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Last year we found some stuff in the attic and was going to give it to the local charity shop, when a friend suggested Ebay to us. Little did we know how much Ebay would change our lives.
REGISTRATION Go Ebay.co.uk you are directed to the main Home Page of Ebay and here it asks you do you want to register. If you do, through a few complete questions, like name and address, email and personal details. You can register. Depending on what sort of email address you have it can ask you for a card on file. Choose a password and username and you can begin buying. If you want to become a seller, you will be asked for a direct debit on file or a credit card or debit card.
A new security feature with Ebay is when you are picking your password, it will check automatically how secure it is. For instance, if your name is john smith. It would be advisable not to have this as your password for securtiy reasons but try something that is memorable to your only. Something that contains letters and numbers are the best.
BUYING ON EBAY The first time you buy something on Ebay, you get a tremendous buzz. So how do you buy?
Sellers can list their auctions in a number of ways. Here are a few...
BIN - Buy it now at a set fee.
Auction Style - Bidding starts at a set fee and at the end of the listing, it goes to the highest bidder.
Dutch Auction - Where a seller has more than one item and starts bidding lets say at 99p. All people who want to bid, put in the highest amount they would pay for this item. At the end of the item for instance if we have 10 items in this auction then it goes to the top 10 highest bidders.
Sellers can list their auctions for 1,3,5,7,10 days at a time.
The search facilities on Ebay are simple to use, you can go to the home page and search for the item you would like and press enter and it will automatically search for you.
As you become more experienced you will find start to find your way around and have fun looking at some funny items as well as ones that are not!
So you see something and think I would'nt mind that. An auction listing, do you place your bid now or wait nearer the time of the ending of the auction? This is up to you, lets do it now and bid 99p. You go into the listing and bid what amount you want to. You are then taken to another page to confirm your bid. Once you confirm this, this becomes a legal binding contract between you and the seller.
Your name then shows as a bidder on the listing. If someone else comes in the meantime and offers a higher bid. Ebay automatically send you an email.
If you want to wait until nearer the end of the auction. You have your own MY SUMMARY PAGE. Here there is a facility to bookmark the item, so you can bid later on.
So the auction ends and amazingly you got that bargain for a mere 99p... What do you do next. On the listing you will see a postage and handling fee the seller sets and also the payment methods they will accept.
Simply forward the payment by one of the accepted methods and wait for your goods to arrive.
POSTAL RATES There are several rates that can be offered by the seller which include the following:- 1st Class Royal Mail - starts from 30p 2nd Class Royal Mail Recorded Delivery - 65p extra on top of mail charge Guaranteed Next Day Delivery - 3.65 extra on top of mail charge Courier - Each courier Depends International Rates - Again Depending on Goods and destination.
FEEDBACK Ebay have a system called FEEDBACK. When you complete your transaction and the seller gets the money they should leave Feedback, this can be one of 3 options. Positive - Ran smoothly quick payer Neutral - Could have been a better transaction Negative - Normally reserved for people who dont pay at all
If you get your goods and your happy you should always leave Positive Feedback.
If your goods do not turn up within 7 days Email the seller, most sellers retain proof of posting from the Post Office. Do not charge in with neutral or negative feedback. Try and sort it out.
So they are not responding to your email and you are getting annoyed, the temptation once again is to Neg them. However take a deep breath, what else can you do. Go to the BUY SECTION OF EBAY HOME PAGE. At the side of the search box, there is a underlined heading in blue called ADVANCED SEARCH. Press this and a list appears on the left hand side of the box. You can request their home contact details and ring them.
So now they are not answering the phone and not answering emails. Could they be on holiday? look at their feeback again and check if they have a history of not sending goods. Be patient. After 7 days you can go to your MY PAGE and file a goods not recvd.
Still not happy. If you have paid by one of the accepted payments you could always claim off your credit card. If you have paid by Paypal, you are covered under BUYER PROTECTION and Paypal will investigate this.
ACCEPTED PAYMENTS PAYPAL - Owned by Ebay and is online fast and Easy. You sign up with them and you can pay your seller via this method through a variety of things like credit cards and debit cards and bank transfers. To join Paypal, you can click on the paypal sign and it will take you to their site. If you are not a member, all you need for a basic account is an email address and a password. You can link this up in the future if you become a seller.
Cash - I accept cash but tell buyers to send it Special Next Day Delivery. Expensive but covers money. Recorded Delivery doesnt! Do not send cash through the post on a stamp. If it goes missing then its your fault and you have no proof that cash was in there and you loose the lot.
Chqs - Easy, most people make them wait to clear. Regular buyers, I let go out. New people have to wait until chq clears. I always email the buyers to tell them the chq has arrived and when it clears.
Postal Orders - Keep the tab as proof and also sign the top part of the postal order. This is to prevent any Tom Dick or Harry picking it up and cashing it.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR AS A BUYER 1. Packing and posting fees, some sellers charge exceptional rates and this is one of the scams that can be reported. They sell an item for peanuts but incorporate the real price into the postage. This is called fee avoidance as the seller pays a final fees on the end auction price not postage.
2. Postage and Packing under ebay rules includes any costs associated with getting the goods to you. A stamp might cost 1.00, but consider the packing, the handling, etc. Reasonable costs are accepted by Ebay, Extorinate ones are not allowed and should be reported. You will find that most Buisness sellers have Sellers Standard Rate rather than 1st class or 2nd class..
3. Check a sellers feedback. You will find that most high volume sellers will have mainly good feedback but as with everything, some customers are not happy and will go and leave negative feedback before contacting the sellers to try and sort it out.
BECOMING A SELLER FOR THE FIRST TIME If you want to become a seller then you have to have a card or direct debit on file. How else will Ebay get your fees off you. However you can also pay your fees by going to your Home Page and paying via paypal or credit card or debit card etc etc.
You can also check how much your sellers fees are by going to the same page and going into the section that says SELLERS ACCOUNT.
THE COSTS OF A LISTING INSERTION FEE Simply what this means if for instance you have a remote control and you want to sell it on Ebay, you have to pay what is called a Basic Insertion Fee - These are the following dependant on what price you want to charge for it:-: 1p to 99p - 15p 1.00 to 4.99 - 20p 5.00 to 14.99 - 35p 15.00 to 29.99 - 75p 30.00 to 99.99 - 1.50 upwards - 2.00
If the item does not sell you will get charged no more.
For the price of 15p you can add a picture to it and still only pay 15p. but this shows up on as a camera on the main listing until someone actually goes into you listing where they can see your picture.
GALLERY - 15p on top of each Basic Insertion Fee. Well worth it as people who are flicking through searches can see your items without wasting time going into each listing.
GALLERY FEATURED - 15.95 These appear at the top of the main listings in each category. These would only really be useful if you are selling a high value item as it stands out. Personally I dont like these and find that I pass these by.
These are a few of the sellers things you can add onto your basic insertion fees. There are lots more, like second categorys, Featured Gallery etc but remember, the more you put on the higher your fees are going to be.
As a new person to selling. An example would be a remote control listed at 99p with a gallery picture would cost you 30p to list with ebay.
SELLING So you have decided to sell the remote control. You go to the top of the page where it says selling and enter. This then takes you onto the main heading of what you are selling so a good one for people to search on your remote control would be "REMOTE CONTROL - TV DVD SATELLITE, it then takes you to the category where you want to sell it. Java helps you find the category and once you have sold it. This takes you through a system of pages and you write a short description.
"Remote Control - NEW - Sealed - Unwanted gift. Works on most dvds, radios, vhs, tv, satellite. The more information you can put in here the more the buyer will want it.
Select your price, 99p to start bidding and your postal rates which would be 1.50, for an extra 6p, you can add buy it now and put in 3.00, so people who dont want to wait can have the option to pay the higher price.
It then takes you through to upload a picture of your item. Once this is done you can add extra features but as a new person. To be honest, it isnt worth it and a picture and a basic insertion fee is just fine.
Before you press confirm to list your item check that your fees are correct. Ebay tells you the fees. Dont be finger trigger happy. I did this once and ended up paying £94 fees for a water carrier that was 99p. Listed in wrong category. I pleaded insanity to Ebay and they accepted it and refunded my money but with a warning to be more careful as next time, they would keep the money.
There are other sections like Ebay Home and Ebay Motors and the fees are quite higher in there due to cost of buying items. Always check your fees before pressing submit to Ebay.
This then all uploads to Ebay and it is great to see your first item on Ebay. It could take a couple of hours depending on connection. I am on Broadband and it is pretty fast although pictures can sometimes be slower.
YOUR ITEM DOESNT SELL? all you have lost is 30p no other charge is made.
YOUR ITEMS SELLS? Go to my home page and there it is someone has bought it for 99p. Fantastic. You then invoice the buyer who will pay by accepted methods. Send the goods off.
However Ebay do charge a final value fee of 5.25% on things that sell. So to sell this remote control including basic fees and a gallery picture has cost you 35p Complete the feedback, pack it up, retain a proof of posting at the post office, currently 1st class post coveres you for 30.00 of lost post but does not include refund of postage.
OTHER SELLER OPTIONS. Ebay have Ebay shops. We notice one moth we had paid over 500.00 in listing fees and Paypal fees and needed to bring down the fees a lot more. Rather in my pocket than Ebays.
The shop is great as you can list until cancelled or bought by someone at a very cheap price. The cost of a basic shop is 6.99 which is the one I have. However goods in your shop do not appear in your main listings and you have to divert people there. This is done by putting items in main listings and then saying dont forget to go and have a look in my shop. This then sends people there. These shops can be very expensive and some of the posh shops can be 300.00 a month. Our shop has cut our costs by 1/3.
What else do I get from my shops. People now add me as their favourite seller. I can send my favourites prior warning that stock is coming in so this is well worth the money.
If you new to selling, try basic selling first, slowly slowly catch your monkey.
DOWNSIDE OF BEEN A SELLER 1. Payers or Non Paying Bidders - night mare. File dispute, this takes 7 days and then you have to wait another 7 days before they will refund fees. I then wait a further 7 days and then they get a negative if no response.
2. Our Beloved Royal Mail, sometimes are great, sometimes slow. One second class item took 8 weeks to go six miles down the road.
3. Newbies who do not understand Ebay and neutral or neg you before contacting you. I am a Ebay trader not a pshycic working for royal mail and why it hasnt turned up.
4. Tax man is now supposedly trying to chase people who sell more than 60 items a year.
5. Lots of faults with feedback. When you get a negative you feel like saying something that isnt too polite. Always leave the screen come back grit your teeth and be polite. Retalition feedback is a problem but answer it professionally and it will not knock your sails. Call the buyer a stupid **** **** and this will scare people off.
6. People think I am on Ebay 24/7 I also have a life outside Ebay and now treat it like a 9/5 job mostly.
UPSIDE OF BEEN A SELLER 1. Made a lot of new friends.
2. Find good wholesalers, join a wholesalers list, worthwhile and the money they save.
3. My Buisness started in August with 10.00. Its great as even with my disability I have been able to come off benefit and now run a fully legitimate Buisness on Ebay and I am registed with the tax man and now have found a niche that I sell to on Ebay.
4. Go to a bank, get a buisness account, accept all the information people tell you. Listen and research.
COMMUNITY ON EBAY Like Ciao, Ebay recognises its sellers, once you start to sell 100 items a month for 3 months you get an invite to join the Powersellers. This recognises you as a respected member of Ebay and that you uphold their rules and regulations.
This starts at Bronze - The more you earn the higher you go. Currently I am a Gold Powerseller and you get the benefits like having a telephone number to contact Ebay on which is a godsend sometimes as their email customer service is slow and normally get a stupid automated response.
There are rooms that you can leave messages in called Discussion Boards. From Day one whether you are a buyer or seller you can join in on the boards. Powersellers have their own board but this can become very clicky. Very handy if your new to Ebay and want to find out some information though.
Site Navigation is very good and is very user friendly. Easy to find things and if you have spelled somethng incorrectly it will normally re direct you.
EBAY QUESTIONS 1. Do sellers get preferential treatment no. If someone sends three disputes through to me and I get three strikes. I will no longer be on Ebay.
2. Do Ebay care about us? Sometimes they do, sometimes their customer support is appalling and slow to respond.
3. Is it updated? Yes most Friday mornngs, maintenance is going on.
4. Do they have FREE listing days? Yes ever now and again, but high volume sellers tend to stay clear as every one puts everything on. Other days are 5p Listing Days. Lots of promotional days normally around the 1/2nd week in the month at little notice.
5. What happens if I dont pay my fees on time? They give you around 2 weeks to pay, then will go for the card on file or you can pay via paypal or chq or direct debit. Failing to pay will end in suspension while you cough up your pennies.
TOOLS TO HELP YOU ON EBAY There are things like Sales Reports which are free to subscribe to. As a small seller, this isnt really necessary. As a buisness seller its a godsend and I can see the increase or decrease in sales. How much I have paid Ebay and Paypal everymonth. Normally with a bottle in my hand I read these.
Turbo Lister is a tool that lots of people use as it saves time for listing. Here as I sell items that I have sold before, I can just pull it up and send it to Ebay. Also if I am going away on holiday I can up load them to Ebay and tell the computer to start to list while I am sunning my self on a beach! However as with Ebay this also costs. Turbo Lister is free to install and use and is very handy.
ToolBar - Essential Everyone should download this free item from Ebay. It has something on called Account Guard. Look at the next section for more information on this.
BEWARE VIRUSES, SCAMMERS, HACKERS, CRIMINALS When I was a buyer no problem, since I have become a seller. People have tried to hack into my account. A lot of people get emails with the Ebay logo on asking for information eg passwords and account numbers. This also applies to paypal. If you fill these in people will steal your account. EBAY NEVER EVER ASK FOR PASSWORD OR ACCOUNT INFO NEITHER DO PAYPAL. Download Toolbar from Ebay. It has an item on this called Account Guard. If you go into a fraudulent site, it will warn you and tell you to report it so it can be shut down.
Viruses. We got targeted a lot last year via emails where people have got your id name of ebay... Make sure you have firewalls and uptodate Anti viruses on your account.
Do not accept chqs where people will send you more and ask you to refund them the cash. The chq will bounce and you will be left with no goods and money. This is one of the latest scams.
Beware of goods that you have not seen or are for large amounts. Common sense prevails here. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
People pay with Fraudulent Credit Cards Via Paypal, just happened to me. I worked with Paypal who investigated and found in my favour and refunded the money back to my account. this person was reported to Ebay and is now no longer registered. However they did have the cheek to email me. A hijacked account.
After all this you hear of silly auctions, one of mine was when i was a new hobby seller, had a diary I kept of a programme. Thought someone would like it for 99p. It was described in the main text as appalling tatty falling to bits but some nice pictures in it.... It went out for 91.00 ish.
I have found my niche and have been very lucky to find good wholesalers but love ebay. Do I do other things, yes, I still take part of the stock to Carboots as I miss meeting people. But when I am poorly or on my crutches, then Ebay pays the mortgage and the tax man gets his fair share of everything.
Good Luck and Happy Bidding, off to pack some stuff now ready for posting on Monday....Ah the joys of been a seller!!!!!!!
Well written article. As I'm just about to sell for the first time a little realistic advice is much appreciated.
CherryBlossom 19.05.2006 14:53
As far as information goes, this could have been a VU but was too badly written to warrant it (in my opinion). Having read through the comments, I'm not sure how somebody who admits to never having either bought or sold on eBay could possibly say that this review contains all the information (s)he could possibly need. How could they know that? Good luck with your selling.
AJ26 07.01.2006 17:50
excellent review and answered a lot of my questions, thank you