HPs on ebay: should I sell overseas?


I'm about to put a whole mess of HPs on eBay and I'm totally undecided about selling overseas. All I can see ahead of me are hassles and paperwork. Does anyone know how to minimize the negatives?

One thing I'm thinking about is only taking Paypal from overseas bidders, since (obviously) payment will be quick and I can use Paypal to pay for global priority mail postage. What's the general feeling here about Paypal only? Sure would make my life easier!


It is the Seller's right to make any terms he please's.

However, I do not bid on Paypal only auctions as I refuse to use Paypal. I may be the only one on this site that doesn't, but I suspect not.

But also, I seldom use Ebay anymore either (occasionally, but nothing like in the past).

It is your best way to clear out you items and recieve top dollar (depending upon your terms and your ebay rating).

I won't buy from anyone with more than a few negatives or low percentage. I do look at the reasons for the negatives and bid (or don't bid) accordingly.

Good luck with your auction.


thanks ron. just so i'm clear, i'm thinking paypal-only for overseas only; here in the u.s., it'd be paypal plus checks and m.o.'s, etc.


one other thing:

i've got a number of battery packs for my HPs floating around, all in various states of leakage and other sorts of disrepair. in auctions, do bidders generally like to see batteries included, no matter how worthless they might be, or does it add relatively little to the auction. i guess i'd have similar questions regarding added-value with regard to cases and chargers as well. thanks!


Yes, you have more work with filling out papers, but you also earn more money because there are some hardcore collectors (as me) who will pay high prices on rare items.... ;)



Yes I can only double Matthias' words. I've bought and also sold from/to all places in the world. The additional paperwork is reduced to a customs declaration sticker on the package which takes less than one minute. Is this different when sending packages from USA? Of course you're reaching more collectors when selling worldwide. One thing I've also noticed is that only little US bidders buy in Europe. Is there a special cause for this? My use of eBay has become more rare lately. I prefer to trade stuff whith people I know. This usually takes more time but at the end it is more fun. Regards from Switzerland, Daniel


thanks all for the help so far!
it's not filling out paperwork that takes time but standing in the lines at the post office, which can be quite long. if i only ship domestically, i can print the postage out at home and just shove the boxes in the window at the po, no need to stand in line. that said, i think i'm going to do overseas, albiet paypal only.

sadly, nothing i have is too rare, except maybe for an hp-10 and an hp-65 with all the trimmings and a number of calcs with boxes. that's about it.


.. One thing I've also noticed is that only little US bidders buy in Europe. Is there a special cause for this? ..

I've bought from all over the world, but mostly I purchase from within the US. Two things conspire to keep my dollars here at home. One is the volume of goods available here. My (unscientific) impression is that there simply are more interesting items (as defined by context) on offer in North America than anywhere else. Europe is a close second. Second, there's shipping cost and time. The cost is usually somewhat higher, and the time is always a good deal longer, if you don't opt for very expensive premium shipping. I always use Paypal for foreign transactions. I will only do a cash transaction with someone who I am familiar with through this forum or other means.

As far as selling overseas, I am glad to do that. The extra paperwork really is minimal, and the walk to the post office gets me away from my computer for a bit. 8) It would seem to be in any seller's best interest to increase the pool of available customers as much as possible, but particularly in an auction environment.




in my experience, the additional paperwork

consists of simply writing some words about

the package contents, a number representing

the content's worth, and a signature .

Ok, I'm from Europe, but judging from the

US parcels I got so far, and the parcels

I sent to the U.S. , it wasn't too

much additional effort for the senders;-)

PayPal, and other forms of non-cash payments,

may all have pros and cons .

I made good experiences with PayPal so far.

It's the fastest way to pay.

Overseas postal money orders are more expensive,

especially to the USA take much longer to arrive,

and force the receiver to go to the postal office

to make it money or put it onto his bank account.

With all online banking or trading methods,

you have to be extra careful regarding your password,

and to avoid opening spam or virus mails which

try to suck your access data.

But that's not a PayPal problem in particular,

but a general problem with all online services.

So these services are as safe as you

handle your personal access data;-)

So to answer in short, IMHO it's not that bad

to at least offer PayPal payments as an option,

because there may be more interested bidders,

especially from non-US locations.

Regards, and have a happy new year!



From a seller viewpoint, paypal has caused some people problems if they happen to sell to dishonest bidders. As I understand it, if a bidder claims they received material substantially different than the auction, paypal refunds $$ to the buyer when they still have the goods...before the goods have been returned to the seller.

That's a rough spot to be in as a seller...you're out the goods and have no $$.

I know several web sites where people were very upset about it. Searching on google should reveal them.

I personally have no idea as to the truthfulness of these reported problems, but they scared me enough for potential bogus buyers that I usually don't take paypal.

One would think that if an ebay buyer had a relatively high, good feedback rating that accepting paypal from them would not be a problem...but often, saying you take paypal will mean you have to accept it from those with 0 or negative feedback too.

For overseas bidders, bidpay.com is another alternative and one that I usually accept.

Just FYI.

Again, for all I know these web pages you will find are made-up nonsense...but I decided not to risk it.


For overseas bidders, bidpay.com is another alternative and one that I usually accept.

I just saw the following notice at bidpay.com:

Effective December 31, 2005, BidPay.com, Inc. will be discontinuing operations. As a result, BidPay will no longer offer payment services to the online auction industry. We regret any inconvenience to our users and thank them for their loyal patronage. Customer service will remain available at bidpayservice@bidpay.com through the month of February.


My two cents worth:

0) There are very, very few dishonest people in the HP game :)

1) Include batteries even if leaking, package separately.

2) Accept Paypal no matter what, it means higher bids. Dismiss the naysayers as sour grapes. You can have problems no matter what the source of funds. Paypal, like their fees or not, is by far the lowest overhead for a buyer. More buyers = higher bid prices.

3) International shipments and Paypal. Well, there's the rub. Most low cost ways to ship out of the US do not meet Paypal's "seller protection" plans because you do not have tracing. Solution: insist on EMS (Express Mail Service) shipping for any export deals. You can print your postage and customs forms online and have package tracing to most destinations. Just list EMS (only) in the eBay shipping calculator for export and the buyers can see what the cost will be and make their own decision.

IMO, it's a no brainer. eBay and Paypal can work well if you use it wisely. Lots of photos, good, honest descriptions and fair shipping fees work to your advantage.



i'm going to do pretty much as you suggest. paypal also offers global priority mail and i think that's cheaper than express, so unless i'm wrong i'll use that. thanks for chiming in!


A couple of things about Global Priority:

1) It is very good to most Western European (EU) countries and AUS/NZ. There are many central euro countries for which it is not accepted (Italy being a notable exclusion).

2) There is a four pound weight limitation.

3) There is no package tracability.

4) There is no insurance available.

GPM is a "Youz pays your money, youz takes your chances" situation. Personally, I've never lost a package using GPM with the exception of Mexico (alleged). In general, the postal systems of France and Italy can be slow to deliver. It all comes back to rule (0) in my previous post...


thanks, randy, for the postal info. man, is there a lot to know! in any event, i think i'll try global priority and if someone wins in a non-gp country, then i'll suggest express. sheesh! but i do appreciate your help.


Italians are VERY aware about the postal problems, and I DO require the seller to ship insured, if tracked even better.

That's my rule when I accept to BUY from an overseas seller from Italy.
So far, only very positive experience, kind people ebay or not, paypal or not.

Buon Anno!

Giuseppe Marullo


We have sold many items outside the US, usually with no problems. However, there is one issue that regularly comes up - Many foreign buyers ask us to label the item sold as a "gift" on the customs form, in order to avoid paying customs.


And do you comply?


So far I *never* had to pay customs for a vintage calc delivered from USA. I live in Germany (= EU) and traded quite a bit with Northern America, using USPS always. The only "extra" I saw on the parcels was a green sticker indicating they contain a "calculator" worth some 10 US$. But there may be other laws in other countries.

Until today, everything arrived safely - no losses even without insurance or tracking. The only drawback IMHO is that USPS is *terribly* slow even with air mail (several weeks). Charles Lindbergh had a faster plane than they use by far! Wonder they still work with biplanes overseas, needing a stop on Greenland ... d;-P

So the typical situation is: when I win an auction, I send the money using PayPal, then I wait weeks until the item arrives - and most sellers will give feedback not earlier than I give. No comment, just experimental facts.

For you as a seller I recommend: Address a bigger market. You will gain.


No. If it's a 48GX, we put "48GX" in the detailed description field. In the value field, we put the actual selling price (e.g., $250), excluding shipping charges, as this is the documented value of the item. Claiming low or no value on an item that is easily documented to have value (e.g., see eBay for value), is asking for trouble from the postal inspector and customs officials, in the admittedly small chance that your package is selected for inspection.

Favorite quote for the day: "A clear conscience is a bargain at any price." Besides, fighting the feds over something this trivial can ruin your whole day.


Usually a "no commercial value" is enough to make clear to customs that items are for personal use and not imported goods to be resold.
That may make you more comfortable than the "gift" word.

For instance, an HP25 may be worth U$S 40 for me because of my particular fondness for that model, but for customs purposes is a "non commercial value" good, comparable to U$S 5 current scientific calculators of today.

Customs, however, may be very complex for items over a certain money threshold / allowance.


I've had good luck so far selling HP's overseas. I use Paypal and Western Union. Both have worked out great. The Collectors in Japan have bid quite high on vintage calculators, ie sold an HP 35 for over $500.00 in Mint condition. I usually indicate GIFT and OFFICE PRODUCTS on Customs' forms to prevent pilferage. Value is usually agreed on between Seller and Buyer. One shipment to Switzerland for a battery pack was lost. Package arrived empty. I use USPS GLOBAL PRIORITY MAIL or US AIR MAIL depending on item.

Good luck




You just have to let the people know up front that there is a chance of the item being lost. I only ship overseas with some type of tracking..EMS, FedEX, UPS. The buyer pays the shipping bill, so it really doens't matter what it costs...as long as they are willing. I sold my 71B to a gentleman in Japan for very nice sum and made a friend in the process.


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