Ebay pitfalls and pointers

OK, I finally succumbed and ordered a couple of small items through Ebay that I couldn’t find anywhere else. So far everything seems fine, although they haven’t arrived yet.

I guess buyers and sellers get rated based on their behavior. Are there extra things I can do to improve my rating? Are there behaviors I should avoid (other than the obvious ones of not being an a-hole)?

I think I might want to use Ebay to sell some stuff one day, and as I understand it I will have a better standing as a starting seller if I have a good rating as a buyer. Is that right?

Should I just go out and buy Ebay for Dummies?

I’ve got a whopping eBay score of 80 (all positive) but I’ve been a member since waaaay back when. I haven’t had any problems buying or selling.

  • Pay ASAP when you buy
  • Ship ASAP when you sell, as soon as they pay
  • Be 100% truthful in your description when you sell.
  • If you’re not using eBay as a side business but are just a regular Joe trying to sell off his stuff, then just list like a regular Joe. People will find you if they want your stuff.

I’m in the middle of selling off my grandma’s 400+ Golden Books, in 90 eBay auctions. I haven’t done anything special, just following the rules above, and it’s going quite smoothly.

Look for good seller feedback, and the more the better. If there is negative feedback, see how recently and see if/how it was resolved.

Read the item descriptions carefully. If the description doesn’t say something is included (like a charging cable for a cell phone or an HDMI cable for a DVD player), assume it’s not. Study the photos carefully, good sellers will provide photos that show all defects on an item. If you don’t study the photos carefully then it’s your own fault.

Note where the seller is located and their shipping policies and price. Also note their return policies, I normally assume no returns but many sellers will accept returns.

As far as being a good buyer, have your PayPal in order with a confirmed shipping address. Don’t try to have the seller ship to a different address, that causes red tape and PayPal and Ebay do not like that and the seller will be blamed if anything goes wrong. So don’t ask them to do it. Don’t try to haggle or change terms. If you’re not happy with the item and terms as listed in the auction, then don’t click Bid or Buy it Now.

Wait until you get the item and confirm it is as expected before leaving feedback. If there is something wrong give the seller a chance to make it right before leaving negative feedback. Most sellers will leave you good feedback after you leave them good feedback.

The key to being a good ebay seller (IMHO, from 16+ years of ebay experience, 100% positive feedback over 2,000+ transactions), is to DOCUMENT all damage on everything you sell! If the item isn’t 100% perfect, take photos of every scratch, and post them, and then note the damage in the listing. That way, the buyer can’t reasonably complain that the item wasn’t as described.

Also, pack everything very, very well. I’ve seen people put GLASS in a padded envelope and stick it in the mail (idiot - it got broken in shipping, and they had to refund my money). Assume that anything you ship will be dropped 5’ to a concrete floor.

Charge reasonable prices for shipping, and ship quickly.