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Risks of Selling over Ebay


prolixia
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Over the years I've bought a lot of stuff over Ebay, but have never sold anything. Recently I bought a new camera and would now like to sell the old one.

I reckon I can get about £20-60 more selling my camera on Ebay than selling it to a second had camera dealer. This includes shipping but excludes Ebay fees. I'm happy to prepare a listing for it, but slightly nervous about selling an expensive item on Ebay with no experience of having sold anything on it before.

What are the risks of using Ebay as a seller? Are there any cons I need to be aware of, or precautions I need to take (recorded delivery, for example)

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To be honest, i don't really sell many things on eBay now due to the fee's that they charge, by the time that you have paid eBay/PayPal fees and shipping your £20-60 'extra' may end up only being about £0-40 with the added 'risk' of some of the more unscrupulous users on there trying to claim that said item never arrived (i had it before myself).

It is like most auctions a bit of a gamble! Personally these days i will try and sell items via other means and get a 'fair' price though.

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I sell a great deal on eBay, I have had an account for 12 years, and a feedback rating of over 92,000 which is at the moment still rated at 100%.

There are though certain items that I will not sell on ebay even for my friends and family such as mobile phones and cameras.

Reason is that they attract the scammers like moths to a flame. If you do sell your camera on ebay then I would suggest UK only, no PO Boxes, and only shipping to a UK verified paypal address via traceable means so you stand half a chance with their alleged seller 'protection'.

Edit: An interesting topic to which I am updating as more thoughts spring to mind.

If I am selling something that I only have one of or is expensive I also check the 'require immediate payment' box on the listing form, and the only payment method I accept is paypal (for all listings on the last point) and again will only post to a verified paypal address.

Don't use stock photos, you can now (and this is very recent) take up to 12 pictures of whatever you are selling and add them to your listing for free. Take pictures of any damage or bad points and describe them in the listing. Also if there are any additional accessories then photograph and describe them too.

All pictures must now be at least 500 pixels on the shortest side otherwise you might not get a gallery thumbnail or main picture displayed.

eBay now uses a search engine called Cassini, and the trick is to research and list like your buyers will think when they search the site. So whatever you are selling think of what your item title is going to be then use the eBay search bar and put in the first couple of words - if you don't get any suggestions then reassess your item title.

If you are listing an auction then time the end of it. For me, my busiest day is Sunday so if I want to do an auction then I will time the end of it for a Sunday evening.

As much as people may think badly about eBay, as a seller it isn't that bad and is far better than Amazon for which I now have little time for. Amazon have their 'A to Z Guarantee' for buyers and I can assure you through experience that literally all reasons as to why Amazon will refund the buyer with your money and let the buyer keep the goods for free are covered - Literally right from A-Z.

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Rocker has given good advice - I have sold expensive kit such as cameras and mobile phones on eBay, but again I only send to UK addresses and only accept payment via PayPal. Also, I only send items via either Registered or Special Delivery or via Courier.

I sold an iPhone 3gs a couple of years ago. Payment accepted via PayPal and Special Delivery. After a week the buyer contacted PayPal and stated he didn't get the phone, even though it was signed for. PayPal reversed the payment so I lost out on £150. I contacted PayPal and they sorted it immediately, especially as I had a scan of the signature as it was Special Delivery. Payment sorted and the buyer reported to the local Police for fraud :)

I have found eBay very safe (if you take these precautions) but you do pay for the privilege, as the fees are quite high.

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Thanks guys!

I think I might do a bit more research before committing one way or the other. It was scams like Deek's iPhone that I was a little concerned about.

At the moment, I suspect it might be worth taking the definite offer from the second hand dealer rather than chancing Ebay in the hope (but not guarantee) of a significantly higher price.

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You should be fine, if you follow the guidelines below as depicted in the posts above:

  • UK only
  • Verified address from PayPal account
  • Following all aspects of seller protection policy
  • Signed delivery
  • Require immediate payment
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Rocker has given good advice - I have sold expensive kit such as cameras and mobile phones on eBay, but again I only send to UK addresses and only accept payment via PayPal. Also, I only send items via either Registered or Special Delivery or via Courier.

I sold an iPhone 3gs a couple of years ago. Payment accepted via PayPal and Special Delivery. After a week the buyer contacted PayPal and stated he didn't get the phone, even though it was signed for. PayPal reversed the payment so I lost out on £150. I contacted PayPal and they sorted it immediately, especially as I had a scan of the signature as it was Special Delivery. Payment sorted and the buyer reported to the local Police for fraud :)

Not an eBay specific anecdote, but I recently heard of someone who ordered an item online, only for it to be damaged on delivery after it was left on the customer's doorstep. Turns out that in these cases, it's the vendor rather than the delivery company that's liable for compensating the customer - although, of course, the vendor can subsequently take it up with the delivery company. Another reason to make sure you've got suitable cover (e.g. Special Delivery) if you're sending out valuable things.

Edited by Smiley Culture
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I've sold a bit on ebay over the years. Advice above will cover it, and also ensure your description reflects the goods, particularly if it has any little dings on. But the main thing is getting a signature for delivery.

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To be honest, i don't really sell many things on eBay now due to the fee's that they charge

Agreed, their fees are getting a joke.

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Not an eBay specific anecdote, but I recently heard of someone who ordered an item online, only for it to be damaged on delivery after it was left on the customer's doorstep. Turns out that in these cases, it's the vendor rather than the delivery company that's liable for compensating the customer - although, of course, the vendor can subsequently take it up with the delivery company.

And the delivery company will use the "you didn't check your delivery in the presence of the delivery person" as a get-out clause. Cheeky people!

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