eBay history

I’m contemplating selling something on eBay, but I’ve never done it before. Nor have I bought anything on eBay. The item I want to sell will be on the expensive side (I’d like to get about $1500 for it), so I wonder how important it is to have some history there. Has anyone done any studies on this?

If you’re selling something that expensive, I think it would be a good idea to build up a minimal feedback rating first. People will be less likely to trust a brand new member with a $1500 item.

Alternatively, if you don’t plan on selling things on eBay in the future, see if you have any friends with good ratings who would be willing to sell it for you.

You can search and see what previous items, like yours have sold for.

See what they did and adapt it.

Just a few things:

  1. Beginners have a weird idea of selling prices, for some reason. People are on eBay to either find DEALS or RARE stuff. A pal of mine has a Montblanc Agatha Christie Pen. Not rare, but sort of desired.

He want’s 100% of what he paid (retail). I told him to stop dreaming.

On the other hand, I’ve sold a $100 book for $600. It happens!

Watch out for Shipping as well.

Y’know, we might have some better idea if you decided to tell us what it IS

Thanks for the replies.

The item is a bicycle. I’ve recently had the frame replaced under warranty and they gave me one that costs some $2400 retail (much more than I originally paid for the bike). The reason I’m thinking about selling it is that I’d like to get a steel-framed bike rather than the aluminum one I have. This is the third frame they’ve replaced on the same warranty, and I’m getting the idea that maybe aluminum is the wrong kind of frame for me.

And yes, I’ve already looked for similar items on eBay. In fact, someone has a nearly identical frame open for bidding right now (about 20 hours left) and so far the highest bid is less than $400. That doesn’t look too good, but no doubt there’ll be more bids as the deadline gets near.

Another glitch in the SDMB system. My message above got there, but no indication of it on the GQ menu page.

Oh, yes, I should mention that I haven’t ridden the bike at all with the new frame.

I absolutely suggest that you build up a history. I can’t tell you how many huge bargains I’ve picked up because no one chose to take a chance on some guy without a track record. This is not a foolish choice, either. Though at least 75% of my low-history deals went as flawlessly as I could wish (and many of the hitches only involved shipping/payment, especially for expensive, delicate items), the sad fact is that 80-90% of the real problems I’ve had were with sellers ratings <25 - a small percentage of the sellers I’ve bought from.

It’s not that the high positive/history sellers are better people, it’s just that they have their system down. Perfectly understandable errors and confusions crop up, but once I’ve done my bit and paid, I won’t be quite happy until I have the item in my hand, exactly as described. It doesn’t matter if I used a proxy to protect my money, I’m still going to be very irriitated. You’ve heard of ‘buyer’s remorse’? Well, let me tell you about eBay remorse: dozens of better auctions will come and goin the month or two between my payment and the proxy refund; as soon as it becomes clear that the deal has soured, and I start shopping again, they’ll vanish. This is, of course, just an illusion, but it’s damn annoying anyway. Besides, I might actually want or need the item now, as promised, not in two months from some other seller who didn’t have ‘issues’. Imagine that!

The experience you gain will genuinely help you. The process is simple in principle, but there are devils in the details. In fact, savvy eBayers will check the transactions to see if you were a buyer or seller, and what you sold. Though 10 $1 purchases will give you as many positives as 10 $100 sales, a savvy buyer won’t weigh them equally - and savvy buyers are often the ones willing to go to full eBay value. Sloppy shoppers who bid without using all available info tend to have worse experiences, and end up eBaying less.

Of course, it’d be silly to start selling lots of pricey items so you can, well, sell a pricey item - butunderstand that a dozen low-dollar purchases won’t establish you fully. When I started on eBay, 10 was a respectable rating, and few buyers distinguished purchases from sales, but that was a long time ago. Don’t go nuts, but a rating of 25 (100% positive) tells buyers you’re reliable and have the mechanics down, and a rating of 10 really doesn’t anymore

There’s a lot of stuff on eBay that you’d want anyway (including some that you wouldn’t buy at even discounted retail), so relax and take the time from Christmas to spring (when bike prices are down anyway) to build up ratings with stuff you’d buy anyway (Some routine purchases are simply better on eBay than in local stores: better quality, delivered, for less than okay quality at retail)

I think you’re in exactly the situation that would benefit most from a rathing of 25+. Don’t be discouraged by the low bids you see early. Look at completed [past] auctions; most bidding occurs in the final minutes. Bikes are also seasonal, and you’ve missed the Christmas season,and spring is months away. A 25(100%) rating, obtained prudently, could easily gain you hundreds of dollars. 25 less wisely chosen purchases could cost you more than you gain.

I think friedo nailed it. See if you have any friends or acquaintances with a decent seller rating. You can offer them a few bucks for their part in the sale if necessary.

I agree with the others - build up some positive feedbacks before you sell something pricey. I won’t look at something really expensive if it is a 0 feedback seller, prior feedback is the only reassurance that the seller won’t disappear with my money. Positive feedback also tells me that the seller knows how eBay works, and even though eBay is simple to use, I have seen people confused. I want to know that once the seller gets my dough, he/she knows I expect the item to be shipped out promptly, not two weeks from payment.

With selling a bike frame, before you list it, figure out how you are going to pack and ship it, and get a ballpark estimate on cost. I refuse to bid on auctions that only state “buyer to pay all shipping costs”. I’ve been burned with people overcharging shipping, and if it doesn’t state upfront what that will be, I move on to another auction. All you need is a weight, and online postage estimators will do the rest.

I agree with what was said above.

And… not to hijack, but BUYING stuff on eBay is amazing.

Some recent nabs:

Foil and Cutter for my electric razor $40 retail, stolen at $1.99

$600 overhead projector, $100.

$40 book, $10

You get the idea

PS: You’re right. All the bidding comes in the last few minutes. Make your auction sell on a SUNDAY.

Wanna know the wildest eBay biz I’ve ever seen? A buddy has one of those “Store stuff” places. When a customer defaults, he puts the stuff up. Wild!

This is just my experirnce, but I have had better luck with auctions ending on a weekday. It seems that in my cases, people are at work and are already on the computer…

Stuff I have sold on weekends doesn’t get as many last minute bidders. YMMV.

I can’t stress how important postage is.
Make sure you know how much shipping will be with a large item such as a bike.
People won’t bid if the cost is outrageous or unknown, but at the same time, you don’t want to screw yourself either by just guessing.

When ever I have sold something really expensive or fragile, I automatically include insurance. NO EXCEPTIONS. I don’t want to send a computer only to have them telling me it arrived broken, etc. You don’t need that headache and for an extra few bucks, you can avoid it.

I have a moderate amount of experience. Here are some tips.

agree that history is important and worth your time.

eBay used to have a sister site called half.com. The fees were a little higher there, but anything you listed stayed listed until sold and there was no fee for listing. This is a great way to sell books and CD’s.

eBay was cosolidating half with eBay so I’m not sure of its status right now.

sales info for Half counted for eBay, which was nice.

on eBay, the standard listing is 7 days. For ten cents, you can extend it to 10 days. That often brings much more money, although most of your bids will come as the item is aobut to expire.

Definitely check out what comparable items sell for. I’ve sold a pair of football tickets for $1000 when you could get these in the parking lot for $200, but on the other hand some things like clothes sell cheaply - example Hart Schaffner Marx suits. (I sell tix in August when demand is high but supply is low.)

You will probably want to get a paypal account. this takes a few days to set up. I opted for a merchant account so I could accept credit cards, but no one has ever paid me that way. Problem is, there is a fee for accepting payments charged to merchants, but none for a regular paypay account. You are probably better off with a regular account. Most people who buy on eBay have a paypal account or are willing to send you a check/mo and wait.

Be clear about timing. Many books and tapes are shipped media mail, which is the cheapest and slowest. Some folks get upset at the delay and assume its teh seller’s fault.

Also, if you’re going to try to build up your history, don’t buy from people with 1000’s of feedbacks. If you see someone with 25,000 feedbacks, this isn’t a hobby for them, it’s their life. The reason I’m saying this, is because people with that much feedback tend not to leave feedback for you. Whether they don’t have time or don’t care, I don’t know, but no use wasting time and money and not getting any feedback. (Which brings me to another point, I’ve suggested this to ebay, but I doubt they’ll listen to one person. I still feel that if I leave you feedback, you should NOT be able to see it, and it should not effect your score until you leave feedback for me. For two reasons, I never want to leave negative feedback for someone, for fear that they will do the same, also for the above mentioned reason. If your not going to take time to leave me feedback, you shouldn’t get the your rating bumped up either. The only downfall is that if I know I’m going to get negative feedback from someone, I just won’t leave any for them, and I won’t have to worry about it.)

I think that is a pretty big drawback to your idea there, Joey P. It would render feedback useless in identifying fraudulent sellers. If Scamster69 wanted to rip off a lot of people, he could do it with impunity by simply not leaving any feedback. No one would see the complaints against him, and he could keep screwing buyers until eBay suspended him.

Feedback is pretty worthless. Often by reading them you can tell something ain’t right. Sellers leave “revenge” feedback a lot.

And amasingly when sellers don’t put a reserve on it the item goes for what you would get it in a store.

I tried to buy digital cameras this holiday season. No matter how low the bidding went at the last minute someone with a feedback of 2 or3 will up the bid to about what you’d pay in the store for it. This is a seller using a shill.

You’re right about feedback though. I never leave it. But the again I’ve only bought.

While this might be all well and good for the seller, I’ve had some pretty hairy deals due to this. The real seller, a neophyte, had problems that any neophyte might, and the posted seller often feels completely innocent (though they were, in effect, a willing party to a deception). After a few rounds of three-way e-mail, things can get heated, and one of the sellers often tries to wash their hands of the transaction, leaving the buyer feeling like they’re left in the lurch

My suggestion: if you’re going to do that, turn the frame, packed for shipping, over to the friend who is listing it. It may seem silly, but I suspect it’ll put everyone’s head in the right place for the deal.

That is another reason why I never bid until the last seconds of an auction. Most people who have used eBay for awhile have figured out this is the way to bid. Feedback does work, how else can you rate your trading partner? I always leave it, but thankfully I fully research the sellers before I even think about bidding, and haven’t had to leave any negs. Unless the item you want is truly one-of-a-kind, there will always be another up for auction on eBay.

Thanks for all the thoughts above.

The auction I was following above has concluded with a bid of only $415. That’s an incredible deal for the buyer, but if that’s what my bike is likely to go for, I’m going to rethink putting mine up.

maybe Joey P’s rule could only apply to postive feed back. negative feed back could show up no matter what.

You can put a reserve price on the auction. If the bidding doesn’t reach the reserve price, there is no sale. The down side of using reserve prices is that you might not get as many bidders, because it seems that some bidders avoid reserve-price auctions.

Even better, if one person left negative feedback and the other person left no feedback it would show up, but not until after 90 days when you can’t leave feedback anymore. This way the other person couldn’t leave negative feedback in revenge.