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Buying and Selling on eBay: Tips, Tricks, Problems & Questions

post #1 of 11959
Thread Starter 
Since so many people buy and sell on eBay, I thought it might be convenient to have a place where those more experienced could offer up advice or answer questions. I know that I've run into problems as both a buyer and seller and I've been fortunate to get advice from other members.

Feel free to discuss anything related to eBay, but please avoid rants about such things as PayPal. Also, it would probably not be best to call people out as there is (I think) a dedicated thread to that somewhere else. There is also a thread available to members that want to list their new auctions Instead, here are some ideas:

- Questions related to buying/selling on eBay
- Tips sellers use to drive traffic
- How to handle problems
- How to maximize sales (i.e. Buy-it-now vs. true auction format)
- International shipping costs and concerns
post #2 of 11959
This is a fantastic thread, and I would be more than happy to help contribute my expertise here.

Hard and fast rule #1 -

IF YOU SHIP ANYTHING OVER $250, MAKE SURE IT IS SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION.

This will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Also, some quick tips for shipping internationally by USPS :

1. You can't send anything over $2500 to China without some seriously complex paperwork
2. You can't insure anything to Canada over $675
post #3 of 11959
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

This is a fantastic thread, and I would be more than happy to help contribute my expertise here.
Hard and fast rule #1 -
IF YOU SHIP ANYTHING OVER $250, MAKE SURE IT IS SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION.
This will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Also, some quick tips for shipping internationally by USPS :
1. You can't send anything over $2500 to China without some seriously complex paperwork
2. You can't insure anything to Canada over $675

Spoo's expertise should be invaluable to anyone that sells on eBay, especially those getting started!

I've never shipped something to China, but I can only imagine the red tape (pun not entirely intended).

I'll add a couple of things...

1. Offer international shipping, but beware of the scams that are out there. Some countries are black holes and you'll never see your item again and likely the money as well unless you track it.

2. Having said that many international customers are legit and are easy/not very demanding. I live in Austria and have been shot down on buying something from the US because the seller didn't want to ship abroad. I've also talked sellers through the process to get an item to me and tried to make it worth their while.

3. Simply offering international shipping opens you up to an entire market and thus more people will view your auctions.

4. When you ship something internationally at the cheapest rate, you still have limited tracking. The part of the customs sticker/form (I think) gives you enough information to know when it leaves the country and sometimes when it arrives in the destination country. I can follow something sent from the US and then when it arrives in Austria, I can use the same number for post.at. This number doesn't cost extra.

5. Someone in the US will have to correct me, but based on the USPS site, you can easily do international shipping and have it picked up from your house (???).

6. Shipping internationally may seem incredibly expensive to you, but your international buyers probably expect it. When the € was much stronger a couple of years ago, it was downright cheap to buy luxury goods from America, even when shipping a pair of shoes cost $50. New pairs of Edward Greens were somewhere around 50-60% of the price compared to shopping in our home countries. It's not quite the deal now that the € has gone down.

7. Don't gouge your international buyers. I make repeated buys from American sellers that are willing to ship here and don't raise their prices when they see it's going somewhere else. We have access to USPS.com as well and can see when you're upping the price.
post #4 of 11959
+ 1000. I have seen Spoo turn a piece of coal into DeBeers!

Great post HansderHund.
post #5 of 11959
Quote:
Originally Posted by HansderHund View Post


Spoo's expertise should be invaluable to anyone that sells on eBay, especially those getting started!
I've never shipped something to China, but I can only imagine the red tape (pun not entirely intended).
I'll add a couple of things...
1. Offer international shipping, but beware of the scams that are out there. Some countries are black holes and you'll never see your item again and likely the money as well unless you track it.
 

That said, what are some of the countries that you suggest we be weary of?

post #6 of 11959
^ Ive had less than ideal delivery times with Russia, Germany, and Poland particularly, so use Express mail when possible for those countries.
post #7 of 11959
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by like a BOSS View Post

That said, what are some of the countries that you suggest we be weary of?

I don't want to offend anyone on here that is a citizen of any of the following countries, but I generally won't ship to the following:

- Russia
- Belarus
- Romania
- Bulgaria
- Turkey

I've had some experience with most of these countries and it hasn't been great. If I want to list something as BIN, I'll price it out in other countries. If I can't compete with the prices in the US, I'll eliminate it from the listing. It's not because I wouldn't want to send something to the US, but it's much cheaper to ship it within Austria or to Germany. Often, I'll take a look and my item will cost twice the price of all of the American listings when you factor in shipping. I'm afraid someone will overlook the shipping costs and have problems with me, so I attempt to avoid it.

I always appreciate when someone ships single items in an international priority envelope. It's around $18 and it arrives to my address 7 days from when it's shipped. It's really reliable and sellers have fit unhemmed pants into those things. They come out wrinkled, but it's faster. If I buy something on SF, I'm usually offered the cheapest option and I'll take it (more trustworthy on SF).

I can honestly say I have better luck selling shirts with a BIN price instead of an auction format. I don't know why this is or if its region specific. I had two new Brionis, one I started at €9,99 and it finished at around €33. I sold one a week later at €75 BIN.

I also find that, based on completed listings, your item can get far more than it should. The previous week's completed auctions set the price standard. If one person undercuts everyone else the previous week, the following week will see cheaper prices on similar items all around. Again, I'm not sure if this is region-specific. I'll occasionally hold back on listing something to see if the current auctions finish higher than the previous week's.
post #8 of 11959
Thread Starter 
Has anyone noticed that eBay changed their completed searches a bit? Previously, the auctions that were BIN/OBO displayed the original price and when you clicked on it, it would then reveal the accepted offer. I noticed on ebay.de about a week ago that they only show the accepted price and not what the original price was. Now, they're also doing this on ebay.com.

I found it useful to find what other items were being listed at and also seeing the accepted offer. It gave a bit of insight into what filters price buyers were using, i.e. they are viewing auctions that are listed at $200 even if they're making offers of $100. I also liked seeing the difference between asking prices and accepted prices to determine how much other sellers were marking their items up in order to receive acceptable offers.

Anyone else have an opinion?
post #9 of 11959

Great thread, hope it gets traction. I'm more then happy to offer my experience's on ebay.

 

In regards to International shipping, I ask for approx actual cost of shipping and ONLY use USPS Registered 1st class mail (this is the safest way to ship IMO) for items under 4 lbs that can go slow OR Express Mail. Both have good tracking and signature's are required buy the buyer. If the buyer does not want to pay actual international shipping prices, no problem, I won't ship to them. I've never had a problem shipping either method.

post #10 of 11959

Hmm, maybe we should start "eBay nightmare" thread just to pair with this thread...

post #11 of 11959

this thread is genius

post #12 of 11959
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

2. You can't insure anything to Canada over $675

If you use Stamps.com, you can insure over $675...
post #13 of 11959
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianpore View Post

Great thread, hope it gets traction. I'm more then happy to offer my experience's on ebay.

 

In regards to International shipping, I ask for approx actual cost of shipping and ONLY use USPS Registered 1st class mail (this is the safest way to ship IMO) for items under 4 lbs that can go slow OR Express Mail. Both have good tracking and signature's are required buy the buyer. If the buyer does not want to pay actual international shipping prices, no problem, I won't ship to them. I've never had a problem shipping either method.

I will try to look into the 1st class registered mail, is it only available through the counter? I do not see the registered part available through either eBay or PayPal shipping label generation.

post #14 of 11959
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

If you use Stamps.com, you can insure over $675...

Really? Not at the counter. Not sure if I would trust it myself, I learned the hard way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjt73106 View Post

I will try to look into the 1st class registered mail, is it only available through the counter? I do not see the registered part available through either eBay or PayPal shipping label generation.

Pretty sure thats a counter only.
post #15 of 11959
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjt73106 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianpore View Post

Great thread, hope it gets traction. I'm more then happy to offer my experience's on ebay.

 

In regards to International shipping, I ask for approx actual cost of shipping and ONLY use USPS Registered 1st class mail (this is the safest way to ship IMO) for items under 4 lbs that can go slow OR Express Mail. Both have good tracking and signature's are required buy the buyer. If the buyer does not want to pay actual international shipping prices, no problem, I won't ship to them. I've never had a problem shipping either method.

I will try to look into the 1st class registered mail, is it only available through the counter? I do not see the registered part available through either eBay or PayPal shipping label generation.

Only at the counter. You need to seal the package/box with special brown tape and they stamp all the edges of the brown tape so the contents of the package can not be messed with. The package supposedly gets put into a special bag for transportation and is signed off every step of the way. I have been told by the postman on multiple occasions that this is the most secure way to ship a package though the post office. It costs about $12 additional to any postage.

 

Below it says signature is not required, but you need to check a box that says "signature not required" otherwise they require a signature.

 

General Info from the USPS Website on Registerd Mail (Click to show)

 

General Information

Registered Mail™ (International) is a service that allows you to register your international mail for additional protection and security.  Features of this service include:

  • A mailing receipt is issued by office of mailing, and a record of delivery is maintained at the office of destination (the recipient's signature is not required)
  • Registered Mail provides the sender with a mailing receipt, and upon request, electronic verification that an article was delivered, or that an attempt at delivery was made
  • Registered Mail is handled separately from all other mail, and records are kept by registry number
  • Return receipts and Restricted Delivery may be added. (Check for availability by Calculating Postage)
  • Padded envelopes are accepted for International Registered Mail items.
Notes:

 

Availability

  • International Registered Mail service is available for:
    • Priority Mail® International Flat Rate Envelopes, including free matter for the blind
    • Priority Mail® International Small Flat Rate Boxes, including free matter for the blind
    • First Class® Mail International items, including free matter for the blind
      • Includes Postcards or postal cards
  • International Registered Mail  service is NOT available for
    • M-bags
    • Priority Mail® International parcels
    • Global Express Guaranteed®
    • Express Mail International®

 

Fees

The price for Registered Mail (International) includes a base fee (without insurance) in addition to postage, plus additional amounts for insurance, if selected (insurance prices increase based on valuation).  For detailed information on prices, go to https://www.usps.com/ship/insurance-and-extra-services.htm and click on “International.”

 

Tracking Registered Mail (International)

Registered Mail cannot be tracked through the mailstream and will not provide updated scans.  However, it does provide delivery information with a delivery scan showing the delivery status or attempted delivery information which can be retrieved in three ways:

  • By going to http://www.usps.com and selecting “Track and Confirm.”  Entering the Article Number shown on the mailing receipt into the lookup field allows you to view the delivery status of the article.
  • By calling the Postal Service™ Track and Confirm service at 1-800-222-1811
  • By bulk electronic file transfer for mailers who provide an electronic manifest to the United States Postal Service®

 

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