandings about exact postage costs, etc., I spent a lot more time on it than on a U.S. sale. OTOH, I have purchased from Europe, no problem at all.

Another issue is that many other parts of the world like to pay by bank transfer. This is common in Europe, but US banks charge a huge fee, which often makes the transaction not worth it to the US party.k

Everyone has to decide what their comfort level is. As someone mentioned earlier, with 280 million people, the US is a pretty big market. Some Americans are pretty insular, and may believe that outside our country, it's a confusing and dangerous place. They ought to travel more. :-)



To these 4 places {Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) I saw only a slight difference in cost in that the are zone 8. Would people in these places object to a few pennies? I still don't see any additional hardship on a seller.


Back when i was selling off my excess i always said that i'd sell and ship worldwide, except for a couple of very heavy things. Since i've lived and traveled where English was useless; i look at language hassles as a fun obstacle to overcome. I take criticism of my English by ESL speakers less gracefully though.

Anyway; Ive sold stuff on ebaby to folks in France, Italy, Jolly Old England, Poland, Japan, Canada (those bellicose, inscrutable, foreign Canuks!) and i've bought stuff from all over too. The only problems i've ever had on TAS were two as a buyer (one from California and one from Washington State), and one as a seller to a buyer from here in California. The Postage Calculator should take care of questions in shipping costs to other countries. I usually say that i'll only ship by USPS (post office), though this can be a problem in some places like most of South America where nothing coming from the states gets through without at least being opened and "inspected". As an asside; CDs never make it through the Chilean post office even though Chileans are "as honest as a Denver man can be" and NOTHING, including used toilet paper i assume, makes it through the Ecuadorian Correos.

The paperwork to ship overseas is a time eating problem but the people have been fine so far.


FedEx & UPS to expensive & forms, broker, etc.

USPS has relieved the hassle of forms.
Still forms, but minor fill-in the questions and print the docs.
Postage, forms and scan form for tracking are all printable.

Fault lies with ignorance and fear of being burned.
As stated by another, checking feedback relieves lots of fear.
And the USPS Scan form is proof of item being sent.

Ignorance - Send them the above link when asking for beyond US borders and of course mention your 100% feedback. Maybe even send a link to your user profile as many do not even know how to find that or are too lazy.

Fear - Paypal does not discriminate between USA or elsewhere when it comes time to decide that no matter what the seller must pay for the buyer's deception because they could not collect from the buyer. If you really want the item tell them to take a better look at your 100% feedback and of course remain within the TAS email system.


There are two main reasons not to deal outside of the US:

1) Ignorance
2) Experience

The first group, well, enough said.

The second group was originally in the first group but they tried it and learned that you can loose both your goods and money by way of Paypal rules with no recourse. Sure, it can be done but most don't want to bother to learn how to do it safely. So, they opt for US only since most would rather have $100 with no hassles than $125 with headaches.

BTW, UPS or FedEx are completely out of reach for the casual seller due to the documentation requirements alone. Then don't forget the very high costs they wack the importer with since they act as the customs agent and many times the fees exceed the transportation costs.


I am based in Australia - About 50% of my HP collection comes from the States, 40% from Europe and 10% from Australia.

I would buy a lot more from the States if sellers were more willing to post internationally - If i'm interested in an item that is not listed for international shipping I usually ask with about a 60% success rate. The 40% that won't usually tell me that they've had a bad experience, or it's just too hard. In some cases they say they can, but it will cost something like USD100!! I usually have to inform them about USPS, not UPS or TNT ... I seem to know more about using USPS than many sellers in USA it seems - should only cost about USD30 and is very reliable.
To date I have not had any problems with international shipping - especially from the States - it takes about 1 to 2 weeks and doesn't cost too much.
Recently I asked if a 34C could be posted to Australia, with a flat out NO - I think 2 other Aussies asked the same question (they displayed messages on the ebay listing). I then got a friend of mine to buy it, who lives in the States - I won the item for about half what it probably would have gone for if it was open to international bidding! So I was happy, but would have been happier to pay more for the convenience of having it shipped straight to me.
Cheers, Keith


Question time - I've seen "TAS" mentioned a few times here and elsewhere but I don't know what it is. I can guess it stands for "The a??? side" perhaps. What is TAS please?

Regarding selling abroad from ebay, I have done this many times with many high value items and never had a problem. I did have one that got a bit scary when a package to Italy took an age to arrive but it got there eventually.

I am in the UK and the international market is critical to getting the best prices for items. It would be no exageration to say that for some items, I have got close to double the price by selling abroad than I would have got by limiting my market to the UK.

Yes, it is more work when calculating postage costs and logistics but that extra work more than pays off. It is this factor that frustrates me when sellers ignore the potential of the international market.



TAS - That Auction Site or The Auction Site.


Thanks Jeff!

This now puzzles me so I ask anyone:

Is TAS easier to type than ebay? Why refer to ebay as TAS? Is there an ancient voodoo curse that descends on anyone who types in ebay? Or do the secret service monitor peoples' posts by looking for the word ebay, and if you score more than 10 hits, you get branded as an undesirable?

I can personally guarantee that using the word ebay doesn't result in your hair falling out or cause boils to form in your intestines. So with that in mind, could a brave soul step forward and explain why TAS is used please??!

Thank you :)



Two sources:

1) There were extended discussions many months ago whether eBay should be mentioned in this forum at all / as often (check what you like best). Reasons are links to that site become useless very soon. So searching the archives will end in a lot of pits. IIRC there were even some agreements / rules (as above) imposed by the community / Dave (...). You may find them searching the archives.

2) You may know TOS. IIRC the name TAS was adopted since it looks alike TOS. You may find this searching the archives as well.




On another list I belong to, we sometimes call it "the auction site that dare not speak its name." :-)


In parallel to a quite popular text we can speak of "that auction site that must not be named" d;)


Thanks Walter.

I certainly wish I had seen the discussions when they were happening because I might have had some points to make - but too late for that now. I hope I wont cause a problem if I continue to use the word ebay rather than TAS.


PS: TOS = Atari ST OS, the only connection I can think of with that acronym. More searching needed...!

Two sources:

1) There were extended discussions many months ago whether eBay should be mentioned in this forum at all / as often (check what you like best). Reasons are links to that site become useless very soon. So searching the archives will end in a lot of pits. IIRC there were even some agreements / rules (as above) imposed by the community / Dave (...). You may find them searching the archives.

2) You may know TOS. IIRC the name TAS was adopted since it looks alike TOS. You may find this searching the archives as well.




TOS - The Other Site. Another HP calculator-based web site. Not directly mentioned out of respect for our host. For the reasons, I guess I'll have to direct you to search the archives. It has been discussed on a few occasions.


The voodoo curse, I think - a spoof of the english theatrical custom of referring to Macbeth as 'the scottish play', or parliamentarians referring to the house of lords as 'another place'.

Edited: 28 Aug 2009, 6:12 p.m.

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