Selling on eBay seems tempting when you have some miscellaneous stuff to get rid of, or you have an idea to become a seller with a store to strike it rich in the e-commerce world. The thought of selling without a store-front from the safety and comfort of your home is enticing, but the perils are huge for sellers, and the risk of selling on eBay is huge – and in my opinion there are a bunch of reasons to stay away, and look into other opportunities to sell your stuff. Here is a list or reasons why you should NOT sell on eBay:
Start with the fees. This is an easy one going in, as you can read about the fees and understand them before you get started. They will get you started with FREE insertion fees, but take a look at the cut that they receive for every item – it’s huge, and if you are operating on a slim margin, the rest of this list will ruin your chances of making it big.
The Buyer Protection Policy
The Buyer Protection Policy will be your worst enemy. It says basically that “go ahead and buy, no matter what happens we will refund you if you like for any reason whatsoever”. As a seller this means they can claim it was dusty, the wrong shade of pink, whatever. The buyer can simply say they didn’t get it, whether they did or not, and your funds will be frozen, and eventually given back – it doesn’t matter how careful you are with tracking information, packing, shipping, nothing. This is probably #1.
Scammers will come at you from all angles. New accounts, people trying to make you ship it to another address, payment on the side offers, you name it, there are too many to even list how they will try to fraudulently get your item.
The eBay Site Deliberately Hides Stuff From Sellers
Someone complains? Want to see the listing from their message? Nope. Says the item was never received? How about finding your tracking from the message? Nope. eBay makes it aggravatingly hard to find the details of your listing when there is a problem. Want to find out what the buyers rating looks like when you get a message with a problem, lol, have fun finding it. You won’t get to it from any of the details of the messages received about the buyer about to get their money back. There are so many times you will run into this and think “This is a stacked deck in the buyers favor” which leads us to:
The Buyer ALWAYS Wins
If the buyer has any problem, real or delusional, they win. You will lose.
The Buyers Think You Are Amazon
So with all this protection, the buyers get to purchase items from you with complete protection and they act like you are Amazon. Free returns! Free protection! Free disputes in their favor! They will say the item is scratched on that one of a kind item you sold them and request a replacement. They will complain when the item takes 4 days to get to them. You are going to hate this one…
The Listing Terms You Specify are a Joke
So you set a listing up with no returns, item as is, describe it perfectly, tell your potential buyer that it’s a crumbled pile of dust and they purchase it anyway. Well guess what, whatever you say in the listing is a waste of time. Don’t even type it for all that it matters. Sure some people will read it and understand the shape of the item you are selling but guess what: SEE #5 and #6. It doesn’t matter. They will get a refund.
More Fees for Payments
So start a store, and you can pay eBay monthly for their awesome (lol) storefront service and save a boatload. Well with all of the deck stacked in favor of the buyer, and the losses you are about to receive from those purchases, it does help but only if you have some serious volume. This will bite the person selling a few items here and there, and the storefront will just be another fee eating away at your profit. More fees? Yep, pretty much the only way to be successful is to use PayPal and they will take a huge chunk too. I won’t even go into detailing all of the fees that will be charged for eBay and PayPal – they probably went up last night anyway.
eBay Forces You to Add Details You Don’t Want
List an item and off you go right? Nope, eBay may force you to add details (presumably to increase the search results to your item) but force you to add details that you may not want added. Sure, decline and your items will be removed from your listings.
You are Going to get Ripped Off
Add all of these up, and YOU WILL GET RIPPED OFF. Maybe all of the fees (oh and the manual process to get your sellers fee back when something goes wrong) won’t deter you, but there are just way too many ways for the eBay system to work against the buyer and you will lose. Just when you think your listings are going great, and you have accepted the fees and are happy with buyers you are getting, boom. Everything will crumble and the only people left happy will be your buyers and the eBay shareholders. You will eventually be robbed by the system, and they don’t care because it’s set up to make happy buyers and slice huge chunks of money from every transaction – regardless of how well a seller behave in the system.
So there you have it, I could actually go on with more and more items to think about when you sell on eBay, and in my opinion, the risk just isn’t worth it. When you add it all up, the potential for you coming out ahead is about as good as a dicey Craiglist transaction in a dark alley late at night. You might get paid, but you might…
What is your experience using eBay as a buyer or seller? Leave me a note below!