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When ebay first launched in 1995 it was something of a revolution. An online marketplace where consumer to consumer and business to consumer sales could take place opened up a lot of opportunities. Now, thanks to the success of the site you can sell anything via ebay – all you need is someone who wants to buy it. And, as a result, ebay now sees around 2 billion transactions per day. Whether you’re a regular ebay seller making a living out of the site, or you use it occasionally to get rid of old clothes or electronics, it’s a great way to generate cash. However, the way that you use ebay is important – this not only dictates how successful you’ll be in getting a great price but also how to protect yourself from losing out to scammers.
The London Metropolitan Police investigate thousands of ebay related crimes every year. Most are focused on unscrupulous sellers looking to rip off consumers but there are issues for those who are selling too. From buyers who claim not to have received an item, to the opportunities for scammers looking to steal your personal details it’s important to protect yourself when using this online auction site.
Listing items on ebay provides no guarantee that you will find the right buyer for them. You need to build a credible profile and bear in mind a few key marketing principles too. The best place to start selling with ebay is to buy. You’ll not only get to grips with the buyer experience but you’ll start to build an authentic profile with good ratings, which will establish trust with buyers. While you’re going through the buying phase – whether it’s old books or bottled water – look at how items are marketed, what kind of photos are used and the language other sellers employ to convince people to make a purchase.
Bear in mind that ebay charges a variety of fees to sell via its site. You can list 20 items for free every month but you still pay a 10% fee (the ‘final value fee’) of each one sold. Outside of the 20 free items the insertion fee is 35p per item. Then there are the PayPal fees to take into account – 3.4% per sale, plus 20p per transactions.
For ebay sellers, the most important tip of all is transparency. If there’s a problem with the item, include it in the description; if you can’t actually get it to the post office, make delivery by collection only. Problems like that are not insurmountable but not being truthful with buyers can end up being incredibly costly in the long run.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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