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Ebay Etiquette/Tips

At this point, I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us have made at least one purchase through Ebay. The thrill of the hunt can be exhilarating and if you’re like me, you wait until the last few seconds to swoop in and place your bid.Sweet victory! 

Buying on Ebay can be so much fun and it should be! 

I’m a seller on Ebay. It’s my main bread and butter business and like all businesses, it causes some headaches now and then.

Here’s what you should know (both as a seller and a buyer):

Ebay is an auction site. That might seem like a redundant point to make but if you’re more than a novice seller, you’ll get why it’s an important fact to stress. When you attend a live auction, it’s abundantly clear that ALL sales are final,so you naturally wouldn’t bid on an item that you are unable to pay for. Although there are many prompts on Ebay reminding the bidder that they are *committing* to purchase the item they’re bidding on, a surprising amount of auction winners simply do not follow through with payment. No big deal right? It’s a big deal to the seller. Once an item is sold, roughly about 20% has been charged against the seller’s account. In order to recoup the fees of the ‘sold’ but unpaid item, the seller must open up an ‘unpaid item case’. There are a few problems with this; opening the case gives the buyer an extra 4 days to pay for their item. They almost never do. From my experience, if a buyer has not paid for their item within 24 hours, they’re not gonna. The math is sad but basically this means that the seller has now lost 18 days of selling time. Seven days is the average auction duration+four days of waiting for the unpaid case to be settled+ another seven days of auction re-list. The point is don’t let your mouth write a check which your ass can’t cash.

Ebay is buyer focused. They have a lot more buyers than they do sellers, so the focus is on the buyer. As a result, when listing an item as a seller, you will find yourself bombarded with ‘tips’ from Ebay. Most of them state something like ‘to attract more buyers, lower your price”. Many of these prompts will suggest that you start your auction at 99 cents or below. Following these prompts is a slippery slope. You can set a reserve price but that costs extra money and alienates buyers. I’ve been burned by this. Say you’re selling a pair of used Frye boots that you know are worth $200. Perhaps the weather has been ‘Summery’ and the winter boot market has shifted to sandals. You’ve innocently followed the Ebay prompts and started your auction at $1. In the winter you might have gotten 200 bids but in the spring you’ve gotten 20 bids. You’ve now sold your $380 retail item for $20. It happens all too often. Start your bid at the price you’re most comfortable with selling your item for. If your item doesn’t sell the first time you can decrease your starting price and re-list it but never undervalue it. If you know it’s worth a certain price, eventually the right buyer will come along who will appreciate the value that they’re getting.

Buyers:closely examine all photos and read the descriptions. I post as many photos as I can and highlight any defects. Reviewing photos and descriptions is essential and will save both the buyer and the seller time and money. 

Leave feedback:It only takes a moment and positive feedback sustains/accelerates an Ebay seller’s status. Positive feedback for the seller=positive feedback for the buyer. Many sellers block buyers with less than a 25 feedback score from purchasing. I do not practice this as I believe everyone has to start somewhere. We all start at zero. If you’re new to Ebay, be conscientious of this grace.Pay on time and take a second to leave great feedback. Your efforts will be rewarded.

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