I want to voice my 2 cents!
I do feel that charging a shipping & handling fee, within reason, is 100% honest & 100% essential in keeping the profits where they belong... in your pocket.
Let's be realistic... we sell on eBay to make money. In my case, as much as I can maximize from each sale. I don't work to fatten eBay's pockets, though I help to do so. I work to provide my product as described & offer the best pre & post sale service that I can. That being said, a handling fee has to be charged in regards to the shipment. If I tack it onto my starting price, I don't feel that it actually is. My starting price, since I sell clothing, covers my time to find the items buyers want, spot cleaning, wrinkle removal for pics, pics, photo editing, site maintenance, emails, invoicing, buttons to replace, seams to sew, products I have to throw out because of problems, cost of item, cost of listing, cost of selling... that all goes into my start price.
Shipping & handling is anything POST sale. I charge handling to cover shipping supplies, ink for labels, tape for packages, boxes for large orders that can't go USPS, cost of the person who does the shipping, all items are checked for wrinkles & freshened up prior to shipping, delivery confirmation, time at post office, time to & from to the post office, gas & so on. All these cost are associated with the post sale work or handling of the item. I don't think I should have to pay out of my profits to mail an item. Nor should I pay eBay a percentage of my costs that wasn't related to the buying of the item or sale of it. I will pay them a fee based on those two things, but not the shipping expense.
If I want to save the handling fee Sears charges me for ordering a child's t-shirt, which only costs them about $1.20 to mail & they probably charge a set cost based on $ amount spent, I go to the store to buy it to save the fee. If someone has something I like on eBay, I am willing to pay for them to get it to me. I don't think they should eat that cost because I happen to live in another location & can't pick it up. I factor their shipping & handling in with price of the item & determine if the item is worth it. Any smart buyer knows this.
I have an opinion of sellers who bash their competition in their ads, and you probably won't like it. By bashing them, it seems to make you look like not so nice & honest of a person. I sold in real estate many years & the first thing my trainer taught me to do on a listing presentation is to NEVER down talk the man or woman going up against you for the job. 9 out of 10 people will not hire you based on the fact that it makes you look dishonest. If you have a good product, service & price, let those things speak volumes for you. Focus your energy on bettering your business, increasing your profits, giving good customer service & so on... stewing over what the competitor does that you think is dishonest, does nothing to further you along the path to successful business dealings. It HINDERS growth & tarnishes your business image nearly 100% of the time. Buyers must think the other seller is offering a product at a reasonable enough rate or they wouldn't be buying it. If they can't add up the total for themselves, well, then they deserve to be ripped. My point, who cares who is ripping as long as you are good with yourself. Let that scammer get his in good time. Chances are they don't have alot of repeat business & that too will put you under.
But, for those not charging a handling fee, fine. If you want to give away your money, that's your deal, but to say anyone who charges anything but the actual cost of shipping, is ripping people off, well that is just plain BS. Not unless it is blatant fee avoidance. Whole different issue.
I say the proof is in who can make it on eBay. I am not in this to break even or make others rich. I am like Donna in this. Once upon a time long ago, in a naive land far gone away, I too only charged actual shipping. Then I got knocked over the head by dwindling profits. I thought being knocked over the head was the reason for my being in the dark, but then I realized I was actually sitting in the dark. After paying eBay fees & absorbing all the costs associated with shipping people their widgets, unlike my competitors, there wasn't money left to pay my light bill. So, the power company decided I should be without. Only then was I forced to see the "light" and have done so ever since. I was actually losing money because the market dictates starting prices for items, not me & my expenses. If all my competitors are starting at $14.95 & $8 to ship, then my $18 & $4.50 for shipping isn't as appealing to buyers. The buyer expects to pay shipping & handling. They care about a lower, reasonable starting price. Especially if they search from lowest in price to highest. That means your buyer sees 50 like widgets before ever reaching yours. Not too wise & you will end up the way I did, broke & in need of seriously re-thinking my business plan (which has to be done on a regular basis according to the demands of the market. Sometimes monthly). Save yourself the trouble & follow the lead of those sellers who are doing well. They MUST be doing something right.
I feel the least bit guilty for charging handling fees to handle the shipment of peoples items. They must feel it is within reason, or I wouldn't have such a good repeat buyer business. Not to mention, hubby & I can both work from home selling used clothing on eBay. And make a good living while in our pjs, if we wish.