Ebay is your frenemy.

Like, no really. Ebay is the best and the worst. It is the friend in high school who held your hand when your first boyfriend dumped you, the sister in college who held your hair while you got sick at the frat house, the mid-twenties confidant who listened to your quarter-life crisis woes over too many margaritas all-the-while simultaneously going after said boyfriend, trashing your reputation to the sorority president, and spilling all your tequila laden secrets the morning-after. Fortunately, I’ve never had a friend like this—until I met EBAY.

There is no doubt about it- Ebay is a great way to get rid of your old stuff. I find it especially helpful for unloading clothes I don’t want anymore as well as out of date ipods, CD’s (remember those?), jewelry and gifts from ex-boyfriends, formal gowns and a few of my mother’s ill-bought knickety knacks. Ebay can literally be anything you want it to be and the user-friendly interface and access to MILLIONS of people who might want your old heartache/fashion mistakes makes it a big draw. Very few of the items I have listed on Ebay have gone unsold. In the recent batch of listings I sold a fur vest to someone who lived in New Mexico–what someone in New Mexico might need with a furry vest considering it is hotter than hell outside is beyond me-but nevertherless-you just never know what people out there might be looking for.

The reason I am a little miffed is because the last time I sold something on the site was back in 2007. Back then I don’t remember paying any “final value” fees-I merely paid for the listing price-usually about .65 to 1.00 and kept the profits. Flash forward to 2012 and I am selling a few non-essentials from New York in order to scale down and make a little extra cash. Business has been good– I SOLD 160.00 worth–two handbags and three items of clothing. After postage and all of the “fees” from Ebay and their BFF Paypal (which also takes a 2.9% “final value fee” off of what you made in addition to the 9% cut Ebay takes) I am left with 106.00. That means that Ebay and it’s subsidiaries are taking 12% off of everything you sell. Hold.the.phone..

I admit-without access to such a wide audience I wouldn’t have sold many of these items and especially not for 160.00 (one purse sold for about 97 bucks which is where the majority of the money came from-what did I take home after this transaction, less the 7.00 in postage I spent? 74.00. I consider this Ebay rape.) I get it-you are basically paying Ebay for the privilege of being her friend-the easy access to customers, the safety and the relative anonymity of selling your goods to strangers. Ebay also has certain safeguards in place so that you WILL get your money in the end, usually, as they require all buyers and sellers to provide feedback. One would hope this keeps people on the site “honest” and usually it does. I’ve never had a problem with it.

Treat Ebay like the above-mentioned frenemy-play nice (because if you play along there is a lot to gain) but don’t trust her with the small stuff. Leave that for a friend you know is going to treat you fairly. I have actually LOST money on things I’ve sold on Ebay for about a dollar or two thinking “Hey it’s a dollar I didn’t have” only to get rear-ended by fees.

If you have items that may be of some REAL value such as designer handbags, clothes, electronics..things of that nature then it is definitely worth the extra money to list on Ebay because you willneverget that money from a resale/used clothing store or yard sale. If it is just some old clothing I recommend giving it away, selling to a friend, or trying a clothing swap (which I have done and it is SUPER FUN to shop someone else’s closet). Craigslist, while creepy in addition to exponentially raising the percentage by which your life might end in murder, is always 100% free to list. Do this for furniture and home decor. But please meet the person in a public place.

Just sayin’.

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21 thoughts on “Ebay is your frenemy.

  1. I honestly haven’t had much luck with selling on ebay. It’s a LOT of work to make the listing, take the pictures, etc. And then, yes, the fees. I can’t imagine why people would want to sell big ticket items on there.

    • I think selling big ticket items is the only way to get your time and money’s worth out of it. I sold a dress for a dollar and actually lost 25 cents in the process when all was said and done. Ebay owes me a quarter!!!

  2. I’m a BIG ebay seller!! I sell so much crap on there it’s ridiculous. I need to write a post on this and also how their buyer protection program only caters to buyers, not sellers! Luckily it has helped me in the past with 2 fake items, but as a seller, there is barely any protection for us.

    I agree that the fees (ebay AND paypal AND shipping) are ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense to sell anything until you calculate everything and make sure that the time and gas are worth it for that amount of money. I made a lot from it though and I will continue to use it. For designer purses, I like Bonanza. The fee for selling is a fixed $10!

  3. I haven’t used ebay much since the Canadian version kinda sucks. That’s crazy how much they charge these days though. 12% is highway robbery. Ironically that is the exact amount we currently pay in sales tax here in BC right now and our government is pretty brutal. Personally I mostly stick to craigslist when trying to sell something, but it’s not like I have designer clothes to sell off. Also, who says ipods can be outdated?! I’m still rocking my first generation 60gb ipod I bought ages ago. People actually don’t even recognize it as an ipod anymore.

    • I have an ipod nano special edition, it’s the size of a stick of gum. people don’t really know what it is. Good for you for being frugal and using everything you already own!

  4. I’ve used ebay a lot and it’s definately one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations. In the UK we have a free version called gumtree but it limits your prospective market.

    I’m also not a fan of the auction format. But it now or best offer is the way to go in my experience. There’s nothing worse than an item selling for 99p!

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever sold anything on ebay but I know that I bought a ton of stuff on there. And I was considering selling at one point but I ended up not and just donating the stuff.

    • It’s really not worth it. If you’re ok taking a loss on it, just donate it! The good karma is probably worth more than what you would get on ebay anyway 🙂

  6. I used eBay in March to sell 4 items that I knew I wouldn’t make much money for if I Iisted them on kijiji or craigslist.

    I had used eBay back in 2007 to sell some very popular old cameras and the sales were easy and profitable.

    This time it was a nightmare.

    I was going to write a blog post about the challenges I had but by the time I was done selling the products I was so tired I just said forget it.

    Out of 4 products I made $600 after all of the FEES, and I did charge everyone for shipping, but I forgot to charge them for packaging. Bascially all of the fees ate up the money I made on one of the products, so I felt like I really only sold 3 products.

    Then one of the products I shipped arrived damaged and it took over 6 weeks to sort out the insurance on that. Fortuantely the buyer was very nice and understanding. Once I settled with her I closed my eBay account and vowed to NEVER use eBay again.

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