Do you eBay?

gwtamaraApril 30, 2008

Hi everyone,

The iVillage producers are working on a piece about people selling things on eBay, etc., to help pay the bills. While you may not specifically be doing this because of the current economy, I know quite a few of you are avid ebayers -- so, any tried-and-true tips that you have would also be welcomed. Thanks for your help!


GardenWeb Community Manager

In light of the recession, are you selling anything on eBay or Craigslist (or in a yard sale) to help make ends meet? If so, what are you selling? Do you have any selling tips for others interested in making some extra cash by selling some of their possessions?

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In light of the recession, are you selling anything on eBay or Craigslist (or in a yard sale) to help make ends meet?

I do both, not so much to make ends meet, but rather to get rid of stuff I no longer use or need.

If so, what are you selling?

Right now hubby has a set of auto ramps listed on Craigslist and I am listing a push lawnmower.

In the past, I've both bought (and sold) on ebay mostly sewing related items.

Do you have any selling tips for others interested in making some extra cash by selling some of their possessions?

First of all, take good clear sharp photos. Nothing is worse than a blurry photo. Take the time to write a clear (and honest) description. The buyer is relying on you to disclose defects because they can't pick up the item and look at it. Figure out how you are going to ship it and what it will cost. Weigh the item with the packaging (and don't skimp on packing material). When it does sell, pack it carefully, ship it promptly, get a tracking number, and let the buyer know it's been shipped and when they can expect it. Ask them to let you know when it arrives safely or to let you know if there are any problems. You are responsible for the item until it is safely in their hands. (A lot of new sellers think that once it's shipped, they are off the hook. They are wrong)

Selling on ebay is more time consuming than most people realize. I think it'd be a tough way to earn a living...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:45PM
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We buy and sell on eBay - buy to obtain antique furnishings for our old home and sell to get rid of stuff we no longer need/use.

Right now, We're not selling anything.

My #1 tip for seller is to be absolutely honest in your description of the item. If it has a flaw, discuss the flaw. You'll save yourself grief and agony if you are up front and honest right from the start.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:45PM
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I prefer the old yard sale, "cash on the barrel head" method of unloading stuff that needs to go away but has more than kerbside value.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I used to use eBay to buy and sell. Too many scams there for me now. I have used craigslist. But like others---because I wanted to get rid of stuff.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 10:05PM
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I've been thinking about selling some things on ebay, but not the make ends meet, just to clear "excess inventory" of some things that have some value but not suited to donate to charity.
I have sold plants on Craigslist, in order to bring in a little cash. Despite a very clear listing of the plants available and the prices, I got many contacts asking for other (not on the list) items, asking how much, asking for my phone #, asking to "just come over and look", and asking me to describe or explain what specific plants were (nothing was unusual for this area). People seemed to think that I was running a full-fledged nursery! And others seemed just too odd to give my address to. I don't know if I would do it again. It requires patience, for sure. Definitely I would use an separate email address, that doesn't show my name if I respond to them.
I've looked at a few things on ebay to buy but ended up convinced that they had been stolen or were frauds.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 11:44PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Hi Raee,

Wow...I had thought of maybe selling a few things locally, but wouldn't want to put up with wierd people showing up at my house.

An alternative might be to sell them on The Lily Auction. Lots of other plants besides lilies are sold there. Maybe you are familiar with it? Doing that would require having to pack and mail them, but I'll tell you sure can pack a mean box!

Here is a link to what they charge to list that I previously posted to The Iris Forum....Costs to list Irises on the Lily Auction Site


    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 1:13AM
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I stopped selling on Ebay when they jacked up their selling fees, and made it so that sellers can no longer leave negative feedback (even if the buyer stiffs you, or does something completely inappropriate! It's ridiculous.) Ebay is no longer a good place for sellers, IMHO.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 12:24PM
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I've never sold anything on ebay but I sold a boat lift on Craig's List. I've put some other household stuff on there and had no takers. I don't have a need to sell things to make ends meet but I was thinking about getting rid of an artificial christmas tree that I no longer use - just to free up some storage space.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 11:01PM
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I sold a set of tires on Craigslist.

I didn't want people coming to my house so I arranged to meet the buyer at a heavily trafficked drug store parking lot.

When I list an ad, I ask the responder to include a telephone number. This way I can screen them before I give them my information.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:02AM
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We Freecycle. Some kids toys and high chair, exercise bike, coat, etc.. We don't need the money but some people are hurting even before this economy tanked so we watch and help a little.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:41PM
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I have used E Bay to sell, but never buy there. I am selling to get rid of stuff not to buy more. LOL I found if I listed to many items at a time I worried about making a mistake. I have one item that I need to list there because it is very rare and valuable and E Bay is a world wide auction. You can't get good prices for collectibles where I live. It is a restored 20 inch Whizzed motor bicycle.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Nope - it's a dying business model. Even my friends who were the most fervent eBay'ers, have started to sour on it. Peer to peer selling/bartering, like Craigslist, will eventually supplant it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 1:10PM
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what is the difference between Craigslist and E Bay?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Ebay: you post an auction, and anyone from anywhere (generally -- you can limit who can bid by country) can "bid" on it. You then ship the item to the winner of the auction. You have to pay sellers fees to list auctions on Ebay.

Craigslist: you post a listing that is local to your area (usually to your city or county), and people either contact you over phone or email. You arrange to have them pick it up or you meet some place for the handoff of goods. Craigslist is a bit like a newspapers classifieds section. There is no charge to list on Craigslist.

They both have their pros and cons. With Ebay, you have a national or international audience; it's generally pretty good for small collectibles, or things that don't cost a lot to ship. Downside is that you do have to pay sellers fees (which as I mentioned, has gone up recently), and you also take a certain amount of risk in dealing with people who are far away (i.e. claims that they didn't receive items, or that they got broken, buyers not paying, etc.)

Craigslist is often better for larger items, although of course you can sell anything on there (just recognize that it's a smaller audience -- selling mickey mouse collectibles on Craigslist isn't going to garner as much interest as it might on Ebay -- you're just not likely to have the audience locally). As an example, I've bought a used treadmill, and a laptop off of Craigslist. The downside for sellers is that you get a lot of people who say "Hey, I'm interested in the thing you're selling. When can I come get it?" and then you never hear from them again. You have to get used to a certain amount of flakiness. Upside - no shipping or selling fees.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Also, just as an aside, there's more to craigslist then just the For Sale section -- I've found Craigslist to be great for finding jobs, or handymen to do work around the house. Friends have used the Housing section as well. I personally think Craigslist is awesome.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Thanks, I am guessing you have to post a price like the newspaper on Craigslist. I may try that first, nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:23PM
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Thanks, I am guessing you have to post a price like the newspaper on Craigslist. I may try that first, nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:24PM
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it's a dying business model

Understatement of the year!

I joined eBay in 1998, as a buyer. Then I started selling collectibles in 2000, and it was great. Easy to list items, reasonable fees, and the vast majority of buyers and sellers were good honest folks.

As time has gone by, eBay, (also known as FeeBay and GreedBay among other names..), has instituted so many awful changes and probable illegal practices that it is indeed in its death throes as an Online Auction Site. It is very close to becoming the Walmart of the Internet. Actually I apologize to Walmart, that comparison is an insult to them.

Picture a fabulous flea market, with all kinds of items and happy buyers and sellers. As time goes on, some bad buyers and sellers show up, but the community of good buyers and sellers are able to help each other avoid the bad apples.

Then the owner of the real estate where this flea market takes place decides he wants a bigger cut, and raises the rent he charges the sellers. Numerous times. To keep the customers coming in, he squelches every opportunity for the good buyers and sellers to keep the flea market pleasant and honest. He institutes a blanket "The Customer is Always Right" policy, which opens the sellers to outright fraud by bad buyers. Sellers are forced to ship items *before receiving payment*, and they just have to hope that the buyer doesn't falsely claim the item was broken or never received. Then, when it is obvious that the sale went well, and the buyer is happy, the seller has to wait until The Boss decides to give them their money.

When a seller is defrauded, they are not allowed to warn the rest of the community. The system that used to make this work has been changed, so the sellers are not allowed to talk about bad buyers.

Ever greedy, The Boss forces the sellers to funnel any money they get from buyers through his bank, so he can take another cut. If they don't comply, he offs them. (yes, soon sellers will get kicked off of eBay for not using their money launderer. Gee, it's beginning to sound like MafiaBay.)

In the end, which is very soon, the wonderful flea market will become a dumping ground for wholesalers, liquidators, and thugs. And the top brass at eBay are the biggest thugs of all.

If you think I'm just being a cynic, log onto eBay and read the Community Forums, specifically the Auction Listings and Paypal forums. It's very sad. Many sellers have left, more than I've ever seen. I regularly shop for a specific type of item, and in the past 6 months, the listings have gone from an average of 1500 to an average of 300. New auction sites are gaining steam. I'm wanting to sell again, but waiting until a new site or two starts taking off.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:55PM
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Exactly, weed30 -- you've listed all the reasons that I no longer sell on Ebay. I didn't do a ton of selling, but I did occasionally offload some stuff over the past 8 years or so. And now, when you try to buy, there's hardly any "real" sellers -- it's all overstock stuff from bulk sellers, that often is selling for more than you can find on various online sites.

One of the other reasons I stopped buying and selling is shipping fees...even just shipping a small package through priority mail has gotten outrageously expensive, it seems. It's just not worth it anymore.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Weed, what the heck are you talking about? The situation you describe is how is handled, which is why I won't ever sell with them again, but not how eBay is handled. You do not have to ship the item before you recieve payment on eBay, only on Half. I agree that eBay has changed alot, some for the good, some for the bad, but I am a loyal eBayer (mostly buying, sometimes selling, but to get rid of things fast, not to "make ends meet") I do dislike that eBay has gotten too commercial, making a good deal almost impossible to find. My local WalMart sells Wii's for $200, for example- they sell for over $300 on eBay quite often, and on Half even more often for that price, and that's USED! People are greedy. And there is so much fraud. My son bout 40 "lead wire holders" for $22 for his slotcars. These holders were touted as what the pros solder into their slotcars to keep the wires away from the motors. And so they are, I guess, but the seller could have mentioned that they are also called earring backs and can be bought for pennies at your local general store. My 13 year old is heartbroken but we have told him that it is a lesson in "buyer beware".

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 4:30PM
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addictedtoroses - ebay/paypal now holds payments to many sellers, mainly the 'little guys'. Buyer pays via paypal, and you do NOT get your money until they leave feedback, sometimes not even then. The money shows up in your paypal account, but it is not available to you. Holds on payments are supposed to max out at 21 days, but that is not the experience of some. So yes, buyers have to pay when they win an auction, but sellers don't actually get their money before shipping, and often have to wait weeks or more to have access to it. Obviously ebay/paypal is making some nice interest off of all of those held funds.

In addition, the SNAD policy seems to have weakened - I didn't research that totally yet - but sellers are saying it's a lot easier for buyers to defraud sellers. Check out the Auction Listings board and the Paypal board to see the complaints.

Sorry about your son's bad experience, that's terrible. Did he try to file a claim?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 8:18PM
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I used to sell on Ebay, mostly books, not expensive books - just books. We travelled for work for a year, so I didn't list. When I returned, the changes were beginning and I listed for about a month and spent the entire time on edge for fear someone would take a dislike for some reason, any reason, and either leave a negative or ding the DSR rating.

I did get a ding from a customer, and I know which one. This buyer bought some magazines and didn't like the fact they had to be sent bound printed matter - although a lot of sellers illegally ship media mail - I don't.

About a week after auction, buyer emailed they would be sending check. The check arrived about 10 days later - I mailed next day. Still got a ding on shipping.

Ebay tells a buyer that a 4 means good - yet if you have a 4 average, you can have your selling privileges put on hold.

They also mess with the search features. If you offer free shipping, I understand you get a better placement in the search. Where it used to be based on ending time, it is now based on some formula no one seems to really understand.

When a sellers sells something and offers free shipping, unless they are selling something very expensive that costs little to ship, they are going to have to up their price to cover shipping. You can't sell a $5 book, give free shipping, pay Ebay fees and not loose money. The beauty of increased selling price, for Ebay, is that Ebay gets a cut of the postage cost that way - in final value fees as well as their enforced Paypal only rules.

I'm waiting for the day another auction site or just good selling site comes into being.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 8:09AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I'm waiting for the day another auction site or just good selling site comes into being.
It really would be nice if Ebay had some real competition. Right now, they are the only well known established one, and they can do as they please.
Sellers really have no other good place to go to reach buyers everywhere...sigh.

The Lily Auction is quite well known by many gardeners across the country, and besides lilies, one can sell other plants, seeds, other garden items, and even non-garden items.

Their rates are very very reasonable, compared to Ebay.
Below are the rates I was told they charge.
Posting a new item for auction is $-0.20.

Calculated Charges at Item Close:

4% of your final closing bid, if $0.01 to $9.99 .
5% of your final closing bid, if $10.00 to $119.99 .
6% of your final closing bid, if $120.00 to $599.00 .
5% of your final closing bid, if $600.00 to $999.99 .
4% of your final closing bid, if $1000.00 to $2599.00 .
3% of your final closing bid, if $2600.00 to $3999.00 .
2% of your final closing bid, if $4000.00 to $9999.00 .
1% of your final closing bid, if $10000.00 to $100000.00.

Fee for uploading & hosting an image on our server for 60 days:
(Optional - will not apply if you host your image elsewhere)

upload image fee is $Free per image. (hosted for 60 days)
Fee for uploading a counter on our server:
Lily Auction Counters track the number of buyers who have viewed your
listing. Multiple views from the same user are counted only once. The
counter will appear at the bottom of your listing. Hidden Counters
can only be seen by the Seller when the seller is LOGGED IN. After
auction close the counters remain static and will be viewable for 7
days after auction close.

upload Counter fee is $-0.10 per counter.

Maybe if we get the word out, The Lily Auction could be the next really big auction site.

Sue...who may sell some iris and daffodils there in 2009

Here is a link that might be useful: The Lily Auction

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 11:19AM
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ladytexan, you and I are on the same wavelength. I was just thinking to myself that it would be nice if there was a website that one could go to auction off used books besides Ebay, since it's no longer a viable model anymore (and I personally don't ever want to use them to buy or sell from again, for many reasons). There's plenty of sites where one can go to buy used books from used book sellers, but no place for the average seller.

I'm a web programmer...I think I'm going to start up such a site. If you have time, could you send me an email through my profile, so I can pick your brain as to what you'd like to see on such a site, as a book seller?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:04PM
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Yes, I'd be happy to do just that, although, keep in mind, I'm just a 'seller of books' - not a Bookseller.

Let me give this some thought and I will get back to you soon.

I do think Ebay wants out of the auction business and the new head of Ebay is reported to have said he wanted Ebay to no longer be a flea market.

It is possible that the novelty of auctions has worn thin. I don't have a problem with a Buy it Now concept as well as auction. Some things do better with auctions, though, I'm thinking.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:58AM
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What about selling books on Amazon? I sold only on eBay until my stepdaughter convinced me to give Amazon a try. She was doing very well, and I've been pleased with my results. I'm not selling a lot (I have about 20 books listed at present), but I consistently get more on Amazon than I would expect on eBay.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 10:47PM
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