Ebay idea: is this dishonest?

I was at a local discount store today, and found a few items that I might be able to re-sell on eBay for a profit. At least one of the items is kind of hit-or-miss on eBay, but when it’s a “hit” I could almost double my money.

I’m contemplating going back to the store tomorrow and asking what their return policy is. Let’s assume for a moment that their policy is money back within 30 days as long as the item is still in the package and/or has all tags still attached, and I have the store receipt.

Is it dishonest to try this?

On the one hand, I try to live my life by the Golden Rule, and wouldn’t want people buying stuff from me off of eBay and then returning it if they couldn’t resell it.

OTOH, logic tells me that a large chain of stores doesn’t really care why you’re returning something, as long as you’re doing it within the parameters of the rules.

What say the Dopers?

If you aren’t violating the return policy rules, then I would say you’re in the clear.

I don’t see any particular problem with it - you’re offering people the chance to buy something they might not be able to find for themselves at a similar price. As long as you’re not misrepresenting the item (say, selling a shop-soiled item as new), or breaking some other rule, I think you’re in the clear. Reselling discount store goods at higher prices is incredibly common on eBay - granted, I don’t think your sale or return idea is quite so common, but if you can get the store to agree to it, then why not. It’s really two completely distinct transactions - one between you and the store, and another between you and the ebay buyer.

I wouldn’t even think of trying to skirt the return policies; that would be dishonest! That’s why I intend to find out exactly what the return policy is before I make a purchase!

Well, re-selling is what I just about always do, but I generally order my stuff online. But I’ve never tried the return thing before. You bring up a good point about it being two distinct transactions, though. That makes me feel better about the whole idea.

If you bought occasional items and returned them if they didn’t sell, I think that would pass muster. If you bought $1000 of goods and returned $950 at the end of the month, and I was running the store, you wouldn’t be welcome back.

Not dishonest and not all that uncommon. Some stores will cut you off on the returns if they feel you abusing it. If you tend to buy more then you return they aren’t likely to care. It is the stores decision to honor their returns policy or not. It is not a right.

I’m really thinking about buying maybe $100.00 worth (meaning they’ll cost me $100.00 at the store; they actually have a retail value of about $400.00) and may be returning as much as 30% of what I buy.

But I see your point and appreciate your input.

There’s a name for this, isn’t there?


ex Inventory analyst checks in.

if you feel you can only sell 70% of the $100 worth, don’t buy $100 worth. If you have experiences and histroy telling you you can sell X units buy x units if you have a few left over save them for a later run or sell at a discounted price to recoup your investement even if it was for little if any markup. Your time and your vendor relationships are valuable things. Piss off the store and they might not want you shopping there any more. You might consider hitting up the manager and letting them know you are interested in buying this item in bulk and ask if they would offer you a discount on case quantities (saving him labor to tag and shelve it.)

The store will limit your returns, and put you on a list if you return items often. They won’t continue to sell you lots of stuff and take back lots of the items in 30 days. They will tell you this at some point and they always retain the right to modify the return policy with notice.

drachillix, I’m not sure exactly how much I could sell. The 70% was an estimate. But your response is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for! Good idea to ask about buying in bulk, though. Thanks.

Harmonious Discord, I’ve never really been one to return stuff unless there was really something wrong with it (or, in the case of a book, my in-laws and husband both got me the same book for Christmas. . .)
Again, this is just the kind of input I’m looking for.

I think I’ll go ahead and buy some of the stuff I think I can sell at a profit, sell what I can for as much profit as I can, and then sell as many of the leftovers as I can for just cost. That should only leave me with a little bit to return.

See, I try to time my online orders so I always have a fresh inflow of stuff. But an order I placed last week was estimated to be shipping on the 5th of this month, but the site I ordered it from still doesn’t have one of the items. So I’d counted on having the stuff tomorrow, or maybe Thursday at the latest. But I won’t have them until at least next week, and need some more stuff in the meantime to keep things going. That’s why I’m looking for alternatives, and stuff that may be lower profit but I can get into my hands tomorrow!

I don’t think it’s dishonest at all. The store could put the stuff on ebay themselves if they wanted to.

Not if it’s many chain stores. I know of at least a few clothing retailers (via friend who work at/manage the stores) which prohibit their employees from doing so, and supposedly monitor eBay and compare versus buying patterns (and probably other factors) to try to find anyone who does.

That’s not really what I meant. I’m saying the entity who holds title to the good is free to sell it on eBay, or do whatever they want with it, barring any contractual restrictions.

Take a digicam into the store and photograph the items. Put them on ebay then only buy what sells.

Many retail shops won’t let you photograph inside the premises. Also, the item you sold on eBay may already have already been sold by the shop to another customer. You’re left without a purchased item to send to your buyer.

I think that would run foul of eBay listing policy. Technically, it would be a Pre-sale listing, but since you can’t necessarily meet all the conditions of pre-sale listings (you can’t guarantee it will be available - it might have sold through by the time your listing ends - it would be a policy violation.

Now it might be that you could get away with just doing it as an ordinary listing and telling the buyer that the dog ate it if it becomes unavailable during the listing period, but it wouldn’t be right, and I get the impression that the OP is asking what’s the right thing, not just the things we can get away with.

Tongue in cheek (from ebay seller of ten years 100% pos fb :wink: ).

And yes, I used to work in a large antique shop where photography was banned after we saw one too many of our rare items on ebay obviously photgraphed though a glass cabinet.

I’m pretty sure that the store’s return-policy wasn’t meant for this sort of scheme and I’d say you would be abusing the policy.

Would you be comfortable informing the salesperson about your plans at the time of purchase?
Would you be comfortable telling customer support “Well, I couldn’t sell these items at a profit, so please take them back”
Would you feel bad and guilty, or instead offended, if the store found out and banned you from further purchases?

My answers would be ‘no’ and ‘no’ and ‘bad and guilty’. So my vote goes for dishonest

Yes, it’s unlikely that the store will tolerate too much of that sort of thing, no matter how you dress it up. You’d be better off trying to work out which of the items will reliably sell at an acceptable profit margin (hint: search for completed listings), then stocking up on those.