Starting out on e-bay

Call me the original late adopter :stuck_out_tongue:

While I have known about e-bay for years, have occasionally had a troll through looking for interesting stuff, I have never actually got around to buying or selling anything.

I can be a bit of a pack rat, and have decided it’s time to get rid of some stuff, particularly some old role playing and other gaming stuff.

But everytime I read advice about using e-bay, it’s only deal with people with positive feedback, people who have a track record, etc etc.

So how do I start with no track record and no feedback, am I going to have trouble selling stuff because I have no record?

Well no one is going to buy a car from you but you should be able to get away with a few computer stuff just set a fair price and be detailed in the description

Sell cheap, be extra attentive to questions people ask, and put up great photos and descriptions of what you’re selling.

As long as your listings include photos and clear, detailed descriptions of your items you’ll probably be okay even if you have no feedback – though it’s likely you won’t get quite as many bids as an experienced seller, but that’s eBay. Still, as long as you have no negs against you and your auction appear to be on the up and up you’ll probably still be able to unload your stuff.

If your just selling off some collactable items, I wouldn’t worry about it. Though, if you’re concerened, buy some things first. Buying will also add to your feedback. But, if it’s feedback your after, make sure the people you are buying from are in the habit of leaving feedback as well. Alot of the big time sellers (people with 1000’s of feedbacks) don’t bother to leave any.

I second what has been said, with the addition of…

Be very explicit in your descriptions, if something has a nick on the bottom the size of a fleas fingernail then say so.

Do the research to provide accurate shipping costs in your ads - look up estimates on the UPS, USPS, FedEx websites based on weight (including packaging) and package dimensions.

When packing for shipping pretend it’s a priceless ancient artifact you are shipping to a museum.

When it comes to answering questions be prompt and courteous (sometimes you have to fake it, not everyone’s brain thinks the way your does). To adhere to the rules governing your usage agreement with eBay, politely decline if some asks you to stop and auction to sell them something offline.

This will all go a long way toward establishing your credibility as a seller and tamp down piss-wars with persnickety buyers leaving negative feedback.

Unless you want to adopt the strategy of listing everything with a starting price of 99¢, it can be very helpful to use the advanced search feature to search ended listings for a particular doodad you plan to sell. It will give you a more realistic idea of where you should set your starting price and how much you might expect to get for that doodad.

(I finally succumbed to listing something for 99¢, and by the time eBay took their cut and PayPal took theirs – and their cut is based on the total payment, including what the buyer pays for shipping – I actually lost money on that sale.)

  1. List item on Ebay
  2. ???
  3. Profit!!!
    Something went wrong with your step 2. :dubious:

This is probably more suited for IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I’m not sure what is encompassed by your “???,” but I did learn a lesson.


If you buy some cheap stuff you can build up feedback that way first. If you are selling anything expensive or collectible it will definitely help attract interest - and convince bidders you are a responsible trader.

The only new tip I can add is offer more than one postage option - when we started giving two options to all locations (normal and express) we got more interest.

By all means research “completed auctions” of similar items so that you know what to expect in terms of sales of your particular items.
I generally start my auctions at the bottom price I will accept for them so I don’t lose $$.
Realize also that if your item doesn’t sell, you still have to pay Ebay for the listing, so try to be certain your items are “buyable” and/or worth what you are asking.

Get some feedback by buying a few items and paying promptly, and while doing that, go ahead and auction some of your stuff that is likely to sell, even at a low price to get started.

  1. Do not listen to disgruntled sellers. They can give very bad advice, like “always make the buyer give FB 1st”. FB means little to a buyer. It means a Lot to a seller. Buy good FB by leaving FB first and fast. (Caveat- do check their rating 1st, and wait on newbs and dudes who have given out several NEGs.)

  2. Do not become a disgruntled seller. Yes, sooner or later some asshole on eBay is going to screw you- give you an unjustified NEG or demand an unreasonable refund, etc. Do not let that run the rest of your life make you treat all future customers like assholes. That sale,* that* asshole, is over and done with.

  3. Charge a little extra for S&H than your actual cost. Maybe a buck. Helps make back up for those sales where you do only get 99cents. Do *not *charge a shitload over for S&H.

  4. If a customer wants a refund, then give it to him. Then, if he was unreasonable, block him.

  5. Do not retaliate for a Neg with a Neg. Yes, a loony newb has just given you a Neg. You returning the favor will just scare other customers off. OTOH, if you are given a NEG, and the sellers deserves one for reasons other than just NEGing you, fire away… **after you sleep on it.

  6. Good way to get a rating is to buy (then sell) a lot of cheap stuff. Start now. Buy some junk for a buck. Send payment super-fast. Give fast POS FB. Now around a month later you will have a 100% POS rating of 25 or so, and (IIRC) your “sunglasses” will be gone. Sure, that rating will be as a buyer, but some dudes don’t check.

  7. Buy one of those eBay selling guides. Ebay for Dummies?

I don’t particularly want to revisit our difference of opinion over this, but I just wanted to point out that it is possible to be of the opinion that feedback should be left when the entire transaction is complete, and not actually be disgruntled.

Anyway… my advice(all YMMV) would include:

Don’t list too many similar items at once on separate auctions - you’ll just have people skipping over the one that ends soonest in the hope they’ll get a better price on the one that ends later.

Listing multiple identical ‘stock’ items in buy it now format is great though, but build your way up to that gradually as you become certain there’s enough demand to support it.

Never be anything other than calm and factual in your feedback.

Make sure you’ll be around to send out items when your listings end - i.e. don’t list them to end when you’re going to be away on holiday for three weeks, or to end just before you leave.

If the items are expensive enough to warrant it, add delivery confirmation to the shipping.

Look at your competitors and see what’s working for them.

Clear photographs and accurate, comprehensive descriptions are important.

Don’t put a great big block of text at the foot of your listings, ranting about what you’ll do if you’re not paid on time, or if the buyer dicks you around or whatever - lots of people seem to think it’s necessary to do this - it just isn’t - the eBay rules apply and are there for everyone to see - you don’t need to reiterate them, reinvent or embellish them - it just makes a lot of potential buyers click away.

All good advice. Especially this last, especially when sellers add something completely wrong such as “Once I ship it I am not responsible for the product getting to you” or other such nonsense. The Buyer is responsible for seeing the payment gets to the seller, who is then equally responsible for seeing that the merchandise gets to the buyer".

Completely agree. We no longer leave feedback until after the buyer has.

We did originally, but as a seller it leaves you open to scams, blackmail and fraud. e.g. a case (this was not on ebay fortunately) where a gentleman received the goods, we left positive feedback, and then he tried to demand we gave him money on top or he would neg us. Unfortunately for him, we’d documented everything including his email demand. Purely blackmail and he got banned - apparently legal action was taken by the site as he tried this with another seller - but its still a problem. If it had been ebay, ebay does not remove feedback, apparently even under those circumstances.

As a seller, postal insurance is your friend. If the goods don’t show up, it is your problem, so provide a fast refund/altenative product and then claim from the courier.

I’m still trying to resist the argument… It’s not even really the fear of scams and things that is the basis for my leaving fb at the end - it just seems to me that it’s the logically correct place to do it. Also, it happens to be true in my case that I often get emails from my buyers saying how happy they are with the items (no, really - I do) - and I can include ‘good communication’ to the feedback I leave.

This seems to be one of the really hot-button topics on this board and has resulted in some quite bitter argument in the past. I think the best resolution is to say that what works best for one eBayer in this regard might not necessarily be considered best by another. We have to do what our consciences tell us is right - for some sellers, this means leaving feedback on payment, for others, it means waiting - the eBay rules are sufficiently vague on this point as to accomodate either practice.

What is wrong in either case though, IMO, is hostage feedback (“I won’t until you do”) - I don’t do that - so in fact my ethic is not ‘buyer leaves fb first’, it’s ‘fb on completion’.

So far there has been some great advice.

[li] Take clear pictures and from different angles. If a game is in box take pics of the box, the inside of the box and all contents.[/li]
I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked on auctions that have shitty camera phone pic that is all blurry and dark. If I can’t see the thing what makes them think I am going to buy it.
[li] Use the gallery of the best pic. [/li]
Unless I am really looking for something rare I avoid auctions that force me to open them just to see a picture.
[li] Make the descriptions clear and exact but simple. Don’t go overboard with 25 lines of text. I am not going to read it all and get frustrated and move on. Same goes for your polices. Make all shipping costs and return policies clear.[/li]
I hate auctions that do not tell me the shipping cost up front. The “shipping is determined by location after auction is won” will make me not buy. I want to know up front. Do not “say” you charge extra of package and handling. If you want to charge that extra buck for your time then add it to the shipping charge.
[li]Get a Paypal account if you don’t have one and be aware that is takes several days to a week to get it ready. Don’t start listing on ebay until it is set. You could except mondey orders as well but it just takes longer.[/li]
I personally prefer paypal but if there is something I really want I will take the time to get a MO. Don’t accept personal checks or consealed cash. It will save you headaches.
[li] As a new seller you may have to charge a tad less for your items compared to the same as others selling the same item with high feedback.[/li]
I have bought from new people because it was a bit cheaper or their shipping cost was a bit cheaper.
[li] Check your account and your email often. Buyers do ask questions.[/li]
I can’t tell you the times I have asked a question and it goes unanswered or is answered close to the auctions end. If I am asking a question it is because not only do I need more info but I am thinking about it. If you finally answer my question ten minutes before the auction ends you are not giving much time to think. No sale. Also, if you get many people asking the same question you can edit the description and add more information.
[li]Seven days to pay or re-list and report with bad feedback unless a Buy now auction. If Buy now then use must pay now option. That will avoid scams artists. The auction will not end unless they Paypal right then.[/li]
Be reasonable. If a buyer wins the auction and then emails you three days later asking you for eight days instead of seven then wait. It will save you money in the end so you won’t have to re-list. It also avoids the chance that you leave them neg feedback and then you get “BAD SELLER, UNREASONABLE AND A PLAIN MEANY” left on your feedback.
My personal pet peeve
[li]If you sell any pants please add the inseam length.[/li]
I hate to find auctions with the waist size, condition and has a great picture but does not tell me the length. I am short, I need to know the pants are not going to be four inches to long!


Feedback. Uh. That is really a personal choice on how you handle it. I am not going to get on that horse.