Sunday, 3 February 2008


Allow me to give you a few pointers and share a few experiences I've had over the years on eBay.

For a start, I'm not bagging eBay. I still enjoy buying and selling stuff on it. The fees are reasonable and my transactions have been hassle free so far. The few times I didn't get what I expected was usually traced to my failure to read the description properly.

Buying blindly on eBay is a bit of a problem for me. I’m definitely a see it, feel it, twist it sort of buyer. I hate ordering from catalogues or pamphlets or off tiny little pictures on a computer screen. I like to research my purchases around town or on the Internet then, when I know exactly what I'm getting, I'll buy it. If I can get someone local to match an eBay price so much the better. Buying locally is important to me and is more convenient if something has to go back.

I'm yet to be ripped off either buying or selling on eBay. Had a close call once from a buyer who suddenly didn't have the money after winning a set of mag wheels. I wish I hadn't bothered chasing them up as a huge drama unfolded, first to get the money and then convince Auspost to deliver the item. (They were on the edge of their maximum dimensions). While I got it sorted eventually the stress and fuss wasn't worth it. Luckily it didn't result in negative feedback being left by either of us as that would have ruined the whole experience and I'm sure I would never have used eBay again. We live and learn.

I have decided not to leave feedback until I receive positive feedback first. I am a fair dealer and can be pretty sure that negative feedback directed towards me will be undeserved. I’m confident none of my actions will be the cause of a dispute. If problems do arise I'm willing to work out a reasonable compromise without resorting to name-calling or the blackmail of negative feedback. I will only leave negative feedback in cases were I have received negative feedback unfairly or believe that I have been ripped of. It’s only fair to let others in the eBay community know when a person is not on the level. Positive feedback will of course be matched with sickeningly sweet positive feedback.

If you are selling, I have worked out a few ways to maximize my exposure and minimize ludicrous questions that you might find useful.

List your item for 10 days. This ensures the maximum amount of people, the weekend crowd and the weekday crowd, get a chance to see it and bid on it.

Make sure as many keywords are in your description as possible. With car parts for instance, list all the models and makes that part will fit and include the names of accessories that can be attached to it. You will pick up people who are searching for similar stuff and would never have located the item you are selling.

Try to think of every stupid question people will want to know and cover those questions in as much detail as possible. If your item is clearly purple and you say it’s purple someone is going to ask if it’s black. You can’t do anything about these people. Don't ignore them though; they might turn out to be the highest bidder if you continue to be polite. Just tell them the item is purple and copy the question to your listing so everyone else can make fun of them. In fact copy answers to all pertinent questions onto your listing. This might prevent another fourteen people asking the same question. It’s also a good way to add information you originally forgot to mention.

Only list the highest postage and always refund extra money if the winning bidder is located at a cheaper post rate. People love the honesty and you will make them very happy. You can use part of the overpayment to register their item to prove you sent it and ensuring AustPost is liable if they lose it. $2.50 isn't much for peace of mind so in the past I have sprung for the extra cost if I make a profit. Without registration you can’t prove that you actually sent the item and in the case of a dispute you will look guilty no matter how honest you are.

The buyer has shown a lot of faith by putting hundreds of dollars into my account so if their item goes missing I would prefer them to know Austpost is at fault, not me.

I still hate PayPal. My experience with them was unsatisfactory. When eBay forces me to use them I’m finding another auction site.

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