eBay Buying and Selling Tips (for the real world)
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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:02 am 
 

I figured I'd add this as a new thread rather than polluting some existing thread.  As many of us use Ebay on a regular basis, it seems like a good idea to share learned wisdom.  For the seasoned Ebay veterans this will be obvious, but I'm still learning...so I'll start it off.

As I learned the hard way this week, especially if you're selling, use something extremely stable (hotmail, yahoo, etc), not your standard work email as your Ebay email address.
At work, our mail server was down this week, but more importantly (ok, from our perspective!)  it interfered heavily with my eBay auctions as buyers could not contact me for a day and a half.  :oops:

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:22 am 
 

my bit or wisdom is:

ensure you set out your terms and conditions VERY clearly, so they are easily understood even by the most thickest luddite. this will save you countless questions and problems along the way.

as deimos has mentioned in another thread (re OCE), use your own photos, instead of "stock" ones.

also be efficient in what you do, as it builds respect and goodwill - others will always come back if you do this.

when asked things, always try and be friendly and helpful - i find ppl like that a lot.

there thats my .01 for now :)



  

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:23 am 
 

deimos3428 wrote:I figured I'd add this as a new thread rather than polluting some existing thread. As many of us use Ebay on a regular basis, it seems like a good idea to share learned wisdom. For the seasoned Ebay veterans this will be obvious, but I'm still learning...so I'll start it off.

As I learned the hard way this week, especially if you're selling, use something extremely stable (hotmail, yahoo, etc), not your standard work email as your Ebay email address.
At work, our mail server was down this week, but more importantly (ok, from our perspective!) it interfered heavily with my eBay auctions as buyers could not contact me for a day and a half. :oops:


NO, PLEASE DON'T !!!!!

If we publish informations like that, sellers like our friend jonb will read them and use them as valid excuses not to contact buyers....

"Sorry had office mail probs - try'n to catch up soon"

8O  :roll:  :cry:  :lol:

Getting serious, I agree wholeheartedly with you - in fact most of the problems in auctions are caused by poor communication between the parts - and we all know that e-mail is fickle sometimes.

Even if it shouldn't be allowed by Ebay, I'd suggest you to insert another e-mail address in the description of the item, just in case, and maybe a phone or fax number too (paper doesn't lie) ...


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:33 am 
 

deimos3428 wrote:I figured I'd add this as a new thread rather than polluting some existing thread. As many of us use Ebay on a regular basis, it seems like a good idea to share learned wisdom. For the seasoned Ebay veterans this will be obvious, but I'm still learning...so I'll start it off.

As I learned the hard way this week, especially if you're selling, use something extremely stable (hotmail, yahoo, etc), not your standard work email as your Ebay email address.
At work, our mail server was down this week, but more importantly (ok, from our perspective!) it interfered heavily with my eBay auctions as buyers could not contact me for a day and a half. :oops:


Nice one!  :)  I have been buying and selling on Ebay for a few years, and as of last year it is my full time job.  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Be accurate on your descriptions, make your item stand out.  Too often lazy sellers only put a picture and very little exposition.  Even just quoting the back cover can help, those little tidbits can push a buyer over to your sale, all things being equal, especially if he or she isn't quite sure what he wants or what he is getting. Like I said, I'm always surprised at the amount of sellers that put no description at all under their product.

2.  Don't let ebay nickel and dime you to death.  Right now, there are like 100 different ways they have to get you to spend your money to complete a sale.  Most of them are bogus and don't assist you at all.  I'm shocked at the amount of sellers that have a $20 item for auction yet have splurged on additional pictures, bold description, subtitle, 10 day auction, Buy It Now, gift suggestion, etc, when their item would have sold for the exact same price with no extras at all.  Ebay makes it seem like just a little money, but it adds up in the long run.  Unless you are selling a rare or expensive item, maybe BIN but the other stuff forget it.  You get one photo/scan free and in most cases that is all you need.

3.  Be tough on your condition descriptions. It will save you a lot of grief, and some negs/neutrals, in the long run.  Decide what you yourself would think if you got the item in the mail from someone. I just had a guy yesterday that asked if a particular item was in "collectible" shape, I.E. Mint or Near Mint, when I had only advertised it in "Excellent" shape.  I said no, it was nice but not that nice. He thanked me and said the last guy who had advertised Near Mint had sent an item with heavily rusted staples and interior stains...and had got a neg.  If you fudge on descriptions you are only losing out on return sales.  Acaeum members are especially picky!!!

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 10:07 am 
 

1. Time your auctions to end at an optimum time for your buyer. If your bidders are at work or asleep (or maybe both) then there won't be much competition and there won't be a good price at the end. I try to resolve my items late on Saturday and Sunday nights. Hopefully this is good for both US and UK bidders.

2. If the item is rare or heavy, highlight to the UK bidder that it is already in the UK (minimum shipping and insurance charges, and no import tax).

3. If you're gonna post photos, post large clear photos.


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 10:40 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:1. Time your auctions to end at an optimum time for your buyer. If your bidders are at work or asleep (or maybe both) then there won't be much competition and there won't be a good price at the end. I try to resolve my items late on Saturday and Sunday nights. Hopefully this is good for both US and UK bidders.


I think that this is an excellent suggestion. I have always tried to have all my auctions end on Sunday between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm EST so for West Coast US bidders its 12 Noon and 3pm, and for Uk bidders its between 8pm and 11pm which are typically most of my buyers. This allows them the maximum possibility to bid if they really want to. :D

Also, you can't overestimate how a good honest description can go a long way. People can argue about your overall grade if you leave as just that, but if you honestly disclose all flaws, you allow people to figure out for themselves whether they think it is worthy of a bid. Good clear pictures certainly help too, but sometimes an excellent description is even better.


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 11:15 am 
 

(I'm having one heck of a week, by the way, not only was my email down, I'm the email admin.  This means that I have been working 19 hour days fixing that issue instead of focussing on eBay.  Very bad timing all around but fortunately no upset customers, yet.)

One more I'm learning the hard way:

Particularly if you are outside of the US, if you're going to list shipping charges at all, ensure you list charges to ship to the US!  

I didn't do this, and I have several US customers asking why I invoiced them for $7 when "the listing states $4", even though the listing also clearly states "Canada Only" and "International bidders please request a shipping quote".  It seems some US bidders are incapable of understanding that to me, they are international. :roll: Fortunately nobody on here.

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 11:52 am 
 

On the subject of shipping charges, I am honestly amazed at the number of US citizens who don't know that the UK isn't in America. I think you should have to complete an IQ test to register on eBay, and those below a certain score should be restricted to buying and selling within their own local area. The rest of the eBay community should no be inflicted with their ignorance.


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:37 pm 
 

Didn't you know, those of us in the US think we are all that exists in the world.  The rest of you are just "territories".  :D  :twisted:  :lol:

~jeff

  


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:56 pm 
 

Unfortunately stupid people isn't just an American problem, it seems to permeate worldwide. :roll:


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:04 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:Unfortunately stupid people isn't just an American problem, it seems to permeate worldwide. :roll:


Hmm, I wasn't meaning to turn this into a US-bashfest.  Bclarkie is certainly correct.  I just returned from the post office and have another couple of gems to share.

1.  Postage fees are pretty much a crap-shoot.  3 packages with similar contents going to the US, three different prices.  It seems Dragon magazines are all right around the magic 200g mark, if the package is over this mark, the price doubles.  (This is after visiting the Canada Post website frequently, it's still needlessly confusing.)  It seems I've been overcharging slightly to the US on some of the packages.  $6 seems about right, so I'll drop it down a buck next go-around. ;)

2.  You should keep a logbook of the item sold, the price (before shipping) in local currency, to whom, when, etc.  Very handy for at the post office filling out customs forms, as it's hard to estimate how much a module/dragon is "worth" if you don't have this info on you.  Hopefully I won't be sending my next post from a US jail for declaring the wrong amount.  :roll:

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:14 pm 
 

GamersRest[FNG] wrote:Didn't you know, those of us in the US think we are all that exists in the world. The rest of you are just "territories". :D :twisted: :lol:

~jeff


I thought they were changing the name from U.K. to U.S. Protectorate.  :D

Ok, ok....bad joke.

Actually wanted to just say that as a buyer, there are some things that I wish more sellers would do to try to make the transaction smoother.  The big one is simple communication.  If a buyer or potential buyer sends you an email, it is common courtesy to respond to it.  Even if the communication comes from the Ebay checkout process it is just nice to get the follow up email saying "Thanks, I got your email".   It creates a sense of understanding and trust and goes a long way to create repeat business.   The other thing that sellers sometimes forget is feedback.  I have read some of the other threads regarding bad transactions and I know how a lot of sellers feel about leaving feedback before the buyer leaves theirs.  I understand the reasoning for waiting for the buyer to leave feedback but when the buyer does leave feedback, it helps for the seller to do so as well.  Too many times have I left scintillating praise for a seller and never received positive feedback in response.  As a rule, I probably wont be buying anything from that seller in the future.

And probably the most important thing to remember when buying:  Be patient.  Everyone has problems and everyone gets busy and stressed and forgets about things.  I can think of numerous times where I had to wait much longer than normal to receive an item.   Either the seller misplaced the item, forgot to send it priority, etc.  With a couple of nice, to the point emails it all worked out in the end.  I see too many people leaving negative feedback for a transaction that wasnt absolutely perfect.  One more reason Ebay needs to change their feedback system.

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:35 pm 
 

I am mostly a buyer and what irritates most more than anything is a lack of shipping prices or a totally absurd shipping rate to international customers.  Just today I was looking at a single miniature pack from a US dealer with shipping of $14.00 to Canada, I looked on the USPS website and this can be shipped for a mere $4.00.  I do not mind paying a small handling fee but be reasonable, I will spend big money on the stuff I want but I refuse to be gouged on unreasonable shipping costs.

Also there needs to be good pictures and descriptions on stuff labelled as MINT or NEARMINT.  If the item is ragged or obviously used there is no need for a great picture, if you think the item is MINT, prove it to me and you will get higher bids.

Ahh, feels good to say that.


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:52 pm 
 

I would just add that buyers should "boycott" the sellers that spike the shipping charges.
If you really need the item, send a friendly e-mail stating that you think the shipping charges seem a little high... sometimes I get an FU, but others have actually lowered the price.

Also, shopping bags from your local market, don't quite work as well as bubble wrap when protecting corners during shipping. A $3 investment in a roll will make your buyer's VERY happy.

  

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 4:12 pm 
 

KingOfPain wrote:I thought they were changing the name from U.K. to U.S. Protectorate. :D

Isn't it nice when the kids grow up and they can stand on their own two feet. :D


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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 4:47 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
KingOfPain wrote:I thought they were changing the name from U.K. to U.S. Protectorate. :D

Isn't it nice when the kids grow up and they can stand on their own two feet. :D

So what would that make Canada, then, a momma's boy?  :lol: We still have the Queen on our stamps/currency.  (I'm Canadian, the rule is you're allowed to make fun of your own country, right).

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:24 pm 
 

First of all, this a great thread — you never know when you (meaning all of us, the collective "you") might be able to learn something new. This discussion also might be of use to some eBay newbies.

Anyway, advice from a seven-year eBay veteran (probably nothing ground-breaking):

For sellers: There's no excuse — none — for not investing in a digital camera or scanner (or both). I can't remember the last time I bid on an auction without a photo; on eBay, the old cliche is totally true: a picture is worth a thousand words. I don't want to be told about how great-looking your OCE is (in your totally subjective opinion), I want to be shown.

For buyers: Are you serious about winning auctions? Do you want to save some money in the long run? Then you need sniping software.

Yes, it's still considered unsporting in some circles, but there's wishful thinking (or stubborness) and then there's reality. And the reality is that sniping software saves time and money. Why are people still setting their alarms to get up and bid on that must-have item? Why are people getting into bidding wars and driving up prices when they could just snipe once and be done with it? (mind you, when I'm selling, I have no problem with this sort of behavior :)). I've been sniping for quite some time now, with absolutely no regrets and only one mishap (a service outage at just the wrong moment).

For both: Make sure to take advantage of eBay's built-in tools. My eBay is a pretty nice feature, especially as its free, and is a lot more powerful than some folks realize. Explore it. Poke it and prod it. Set it up just the way you want it and push it to its limits. For a step up, spend $5 a month and take advantage of Selling Manager for some pretty useful selling tools.

**edited on 5/4 to correct pathetic spelling errors**

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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 11:07 pm 
 

a few thoughts on this topic. Mostly from the buyers viewpoint, because I've bought LOTS in the last 2 years but only sold a little.
   Use the advanced search feature. I've done specific searches with exact phrases and discovered stuff that noone else has found and gotten some great deals. Usually because it's in the wrong category. Case in point - there was a fellow that has an appliance parts store that must have stumbled on a stash of early unpunched wargames. He put them all up under the category RPG's/superhero. I got some great deals on some really rare, early unpunched wargames. I even tried to steer him to the proper category. No dice. Good for me, but he could have gotten a lot more for his stuff.
   I do regular searchs for exact phrases like Tactical Studies Rules and Guidon Games, Avalon Hill, etc. I once picked up an unpunched 1st edition Bismarck for next to nothing because it was listed in militaria/WW2/German.
   As for having an auction end on Sunday nights, I've thought a lot about this(cause I'm planning on selling some redundent items). If you have an auction end when most people CAN'T be at the computer, then if they want the item they would have to place their bid earlier and make a higher bid just because they wouldn't be around to snipe at the end. Wouldn't this tend to drive the price higher? Again, I haven't sold much yet so I would like to hear what some of the bigger sellers feel about that.
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Post Posted: Wed May 04, 2005 11:49 pm 
 

Sunday nights can go both ways. . . as a bidder, I have often found the best deals on Sunday nights as there is so much to chose from - sometimes too much and there are not enough bidders to drive the price up on everything. . . .

As a seller . . . I work crazy hours and list things whenever I get a chance.  My considered opinion is that it doesn't matter much whether I start my 7 day auctions at 5:30 AM on a Wednesday or 8:00 PM on a Sunday - it all works out in the end.  

Of course, over half my stuff sells with BIN and THAT is my best advice to sellers:  Once you know your product and market, set an achievable BIN (not a ridiculous one!!!).  Buyers can get many items at once and not have to sweat it out for combined shipping.  Turnover is quick and helps spread the work out over the course of the week so you aren't slammed with shipping on Sunday night.   :P


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Post Posted: Thu May 05, 2005 2:04 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:Sunday nights can go both ways. . . as a bidder, I have often found the best deals on Sunday nights as there is so much to chose from ...


Gotta say I agree: I've felt for a long time now that the "end your auction at a certain time" thing is vastly over-rated. Given the choice between being one of 10 sellers with (insert item here) ending Sunday evening or being the only seller with (insert item here) ending on Tuesday afternoon, I'll take Tuesday every time.

beyondthebreach wrote:... it doesn't matter much whether I start my 7 day auctions at 5:30 AM on a Wednesday or 8:00 PM on a Sunday - it all works out in the end.


Again, agreed. I've got years of eBay data saved as Excel spreadsheets, and the only end-of-auction trend that has emerged is ... that there aren't any trends. I've done great on Sunday evenings; I've done poorly on Sunday evenings ... I've made good money on Thursday mornings; I've had terrible experiences on Thursday mornings ... and I'm sure you all get the idea.

The only thing I've avoided lately have been some holidays (the data does bear this out). Final prices and overall bid counts tend to be way down on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. — even hard-core eBayers have family gatherings they can't get out of, and they can't bid if they're on an airplane or stuck at the dinner table ... :)

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