Sometimes just a few small tasks make all the difference between making a few dollars profit on eBay and generating a small fortune each month. These ideas will help you make more from your listings.
* Be warned against fantastic eBay testimonials placed for various sellers and products. These testimonials might be fake and placed by sellers or their agents purely to induce confidence in their products which may not actually deserve the glowing accolade.
* If a description is unclear, be sure to check with the seller or risk buying something you do not really want. For example, ‘old’ postcards can in some people’s eyes mean souvenirs of last year’s holiday, while in purist collectors’ eyes the term really means pre-1939 only. Only recently I bought 1000 ‘old’ postcards from a major offline auction house specialising in postcards, only to find they were all less than three years old. For my purposes, not worth the paper they're printed on. But the fault was mine, as were the postcards that I was not entitled to return for refund.
* What to do if you under-price an item. If you make a mistake and price a product at £1 rather than £100 which someone buys before you realise your mistake, you do not have to part with the product. Under what is known as ‘Invitation to Treat’ the law holds that a contract is not formed when your buyer agrees to pay your price but when you actually take payment. Until you take payment the contract is still incomplete and you can withdraw your offer at any time. Some will say it isn't ethical, you could get negative feedback, but it's still good to know the law is on your side. Of course, like all legal rules and regulations, there are exceptions which you can learn more about at: http://www.sghlaw.com/it/articles/contract-online.html
* If you buy stolen goods, even innocently, they do not belong to you but remain the property of the original owner. You could lose money if goods are seized and returned to their true owner, and you could seriously damage your eBay reputation. A policeman friend says most stolen goods turn up at boot sales and outdoor flea markets and gives these tips to help you avoid being caught out:
- Get a receipt for all major purchases. Ask the seller for name and contact details. Of course, moonlighting professionals and thieves will refuse, but most genuine sellers will oblige, at least proving you bought the items in good faith.
- Many major boot sale organisers now insist on sellers registering on entry and providing name and contact details which are displayed on site.
- Day-long police and police vehicle presence is a sign of a particularly high incidence of stolen items being offered at outdoor events.
* Profit from other people’s mistakes, such as items listed in inappropriate categories, consequently attracting few bidders and low finishing prices. Finding these mistakes is more down to good luck and careful research than anything else but the results can be hugely profitable and available entirely to you. I spend at least one hour every day searching eBay, looking for profitable items attracting few bids. Sometimes I bid on those items, more often not, but I always earn more from that one hour than all the time spent acquiring stock outside of eBay.
* Look regularly for last minute listings with few or no bidders in your favourite product category. Bank holidays, late at night, very early in the morning, when something important is happening like a Royal Wedding or major sporting event, bidder turnout is often low and some amazing bargains are possible. Years ago, as a trader at flea markets and collectors’ fairs, I quickly learned never to book any fair coinciding with a major football match, Wimbledon Finals, the Great North Run, Easter weekend. The reason was simple, no one showed up, the hall was empty all day. Now most of my Bank Holidays are spent snatching last minute no bid bargains on eBay, where you’ll also find me during World Cup matches and other spectator events.
Avril Harper is a triple eBay PowerSeller and editor of eBay Confidential and webmaster of http://www.publishingcircles.com . She has produced a free guide - 103 POWERSELLER TIPS - which you can download with other freely distributable reports and ebooks at http://www.toppco.com