My, how things have changed since my eBay days in college. eBay’s policies are so pro-buyer and apparently now PayPal (eBay’s payment service) reports to the IRS if you sell over $20,000/year and have over 200 transactions. If you decide to sell on eBay, you need to read up and protect yourself.
Recent lessons learned
- Negative feedback: My eBay feedback is over 1000, but the percentage only includes the past twelve months. I recently got a negative but managed to make the buyer feel bad enough to retract after she got her shoes. Never feel bad about stating the facts.
- Low DSR: DSR stands for detailed seller rating. When someone leaves feedback, they have four categories to rate you on: item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. There are US standards, global standards, etc. If you fall below the standard, eBay will limit your activity and/or withhold your cashflow — it sucks — as well as bar you from becoming a PowerSeller (i.e. discounts)!
- Further research showed that you can get an automatic 5 stars for shipping time if you indicate handling time of one day, ship by the next business day, and the item is delivered within 4 business days (this is so biased towards those in the Midwest). You can also get an automatic 5 stars for s&h charges if you offer free shipping, which I now include for all US buyers.
- Fake allegations: A difficult Asian girl in IL kept on insisting a Marc by Marc Jacobs shirt was fake because of the label and loose threads inside. I’m Asian too and I know the fob ways and puh-lease, I have the Neiman Marcus receipt! She said she called the MJ store to confirm that this type of label is fake and that the only clothing items that had my label were sold in Asia. Her email was sent within 2 hours of receiving the item, on Christmas Eve. (1) Stores don’t authenticate via phone, let alone give you the time of day on Christmas Eve. (2) There isn’t enough evidence online to say that only Asian sellers have one type of MJ label on their clothing (3) But, she was willing to accept the shirt for another $10 credit? Pfff. All in all, when you try to unload low-end designer like MBMJ for a low price, you attract crazies like this Asian girl.
- Designer goods: High-end designers like YSL and Gucci sell slowly because they limit how many auctions you can list a month. Very aggravating. On the flip side, their customer service line is very efficient and sometimes they will lift the ban. Also, I’ve heard tons of nightmares of selling designer goods on eBay. Most of my stuff is more classic and less trendy items — hopefully that will not attract unscrupulous folks.
- Tracking in International Priority Mail: Apparently there is no tracking for flat rate envelopes or small flat rate boxes. I found out after I sent two items in small flat rate boxes. Good thing the buyers were honest…
- $250+ items: Always get signature confirmation. I never did this before and am also glad I had honest buyers.
- Understating customs values or declaring items as gifts: Both are illegal and plenty of people ask for it. eBay will only protect you if you explicitly state in your auction that the buyer is responsible for all fees, taxes, etc. I have a huge disclaimer in all auctions now!
Other things I’ve realized
- How my shopping habits would change if everything was final sale.
- Taking pictures of items are such a hassle. I bought a roll of cream canvas from the local art store and usually photograph everything on top and natural light. This has worked pretty well. For J.Crew items, I don’t bother capturing the entire item but tell the bidder what to google to find J.Crew modeling pics.
- Sometimes it’s not about making money but liquidating and passing whatever I don’t want to a loving home. I rather that than have it lay in a landfill somewhere. I have similar thoughts of buying cheap stuff for one-time use (which also carries a high cost per wear).
- I have a Repetto addiction, but I know I can’t keep everything, as pretty as they are. So I take a picture, sell them on eBay, and bid them farewell. These were limited edition with Comme des Garçons. The white suede just wasn’t practical.
Really? Someone paid how much for that? (New, unless otherwise stated)
- Gap vest with faux fur hood from 2006 collection. (Yes, 2006.) Sold for retail.
- Gap ballet flats from 2006 collection as well. They are better quality than those current city flats. Sold over retail! Buyer was ecstatic to find them on eBay.
- Bobbi Brown compact that was limited edition and super rare. This was sold for almost double its retail. Where did the other two I bought go…
- Discontinued Baggu backpack purchased at warehouse sale, sold at retail.
- Nude polka dot Zara silk top that was worn a few times sold for way more than Spanish retail.
- Discontinued, unversatile baby blue Kate Spade (I think it was a 2005 model) still sells really well… I just never got into KS.
- Lots of Forever 21 that I wore once or twice and just didn’t love. Saving all stock photos and descriptions help immensely.