Thinking about selling that awful sweater you got as a gift from your great aunt on eBay? Before you do, you might want to read this article and think twice before you sell anything on eBay.
Holiday times are here and it’s a given everyone is going to get a gift or two you simply don’t want or can’t use. In the past, it was common to stuff that unwanted gift in a closet, re-gift it to someone else or return it for a refund.
These days, more and more people turn to eBay as an alternative to get rid of that dust collector and put a little cash in the pocket, but best be warned : selling on eBay can be VERY treacherous.
eBay can be a great place to find a potential buyer interested in your unwanted gift but there are numerous pitfalls novice sellers can easily fall into when selling on eBay. Most of these potential problems are due to eBay policies that provide loopholes for crooks to use the eBay Buyer Protection system to their advantage.
eBay also takes up to 15% of your sale price in fees and force sellers to use Paypal for an additional 4% transaction fees. When all is said and done, eBay will pocket nearly 20% of your item’s price for selling in their marketplace that is littered with crooks, scammers and fraudsters. All with zero customer support for sellers.
We spoke to several veteran eBay sellers and they were quick to offer these 7 warnings for casual or novice eBay sellers to avoid potential buyer fraud.
Never Sell Anything on eBay You Can’t Afford to Lose
The eBay sellers we spoke to all were very clear about the fact that you should never sell anything you can’t afford to lose on eBay. In the last year, there have been hundreds of reports of eBay buyers using eBay’s Buyer Protection to scam sellers out of high priced designer items such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses by simply claiming the item was not authentic or by pulling a switch and returning a fake item.
Always Ship With Delivery Confirmation
If you’re going to ship anything to an eBay buyer, always, always, always purchase some form of online viewable delivery comfirmation. Without DC, a malicious buyer can simply file an Item Not Received claim and eBay/Paypal will grant them an automatic refund from your bank account or credit card. It is important to note that delivery confirmation is not available for international shipping unless you ship using USPS Express Mail International which is very expensive.
Purchase Signature Confirmation on Orders Over $250
This is another loophole eBay does not inform sellers about but can really come back to bite you in the arse. Any order over $250 (this includes shipping costs) MUST be shipped with signature confirmation in order to qualify for seller protection. There are far too many horror stories from novice sellers who shipped expensive items only to have them stolen by buyers who claimed they didn’t receive it. Again, eBay/Paypal will refund the buyer from your bank account or credit card on file.
Be Prepared for Paypal to Hold Your Funds for 21 Days
Here’s another gotcha that eBay isn’t up front about. All new sellers or sellers not meeting eBay’s secret criteria will be subject to having the funds from their buyers payment held for 21 days by Paypal. This means if you sell a $2000 stereo system on eBay that costs $50 to ship, you will have to pay for the shipping out of pocket and wait for Paypal to release your funds when they see fit.
Beware of Scam Artists Seeking Partial Refunds
Newer sellers with a low feedback score can be assured they will encounter the buyer who complains about the item they were sold but doesn’t want to return it and wants a partial refund. Don’t fall for this scam. This scam is perpetuated by eBay sellers using multiple eBay ID’s (yes, believe it or not, eBay allows people to have more than one ID) who buy on one and sell on another. Never give a partial refund to a buyer for any reason. If they don’t like what you sold them, have them return it for a full refund.
Always Ship to Address on File With Paypal
Another common eBay scam is when a buyer targets a new seller and asks them to ship the item they purchased or won to an address other than the address on file with eBay. If you ship to an address other than the one Ebay/Paypal provides for the transaction, it completely voids your seller protection.
Be Prepared to Accept Returns for 45 Days
No matter what you’re selling on eBay and no matter what you state as a return policy in your listing, eBay will FORCE you to accept returns and issue refunds for 45 days after purchase. This policy is widely abused considering the possibilities for buyers to buy and use an item, then return it at the seller’s expense. Considering Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers no longer accept returns of unsealed CD’s, DVD’s, video games ~ eBay has become the perfect place for people to buy, copy and return.
As you can see from the information provided above, selling on eBay is like tap dancing in a minefield. In most cases, especially where larger, higher priced items are concerned, it’s always best to use an alternative like Craigslist or the newspaper.