Monday, October 05, 2015

Selling on ebay

I have an interesting longview on ebay since I am one of the few people who has been using it with a single account almost since the day it debuted. Yes, I joined ebay almost 16 years ago on January 3, 1999. I have 347 ebay transactions on my account (and that is not counting my second account that I use occasionally).

I recently sold two items on ebay - a Halloween costume and a pair of pants. They were in excellent condition, and desirable items, so I managed to sell them quickly and got about $30 for each of them. On the other hand, I have a third item - a new logo polo shirt - that I've been trying to sell for over a month with no luck.

Here are my latest thoughts on ebay based on these recent transactions:

  • I was rather shocked to see that the fees are up to 10% on each item. I seem to recall the fees bacxk in the day being 3% to 5%. They have made it easier to list items by eliminating most of the listing fees. So this takes some of the up-front cost and risk away from the seller. But if your item sells, then you pay more on the back end. This is a small business choice by ebay, to make it easier to sell.
  • It is also easier to mail things than it used to be. They finally figured it out so I can click a button and it allows me to pay the postage online and print a mailing label. No more writing up hand labels and going to the post office. Yay.
  • There are so many items on ebay from China. You can't sell anything anymore that is a commodity; for example, a phone charger or thumb drive. But if you have something rare, or of tangible value, you can still get a better price for it on ebay than at a flea market. I think this is a huge problem for ebay. When you go to look for an item, you get 500 listings from China for cheap trash that doesn't work.
  • It is still a pain in the butt to list an item on ebay. Even with my experience, and automated photo uploads, I assume 15 minutes minimum to properly list a single item. After adding in 15 minutes to ship the item, it's really not worth it to use ebay to sell anything worth less than about $30. Unless you have a particular sentimental reason that you want the item to go to a "good home".
  • I've had several bad experiences selling things for other people on ebay, but I've done it as a favor to people who want to tap into my experience. These are the typical problems:
    • The person does not understand why it takes 30 minutes to list the item and deal with the other transaction issues. Plus they don't give me all of the information I need so it takes even longer for me to get the details that I need from them.
    • The person thinks the item is worth far more than someone will pay for it. I swear my Dad had me list a bar on ebay that his friend claimed to have bought from Frank Sinatra. He wanted someone to pay some crazy amount for it, and they had to come pick it up! He'd be lucky to unload something like this on Craigsllist for 10% of what he was asking.
    • Of course my perfect feedback score is also at risk if anything goes wrong with the transaction.


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