Tips on Buying and Selling at eBay

I’m neither a Powerseller at eBay nor experienced eBay seller. But I did have experience on both buying and selling at eBay. So, I’ll list out some of my tips to those who are interested on buying and selling at eBay but don’t know how to start.

Please note that I won’t teach you how to sign up for an account at eBay or how to buy / sell. Please view the Help pages at eBay. Anyway, since I’m a seller at eBay Malaysia, so my focus will be at eBay MY.

Selling at eBay MY doesn’t need you to pay fees, i.e. free to sell. But sellers and buyers are protected under eBay’s policies. If in case any fraud or scam happened, eBay will take responsibilities on their members provided they follow eBay’s rules and regulations.

If you have other questions to ask , you may post your questions on this forum hosted by eBay MY.
Okay, now it’s show time!!! (Kidding…)

Tips for Buyers

  1. Read all the descriptions on the sellers’ listing page VERY carefully. Since most (not all) sellers will include descriptions on the item such as the condition of the item (whether it’s new or used), “is this item authentic?”, payment method, shipping method etc. Failing to do so might gain misunderstanding between sellers and buyers.
  2. Before you bid on the item, please ask questions. Asking questions will decrease the chance of being cheated / scammed. Anyway, there are cases that buyers were cheated even many questions have been asked. Somehow, I still encourage buyers to ask questions before they bid to avoid misunderstanding also.
  3. In case you didn’t like the item (or you’re no longer interested on it) after you’ve bidded on the item, email the seller and ask him / her to help you cancel your bid. Or you can retract your bid here. Retracting bids are not recommended because eBay will keep track of buyers that retract bids frequently. If this happends, eBay might suspend the account of the member. (Of course, eBay might send warning letters to member beforehand.)
  4. If fraud case happens, you can report the incident to eBay in order to qualify for eBay’s Standard Purchase Protection Program. Please bear in mind that transactions outside eBay are not protected under eBay’s Buyer Protection policies.
  5. There are some tips on how to prevent frauds. You may view it here.
  6. Finally, make good use of the feedback system. Some (but not all) sellers with zero or little feedbacks are dangerous to deal with.

Tips for Sellers

  1. Include all necessary descriptions on your listing as detail as possible. Descriptions that you should include: describe your items by giving suitable titles, descriptions, dimensions, weight, etc.; starting price of the item; payment methods accepted; shipping methods you would use; and finally, some terms and conditions to the buyers (e.g. refund policy).
  2. Try to design you listing page to be more viewable. As this would attract buyers’ attention when they first see your page. First impression is very important. You may do this by using some HTML tags when you’re posting. (You may learn HTML here)
  3. If you feel that the bidder of your listing is suspiscious, you may cancel his / her bid here. But please note that not all bidders with zero feedbacks (a.k.a. newbie) are all joybidders (buyers that bidded on the item but will not pay after won). All of the eBay’s members are all start with zero feedbacks. Try to email the ‘newbie’ to make sure if he / she really interested on buying your item. Giving chances to newbie doesn’t hurt much isn’t it?
  4. In case joybidder case happens, you may file a Unpaid Item Dispute to eBay. After that, eBay will send ‘friendly’ email to the winning bidder reminding them to pay for your item. You can only file this report 7 days after your auction ended. If you’ve waited too long after you’ve filed the report, you may end the dispute and request for a refund Final Value Credit fee (if you’re listing on eBay paid sites such as eBay US, eBay UK etc).
  5. Becareful not to sell to the ‘known’ scammers. Those ‘known’ scammers are normally from these countries: Romania and Nigeria. These scammers normally would bid very high value on your item and they would offer to send you US Dollars by Western Union. That’s why eBay doesn’t allow Western Union to be used as a type of payment method. This is because the scammers would send you a fault email containing a confirmation notice from Western Union that the payment has been sent to you.
  6. Don’t overcharge or undercharge your shipping and handling fees. Shipping and handling fees including postages, materials (envelopes, boxes) used to pack the item, other fees such as insurance as well as your transportation fees to the post office (if applies). Charge carefully as buyers wouldn’t happy to pay more than needed. To prevent misunderstanding, you may need to email buyers and explain to them why you charge this value for shipping and handling fees. Undercharging your shipping and handling fees is also not a good idea since this will lower your profit. You may also try to offer free shipping while setting your starting bid of your item higher in order to cover your expenses.
  7. Reply to all the questions asked by potential buyers. Try to answer all the questions no matter how ‘unreasonable’ the questions are. Try to be polite and thankful to the buyers for having interest on your item as well. This will gives the buyers a good impression of yourself.
  8. Contact the winning bidders as soon as the auction ended. Include all the necessary details in your email containing the summary of the auction (item title, item number, price of the item after auction, shipping charges). Besides that, you might as well give buyers your bank account information if the buyers choose to pay you by bank transfer / deposit into your account. If you accept personal cheque as a type of payment mode, tell the buyers that you have to confirm for the cheque to be cleared before you send out the item. Thank the buyers at the end of your email and hoping you’ll have chances to deal with them in the future.
  9. After confirming receive of the payment, you may start to pack your item. For tips on packing items, you may view them here and here.
  10. After sending the item, provide the tracking number (if any) to your buyers. Or else, you might just tell them that you’ve sent the item. It’s your responsibilities to ensure that the item has arrived to the buyers safely. It’s your choice whether to refund to the buyers if the items don’t arrive or broken once the buyers received it. But sellers are recommended to refund to the buyers if any investigation has taken and knowing that the buyers are telling the truth.

Phew… after all those long words, I might suggest you to take a break or make yourself a cup of your favourite drinks.

You might wonder why I give more tips on sellers compared to buyers. The answer is very simple: I sell more than I buy at eBay. Simple? 😛

If you wish to know more, there are some volunteer helper at eBay forums. Most of them are experienced sellers (more experienced than me) and willing to help newbies. Please feel free to ask questions if you have any doubt. But before that, please search thru the board for threads that related to your questions.

You could as well email me your questions, I’ll try my best to help you if I can. In case there are questions that I can’t answer, I’ll redirect you to another valuable resources.

Finally, happy selling and buying at eBay!!!


3 thoughts on “Tips on Buying and Selling at eBay

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