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How do I buy and pay for goods from other countries?

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Question: How do I buy and pay for goods from other countries?
From time to time you may find yourself wanting to bid on goods listed in other countries. Can you bid on these goods? If so, how do you pay for them?
Answer: Generally speaking, the answers to these questions are "yes, you can bid on goods in other countries," and "you pay for them just as you would for any auction." The answers are this simple for two reasons:

  1. If you are shopping on your home country's eBay site, eBay will show in search results only those items that you are eligible to buy according to the seller's terms. This means that if you see an item in your search results, the seller in question is willing to accept payments from you and ship across borders to you.

  2. During payment, PayPal automatically performs currency conversions to or from multiple currencies as appropriate, automatically for both parties.

Caveats

The apparent simplicity of the answers above is complicated by a few factors, amongst them the following:

  • Mislisting. Some sellers may incorrectly fill out the item listing form, telling eBay that they're willing to ship to your home country when in fact in the actual listing they state that they do not. For this reason it's important to read the listing carefully to ensure that they don't exclude you as a buyer.

  • Shipping costs. Pay attention to shipping costs very carefully when you bid or buy internationally, since they can be extremely high for international shipments. Remember that you'll be expected to pay them, no matter what they are, should you win the item.

  • Transaction and currency conversion fees. PayPal charges a 2.5 percent exchange rate premium for currency conversions, in addition to assessing higher cross-border payment fees for international sellers. Since many credit cards also automatically do currency conversions for you, you may want to check to see whether or not you can get a better deal from your bank or credit card provider if the seller is able to accept payments directly rather than through PayPal.

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