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Thread: Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

  1. #11

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    Hi Andre, I have had many interactions [100% positive feedback], both selling and buying, and almost all have been positive . The 95 - 98% positive experience rate mentioned above is about accurate. My perception is that you should be more patient, at least in two cases:

    Winning bidders who don't establish communication within 48 hrs after winning an item, against terms of the listing. Think about somebody out on vacation or on a business trip with difficulties to access safe web sites.

    Winning bidders who don't make themselves available to sign for their UPS packages in order to facilitate closing the deal. Think about people working all day who aren't supposed to receive private packages at their work address.

    Ebay has become such an everyday part of business that at least I have made allowances for people who have a life outside of ebay.

    Interactions with foreign countries have a slightly higher problem rate. But from time to time you might find an Asian bidder willing to pay a collector's price for an item that will fetch much less in the US. You might open up items that might be viewed as such to foreign bidders as they may increase your profit by several hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Good luck in the future.

  2. #12

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    Hey, while were on the subject. What's the best way to ship to the UK? I have a big ole 50# box full of telescope I need to ship.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA
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    5,275

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    With 1998 positive feedback and 2 negative I guess I'm a veteran. Ebay is extremely time consuming and I'm looking forward to the day when I throttle back about 80%. But in the mean time it has enabled me to build my large format system that I plan to use for the rest of my life. I'm about there really. And it's been done solely through marginal profits and losses via Ebay. --André my advice is to loosen up a slight amount. Do you really need signature deliveries with recipients present? I haven't. Sure I had one SOB take me to the cleaners for $85 on an enlarger lens he claimed never got to him. Cost of doing business I guess. All in all I just kind of go with the flow. For instance a guy in China won a $470 G-Claron recently. He was far more stressed than I was trying to figure out how to get me paid. 5 weeks later USA cash showed up. I guess I'm a born optimist. There really are a lot of very nice people out there. After 2000 transactions I've just learned that about 98.8% of the time everything will work itself out. So loosen up, relax, and get into the flow. Since you've gotten 5 difficult sales out of the way, I predict the next 150 will be easy. tpahjim
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  4. #14

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    sounds like you've just been unlucky! Most other people have answered your questions, but I'll add to one of them: non-US bidders.

    This is mainly down to ebay not having a USA specific site. If I go to the uk, .de, .au or .fr sites I know they are based in the relevant country. The .com domain is a *global* commerical domain intended for use by global organisations. If you list on this address don't be suprised to get a global response and don't expect all users to have a full grasp of English.

  5. #15
    Beverly Hills, California
    Join Date
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    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    I'm getting the feeling from you EBay sellers here that you're allowing more time for things to play out with the sale after auction close.

    I guess I'm making somewhat snap judgments based on how I conduct business as a buyer. When I win an auction, I feel the seller, who has already invested time and money into the listing, deserves at least quick communication on my intent to follow through with the contract, and I always do so. Not to do so, I feel sets up questions in the seller's mind that you're having second thoughts about your decision to buy the item. One guy who didn't contact me claimed he was in Japan. Papua New Guinea might have been a better excuse in terms of not being able to access the web. He also had a history of balking at transactions, not closing deals. And personally, I wouldn't be bidding on a $3,000 item when I’m in the middle of a time consuming international travel excursion.

    As for the guy who doesn't sign for his UPS package, he is a professional photographer, and package is to his photo studio, and based on a web search of his business, there's another professional photographer's studio listed right next to his - possibly in same building.

    When listing on EBay, I make my items attractive, no reserve, and $1.00 initial bid. I take care of my stuff, so it's in good condition and there's a lot of competition for them near the close. The final price is usually high. There may be some correlation between the final selling price and the time it takes to close the deal.
    Beverly Hills, CA (albeit a 99%er)

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
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    7,697

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    I've had only one serious problem in about 15 sales, a guy who notified me a few minutes after the auction closed that he wouldn't be buying the item (then got upset when I told him he'd get negative feedback). Also had someone in Hong Kong who was the winner on a "U.S. Only" sale but that ended up o.k. The others have gone fine, not perfectly, not always quite as fast as I'd like, but o.k. Lately I've started selling through rec.photo.marketplace and the photo.net classifieds. I set a reasonable price and have always found buyers without any trouble and a lot less hassle than ebay.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  7. #17

    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    Andre-

    Regarding non-US bidders: I make it very clear in my auctions that bids from bidders outside of the US and Canada who do not contact me first will be cancelled. I put an ominous warning that bids entered by such bidders in the last seconds of auctions will be ignored...I don't really know how I'd handle the situation if it came up as every bid I've gotten from outside of North America has been placed only after I've been contacted by the bidder through email. (A note to readers from outside of North America: I'm sorry that my auctions are restricted in this way, but my only negative experiences on eBay happened with buyers from outside of North America when I was new to eBay selling. Since I can control neither the speed of the shipment nor the various customs agencies who are involved in long-distance transactions, I got fed up with being held responsible for the speed with which the items were arriving at the buyers doors. Now when I get a request from someone who wants to bid on an item from outside of North America, I reply telling them that shipping and customs problems can hold the item up for weeks or even months...if they accept that then I'll OK the bid as I have some form of proof via their emails that they knew what might happen.)

    For zero-feedback bidders, I insist on PayPal payment within 24 hours and with a confirmed address. So far I've only had one such bidder win an item, and he paid right after the end of the auction. If it ever occurred that 24 hours passed without my having received a payment, I'd go on to either a re-list or a 2nd chance bidder...but again, I've not had to test this method yet. For bidders with greater-than-zero feedback, I insist on payment within seven days.

    I have a few hundred successful transactions on eBay. So far I've not received negative feedback...but I do list all photographic items as accurately as possible along wth an "as-is" clause and lots of accurate pictures.

    I have a friend who sells old computers on eBay. He opens up each machine and marks each componenet with UV-flourescing ink. When people complain about something he's sold them, he tells them to return the item so that he can check that the parts all have his "secret mark" on them. So far every buyer who's wanted to return something has backed down with some lame excuse: "I'll fix it myself.", "I can probably get it working", etc. He is also scrupulous about recording serial numbers and photographic identifying marks on items. Buyers who wish to return components get a message along the lines of, "Your payment for [insert widget description], serial number XXXXXXXXX will be processed upon receipt of the item in the condition in which it was sent to you. Your item will be compared to photographs of the item that was sent out." Again, once they see the possible mess, unscrupulous buyers tend to back down.

    Like me, this seller always insists on insurance on shipments. I list my shipping costs as "US$XX to the lower 48 states, including shipping, handling, and insurance, and non-negotiable. Email me for rates to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada." If something gets damaged in shipping, the buyer can take it up with the shipping agent. I package things well enough that damage during shipment is extremely unlikely. Some buyers will try to haggle down the shipping costs; such buyers get a terse message that says, "As stated in the auction, shipping costs are non-negotiable." I have yet to have someone try to fight me a second round on this one.

    Ebay can be a fun way to play around with new equipment. If you're a buyer, ask questions. If you're a seller, cover your butt. If you're a buyer, make sure you understand the whole transaction (what you're buying, when you'll have to send payment, how much you'll have to pay for the shipment, when to expect receipt of the item, etc.) If you're a seller, describe your stuff honestly and include lots of pictures. Make sure you spell out all of the things a buyer would want to know. I know there's a tendency to gloss over defects, but if you point them out you'll give people a "warm-and-fuzzy" feeling that you're showing them everything there is to know about an item. Make sure you spell out your auction terms in detail, and use words like "as-is", "non-negotiable", etc. If an item has a serial number, include enough of it in the auction so that the buyer knows you know it. I'd guess my "happiness" rate on eBay is over 99%. It takes a little extra effort to cover yourself whether you're buying or selling, but doing so can save you a lot of grief.

    Be well.

  8. #18
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    I've made a few hundred transactions, buying and selling, and haven't had any serious problems.

    If the transaction takes a week or two to complete, this isn't a big deal to me. Even if the buyer is delaying because they are getting the funds together, as long as the money ends up in my hands, that's okay.

    I don't worry about zero feedback bidders as much as I'd worry about zero feedback sellers. If they get me the cash, I send them the item. If they don't, I can cancel the auction and offer it to the next person on the list or I can relist it. They'll also likely be outbid by someone more experienced, so their bidding gets me a better price.

    I'll ship anywhere. Why shouldn't I, if the buyer is willing to pay for shipping and has a reasonable way of paying for the item? I make it clear that I'll only accept payment in U.S. currency from PayPal or check or m/o drawn on a U.S. bank. Sometimes I'll mention in the auction that I think foreign shipping costs will be prohibitive for certain items (like an enlarger), but if the buyer is willing to cover it, I don't see the problem. Again, why exclude potential bidders, if they'll raise the selling price?

    How to ship a heavy item to the UK--USPS will be the best price. You can run the numbers at the usps.com website, and e-mail the options to the buyer, and maybe try ups.com or fedex.com for comparison, and let the buyer decide. Usually the best compromise in terms of convenience and price for something like that will be USPS air parcel post.

  9. #19

    Join Date
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    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    Andre, take a cold shower.

    I don't sell as much through eBay as Jim Galli or "dagor77." Compared to them I'm just a small time chiseler. But I have sold high value photographic items and I've sold overseas. My largest single sale was to a buyer in Japan.

    Sometimes buyers are slow to come forwards. I don't know why, that's not my practice as a buyer. So far I've had one non-paying bidder. All of the others have paid, sometimes after a week of silence. Just be patient. The most a non-paying bidder will cost you is the listing fee and some time.

    Opinions differ on whether to sell outside of the US. I do. Foreign bidders run prices up. My foreign bidders have understood that they have to pay shipping, and haven't balked at that. Of course, I do give them a choice of method. Always USPS, but some have opted for surface. Slow, inexpensive, and its their money.

    In my listings, I'm explicit about how I'll accept payment. Otherwise, I set no restrictions. It makes no sense to do so. Its better to have more bidders.

    So far, so good. I can't understand the fear, as expressed from time to time on places like photo.net, of transacting via eBay. I don't know whether the fearful ones are KEH employees in disguise or are the sort of people who buy into Ponzi schemes, send money to Nigeria, ...

    Before eBay came along, I sold gear, mainly cine, through Shutterbug's small ads. That's how I financed my Super 8 kit. I thought S'bug was great. eBay is incomparably better. It has better reach, it costs less, and it gets results faster.

    Yes, dealing with unknown strangers is risky. So is dealing with acquaintances. If you can't live with a low level of uncertainty and risk, don't get out of bed.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  10. #20
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Your Experiences as a 'Seller' on EBay

    I agree with Dan,

    I have been buying and selling stuff on eBay for 6 years and have had very few problems as either a buyer or a seller and that includes international sales and purchases. More importantly, I have bought and sold photographic equipment through USnet groups, otuer internet boards and Shutterbug for some 30 years. Without these avenues of sales aand purchase I would have had to wait until I got to 'the big city' to get msot anything. EBay has provided a vast improvement in the marketplace with one possible exception. In the old days of a small internet community you virtually never heard about any problems with a sale and as the numbers trading on eBay continue to grow so do the problem sales ... but they remain a very small percentagee. OTOH, since I don't do the eBay sales thing primarily to make money but mostly to get rid of surplus equipment I look hard at my investment in what I am selling and at recent eBay prices and then attempt to price my stuff at a very attractive BIN price. It usually results in a fast sale with no hassles.

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