It's been the case for ages that a lot of *new* items on Ebay (i.e. from Ebay shops) are bargains only because they come from outside the
A lot of items come via couriers such as Fedex and these packages generally do attract Customs attention. On top of that, the courier charges a packet, typically 10-30 quid, as a "Customs clearance" fee.
However, stuff sent in by airmail generally gets through, I guess some 90% of the time. Unfortunately this looks set to end, at least partly, as today I got an invoice from Parcelforce (which, unknown to most non-UK Ebay shops, often end up delivering stuff sent via e.g. US Post Office) which not only showed the expected VAT but also a £13 clearance charge.
I know from postmen friends that the Post Office is well aware of the huge volumes of Ebay related packages and it is no suprise that they are hoping to make some money out of this, by imposing handling charges which are often well above the entire delivery charge.