Advantages Fun, making money, lots of parcels arriving!
Disadvantages Need to be aware of bad Ebayers, can be addictive.
INTRODUCTIONHow would you like to feel like it was your birthday every day? First, you would get a postal delivery of envelopes full of cheques. (Admittedly no birthday cards, but bear with me!) Then Parcel Post arrives and you get lots of different packages. Opening them, you find books you have wanted to read for ages, new clothes, signed photos of celebrities you admire, DVDs and CDs.
Sounds great, eh? It is. So what is it that gives you this wonderful kind of day? EBAY!!I resisted Ebay for a long time. I love shopping – especially online, where I don’t have to leave home – and tend to get carried away with new discoveries. I didn’t want to spend more than we had. But in October or November, I signed up (imaginatively as karenuk1969) and although it’s become a bit of an addiction, it is going well and I am making more than I am spending!
A NOTE ABOUT MY REVIEWUsually, a review of Ebay would include details of how to sign up, but to be honest, not only is that dull to read about, but you can easily discover that for yourselves by visiting the website. Basically, you need to register your name, address, credit card details, bank information and so on, but that is fairly obvious.
Here, I aim to write about my experiences of the site, something you only learn over time. Hopefully, this way, you will discover a few useful tips and not make the mistakes I did.BUYING
Ebay was indispensable over the festive period and a lot of my friends and family’s Christmas presents were bought this way. Now that doesn’t mean they all got second hand stuff. You can buy brand new items on Ebay too. But yes, it is a great hunting ground for collectors.My youngest daughter, Viki, is into E. T. at the moment, after she found my old cuddly one from the ‘80s. It was reasonably easy to buy her the film on DVD, but by looking on Ebay, I also managed to get a book of the film and two different cuddly toys, all for bargain prices.
My best buy so far has probably been twelve issues of The Gymnast magazine from 1980 and 1981. I used to own these, but years ago, I decided to cut the pictures out and put them into scrapbooks. Later, I often regretted this and wished I could have the complete issues again. Now, I have! I even found my name in two of the magazines and they have brought back so many lovely memories. Although I ended up paying £21 for them, I was thrilled.So the bargains are out there, you just need to look. But be careful! There are some things you need to watch out for. One is the cost of postage and packaging, which you need to take into account, if you have given yourself a maximum limit to spend on that item.
Usually, postage costs will be included at the bottom of the listing, but sometimes there will be a note that the buyer will get the item weighed afterwards and let you know how much it will cost. Being rather naïve, I bought the Game of Life from Ebay to give to my daughter for Christmas. I won the auction for a reasonable amount – I think it was £4.99 – but when I received the final total with postage costs, it was £11. I could have bought a brand new one from a local shop for that!I’m not sure how many items I have won on Ebay since I joined - I know it’s fifty in the last month though – but I have only ever had three problems with items arriving. Two parcels got lost in the post around Christmas. The first one is claiming through Royal Mail, but I have probably lost my money. The second one sent a replacement item and a £5 refund for the one she couldn’t replace.
Another problem I had was that I ordered a fake fur coat for me and one for my daughter. The postage was high, but I expected that, as they were both heavy. However, when the parcel arrived, I noticed the actual cost was a whopping £5 LESS than I had paid! I emailed the seller, refused to give feedback until I had received a refund and eventually got the money back.Other more obvious things to bear in mind when bidding are…
These may sound simple things, but when you get carried away with the excitement of an auction, it is easy to forget. You may have always wanted that book, but do you mind it’s got writing on a couple of the pages? Is that DVD really a bargain, if it won’t work on your DVD player? You might have been looking for a signed photo of a certain star for years, but this one might be a pre-print – would you still want it then or would you prefer an original signature?It is also sensible to wait for one auction to finish, before bidding on a similar item. I recently decided I needed some new mugs (for my tea addiction!) and put 99p bids on several different ones, assuming I would only win a couple and be outbid on the others. I ended up winning five different mugs!!
SELLINGEbay is the perfect place to sell all your junk and clutter, those books you’ll never read, the unwanted presents, the CD you’ve got two of and anything you’ve been keeping in the loft from childhood. Of course, things might not sell, but what have you lost? The time it takes to list them and the listing fee (15p for a basic one, but it costs more if you specify a reserve price, include a photo, etc.).
On the other hand, you could be sitting on a real money earner. My good old mum kept most of my childhood possessions in the loft and a few months ago, brought over my collection of Misty comics. I had a look on Ebay to see if they were worth selling and discovered something – not only do they sell, but they are worth quite a bit of money! Every Misty I have put on Ebay has sold and the first issue went for almost £16!As well as researching the market, it helps to know a bit about the things you are selling. My mum gave me a box of Lledo die-cast vehicles to sell and all I could do was describe the box and the car, van or whatever in very basic terms. I have been inundated with potential buyers asking for measurements, names on base plates and which scale it is! Obviously I omitted some details that are important to collectors.
Including a photo can help sell things too, but I don’t own a digital camera, so can’t do this at the moment. Clothes in particular don’t seem to sell very well, if you don’t include a picture of the items.It is easy to create an impressive listing page. You can choose from a variety of backgrounds and fonts. You can vary the size and colour of the text, as well as using bold, italic and underline. For those unsure of how to use html, there is a great simple tool you can click on, which means you just write it how you want it to look and the tool will write it in html for you.
Some other tips on selling on Ebay would be…
- Don’t use reserve prices unless you need to. They cost more in listing fees and people are looking for a bargain, so are more likely to look at something starting at 50p than an item with a reserve of £30!
- Recycle packaging to keep down your costs. You are going to need selotape, brown tape, envelopes of various sizes, boxes, Jiffy bags, stamps, printing paper, address labels, bits of cardboard to keep things straight, staples and so on. These things add up. Re-use any envelopes you can and work out cheap ways to wrap things.
- Always leave honest feedback for every transaction. This will remind your buyers and sellers to do the same and feedback ratings do make a difference. I know I am more likely to buy from someone with 100% positive feedback and 100 ratings than from a newcomer with 1 or 2 ratings or someone with only 80% positive feedback. Of course, you can read their feedback to find out what the negatives have been about.
- Try to be fair on prices. You don’t want to sell yourself short, but you don’t want to rip people off either.
We are not selling to make a profit. The idea is that the money we earn is to be used to buy things we want or need from Ebay. But similarly, we can’t really afford to make a loss. So this spreadsheet shows at a glance whether we are in the red or the black and whether we need to concentrate on the selling to build up our capital, or whether we can let the reins go for a while and spend, spend, spend!MY EBAY
The page I use the most is the ‘My Ebay’ one which conveniently lists the items you are watching, bidding on, selling and so on. I do find the website rather slow at times though and I seem to encounter error pages regularly, which means I often list at the less popular times of the day, such as after midnight.At the top of the page, you will see your user ID and your rating. Then there are tabs to check on the progress of auctions you are interested in, your feedback, your favourite sellers or shops, etc. You can use this how you like, depending on the way you use Ebay.
Personally, I track (or watch) several items. These usually fit into two categories – either things I might bid for nearer the end of the auction or things I have to sell and want an idea of how much they’ll go for. You can only track thirty items at a time, so any I actually bid on, I delete from the tracking list to make room for others.The bidding list is simply the items you already have made a bid on. This tells you what it is, when the auction finishes, how much your maximum bid is and how much the highest bid is currently. This is invaluable as it basically organises you. When auctions have less than 24 hours to go, the time left will change into red to remind you to get any final bids in.
Finally on the bidding/watching page, there is the list of everything you have recently won. You can change these settings to fit the time scale you require, with thirty days being the most allowed. This helps you to see what is due to arrive and when the auction finished.The selling page is set out in a similar way with lists of what you are selling with the usual details – how long until the auction finishes, your starting price or reserve, whether it is selling and so on. The price shows up in green if your item is selling and your total is at the bottom of the section, so it is quick and easy to see how much money you should have coming in.
Underneath this, there is a section of things you have sold and items you have listed, but didn’t manage to sell. There are facilities for you to re-list these easily, if you wish to, without having to write out all the information again.CONCLUSION
Ebay is almost a limitless topic, I could certainly write more and more about this here, but there is only so much you can read about without tiring and after all, the best way to learn is to try it out for yourself. Ciao now has links to your Ebay items in the tab marked ‘My Marketplace’ so why not join in with the online auction craze? Hopefully you’ll clear some space in your house, have some fun and make a lot of money!Just be careful it doesn’t get out of hand. When you are in the finishing minutes of an auction, it is tempting to bid more than you planned to. When you’re browsing through your favourite section of the site, you might think a couple of 99p bids won’t hurt, but they do add up and don’t forget the postage costs!
If you want to ask anything else, please leave a message in my guestbook and I’ll try to get back to you.HAPPY BIDDING!!!
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