MLSN eBay Class
Part 1: How eBay Works.
It started in 1995 in San Jose, California. Computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar, and his wife decided to trade collectible goods using the
Internet. Pierre founded a web site, "Auctionweb". where traders could meet to sell their goods to other collectors, all within an environment of
professional trust. Auctionweb was later renamed to eBay (with a lower-case ―e‖).
Within 10 years, eBay.com has grown into the largest and most successful online business model in history. Today, tens of millions of people
converge daily at eBay.com and eBaymotors.com to buy and sell millions of dollars in new and used merchandise. From simple products like old
Monopoly games and used Elvis records, to wholesale electronics and digital cameras, all the way up to exotic motor vehicles and real estate, eBay
has become the global trading platform for the everyperson.
The eBay business model is magnificently simple: provide a safe and motivating online marketplace where anyone can gather to trade
products with confidence. Charge people a small fee to sell their wares, and enforce safety and trust for everyone.
At its base level, eBay works exactly like an electronic ―flea market‖:
1. eBay sellers pay a small flat fee plus a 1.5% percentage fee to eBay in order to market their wares;
2. eBay buyers visit and use the marketplace without any surcharges;
3. Any parties that abuse the system or each other will be disciplined or ejected.
At a higher level, eBay is different from a regular flea market for ten reasons:
1. The eBay marketplace is international, and crosses language and national boundaries;
2. The massive choice of goods is awe-inspiring;
3. Sales can either be auction format (competitions between bidders), or traditional fixed price format. The sellers choose whichever
format they prefer;
4. The buyers and sellers will likely never meet in person;
5. The buyers do not get to see the product in person before purchase, but are given various post-purchase guarantees to ensure
6. Very sophisticated computer measures are implemented to minimize electronic dishonesty on all sides;
7. Fulltime staff are employed to enforce safety and fairness across the system;
8. An honesty incentive model called ―positive feedback‖ is used to motivate buyers and sellers to trade with integrity;
9. Professional third parties payment services, like Paypal, Bidpay, and Escrow.com, are brought in to ensure safe and trusted payment
10. eBay is easier to use than a flea market.
What Buying/Selling Looks Like at eBay - A Sample Transaction at eBay.com.
Note: this scenario is simplified for learning purposes.
Scenario: Seller Shauna is a registered eBay member who has been buying and selling for eleven months. Because Shauna has successfully
bought and sold 14 times, she has earned an eBay ―positive feedback rating‖ of 14. Shauna‘s name will appear onscreen as follows:
She is very motivated to continue earning positive feedback and the customer trust that goes with it. Shauna hopes to one day achieve a
positive feedback rating of 1000.
STEP 1: The Listing Stage:
Shauna decides she wants to sell her used Swiss Army Watch at eBay. Originally a $750 item, the watch is 7 years old and in good condition.
She hopes to get $500USD for it, but will settle for $400.
She takes some digital photos of the watch, and she takes an hour to carefully author a web page ad that describes the watch to potential
buyers. She then lists the web page advertisement and photos at eBay at 3:04pm on a Saturday afternoon. She pays a small initial listing fee of a
Shauna‘s starting bid for the watch is $100USD, and the auction is slated to run for 7 days. Shauna has also added a ―Buy It Now‖ option set
at $450, to motivate buyers to end the auction early, and she promises to charge $15 shipping and handling for any USA customers.
STEP 2: The Selling (Auction Bidding) Stage:
By the fifth day of the auction, Shauna has two bids on the Swiss Army watch: Buyer Brad (feedback rating of 42) has bid $100, and Buyer
Ben (feedback rating of 29) has bid $101.
On the sixth day of the auction, three new eBay buyers, Billy (rating of 3), Bjorn (rating of 4), and Bernice (rating of 1), also discover the
watch, and they make ―nickel-and-dime bids‖ of $120, $121, and $122 respectively. Although Shauna would like to see higher bids, she is pleased
to see a small bidding frenzy happening on her watch. The Swiss Army watch high bid is now $122.
Day 7 of the auction comes, and a small bidding frenzy ensues over the Swiss Army watch. Bernice, the novice buyer, ambitiously bids an
ambitious $175 five hours before the auction end. Bernice‘s $175 is called her secret ―bid ceiling‖. Bjorn, also wanting the watch, counterbids
$150 and $160, but is automatically outbid by Bernice‘s $175 secret ―bid ceiling‖. The auction high bid is now $161. Billy jumps in 11:15am and
bids $325. Billy does beat Bernice‘s bid ceiling, so he is now the high bidder at $176, with a new secret bid ceiling of $325.
Buyer Brad, who is carefully watching this auction, decides to make another bid of his at own at 12:30pm on Saturday: $395. Brad
immediately becomes the high bidder, and the auction is now set at $326, with Brad‘s new secret bid ceiling of $395.
Billy tries counterbidding with $350, which raises the auction to $351, but is insufficient to beat Brad‘s $395 bid ceiling. Brad wins the Swiss
Army watch for $351, 44 dollars less than his secret bid ceiling.
STEP 3: The Payment and Feedback Stage:
Shauna doesn‘t get the $500 price she hoped for, but she is happy to have a successful sale. She sends an email to Brad with payment and
shipping expectations. Brad replies, and he promises to send Shauna her $351 + $15 S & H. They agree to use the most popular form of eBay
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Brad logs into his Paypal.com account that night, transfers $366USD from his Visa card to Shauna‘s email. Shauna transfers the $366 to her
bank account via encrypted Internet connection, minus a small fee to Paypal. Shauna then owes 1.5% of the Swiss Army Watch selling price to
eBay.com, who will bill her $5.27 next month for her seller‘s fee. Shauna nets about $357 out of $366, after all her fees to eBay and Paypal.
Shauna files ―positive feedback‖ for Brad, documenting that he promptly paid her within 24 hours. She then ships the watch to Brad with
careful packaging and short thank you note. Shauna pays for the shipping out of the $15 S& H charge she billed Brad for.
Brad, now with an increased 43 positive feedback rating, receives the Swiss Army Watch by post office mail 11 calendar days later. The
watch is exactly what Shaun described it to be, so Brad is pleased. Brad logs onto eBay, and files ―positive feedback‖ for Shauna, bring Shauna‘s
positive feedback rating up to 15.
Shauna‘s onscreen now appears as
Which indicates Shauna has transacted at least 15 honest and positive sales on eBay.
If you're ready to dive into the world of eBay but aren't sure where to start, you're in the right place. Our "eBay Essentials" will answer your
most basic eBay questions: What types of listing formats does eBay offer? What are the rules for selling on eBay? What tools can I use to promote
my product? What types of products can I list on eBay, and which are prohibited? Where can I find more information about starting my business
on eBay? What terms do I need to know to understand the eBay process? Following are some terms and procedures you'll need to know to get your
business on eBay started off right.
Types of Listings
Under the broad category of "listings" falls a variety of types, and you need to choose the one or ones that will get the best results for you and
your particular products. Keep in mind that in addition to the type of listing you opt for, you'll also choose a 1-, 3-, 5-, 7- or 10-day duration for the
Reserve price listings: A hidden minimum sale price for a listed item is known as a Reserve Price. Listings that have a hidden minimum
price are known as Reserve Price listings. The Reserve Price is the lowest amount the seller is willing to accept for the item. Buyers are
not shown what the Reserve Price is; they only see that there is one and whether or not it has been met. If the Reserve Price is not met,
the seller is not obligated to sell the item.
Buy it now: You can add this feature to a traditional auction-style listing to give buyers the option to bid on your product or to buy it
immediately. With Buy It Now (BIN), you set the price you're willing to sell for, and bidders can either place a bid for less than that
amount (but at or above your starting price) or win the item instantly by paying the BIN amount. When a bidder agrees to the BIN price,
the listing ends. Once a bid has been submitted, the BIN option disappears (unless you have a Reserve Price set).
Fixed-price listings: eBay's Fixed-Price format allows users to buy and sell items immediately at a set price, with no bidding or waiting.
You can sell more than one item in a Fixed-Price listing, which saves you time and money.
Private listings: In most listing formats, anyone looking at the item can see the User IDs of people who are bidding on it. With the
Private listing format, however, the bidders' User IDs are not seen on the item or bidding history screens. When the bidding has ended,
only the seller and winning bidder are notified via e-mail, and the winner remains private.
Dutch auctions: When a seller offers two or more identical items for sale in the same listing, it's known as a Dutch (or Multiple Item)
Auction. There can be many winners in this type of listing. For sellers, the power of a Dutch Auction is that it lets you sell large
quantities of a single item in one listing. What makes Dutch Auctions interesting—and complicated—is that all winning bidders pay the
same price per item, which is the lowest successful bid. Most commonly, all buyers pay the starting price. But if there are more bids than
items, the items will go to the earliest successful bids when the listing ends. Bidders may bid on any quantity but have the right to refuse
Live auctions: This type of online auction is of more interest to an online buyer than a seller, but it's something you should know about.
eBay's Live Auctions feature allows buyers to bid in real time on auctions that are happening on the floor of offline auction events.
Buyers can place absentee bids, bid against the floor, or just watch the auction—all from the convenience of their homes or offices. For
more information, go to www.ebayliveauctions.com.
Types of Bids
For most listings, the bidding process is fairly straight-forward. You set your minimum bid, and people interested in buying your merchandise
place successively higher bids until the listing ends. Beyond that, however, are some details about bidding you need to know.
Proxy bidding: eBay's Proxy Bidding system lets buyers enter the maximum amount they're willing to pay for an item, then sit back and
relax while the computer handles the bidding. If another bidder has a higher maximum, the first bidder will be outbid and will receive an
outbid notice via e-mail. At that point, the bidder can go back and rebid or choose to let the item go. Proxy Bidding does not apply to
Dutch (Multiple Item) Auctions.
High-dollar bids: When placing a bid of $15,000 or more on eBay, users must provide a valid credit card or go through eBay's ID
Verify process. This assures sellers the bidder is of legal age and serious about completing the transaction.
Complete details on current ebay policies can be found on eBay's Web site, so we won't go into all of them here. However, there are
some you should know about before you begin selling on eBay.
Duplicate listings occur when a seller posts more than 10 listings for identical items. The best way to list identical items is through
eBay's Storefront, Fixed-Price or Multiple Item listings formats. Although there are reasons to list identical items at the same time,
enabling a single seller to list too many identical items at one time hurts the buying experience.
If a seller lists in more than one category, the categories must be relevant. Any additional identical listings will be ended by eBay. There
are a few exceptions: Sellers who list general admission tickets in the Tickets category may list up to 20 identical listings, and sellers of
vehicle light bulbs may list up to 25 listings simultaneously.
No kids allowed: eBay requires that all users be at least 18 years of age.
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Unpaid items: Winning bidders or buyers who fail to follow through with the transaction face consequences. Nonpaying bidders receive
two warnings from eBay before they are suspended. When a bidder doesn't pay, the seller may request a credit from eBay for their Final
Value Fee by filing an Unpaid Item alert.
Nonperforming seller: Significantly misrepresenting an item by not meeting the terms and item description in the listing, or failing to
deliver an item for which you accepted payment, is a violation of eBay policies and may also be considered criminal fraud.
Outages: When the eBay system experiences service outages, there is a structure in place to compensate users with credits on listing
fees and/or listing extensions, based on the type and length of the outage.
Profanity: The use of language that is racist, hateful, sexual or obscene in nature in a public area is prohibited.
Prohibited and restricted items: As an eBay user, you are ultimately responsible for making sure that the items you sell on eBay are legal
according to all applicable jurisdictions and permitted by eBay policies.
Soliciting off-site sales: You may not circumvent eBay fees by using contact information obtained from eBay or any eBay service to
complete a sale outside of eBay.
Threats: eBay policies prohibit making threats of physical harm to another user.
If you violate an eBay policy by either your action or the content of your listings, you will typically receive an informational alert explaining
the violation and detailing any further action to be taken on your part. When deemed appropriate, eBay will end the listing, and your listing fee
will be refunded.
For serious or repeated violations of eBay rules, a user may be indefinitely suspended. Though indefinitely suspended users may be reinstated
by eBay at its discretion, eBay also has the right to determine at any time that the suspension is permanent.
What You Can't Sell on eBay
The following items may not be listed on eBay:
Alcohol Lock-picking devices
Animals and wildlife products Lottery tickets
Catalog and url sales Mailing lists and personal information
Counterfeit currency and stamps Plants and seeds
Counterfeit items Postage meters
Credit cards Prescription drugs and devices
Drugs and drug paraphernalia Recalled items
Embargoed goods and items made in prohibited countries Satellite and cable TV descramblers
Firearms Stocks and other securities
Fireworks Stolen property
Government IDs and licenses Surveillance equipment
Human parts and remains Tobacco
Links to other web sites (except as outlined in eBay's Travel (except as outlined in eBay's policies)
These items may be listed under certain conditions. Do further research before listing items of this nature to be sure yours is allowed. To learn
more, click on "Security Center" at the bottom of any eBay page, then click on "Market Place Rules and Policies." Questionable items include:
Artifacts Materials targeted to mature (adult) audiences
Autographed items Medical devices
Batteries Offensive material
Catalytic converters and test pipes Pesticides
Compilation and information media Police-related items
Contracts and travel-related tickets Pre-sale listings (items that are not in the control or
Electronics equipment possession of the seller at the time of the listing)
Event tickets Slot machines
Food Used air bags
Freon and other refrigerants Used clothing
Hazardous materials Warranties
Imported and emission-noncompliant vehicles Weapons and knives
International trading in any category that violates current Wine
These items may be in violation of certain copyrights, trademarks or other rights. eBay prohibits some of these items, regardless of any
particular item's legality, because they almost always violate copyright and trademark laws. As with questionable items, do your homework before
posting your item. Potentially infringing items are:
Academic software Items for which you disclaim knowledge of or
Beta software responsibility for the authenticity or legality
Bootleg recordings Items or listings that misuse another product's brand name
Downloadable media Items that may violate a contract you have with another
Use of a person's likeness, name or signature party
Games software Mod chips
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OEM software Software or hardware that would enable a user to
Promotional items circumvent copy-protection features on video games,
Recordable media software programs, CDs, CD-ROMs or DVDs
Replica and counterfeit items Tickets (travel)
Insurance protects you and your customers by paying to replace or repair items that are damaged in transit. For high-end or very fragile
merchandise, insist that buyers pay for insurance for the full value of the goods. For low-end or very sturdy merchandise, you may allow buyers to
make the choice of whether to buy insurance. But stress that if they reject insurance, your responsibility ends when the product leaves your
possession. Be sure you can prove that you shipped the merchandise, either by using a carrier (such as FedEx or UPS) that will provide you with a
shipper's receipt or by using the U.S. Postal Service's delivery confirmation service. Also be sure to print a copy of the closed-item page.
Some carriers automatically provide coverage for loss or damage up to $100 per shipment at no extra charge; others charge for the first dollar
of insurance coverage. Don't bother to buy insurance for more than you can prove the item is worth; the carrier will reimburse you only for the
actual value, not for the amount of insurance you purchased. Documents that are generally accepted as proof of value include a current bill of sale,
an invoice, or a statement from a certified appraiser.
Even when you purchase insurance, it's important that your items be properly packed for transit. If damage occurs and the carrier determines
that the shipment was not appropriately packed, your claim (or the buyer's claim, in most cases) will likely be denied.
Under the eBay Umbrella
eBay actually offers buyers and sellers a collection of options and services. In addition to standard listings, the variety of other offerings
includes the following:
Charity auctions, to help people raise money for various causes
eBay business marketplace, a category designed especially for business buyers and sellers
eBay motors, where vehicles, parts and accessories of all kinds are bought and sold
eBay stores, where sellers can easily showcase all their items like an online retailer
Live auctions, where buyers can bid on merchandise at a Live Auction as it's happening
PayPal, eBay's payment processing service, which allows sellers to accept online payments from buyers immediately
Wholesale lots, a special category to buy and sell in bulk
Selling – Overview
When selling on eBay, it‘s important to take the time to learn about listing an item, how to communicate with buyers, and completing the
sale. Knowing key concepts and rules will help you become a successful eBay seller.
Preparing to sell
Learn selling basics and key concepts before you list.
Getting Started –The basics of what you need to sell your first item.
How to Sell – An overview of the basic steps of the selling process.
Knowing the Rules for Sellers – An introduction to eBay‘s policies about what items may be listed and what is and is not allowed in a
listing. Understanding the concepts behind eBay‘s selling policies will help ensure that you do not unintentionally break eBay‘s rules or
Seller Tips – Sellers often research sold items and how buyers search for these items. Consider all the different selling options and plan
Guide to Seller Resources – This is a guide to areas of eBay that you can use to help you with your selling needs.
To learn more, you can take the Audio Tour: How to Sell on eBay.
Listing your item
eBay‘s Sell Your Item form guides you through the listing process. The following Help sections provide additional guidance including tips
that will help you to create a great listing.
Creating a Listing – An overview of how to create a listing.
Fees –- This section contains pages that tell you how your eBay fees are calculated.
Adding Pictures – This section includes tips on how to take good pictures for your listing and how to upload them to your listing.
Sections also cover eBay Picture Services and eBay Picture Manager, which lets you add pictures from the selling form and offers
options to enhance your photos.
Listing Upgrades – This section contains descriptions and examples of listing upgrades that help you promote your item.
Managing your listing
This section has information on how you can manage both your listings and your buyers.
About Managing Your Listing – Provides an overview of the procedures and practices you can use during your listing.
After the listing ends
Good communication with your customers and prompt shipping after an eBay sale are crucial to your success as an eBay seller. If your item
does not sell, this section has information on how you can try again.
Completing the Sale – An overview of what to do to after the listing ends and what to do if you did not sell your item, or had a problem
with your buyer.
Payment and Checkout –- This section has information on payment methods and explains how you can use eBay checkout to make it
easy for buyers to pay for your item.
Shipping –- This section reviews the different shipping services, rates and procedures, as well as packaging tips.
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Different ways of selling
This section contains information on the wide variety of formats, opportunities, and pricing options available on eBay.
Formats and pricing options – Reviews the specific selling formats including Auction-like listings, and Fixed Price format and how
they relate to pricing options including Buy It Now , Reserve Price, and Best Offer.
Selling on eBay Motors – This section contains information on eBay Motors and selling vehicles, boats, and accessories.
Selling Internationally – This section addresses international shipping, language and customs to help you feel more confident when
making an international sale.
Advanced Selling Tools – This section contains information on eBay seller tools and programs that help create and manage listings.
Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro – This is the Help section for these selling management tools that help make selling more
efficient for high volume sellers.
Sales Reports – This is the Help section for this subscription service that enables sellers to track and analyze their eBay sales
Selling – Basic Steps
The basic steps for selling an item are:
Step 1: Become an eBay seller.
Step 2: Prepare to sell your item.
Step 3: List your item for sale.
Step 4: Manage your listing.
Step 5: Complete the sale.
Step 1: Become an eBay seller.
To begin selling on eBay, you need to register and create a seller‘s account. To register as a seller, click the ―Sell‖ link at the top of any eBay
page, and then click the Sell Your Item button or learn about registration and creating a seller's account.
PayPal is the preferred payment method for most eBay buyers and sellers. Consider signing up for PayPal, eBay‘s global online payment
system before listing your first item. When buyers use PayPal to pay for your item, you receive payments immediately and don‘t need to handle
checks or money orders.
Step 2: Prepare to sell your item.
Preparation helps you sell your item. Before you start to list your item, doing some research, especially about setting a starting price, will help
you list accurately and efficiently. Find similar items on eBay and note the selling price and how they were listed. Your research will help you
make better decisions about selecting selling formats, pricing, shipping, and payment methods. To help prepare for listing your item, see the
There are certain items that may not be sold on eBay. To avoid breaking eBay rules and the law, check eBay‘s prohibited items policies to be
sure your item is permitted.
Step 3: List your item for sale.
To list your item on eBay, you need to provide information about your item. Information in a typical listing includes a title, description, price,
payment method, shipping cost, and a photo. eBay‘s Sell Your Item form guides you through the steps to a successful item listing.
Step 4: Manage your listing
You can track your eBay activities from My eBay. This page is especially useful if you have more than one item for sale or if you are selling
and bidding on several items. My eBay's All Selling page lets you see the status of items you're selling from start to finish and manage your sales
from a central location.
Step 5: Complete the sale
At the end of a successful listing, you'll receive an email from eBay that includes your buyer's shipping address and payment method. Once
you receive online payment confirmation from PayPal or a check or money order from your buyer, you can ship your item. Leaving feedback for
your buyer after you complete the sale is optional, but it is an important part of participating in the eBay Community and will help you establish
your reputation as a seller.
Key points about selling effectively on eBay
Understanding the following concepts will help you prepare for eBay‘s unique selling experience.
Your item will be among thousands of other items. For buyers to consider your item, they need to find it, so think like a buyer. Make
sure you have good photos and a complete item description. An informative title, well-written description, and clear photos can make the
difference between selling and not selling your item.
An important part of selling on eBay includes communicating with bidders and buyers. Good communication helps to promote you
as a responsive seller and will help avoid potential transaction problems. The majority of communication between sellers and buyers is
through email, so it is important that you keep your contact information up-to-date.
Your item listing will be viewed by a global audience. You probably won‘t know your buyers personally, but you can know about
your buyers by reviewing their member profiles. Setting your listing preferences in My eBay lets you to have more control over who
may bid on your listings. This feature helps to reduce the possible transaction problems and potential unpaid items.
Your feedback score is important. The eBay Community takes feedback very seriously. It not only represents your reputation to
buyers, but your feedback score is also used to qualify you for some seller privileges. For example, you need a feedback score of at least
20 to open an eBay Store.
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eBay has rules and guidelines called “policies” that create a safe, fair and enjoyable trading environment. They affect how you
sell on eBay. By accepting the terms outlined in the User Agreement, you have agreed to conform to these policies. If eBay determines
that a listing violates a policy, eBay may remove the listing from the site and may take disciplinary action. Be sure to review selling
policies before you list an item (see Knowing eBay‘s Rules for Sellers).
Both eBay and the eBay Community provide resources to support your success as a seller. You can participate in eBay's
community discussion boards and chats where you can connect with other members to get tips, ask for help, or just have fun. eBay
Customer Support representatives also offer assistance on many boards and chats.
eBay provides a wide range of resources for sellers. Listing items does take time, especially when you are new to selling on eBay.
However, eBay offers selling tools and resources that help you to manage and automate your selling activities (see Resources for
Where to learn more about selling
Visit Seller Central to learn about resources for sellers including merchant solutions for businesses.
Take the Audio Tour: How to Sell on eBay.
Connect with other sellers from the eBay Community.
Creating a Seller's Account
To sell on eBay you need to register to become an eBay member and become a seller. Becoming a seller is free. During this one-time process
you need to provide information to verify your identity and select how you will pay your seller fees.
1) Verify your identity.
To help provide a safe environment for the eBay community, you need to provide a credit or debit card to create a seller‘s account. In some
encrypted by the industry standard SSL technology.
If you don't have a credit card or don't want to place your card on file, you can establish your proof of identity with ID Verify. Verification
costs $5 and is valid until your name, home address or phone number change. You'll be charged only when you complete the process.
Providing your credit card information
Your card will not be charged unless you authorize eBay to use it to pay your seller fees, which are charged only when you list or sell items.
If your card is not accepted, try the following:
Make sure that your card number is correct.
Check your address - it must match the billing address on your monthly statement.
For debit cards, only use those with VISA or MasterCard logos.
Contact your card issuer if none of the above helps.
Verify the following:
The card account is in good standing.
The account does not have an Internet or phone order block.
If the account is new, the account has been activated.
Providing your checking account information
Your account will be used for identification purposes only. eBay does not deduct any fees from your account unless you authorize eBay to
use it to pay your seller fees.
If you are having trouble putting your checking account on file, try the following:
Make sure that your routing number is correct. You will find your routing number on the bottom of your checks, usually between the
symbols. Routing numbers are 9 digits long. If you do not have a check available, your bank will also be able to provide this information
Make sure that your checking account number is correct. You will find your checking account number on the bottom of your checks,
usually before the symbol.
If you are still having trouble, contact your bank for assistance.
2) Select your payment method.
When becoming a seller, you need to select how you pay your seller fees.
You can pay your seller fees using any of the following payment methods:
PayPal (monthly and one-time payments)
Direct Pay from your checking account (monthly and one-time payments)
Credit Card (monthly and one-time payments)
Check or money order
For more details, see Paying Seller Fees
Note: If you want to use PayPal to accept credit card and electronic check payments online, eBay recommends signing up before you list your
first item for sale.
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How PayPal Works
by Ed Grabianowski
The simple idea behind PayPal -- using encryption software to allow people to make financial
transfers between computers -- has turned into one of the world's primary methods of online payment.
Despite its occasionally troubled history, including fraud, lawsuits and zealous government regulators,
PayPal now boasts more than 86 million accounts worldwide [ref].
In this article, we'll show you how to use PayPal, find out how the transactions are made, and
learn something about the company's history. We'll also examine some of the complaints about PayPal's business practices.
PayPal is an online payment service that allows individuals and businesses to transfer funds electronically. You can use it to pay for online
auctions, purchase goods and services, or to make donations. You can even use it to send cash to someone.
A basic PayPal account is free. You can send funds to anyone with an e-mail address, whether or not they have a PayPal account. They'll get
a message from PayPal about the funds, and then they just have to sign up for their own account.
Funds transferred via PayPal reside in a PayPal account until the holder of the funds retrieves them or spends them. If the user has entered and
verified their bank account information, then the funds can be transferred directly into their account. Other ways to withdraw your funds are listed
Methods of withdrawing funds from a PayPal account
Signing up for PayPal is quick and doesn't even require you to enter any bank account information, although a checking account or credit card
are required to use many of PayPal's features. From the PayPal homepage, just click on the "Sign Up Now" button. At the next page, you'll choose
whether you want a personal, business or premier account. If you just plan to use PayPal for the occasional ebay auction or online purchase, a
personal account is the right choice. If you intend to use PayPal to accept payments for your own business, then a business or premier account
would be more suitable. If you select a personal account, you can upgrade in the future.
Click on "Sign Up Now" to set up a PayPal account.
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From there, you will go to a page that asks for your basic personal information -- your name, address, telephone number and email address.
You will also be required to enter two security questions in case you lose your password, and you have to enter a randomly generated series of
letters and numbers, which help prevent fraud. Once you confirm your account by following instructions you'll receive via email, the signup
process is done.
Adding a valid, current credit card to your account will allow PayPal to confirm your address (if it matches where you receive your credit
card statements). Having a confirmed address shows both buyers and sellers that you are less likely to be a scammer. You can also use your credit
card for PayPal's Expanded Use service, which allow you to draw money from the credit card, instead of just from a bank account.
Get verified to move funds between your bank account and your PayPal account.
If you want to add funds to your PayPal account from your checking account, or vice versa, you need to enter and verify your bank account
with Paypal. When you enter your account number and routing number, PayPal will make two micropayments to that account. These payments are
usually about $0.05. PayPal will then ask you to enter those amounts in order to verify the account (they'll show up on your bank statement). After
you enter them, your bank account will be ready for use.
PayPal doesn't fundamentally change the way merchants interact with banks and credit card companies. It just acts as a middleman. Credit
and debit card transactions travel on different networks. When a merchant accepts a charge from a card, the merchant pays an interchange, which
is a small fee of about ten cents plus approximately 2 percent. The interchange is made up of a variety of small fees paid to all the different
companies that have a part in the transaction -- the merchant's bank, the credit card association and the company that issued the card [ref]. If
someone pays by check, a different network is used, one that costs the merchant less but moves slower.
What part does PayPal play in all this? Both buyer and seller deal with PayPal, having already provided their bank account or credit card
information. PayPal, in turn, handles all the transactions with various banks and credit card companies, and pays the interchange. They make this
back on the fees they charge for receiving money, as well as the interest they collect on money left in PayPal accounts.
PayPal touts their presence as an extra layer as a security feature, because everyone's information, including credit card numbers, bank
account numbers and address, stay with PayPal. With other online transactions, that information is transmitted from the buyer to the merchant to
the credit card processor.
All the money held in PayPal accounts is placed into one or more bank accounts, where PayPal collects interest. Account holders do not
receive any of the interest gained on their money. Some PayPal critics claim that one of the reasons PayPal locks accounts and puts people through
a long, frustrating appeal process is so they can keep the funds in the bank longer to collect more interest.
After a series of scams, PayPal formulated a plan to prevent criminals from using
computer programs to open dozens of fraudulent accounts with stolen credit card
numbers. This system, known as the "Gausebeck-Levchin" test, is now widely used by
thousands of Web sites [ref]. It requires new account creators to type in a word found
in a small image file on the account creation page. A script or a bot can't read this word
-- only a human can decipher it.
The Gausebeck-Levchin test on PayPal. The sight-impared (who use text-
based Web browsers) can listen to a recording of the letters instead.
PayPal also uses special programs to detect potentially fraudulent activity. These
programs watch for certain red flags that might be a sign of fraud. These red flags
include sudden increases in volume or quantity of transfers, denied credit card charges
or invalid IP addresses.
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Peter Thiel and Max Levchin founded PayPal in 1999 under the name Confinity. The idealistic vision of the company was one of a borderless
currency free from governmental controls. However, PayPal's success, quickly drew the attention of hackers, scam artists and organized crime
groups, who used the service for frauds and money laundering. New security measures stemmed the tide of fraud and customer complaints, but
government officials soon stepped in. Regulators and attorney generals in several states, including New York and California, fined PayPal for
violations and investigated the company's business practices. Some states, such as Louisiana, banned PayPal from operating in their states
altogether. PayPal has since received licenses that allow them to operate in these places.
PayPal's Auction Tools page for eBay sellers.
Despite the initial turmoil, PayPal's market share continued to grow. At first PayPal offered new users $10 to join, plus bonuses for referring
friends. The service grew so quickly that it soon became the default online payment service. Buyers wanted to use it since so many merchants
accepted it, and merchants accepted it because so many buyers were using it. PayPal owes much of its initial growth to eBay users who used the
service to pay for items and accept payments for their online auctions. PayPal even beat eBay at the online payment business, trumping eBay's in-
house payment system Billpoint so thoroughly that in 2002, eBay bought PayPal. Then it phased out Billpoint and integrated PayPal into its
services. Sellers with PayPal accounts can place icons in their auctions and buyers can simply click on a PayPal logo when they win an auction to
make an immediate payment.
In early 2002, PayPal held its IPO, opening at $15.41 per share and closing the day's trading above the $20 mark [ref]. eBay purchased PayPal
that same year for $1.4 billion in stock [ref]. Recently, eBay spent another $370 million to buy out another PayPal competitor, VeriSign.
PayPal Account Types
The three PayPal account types differ in some important ways. All have access to PayPal's core features, which include:
Virtual Debit Card
E-mail Customer service
Personal accounts give you access you the core features, but that's all. Customer support is mostly via e-mail. There is a phone number is
available, but it is not toll-free and it sends users to a low-priority line with long wait times. There are no transaction fees for personal accounts,
though there are fees for some other features, such as currency exchange. Personal accounts are also subject to volume limits of $500 per month. If
you receive more than that, you will need to upgrade to a Premier or Business account (or deny the transfer that would have put you over the
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PayPal account types
Premier and Business accounts are almost the same. The main difference is that a Business account must be registered with a business or
group name, while a Premier account can be registered with a business, group or individual. Business accounts can also be set up for multiple
Business and Premier accounts allow access to all of the core features, plus the ability to accept:
Unlimited Credit Card Payments
Payment Receiving Preferences
Business and Premier Accounts also get a toll-free customer service number and extended customer service hours.
These extra features come at the cost of transaction fees. Sending money is still free, but 2.9 percent is charged for funds received. Extremely
high-volume accounts get a break -- after $3,000 has been received in a month, the percentage drops to 2.5 percent. Above $10,000, it goes to 2.2
percent, and money in excess of $100,000 received in a single month is only charged at 1.9 percent. In addition, all transactions in which money is
received, regardless of volume, have a $0.30 fee added.
One confusing part of PayPal is the sending limit that they place on new accounts.
These limits are typically $2,000 for new users, but sometimes users outside of the
United States can't use the account to send money at all until they go through a
verification process that lifts the limit. It's a lifetime limit -- once you hit that level, you
can no longer send until you verify the account. However, the limits aren't consistent
and some transactions don't count towards the limit. PayPal's user agreement does not
make clear when or why the limits change, or what charges don't count towards the
Using PayPal: Sending Funds
More than 70 percent of all eBay sellers offer PayPal as a payment option, and a large chunk of PayPal's business still comes from online
auctions [ref]. However, one of the keys to PayPal's success has been its ability to expand beyond the eBay market. You can use it send money to a
friend, donate to a charity, and buy items from online merchants.
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Sending money via PayPal is simple.
If you want to donate to a charity using PayPal, the process is just like sending money to anyone else. You need the charity's email address, or
they might have a button on their website that allows you to make a donation directly. The main difference lies in the "Category of Purchase" entry
on the PayPal payment page. Technically, this would be a quasi-cash transaction. However, such a transaction could be subject to fees, depending
on the source of the money -- if you draw your PayPal funds form a credit card, you might be charged cash advance fees. You can just as easily
select "Service" as the category, and the donation will work with no problems or fees.
The PayPal Shops page includes online merchants that accept PayPal.
You can use PayPal to purchase goods from non-eBay merchants who have set up a PayPal storefront. Once you've selected your items, go to
the Web site's checkout page. You will have the option of selecting a credit card or PayPal to pay for your purchase. Selecting PayPal may send
you to a log in page for your PayPal account. There you can transfer the appropriate amount to the merchant, who will then complete the sale.
Some merchants integrate PayPal into the Web site, meaning that you put your PayPal information directly into their site.
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Just click on the PayPal button to use it as a payment method.
If a Web site only accepts credit cards, you can still use funds in your PayPal account to make a purchase. PayPal users can use the "PayPal
Debit Bar" to get a virtual MasterCard number. You can use that card number with any merchant who accepts MasterCard, and the funds will be
deducted from the PayPal account. This service is free.
For example, you might want to use your PayPal account to buy something from Amazon.com. However, Amazon doesn't accept PayPal as a
payment method. You can activate the Debit Bar from within your PayPal account. Assuming you are carrying enough of a balance in your
account to cover the purchase, PayPal will give you a 16-digit number, just like a credit card number. Then you will select MasterCard as your
payment method from Amazon's payment page, and enter the Debit Bar number.
Using PayPal: Receiving Funds
Merchants who want to use PayPal to accept payments have a wide range of options available. For basic payments, such as online auctions or
simple Web site sales, the merchant can simply provide buyers with their e-mail address, and buyers can make the appropriate payments to the
merchant's PayPal account. eBay sellers can place PayPal buttons on their auctions, and the checkout invoice PayPal sends to auction winners will
include a link to pay via PayPal.
You can use PayPal to request money from anyone.
PayPal also provides extensive services for online merchants. Prior to services like PayPal, someone who wanted to accept credit card
payments online had to set up a merchant account through a credit card company. Creating a Web interface to use this account could be confusing
and difficult. PayPal bypasses this problem. Business or Premier PayPal accounts can set up a Buy Now button, a PayPal shopping cart, or options
for ongoing subscriptions and recurring payments.
A Buy Now button allows merchants to paste a small piece of HTML code into their site, creating a button for buyer to click when they want
to purchase an item. This takes the buyer to a secure payment page, where they enter their credit card information and shipping address. Once the
transaction is complete, the money, minus PayPal's fees, is tranferred directly into the merchant's account.
The PayPal shopping cart is more involved, but it has the same result. HTML code for various buttons (add to cart, view cart) are added to
lists of items, and the item details are added by the merchant. Buyers can add the items they want to purchase to their cart, and when they check
out, they'll go to a secure payment page, just like a Buy It Now page.
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The transaction process for a Standard Merchant account.
PayPal's two main merchant account types, Standard and Pro, offer slightly different packages. With a standard account, when a customer
checks out at the shopping cart page, they go to the PayPal site to log in and make the payment. With a Pro account, PayPal processes the
transaction in the background -- the customer makes the entire sale on the merchant's site. A Pro account has higher percentages on transactions
(2.2 to 2.9 percent versus 1.9 to 2.9 percent) and a $20 monthly fee. It also requires knowledge of Web services and APIs (Application Program
Interfaces), as well as a minimum of two days for installation.
The transaction process for a Pro Merchant account.
PayPal also streamlines transactions for merchants who sell to international users. It can convert funds to whatever currency the merchant
wants for 2.5 percent. Currently, PayPal accepts funds in the following currencies:
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Problems With PayPal
Not every PayPal user has come away satisfied with the company's business practices. In fact, so many Money Market
people feel the company has abused them that entire Web sites exist to discuss problems with PayPal. The Fund
most prominent is PayPal Sucks. The only way for
The biggest criticism of PayPal is that it acts like a bank, but it isn't regulated like one. This means that PayPal users to make
PayPal offers none of the protection that real banks offer, and it isn't required to maintain any of the security, money on their own funds
customer service or dispute resolution services that banks provide. At the same time, PayPal holds large is to apply for its money
amounts of their customers' money, makes millions of financial transactions, and even offers credit and debit market fund. Unlike money
cards. market accounts, money
So why isn't it considered a bank? In 2002, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) declared market funds are not
that because PayPal didn't meet the federal definition of an entity accepting deposits as a bank, hold any insured by the FDIC.
physical money, or have a bank charter, it was not a bank [ref]. In other words, PayPal isn't a bank because it
doesn't call itself a bank. As a result, most states license PayPal as a "money service."
One of the most common problems encountered by PayPal users is the sudden and inexplicable freezing
of their accounts. If your PayPal account is frozen, you can't add or withdraw any funds from your account,
and you're required to go through a long, complicated process to verify your identity. Some users claim that PayPal has simply seized their funds
and never returned them.
I had my PayPal account frozen with about $50 in it in 2003. Apparently, a change of address caused a red flag that led to the account freeze,
although I followed the proper steps for changing the address on the account. A phone call to PayPal customer service resulted in a sudden
unfreezing of the account.
Reports by former PayPal employees indicate that this freezing and unfreezing is arbitrary and not subject to any serious scrutiny. They also
claim that company executives look at this process as a revenue stream. Some feel that PayPal intends to make money to cover losses due to fraud
by seizing funds from customer accounts [ref].
You can find a thorough and open-minded (if slightly outdated) examination of various complaints against PayPal here. Other charges levied
against PayPal include:
Lax security, despite their claims as a secure method of making online transactions
A long and confusing Terms of Service Agreement that tricks users into giving up both their rights to sue the company and as their
protections under credit card laws
Rude customer service representatives
Poor hiring practices that have led to a number of scams committed as "inside jobs"
Despite these criticisms, PayPal continues to be the most popular money transfer service for online transactions. For more information on
PayPal and related topics, do a Google search and see what turns up.
FDIC Pass-Through Insurance
Although PayPal itself isn't an FDIC-insured bank, it does keep your funds in
various FDIC-insured banks across the country (Go here to see which ones PayPal
currently uses). According to PayPal, your funds are eligible for something called
pass-through insurance. Basically, this means that you can recover your money even if
the bank fails. This insurance does not protect you if PayPal fails, although it claims
that if "your funds will also be protected from any claims of PayPal's creditors and will
be returned to you even in the unlikely event of a PayPal insolvency"[ref].
Know The Risks Before You Buy Or Sell
It happens any number of ways. Maybe you sent a money order for an authentic Babe Ruth autographed baseball bat and it never arrived.
Perhaps the "authentic" bat turned out to be a well-crafted phony. Maybe you shipped the bat after a fraudulent escrow in cahoots with a scammer
(or even one the scammer himself runs) informed you it had received the buyer's payment. Congratulations: You're likely the victim of a scam.
Most people will use eBay and never experience any problems. Buyers generally pay for their items in a timely fashion, and sellers typically
ship the items without delay once they receive payment. But what happens when something goes wrong? Do buyers have any recourse for
spending thousands of dollars only to never hear from a seller again? Are sellers permanently up-a-creek if they ship their item, and the buyer
vanishes from civilization? And what about identity theft? There are plenty of baddies posing as eBay and PayPal who are eager to extract
personal information from you through illegal means.
Common sense will go a long way toward thwarting the scams that infiltrate eBay. But, despite your best efforts, some of the bad guys are
exceptionally good at what they do. We'll show you what eBay does to protect you, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Safety From The Start
Even registering with eBay involves passing sensitive personal information over the Internet. To sell items on eBay, you must supply credit or
debit card and checking account information. If you register with eBay using an anonymous email address, such as one from Hotmail or Yahoo!,
you have to provide a credit card number for eBay to verify your identity. In a basic sense, you're sending your credit card information along the
Information Superhighway; you should know what eBay does to protect you in the chance the wrong person intercepts your information along the
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eBay uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology to encrypt your important data (such as password and credit card) when you sign in. SSL
takes this data and, packet by packet, encrypts it with a randomly generated 128-bit key. Without knowing the key, it would take a hacker quite a
while to try and crack the encrypted packets. If someone wants to steal your credit card number or learn your password, she will probably use other
means than unlawfully seizing encrypted information.
If you need additional proof that it's safe to submit your sensitive personal information to eBay, look to "http://www.truste.org", which has
Center Security With Security Center
Think of eBay Security & Resolution Center as your one-stop shop for your security needs. Access it by clicking the Help tab on eBay's home
page and clicking the Security Center link on the left side. From here, you can springboard to a fountain of knowledge regarding eBay rules,
policies, and procedures used to ensure the eBay marketplace stays as safe as possible. You can read tips to make your eBay experience safe or
read case studies showing eBay in action as it cooperates to bring scammers to justice.
There is also a link to the Trust & Safety Discussion Board, giving you the opportunity to share information about unscrupulous activities or
ask for advice about potentially dangerous situations. The eBay community provides advice about avoiding scams and frequently announces scams
Additional resources at the Security & Resolution Center help you contact law enforcement agencies and protect yourself from other online
threats outside of eBay itself. The Online Security Resources section has links to the FTC and Internet Fraud Complaint Center and tips to prevent
disasters such as viruses and identity theft.
Buy With Confidence
Because almost every seller requires payment before shipping an item, there's always a possibility a seller won't ship the item. Are you out of
luck and out of your money? What safeguards does eBay have in place to protect you? Here are some tips:
Be vigilant. You can take the initiative to protect yourself by doing plenty of background research. First, use education as a weapon and learn
as much as possible about the product you might be bidding on. If the seller provides pictures of an item, you don't have to take them at face value.
Compare the pictures with pictures you know are real. Many sellers will use pictures from manufacturers that don't represent the item they're
actually selling; don't hesitate to ask the seller for actual pictures of his item. If he balks, don't bid.
Be especially cautious with collector's items, autographed memorabilia, and historical artifacts. If possible, know how to spot a fake and
familiarize yourself with the various bodies that certify respective items. For example, reputable merchants of autographed sports memorabilia
should include a COA (certificate of authenticity) from a trusted third party. Don't be afraid to report counterfeit or misrepresented items to eBay.
If you're buying an automobile via eBay Motors, have an inspection service double-check the seller is accurately representing his automobile.
Think of eBay's Security & Resolution Center as the first line of defense for your online auction experience.
Analyze feedback. Analyzing feedback is another helpful exercise to prevent scams. Look for sellers who have an established history of
credible sales and pay special attention to any negative feedback a seller has. If a seller has a low feedback score or is a first-time seller, proceed
with caution. Compare the nature of the seller's feedback to the auction you're following.
If you notice a glaring discrepancy, it's possible a scammer has hijacked the account in question. For example, if an eBay user has compiled a
long list of positive feedback as a buyer and suddenly turns to selling high-priced items, the account's true owner may have fallen prey to an
identity-theft scam. Similarly, sellers with a long history of selling a particular item can arouse suspicion if they suddenly start selling radically
Squash shill bidders. Shill bidding is a dastardly tactic that requires cooperation between two eBay users or one user with two accounts
(owning two accounts itself is prohibited in most cases). Sellers use shill bidding to artificially drive up the price of their items.
For example, Andre, a seller, asks his friend Mandy to place shill bids on his auction. In turn, Mandy will usually wait until the auction is
almost over and place incrementally higher bids in an attempt to force the high bidder's (Roger) proxy bid higher. If Mandy accidentally bids too
high and becomes the high bidder, she retracts her bid and makes Roger pay more for the item than he would have without Mandy's shill bids. It's
not fraud, but it's also not fair play.
To report suspected shill bidding, click the Help tab on eBay's home page. Click Contact Us and choose Report Problems With Other eBay
Members. Then select Problems With Sellers and Seller Is Bidding On His/Her Own Item With Another User ID. Click Continue. On the next
page, click Email. Supply the item number(s), the seller's User ID, and the User ID(s) of the suspected shill bidder. Describe the situation and click
Send Email to alert eBay to the situation. It's possible that the bidding is legitimate, but eBay can suspend the seller and shill bidder's accounts if
your suspicions prove correct.
The good guys. For every shady tactic dishonest sellers use to dupe unsuspecting buyers, eBay offers a number of certifications for
trustworthy sellers such as ID Verify and SquareTrade.
SquareTrade is eBay's chosen online dispute resolution service. Sellers who receive a SquareTrade certification have taken several overtures
to give prospective buyers peace of mind. SquareTrade sellers have pledged to resolve disputes through mediation if it is necessary. Square-Trade
also verifies each seller's identity before giving a seller the SquareTrade seal. SquareTrade provides up to $225 (after a $25 deductible) in
protection against seal members who commit fraud.
Reporting bad behavior. While you can take a number of steps to minimize the chance of losing your money in a fraudulent auction, fraud
still occurs. If you have not been able to reach the seller after receiving a grossly misrepresented item or you haven't received the item at all, you
should contact eBay. You can report unscrupulous behavior to eBay using the Contact Us link. On eBay's home page, click the Help tab at the top
of the page. Click Contact Us. On the Contact Us page, click Report Problems With Other eBay Members, Fraud Concerns For Buyers, and then
select your specific problem from the choices eBay offers.
You can also try dispute resolution through a third party such as Square-Trade, which offers its dispute resolution services free.
If you are still unable to resolve the issue, you should contact PayPal or your credit card company, if you paid for the item with a credit card.
PayPal offers its own protection program that protects buyers' losses up to $1,000. To learn more about the PayPal Buyer Protection program, go
to www .paypal.com and click the Security Center link near the bottom of PayPal's home page. Click PayPal Buyer Protection for more details.
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When these avenues fail, you may be entitled to partial reimbursement through eBay's Buyer Protection Program. With eBay's Standard
Purchase Protection Program, you can receive up to 100% reimbursement (less a $25 fee to cover processing costs) for items up to $200. Once the
item price exceeds $200, the most you can receive in reimbursement from eBay is $175 ($200 less the $25 processing fee).
On the Contact Us page, eBay will help guide you to your specific problem.
You have a time frame between 10 and 60 days after the auction's end. Within this window, file a Fraud Alert to start the process. Open a
Web browser with an active Internet connection and go to pages.ebay.com/buy/resources.html. Click Buyer Protection. Under step seven, click
Item Not Received Or Significantly Not As Described Process. This begins the process of receiving your item or becoming eligible to file a claim
under eBay's Standard Purchase Protection Program. Once you initiate this process, eBay will contact the seller and open a dialogue between you
and the seller. If the dialogue fails, you can close the dispute and file a claim to recoup some of your losses.
You must close the dispute and file a claim within 90 days of the auction's end. If you take too long, eBay will automatically close the dispute
and leave you with nothing. In the end, it can be an excruciatingly long process, but eBay and PayPal offer certain safeguards to buyers who
properly follow the reimbursement procedure.
Auto buyers are one exception to eBay's standard Buyer Protection Program. When you buy with eBay Motors, eBay's free Vehicle Purchase
Protection covers you for losses up to $20,000.
Sellers don't have as much to worry about because, as we mentioned earlier, most sellers require payment from buyers before they ship items.
But for pricier auctions, both parties frequently turn to private escrow services such as Escrow.com to complete the transaction.
Dodge dodgy escrow services. An escrow service frequently acts as the middleman in high-priced auctions. The escrow service collects
payment from the buyer and notifies the seller. Then, the seller ships the item to the buyer who inspects it to ensure the seller properly represented
it in the auction. The buyer informs the escrow service she is satisfied, and the escrow service releases payment to the buyer.
Phony escrow sites are a popular ploy among scammers. While these sites can be used to defraud buyers, they're just as effective on sellers.
To defraud sellers, a scammer will either set up his own phony escrow Web site or collaborate with another scammer's phony site. Scammers will
send their "payment" to the fake escrow service. The scammer/fake escrow site tells the seller to send the item for the scammer/ buyer to evaluate.
Once the seller sends the item, the scammer vanishes, (usually) along with the phony escrow site.
As a seller or buyer, be wary of proposed escrow services. While there are legitimate online escrow services other than Escrow.com, it is
easily the most-used escrow service among eBay users. Be on your guard, especially when a buyer/seller proposes an escrow company you're not
familiar with. Carefully examine the site for the lack of a physical address, unprofessional design, or no seal from companies such as VeriSign or
TRUSTe. Scammers may also forge these seals, so contact the company that provided the seal to confirm the escrow Web site carries a genuine
seal of approval.
Also, be suspicious of generous buyers offering to pay your shipping costs or pay more for the item than normal (for example, offering more
money than your Buy It Now price). If you smell a fake, run, Forrest, run.
Beat back deadbeats. Falling prey to a bogus escrow service may be a more serious security risk, but simply dealing with a deadbeat bidder
(a winning bidder who doesn't pay for an item at the auction's close) is far more prevalent. Leaving scathing negative feedback might be satisfying,
but it won't get back the fees eBay charges. And selling fees skyrocket alongside an auction's price, meaning deadbeat bidders on expensive items
can deliver a hefty sock to your pocketbook.
Just as eBay provides safeguards for beleaguered buyers who never receive the goods they pay for, the company can also give relief to sellers
who pay selling fees but never receive payment from the buyer. eBay lays out a four-step procedure sellers can use to potentially recover lost
selling fees. If the seller completes the process to eBay's satisfaction, eBay will give him a Final Value Fee credit and a relist credit.
Filing an Unpaid Item dispute is the first step toward eBay reimbursing your fees. You can report an unpaid item up to 45 days after an
auction's close. If the buyer is no longer a registered eBay user at the time of the filing, or resides in a country you specified you would not ship to,
you can file a dispute and receive a Final Value Fee credit immediately. Otherwise, eBay gives buyers a seven-day grace period before sellers can
file a dispute.
Once you file the dispute, eBay will contact the buyer with an email and pop-up message if she signs into eBay within 14 days of the filing.
At this point, the buyer has the following three options to respond: I Want To Pay Now, I Already Paid, and Communicate With The Seller.
You can close the dispute after the buyer responds or if the buyer does not respond after seven days. eBay gives you the following three
options: We've Completed The Transaction And We're Both Satisfied, We've Agreed Not To Complete The Transaction, or I No longer Wish To
Communicate With Or Wait For The Buyer. If you completed the transaction, you will not receive a Final Value Fee credit. But if you and the
buyer agree not to proceed with the transaction, or you're finally fed up with the buyer, eBay will issue you a Final Value Fee credit and make your
item eligible for a relist credit.
Although you have 60 days to complete a dispute, if you fail to close the dispute, eBay will automatically close the dispute and will not give
you a Final Value Fee.
To begin the dispute, click Help on eBay's home page. Click Security Center under Related Links. Click Unpaid Item and Report Problem.
Enter the item number in the appropriate field and click Continue, then eBay will guide you through setting up your dispute.
On Your Side
Cheaters, thieves, and fraudsters will probably be around eBay as long there's a chance for them to ply their craft. With eBay's services, you
have several defenses to stop the bad guys before they can do too much damage.
In addition to eBay, Uncle Sam takes fraud and identity theft seriously. Don't be afraid to use the contact information in the "Worst-Case
Scenario Survival Guide" sidebar to bring the feds into the mix. The world can be a scary place. Buying and selling on eBay shouldn't be.
Phishing: Don't Be Hooked
Phishing (short for password harvesting fishing) scams are among the most prevalent scams lurking in the vast Internet. While phishing
doesn't involve buying or selling on eBay per se, scammers will frequently spoof eBay or PayPal. (Spoof means to duplicate the look of the Web
site of a reputable, frequently used company for purposes of illegally gathering sensitive personal information.)
There are a number of ways to spot a phishing scam. First, most phishing scammers have a similar modus operandi: The scammer will send
you an email (usually from a spoofed email address) posing as a legitimate company. The subject of the email will be time-sensitive; it may claim
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that your account will expire if you don't update your information or that their servers lost some of your information. The email will contain a link
to the scammer's spoofed Web site. To the casual eye, the site itself is often indistinguishable from the real Web site. But once you supply your
information to the spoofed Web site, the scammer can use it for any number of criminal activities.
Know that eBay will never instruct you to provide an account password, credit card, bank account, or other sensitive information via email. If
some asks you to send an email with this type of information, delete it immediately.
With a little cyber-sleuthing, you can uncover the tricks of the trade that scammers use with their spoofed Web sites. Learning to read URLs
(uniform resource locators, or Web addresses) will spot a lot of fakes. eBay and PayPal's home pages end in .com. The portion of the URL
immediately to the left usually reveals if a site is spoofed.
For example, consider two hypothetical Web sites: www.customerhelp.ebay.com and www.ebay.customerhelp.com. Because "ebay" is
located immediately to the left of ".com" in the first site, you know it is affiliated with www.ebay.com eBay's Web site. On the other hand,
"customerhelp" belongs to www.customerhelp.com. The "ebay" in this instance is intended to throw you off.
Next, look at the URL's beginning. Does it start with "http" or "https"? The "s" indicates the site is secure, and a padlock icon should appear
in the lower-right of your Web browser window. Never submit sensitive information to an "http" site, but be wary of "https" sites, too. Methods of
forging padlock icons are available, so don't rely on this method alone.
When in doubt, type it out. In our click-happy era of computing, we're apt to click any link that looks legitimate. Scammers can easily
disguise the text of a link to look legitimate. For example, a scammer can edit the link to www.ebay.customerhelp.com, the hypothetical scammer
site, to appear like www.ebay.com or any other legitimate site he's trying to imitate. But when you click the link, you'll go to the scammer's
The eBay Toolbar is another handy countermeasure you can add to your arsenal. The toolbar works in conjunction with your Web browser to
combat spoofed Web sites. Installing eBay Toolbar gives you access to the add-on's Account Guard feature, which shows you when you are on
eBay's or PayPal's legitimate sites and alerts you when it suspects you are visiting a phony site. You can also submit these sites to eBay, and eBay
will investigate the Web site. If eBay finds the site is a fraud, it will provide future protection to you and other eBay Toolbar users.
To download eBay Toolbar, open a Web browser and go to "http://pages.ebay.com/ebay_toolbar". Click Download eBay Toolbar Now. Click
Run in the dialog box and follow the remaining instructions to install the eBay Toolbar.
If you're ever in doubt of a suspicious link asking you to update your information, don't click the link. Instead, contact eBay through its Web
site. On eBay's home page, click the Help tab at the top of the page. Click Contact Us and click Report Fake eBay Emails (Spoofs) And
Unauthorized Account Activity. Click the next two categories as they pertain to your situation. You can also forward the suspicious email to
Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide
Having your identity stolen can be an unnerving experience. The consequences of identity theft can range from losing access to your bank
account(s), to the scammer purchasing any number of goods, potentially at your expense.
Aside from taking regular measures such as alerting your banks and credit card companies, you should immediately change your password. In
the event a scammer hijacks your account and changes your password before you're able to change it, use the Contact Us link to send eBay an
email. The sooner you contact eBay, the less chance a scammer has to use your account to place fraudulent bids with your account. It is also a
good idea to change your passwords for your other online accounts.
You should also file a report with your local police. Obtain a copy if your credit card company or bank requires proof of the incident. Once
you report the identity theft to your local police, you should also notify the FTC (Federal Trade Commission; http://www.ftc.gov"), which
manages a database of identity theft incidents, and the three credit bureaus.
Creating a Listing
To list your item on eBay, you need to provide information about your item. Information in a typical listing includes a title, description, price,
payment method, shipping costs, and photo. eBay‘s Sell Your Item form guides you through the steps to create and submit an item listing.
To create a listing:
Go to eBay‘s Sell Your Item form by clicking the Sell button at the top of any eBay page.
Complete the Sell Your Item form.
You will be asked to:
Select a category –-To find an appropriate category for your item, enter keywords into the search box labeled "What are you selling?"
and then click the Sell It button.
Write a good title and description – Buyers usually find listings based on their titles, so be sure to write a good one for your listing.
Creating descriptions that are clear, complete, and descriptive will help you sell your item.
Enter item specifics – Providing additional item details within a category helps buyers find your item. Not all categories have item
Upload pictures –- Including good quality, evenly lit photos of your item helps sell your item. You can add and enhance pictures using
eBay Picture Services.
Select a listing format –- Understanding the different types of auction and fixed price formats and their pricing options helps you become
an efficient seller.
Select a price – This includes deciding on a starting price and pricing options such as reserve price and Buy It Now to help you get the
price you want for your item.
Select a listing duration –- You can have your listing last from 1 to 10 days. Most auction listings last 7 days.
Provide payment information –- Choose the payment methods you‘ll accept from buyers. eBay recommends offering PayPal to accept
credit card or checking account payment.
Provide shipping information –- Specify your ship-to locations as well as the shipping services you offer. You can charge a flat shipping
cost or have shipping costs automatically calculated.
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Specify your return policy –- Buyers are more comfortable shopping from sellers who offer return policies.
Select listing upgrades –- Listing upgrades such as bold, highlight and border can help you promote your item.
Tip: You are required to provide only the title, description, and price. However, providing pictures, details about
payment options, shipping, and your return policy will reduce the time you spend answering questions from
Review your listing. You will see a preview of your listing page. If you see something that needs to be changed, click the "Edit listing"
(Optional) To create a template from the listing, select the "Save this listing as a template" check box.
Click the List Item for Sale button to list your item on eBay.
Selling on eBay
Register to Sell on eBay
Registration is free and only takes a few minutes.
To begin selling on eBay, you need to register and then create a sellers
account. You will be asked to provide credit or debit card information and your
checking account details. Rest assured your information is kept private on our
If you don't have a credit card or would rather not provide this information,
you can still sell by becoming ID Verified.
To register, click on the Sell tab at the top of any eBay page.
There are three types of fees charged when selling on eBay:
Insertion Fee - A non-refundable fee will be charged to your account when you list your item on eBay. This generally ranges between
$0.30 and $3.30.
Additional Option Fee - only charged if you choose optional seller features such as: Buy It Now, Gallery, Featured Item, etc.
Final Value Fee - based upon the final sale price of your item and only applicable if the listing closes successfully - that is, if there is a
winning bidder declared. It is generally a small percentage of the final value of the item
Visit eBay's Selling Fees page for a more detailed explanation of how these fees work You can use your eBay Anything Points to pay your
eBay seller fees.
Did You Know...
You can use you eBay Anything Points to pay your eBay Seller fees.
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How to Take Photos
The saying that 'a picture is worth a thousand words' really applies to
eBay listings. No matter how well you describe your item, most buyers want
to see a picture before they purchase . So before you sit down at the computer
to list your item, the first step should be to take great photos and then transfer
them onto your computer. With eBay Picture Services it's easy to add photos
during the listing process.
A. Item Page with Image
B. Item Page without Image
There are 3 ways to capture photos and save them 'digitally' on to your
A digital camera is just like a regular camera, except that it does not use
film. Instead, images are stored digitally in its memory. Once you take a
picture, you can connect your camera to your computer and save the photo to
your computer in a .gif or .jpg format. Remember to make note of where you
saved the file. Digital cameras are the easiest way to capture and transfer
digital photos to your camera
Regular camera with Flatbed Scanner
Take a picture with your regular camera, get the film developed, and use
a scanner to convert the photograph to a digital image. The scanner will then
ask you to choose a location and file name to save the image. If the item you
are selling is small and flat (like baseball cards or stamps), you can just put
them directly on the scanner. Remember that you must save the photograph in
either a .gif or .jpg format in order to use it on eBay.
Regular camera and Digital Film Processor
There are a couple methods you can use to transfer images from regular
film to your computer.
You can ask your local digital film processor to scan copies of your photographs onto a computer disk (CD) to take home and transfer to
your computer, or...
You can ask your film processing service if they use Kodak PhotoNet, a service that can digitally post copies of your photographs to the
Kodak PhotoNet.com website. You can then copy these from the PhotoNet website to your computer to use whenever you like.
Did You Know…
Saving regular camera photos to a CD saves you the time of scanning the photos yourself, but
lacks the convenience and flexibility of a digital camera.
Each digital camera and scanner has its own procedure for transferring image files to a computer. Some use cables; others use removable
memory chips. Follow the instructions in your camera or scanner's manual.
Create a great photo
Use natural light whenever possible.
Use a plain background to make your item stand out, however don't use a white background as it tends to wash away colors and makes
too much of a contrast.
Consider taking a close-up of a section and multiple views (front, back, side, top) so potential buyers can see the actual condition of the
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A. Good picture
B. Bad Picture
Edit your Photo
Once your photo is on your computer hard drive, you can often improve
it with photo editing software, which may have come with your digital camera
or scanner. Better yet, use eBay Picture Services for basic editing. Each
digital camera and scanner has its own procedure for transferring image files
to a computer. Some use cables; others use removable memory chips. Follow
the instructions in your camera or scanner's manual.
Crop your photos to remove any unnecessary background.
Balance the contrast and brightness.
The Rotate or Flip command will turn your picture right side up (if necessary).
Resize your image files to approximately 330 pixels tall by 440 pixels wide.
Save your edited picture as a .gif or .jpg file.
Your photos are stored on eBay Picture Services only while your listing is running on eBay. It's a good idea to keep a photo on your computer
if you want to use it again in the future.
Sell Your Item Form
The easy to follow Sell Your Item form guides you through the steps to
a successful item listing. This is the place to enter all the important details
about your item, including price, payment methods, shipping costs, and
Important listing tips
Select a Category –
Doing some research before you list your item can help you choose the
most successful category for your item. Think creatively about your item. For
example, maybe the item you first thought belonged in Decorative Art is
better suited for Home Décor. Category selection is important because you
want your item to be listed where other similar items can be found.
Search for items on eBay that are similar to yours, and notice which
categories they are listed in. Try several different keyword searches
and see if you find particularly active categories.
Look at the page-view counters and numbers of bids on similar
items in different categories. Select categories where others are
having successful listings.
Reach more buyers by listing in two categories.
If you need help deciding which category fits your item - use the
'Find Suggested Category' feature.
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Write an Effective Title
Make the most of your title by carefully choosing keywords a buyer might use when doing a search on eBay. When searching on eBay, the
system looks within all item titles to find a match. This is why your selection of keywords is so important.
Use descriptive keywords, no punctuation. You can use up to 45 characters to describe your item, so make the most of them. For
example, if you were selling a sport coat, you would want to make sure to include the brand name, the size, color, fabric, if the item is
Avoid using words like 'rare', 'beautiful', 'unusual', or 'L@@K'. No one uses these words when they are searching on eBay. State exactly
what your item is, even if it repeats the Category name.
Browse similar items' closed listings to see which titles drew high prices in the past.
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eBay Picture Services is the quickest and
easiest way to add photos to your listings. It's
important to note that when saving photos to your
computer they must be in either a .gif or .jpg
To add photos with eBay Picture Services,
click in a box to select a picture (see Enhanced
service below) or click on the 'browse' button and
navigate to the folder on your computer
containing your photos. (see Basic service
below). A window will then open showing a
directory of your computer. Find the location in
which you saved the photo and select the one you
would like to add. I recommend using the
Enhanced version of eBay Picture Services
because it allows you to preview your photos, crop or rotate them, and is much faster than the Basic service. In order to use the Enhanced version,
you will be prompted to install software on your computer.
If you would like to add additional photos to your listing, just click another box or browse button again. The first picture is free, and each
additional picture is .15 cents.
If on the other hand you plan to use your own image hosting service, click on the 'Your Own Web Hosting' tab. Once you have
selected a photo hosting service, your photo image files can be added to your listing.
Did You Know...
Since digital photos are often large, eBay Picture Services will
automatically resize large photos to 300 pixels high by 400 pixels wide (3
x 4 inches on most monitors). Resizing the photo will make it download
faster for potential bidders. If photos take too long to download, buyers
could lose interest and move on to someone else's listing!
Touch Up Your Photos –
Although it is best to edit your image files using the software provided with your camera or scanner, you can also do some basic editing with
eBay Picture Services. This includes: cropping and rotating the photo in 90-degree increments.
Did You Know...
Your photos are stored on eBay's Picture Services only while your
listing is running on eBay. It's a good idea to keep your photo on your
computer if you want to use it again in the future.
Describe your Item
Use as much information as possible to write
a complete description of your item.
Include all item attributes. For example,
model number, year the item was made,
color, dimensions, and most importantly
the current condition of the item.
Don't be afraid to emphasize the positive
things about your item a little or even
include a story about the item; just make
sure that you are truthful.
Include your payment and shipping
information, and information about your
refund or return policy.
Use the HTML text editor to help format
Use a friendly and inviting tone to attract
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Choose How You’d Like To Sell Your
Before entering a starting price, you might
want to see what similar items sold for on eBay.
You can do this by searching Completed Items,
which can be accessed by clicking on Search at the
top of any eBay page, and then clicking the
Advanced Search tab.
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Select Payment methods –
Consider using PayPal when selecting the payment
methods that you will accept from winning bidders.
PayPal allows sellers to accept credit card or bank
account payments for eBay purchases, and is the safe
and easy way for buyers to purchase their items. If you
use PayPal, you will be paid immediately at the close of
the listing. In addition, PayPal protects sellers with the
Seller Protection Policy. By following specific
guidelines, you'll be protected from charge backs due to
Make sure to turn on the Immediate Payment
feature if you would like to receive payment
immediately with PayPal for your Buy It Now items.
With Immediate Payment the item listing remains open
until the buyer completes the payment process. Until
payment is complete, another eBay user may purchase
the item. To require Immediate Payment you need to provide shipping costs in your listing and have a PayPal Premier or Business account.
Provide Shipping Costs & Payment Instructions –
Providing this information ahead of time serves to reduce the number of emails back and forth between you and your buyers to arrange
payment and shipping, and speeds up the time it takes to finalize the sale.
You are more likely to receive payment quicker if you offer PayPal as your preferred payment option.
You are more likely to receive payment quicker if you offer PayPal as your preferred payment option.
Even if you use a 3rd party service to manage the payment of your auctions, you can still make it easier for your buyers by providing this
The Checkout process helps you facilitate the sale of your item. When your buyers click on the Pay Now button, they are told how much
to pay, including payment and shipping, and where to send payment. You in turn receive an email with the buyer's shipping address and
selected payment method.
If you do not want to use Checkout on your listings, simply go to My eBay and click on the Preferences tab. In the Seller Preferences
section click on the link 'Update my Payment Preferences'. From here you can turn off the Checkout feature. The Shipping Costs and
Payment Instructions you provided when setting up the listing will still appear in your item listing.
List Anything else Your Buyers Should Know
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Monitor Your Listings
The easiest way to keep track of all your eBay activity is with the My eBay page.
eBay members have a private My eBay page that keeps track of all their activity on
eBay. This page is particularly helpful if you have more than one item for sale or if you
are selling and bidding on several items.
A. Bidding/Watching -
This section displays all the items you are bidding on, won, lost, or are watching. Items in
green mean that you are currently the highest bidder, or have purchased using Buy It Now, while
items in red mean that someone has outbid you. The Watching section is a great way to keep a close
eye on items of interest so you don't miss out on any last minute bidding!
B. Selling –
My eBay is a great way to track all your selling activity on eBay. Items listed in green mean
there is a winning bidder, while items listed in red mean there currently is no winning bidder. From
here you can send invoices to your buyers, send payment reminders, leave feedback about your
buyers, and even re-list unsold items.
D. Accounts – (plfarrow 13431 )
The Accounts page gives you access to your
seller's account so you can make payments, get
information on fees and refunds, and make changes
to your personal information.
E. Feedback –
Regardless of whether you are a buyer or seller on eBay, its important that you leave feedback
about the other party of your completed transaction. A members' reputation is built on the basis of
this feedback. You can use My eBay to read recent feedback left about you and as a tool to leave
feedback for other members.
F. Preferences –
The preferences area makes it easy to customize your eBay experience. For example, from
this page you can change your user id, password, manage your personal information, and
set your My eBay preferences.
Did You Know...
When tracking last minute bids from My eBay, you'll need to refresh your screen by clicking
on the refresh button on the top of your browser window to view the most recent bidding
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Payments & Shipping
At the end of a successful listing, both you and your buyer will receive
an email notification. Depending on your payment instructions, the
information you receive in this email will include your buyer's shipping
address and payment method. Once you have confirmation of payment from
PayPal, receive the money order, or the check has cleared, you may ship the
Respond to Buyer Emails
Many new buyers are confused as to what to do after the sale. You can
help your buyers by emailing them an invoice and standing by for questions.
When communicating with your buyers its important to always be polite and
Once you receive payment from your buyer send an email to
acknowledge receipt of payment and
that you will be will be shipping the item. It's also a good idea to
leave feedback for your buyer at this point.
Just as building your reputation is important, so is it for the buyer. Make sure to leave feedback for your buyers after you receive payment. In
difficult situations, try and work things out first with your buyers before leaving negative feedback. Feedback is permanent and leaving negative
feedback may in turn result in negative feedback being left for you
Packing like a Pro
Nothing makes a better impression on your buyer than receiving their item in professional and secure packing. Double-box any fragile items.
Use clean and appropriate packing materials (Bubble-wrap, peanuts, etc.)
eBay buyers expect their items shipped immediately after payment has been received. Do not delay in shipping. If you must, make sure to
make your shipping schedule clear in your item description. If there is an unforeseen delay, email the buyer.
Did You Know...
When you choose PayPal as a payment method for your eBay item, you're providing your
buyers with a fast and secure way to pay on eBay. They can simply click the Pay Now button
on the item page, the end of auction email or the My eBay page. It's so simple, secure and
totally free for buyers.
eBay is committed to making your trading experience safe. In doing so,
we have adopted a number of policies and services that make it safe to sell on
These programs are in place to offer payment and financial protection,
issue resolution, buyer reputation tools, and seller education programs for safe
Learn more about your buyer's trading history by reviewing feedback left
for them by other community members. Build your reputation, and help
others build theirs by always leaving feedback for every transaction.
Accepting Payments with PayPal
It's easy to sell on eBay when you use PayPal to process your online
payments. PayPal lets you receive and send online payments using a credit
card or bank account. It's safe, fast, and easy. As a seller, you can also take
advantage of the PayPal Seller Protection Policy to protect yourself against
Non Paying Buyers
The number of Non Paying Buyers (NPB) is low, but if you trade long enough you may eventually encounter a NPB. Quite often a NPB is the
result of confusion with the auction process, forgetfulness and poor communication about shipping charges. To reduce the incidence of a NPB:
Use Checkout - this offers a consistent payment experience for eBay buyers so they know the transaction 'sequence of events'.
Offer PayPal - it's fast, easy and secure!
Consider using Immediate Payment for all your Buy It Now items. With Immediate Payment, buyers must pay immediately with PayPal.
Until the buyer receives payment confirmation from PayPal, the item listing remains open for other eBay users to buy.
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Include detailed shipping cost information in your listing.
Use the Non Paying Buyer Alert process.
If you have a NPB and want to get a refund for your listing fee follow these 5 steps. Should you have a NPB, take advantage of the 2nd
Chance Offer to make your item available to the next highest bidder at the price they bid.
It is rare that something will go wrong with a transaction, but if it does contact the seller to try and work things out. If that doesn't correct the
situation, consider using an online dispute resolution service, such as SquareTrade, to resolve the situation.
Protect Your Account
Some eBay members have received deceptive emails claiming to come from eBay. Fraudsters who send these emails hope that recipients will
reply or click on a link contained in the email and then provide personal and financial information. We refer to these emails as "Spoof Emails." We
encourage you to be cautious when responding to any email request for personal information. If you are ever asked to provide personal or financial
information to eBay, do not respond via the email. Instead, open a new browser, type www.ebay.com, sign-in, and go to My eBay to update or
review your information.
Learn more at the eBay University Learning Center.
You can find more information about buying safely by visiting the eBay Security Center. Register Now! to start selling on eBay.
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How To Pay For Items On eBay
It’s Time To Pony Up
If you've spent much time on eBay, you've known the thrill of the hunt. The night is quiet; the
auction closing fast. You sit tensely in shadows, willing unseen rivals to give themselves away. The
blue glint of flat-screen mingles with the steely gleam of consumptive ardor in your glittering eyes.
You catch your breath with anticipation, hold your index finger poised for action over the left mouse
button—not yet, wait until the winds are just right—and then pounce! And the prize is yours; other
bidders are forced to return to the hunt unsatisfied.
But the hunter's high ebbs quicker than a broadband download, and grim reality sets in as you
notice the price you paid for victory. Or rather, the price you agreed to pay; for now, the money's still
in your wallet. And so, a more prosaic question now confronts you: How to compensate the buyer for
your new treasure? In this article, we'll suggest a few ideas for doing this, from the elegant to the
foolish and everything in between. First up, of course, is PayPal.
PayPal. For the uninitiated, PayPal is an Internet service with which you can register your bank account or credit cards for easy
access during all kinds of online transactions. A simple click on the right icon takes you to your PayPal account, where you log in and
authorize payment. Because the seller never sees any personal information about a PayPal buyer, apart from an email address, there is
little risk of fraud. These days, even perfectly secure online retailers (such as Amazon.com) offer PayPal services because logging into
PayPal is easier than typing in credit card information by hand. The only catch: the seller must have a PayPal account, too (not so with
BidPay; see below). PayPal gets a big thumbs-up from eBay, not surprisingly, as eBay owns the service.
Personal checks, cashier's checks, and money orders. These low-tech alternatives are fairly safe (no one sees your bank
account or credit card information), though you will forgo some additional protections. For one, there's no credit card company to file a
claim with if the seller takes the money and runs. A higher-tech analogue is BidPay.com, which will cut a money order for you (or
deposit the money in registered sellers' bank accounts); this eBay-sanctioned service works much like PayPal but does not require the
recipient to have an account. Checks and money orders are traceable (a positive thing if you're on this side of the law) and can usually
be cancelled any time, up to their deposit in a seller's account, if the deal turns sour. eBay's Standard Purchase Protection Program
covers transactions by check or money order, which will reimburse bamboozled buyers for up to $200 in lost payments, minus a $25
Credit card. Some professional sellers (those who run eBay Stores, for example) will accept credit card payments directly.
Generally, a seller who does a large volume of business with a platinum feedback rating is trustworthy, and eBay sanctions direct
payments via credit card to these types of sellers. As with any purchases over the Internet, you should be sure that the padlock icon
appears in the lower-right corner of your Web site whenever you're at a page asking for your personal information. Should you find
yourself defrauded, the Fair Credit Billing Act limits your personal liability to $50 if you discover and report erroneous charges within
60 days. Lucky for you, the generosity of most major credit card vendors exceeds even the federal government's. You pay not a dime
when your Discover, Amex, MasterCard, or Visa gets ripped off (if you report it within 60 days). Most credit cards companies also run
fraud-detecting software that alerts customer service when unusual charges appear on your card. Given these safeguards, naked credit
card transactions are a reasonable option if you make a token effort to review your statement every month. On deals gone bad, eBay
will permit you to invoke Purchase Protection only if you can show proof that the credit card company has denied your claim to
recover the funds.
Debit or check card. A debit card packages the convenience of a credit card transaction with an ingenious built-in impulse-
control mechanism—a spending limit the exact size of your bank account. Paying by debit or check card (through PayPal or directly to
the seller) works just like using a credit card. You will, however, sacrifice some of the fraud protection you get with a credit card. The
Electronic Funds Transfer Act limits the damage to $50 if you catch the theft within two days and $500 if you report it within 60 days;
you're busted completely after that (and you won't even earn any SkyMiles.)
Online bill paying. Many banks now offer free online bill paying, and setting up
new recipients is a fairly painless job. This option is enticing particularly if you anticipate
a number of future business dealings with the same seller. When you point-and-click a
payment online, your bank will either deposit the funds directly in the seller's account or
cut the seller a check; so this payment method is roughly equivalent in security level to
either a bank-to-bank wire transfer or a personal/cashier's check (see above).
Escrow. You probably don't want to bother with escrow for that unwrapped
"Sopranos" DVD, but you'll need it if you're an eBay Motors customer. An escrow service
holds the buyer's payment in safekeeping until the buyer has received and approved the
shipment (and buyer and seller have met any other conditions agreed to ahead of time),
and then transfers that money to the seller, less a small fee. OK, a big fee (25% or so) for
purchases of $100 or less; much more reasonable fees, in the 1% to 7% range, for
transactions of $1,000 or more. eBay recommends that you only go through its preferred If you're buying an
vendor, Escrow.com, and that you type the address of the site you want to visit yourself, expensive item purchased
because a hyperlink in an unscrupulous seller's email could dump you instead at a spoofed
(imitated) Web site.
through eBay, such as a
Bank-to-bank wire transfers. Wire transfers are quick like a bunny, so you can ship car, you should pay for it
that microwave oven to your door as fast as the FedEx 757 flies. Your bank will hit you through Escrow.com.
with a fee, however, usually $10 to $20 (for domestic wires). To receive funds, a seller
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will have to provide you with a bank account and routing number. Many sellers are averse to this transaction because of the risk it
exposes them to on their end. If you are at all suspicious of a seller, you can request his contact information (if you are involved in a
transaction with him) and verify this against the information on the bank account.
Instant cash wire transfers. Western Union is great for keeping the kids financially solvent at college, but wire transfers are a bit
of a dicey way to do business with someone you don't know. Because companies such as Western Union or Moneygram don't require a
bank account on the recipient's end (just an ID), they are a racketeer's preferred delivery system. eBay warns buyers to regard very
skeptically any seller who requires payment by wire transfer, and does not extend the Purchase Protection option buyers who use this
option. The major advantage here is speed. You can get the money there within 24 hours. And, of course, instant cash wire transfer is
safer than an envelope stuffed with cash.
An envelope stuffed with cash. The last resort for desperados and vagabonds, mailing cash is also great way to avoid a paper trail
if you're trafficking in bogus Chinese Louis Vuitton. If you're doing legitimate business, on the other hand, there's no reason to resort to
this. eBay admonishes buyers never to send cash and does not offer Purchase Protection to hotheads who ignore the warnings.
You can find more information on most of these payment options at pages.ebay.com/help
/confidence/isgw-fraud-sending-payments.html. Whichever way you choose to pay, be sure that you communicate your intentions with
the seller ahead of time. Clear communication will grease the wheels. And never pay a seller you're at all suspicious about; just move
on and tattletale to eBay if the situation calls for it. Remember: The hangover of paying inevitably follows the giddy intoxication of
spending. We can't sell you a miracle cure, but maybe with this information we've managed to ease the headache a little bit.
Rev Up Your eBay Reputation
How To Endear Yourself To Fellow eBayers
Four centuries ago, Shakespeare wrote that without ―spotless reputation . . . men are but gilded loam or painted clay.‖ If he were writing
today, he might have replaced those last five words with one: broke.
To an eBay seller hawking merchandise on the Internet, a spotless reputation is critical to financial success. The online marketplace is home
to thousands of virtual retailers selling identical items at nearly identical prices, and customers prefer to deal with sellers who have long
established records of delivering quality items. First-time and inexperienced sellers who hope to compete against eBay stalwarts should take
immediate steps toward building a credible reputation. The best place to start is the About Me page.
All About Me
The About Me page is part of your eBay member profile. The page lets you share personal information about yourself with potential
customers. To access the About Me page, sign into My eBay and click the Personal Information link listed in the My eBay Views box on the left
side of the page. The resulting My eBay Account: Personal Information page outlines key account information, including your username,
password, password hint, email address, and credit card numbers. Locate the About Me Page listing, which you'll find under the Personal
Information heading, and click its corresponding Change link. The first time you access this link, you will be given the opportunity to create an
About Me page. Click the Create Your Page button to begin.
The resulting Choose Page Creation Option page presents two options for building an About Me page: You can use an automated design
template provided by eBay or build a customized page out of raw HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). The automated option provides an
attractive, albeit unoriginal, template through which you can share personal information with potential customers. The code-it-yourself option, on
the other hand, offers an almost endless number of creative possibilities but demands a degree of technical competence and design prowess that the
average eBay seller may not have. Unless you have a particular reason for wanting to code the page yourself, we recommend that you take
advantage of the automated option by selecting Use Our Easy Step-By-Step Process and clicking Continue. See the ―HTML & <eBay Tags>―
sidebar for more information about coding your page in HTML.
The resulting Enter Page Content page is divided into five sections: the page title, the first and second paragraphs, a picture, your eBay
activity, and links to related sites. It's important that you consider how the content in these five areas will work together to describe your product
offerings. Prospective customers don't care whether your About Me page contains flashing text, animated graphics, background music, Java
applets, or any other type of whiz-bang Web technology. They simply want to know why they can trust you to deliver the items that you advertise.
It's your duty to orient the content of your About Me page so that it answers the most common questions potential customers will have about
buying merchandise from you.
First recognition, then reputation. You can introduce yourself to potential customers by crafting an About Me page that describes your
qualifications as an eBay seller.
Page title. The page title should say something specific about you in your role as an eBay seller. Tell your prospective customers exactly
who they're dealing with by using your full name or company name as the page title.
The first and second paragraphs. The goal when composing your first and second paragraphs is to describe the nature of your business
and the reasons why potential customers should buy from you. Focus on providing information that tells a potential customer what type
of person you are, your motivations for being an eBay seller, and your credentials as a source of quality merchandise. You could explain
how and why you became interested in the items you sell, what you have done to expand your expertise about these items, and how you
select or obtain the items that you sell. Describe your online trading history if you have one. If your online sales are an extension of an
offline enterprise, you may include details about your brick-and-mortar business. But per eBay regulations, you cannot promote any part
of your business that involves off-eBay sales.
eBay supplies several basic text formatting options for use in constructing your paragraphs. You can choose one of four common fonts
(Arial, Courier, Times, or Verdana) from the Font Name field; one of seven font sizes (8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, and 36) from the Size field;
and one of five colors (black, blue, red, green, and brown) from the Color field (the default selection is black 10-point Arial font). You
also have the option of applying bold-face, italics, or underline effects to the text; aligning the text to the left margin, right margin, or
center; inserting numbered or standard bullets; and indenting paragraphs. eBay lets you code the entire paragraph in HTML if you prefer
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to exercise even more control over the appearance of your paragraphs. Just click the Enter Your Own HTML tab to access the HTML
For best results, show restraint when implementing the formatting options and text effects. It may seem like fun to incorporate multiple
colors, fonts, and font sizes in your paragraphs, but doing so may make the text difficult to read and give an impression of amateurism.
We also suggest limiting each paragraph to several hundred words. Keep your content brief and to the point.
A picture. eBay lets you include a picture as part of your page. The picture can be of anything: a pile of merchandise, the computer
where you take orders, your favorite package carrier. We suggest, however, that you pick a picture of yourself instead. Doing so helps
potential customers get to know you. It also reinforces the fact that they are dealing with a real person and not an online form. Identify
yourself by typing your name and job title, if relevant, in the Label Your Picture field.
You can type the location of the picture in the Link To Your Picture field. Note that the picture must have an online address (for
example, www.domain.com/picture.jpg), which means it must be located on a Web server. If you haven't done so already, upload the
picture to your Web server at this time (see www.smartcomputing.com/postphoto for more information about posting a picture online).
We recommend double-checking the address of the picture to verify that you entered it correctly. Simply copy the address in the Link To
Your Picture field (right-click it and select Copy from the resulting pop-up menu) and paste it in the browser's Address field (right-click
the Address field, select Paste, and press ENTER when the address appears). The desired picture should appear in the browser window.
If it doesn't, the address is incorrect. Click the Back button to return to the Enter Page Content page and fix the address in the Link To
Your Picture field. Test it again before continuing.
Your eBay activity. More than anything else, potential customers really want to know two things: what you're selling and what other
people have to say about how well you do it. The eBay Activity area of the About Me page is your chance to give them an answer. Start
by opening the Show Your Current Listings drop-down menu and specifying whether you want to share information about 10, 25, 50,
100, or 200 of your current listings. You can provide a descriptive label for your listings in the adjacent Label Your Listings field.
After configuring the About Me page to show your current listings, the next step is to specify how you want to share your eBay feedback
with potential customers. The Show Feedback You've Received field gives you the chance to share the 10, 25, 50, or 100 most recent
comments you've received. You also have the option of choosing to show no comments, but we strongly discourage you from selecting
this option. If you do not share feedback on the About Me page, potential customers will assume your previous customers were
Links. Don't forget to include links to relevant Web sites on your About Me page. You should include links to your personal or business
Web site if the site includes additional information that bolsters your credibility as an eBay seller. You also should consider adding links
to sites that complement your business. If you deal in baseball cards, for instance, you may want to include links to appraisers who
specialize in sports memorabilia.
The automated About Me page builder lets you list links to three sites, but you may include more if you choose to craft your page in HTML.
Either way, you cannot include links to sites that compete with eBay or promote off-eBay sales. Nor can you link to sites that promote the sale of
items prohibited on eBay, such as alcoholic beverages or drugs. After entering the links, check each address to ensure that you entered it correctly.
Preview, Post & Update
When you have completed all five sections of the Enter Page Content page, click the Continue button to access the Preview And Submit page.
Review the three layout options presented to you and choose one. Wait a few seconds for the page to update and then scroll to the bottom of the
Preview And Submit page to preview your About Me page. Repeat, if desired, to preview the other layout options. If you are unsatisfied with the
previews, click the Back button to access the Enter Page Content page again and make changes. When you finally preview a layout option you
like, click the Submit button.
The resulting page will confirm that your About Me page has been created and present the Web address at which the page can be viewed.
You can share this address, which typically assumes the form members.ebay.com/aboutme/< Your _eBay_user_name>, with anyone who may be a
potential customer. Access the page as soon as it is created to see how it looks in your browser window.
Because eBay automatically updates the About Me page with your latest listings and feedback comments (if you opted to display them), it
should take little effort to maintain the page. All you have to do is access the My eBay Account: Personal Information page, locate the About Me
Page listing under the Personal Information heading, and click the corresponding Change link. Click the Edit Your Page button on the resulting
page and then employ the familiar step-by-step design template to edit your content.
Not Just About Me
Building a reputation as a dependable eBay seller takes more than a well-crafted About Me page, however. As mentioned earlier, it's far more
important that you receive favorable comments from your customers. An About Me page is just one of the many resources you should employ to
establish yourself as a reputable seller and build the good customer relations that result in positive feedback. Other steps you should take include:
eBay provides two options for building an About Me page: write it in raw HTML code or fill in the blanks of an automated template. We
suggest the latter. Choose the Use Our Easy Step-By-Step Process option to begin.
Buy, buy, buy.
Here's the dilemma: You need lots of feedback to establish a good reputation, but you can't establish a good reputation until you've received
lots of feedback. First-time eBay sellers can break this apparent catch-22 by participating in eBay auctions as buyers. You don't have to spend a lot
of money. Bid a few bucks on vinyl LPs, books, or Christmas decorations. Just make sure you win the bid on several items and that you handle
your side of the deal responsibly by paying for the items promptly. And when a transaction is complete, ask the seller to give you feedback. You'll
soon have an assortment of favorable comments and some real-world eBay auction experience to go along with your bargains.
Be thorough in describing your items for sale. Because potential buyers cannot physically examine the items they're bidding on, it's
imperative that you provide a thorough and accurate description for them. Such a description will include the full name of the item, including
manufacturer and model number (if available); its size and weight; its origin, including an explanation of how you obtained it; and an honest
assessment of its condition. Explain whether the item is new or used, whether it has ever been out of the box, and the condition of its original
packaging (if included). Refer potential buyers to eBay-recommended authentication and grading services that can verify your claims (see the
―Seek Out The Specialist‖ article on page 137 for more information). Be upfront and very specific about any damage to the item.
Do not include irrelevant information that may be misleading in a keyword search. Keyword spamming, as it's called, is prohibited by eBay.
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Be thorough in explaining your return policy and shipping details. You can assuage a wary buyer and improve your chances of selling an item
by detailing your return policy. Specify whether you allow returns, the length of the return period, and whether the buyer is responsible for paying
for return shipping. While you're at it, tell your potential customers how you package the merchandise, which carrier will ship the merchandise,
and the cost of shipping and handling (if the buyer is responsible for shipping charges). On larger transactions, we recommend using only those
carriers that offer online tracking capabilities.
Follow eBay rules and procedures. Anyone who wants to build a good reputation must demonstrate a respect for eBay's rules and regulations.
That's just as true online as it is off. Familiarize yourself with the eBay Rules & Policies page at pages.ebay.com/securitycenter/rules_policies.html
and read ―Follow The Rules For Sales Success‖ on page 89 to learn the basic laws governing all eBay members and their transactions.
Likewise, you should insist on using eBay-recommended services, such as Escrow.com (see ―The Escrow Advantage‖ article on page 77 for
more information) and PayPal buyer protection, when necessary instead of third-party service providers. You also should take advantage of eBay's
advanced seller services, such as ID Verify (see ―Do You Know Who I Am?‖ on page 136 for more information) and the PowerSellers designation
(see ―eBay's Elite‖ on page 142 for more information), to reinforce your credibility as a seller.
Insist all sales be handled through the eBay platform. One of the most important eBay rules is that you must handle all auction transactions
through the eBay platform. If a potential buyer contacts you to arrange an off-eBay sale in order to avoid the transaction fee, you should notify
eBay immediately. And if you attempt to initiate an off-eBay sale yourself, know that the potential buyer is likely to report your transgression to
eBay. You won't have to worry about your reputation anymore if that happens because your account will be terminated.
Ask & You Shall Receive
Honest and professional dealings with your customers should result in a positive transactional experience for all parties involved. The only
thing left to do is ask your happy customers to provide feedback for you. It doesn't matter how you ask—you can make your request by enclosing a
reminder in the product packaging, for instance, or by sending a follow-up email—only that you do. And in return, you should provide feedback
on all of your buyers. One good turn deserves another. It's just another part of building a good reputation.
The 5 Most Important Ebay Seller "Tricks Of The Trade"
In the 10 years we‘ve been on eBay we‘ve worked very hard to become Gold Power Sellers. We receive many compliments on our auctions
… which we still do by hand, without the benefit of professional web designers. We wanted to share some of what we have learned along the way
(some of it learned the hard way, too!) with the rest of the eBay community … to help you take your eBay selling to the next level. Whether you
are an eBay novice or a seller who wants to take his or her eBay business up a notch, it is important to know the five most important eBay auction
tricks of the trade. eBay is in the process of changing their long held policies and this has impacted the importance of some of these five but these
five basics are still the most important basics to having a good eBay business ... or a good online business in general. So, regardless of whether or
not some of the eBay's policies change -- these basics remain the same --
Take good photos and post as many as possible in your auction.
Start by getting a decent digital camera. There are some really good digital cameras on the market that are very affordable and will take
stable, blur free, well focused shots … that don‘t need a camera expert to operate. Buy a couple of clip on flood lights from the hardware store so
you can light your subject decently. Take lots of photos from different angles and get close ups. With digital cameras, it doesn‘t cost anything to
take more photos, so fire away!
Once you take your photos and load them onto your computer, take a minute to do a bit of photo editing. Photo editing is as important, if not
more, than the actual photograph itself. You don‘t need expensive software to do this; you probably have photo editing software that came with
your computer or with your camera (if a CD came with your camera, there‘s probably photo editing software on it). Start the editing process by
cropping your photo to get any unnecessary things out of the image area. Then try ―color balancing‖ your photos – often digital photos will end up
very brown or dark, depending on the type and amount of light on the subject. If you color balance your photo, you‘ll return its colors to their
natural state and enhance the photo‘s beauty. Your photo editing software probably has a one-click setting that will correct anything wrong with
the original shot with a single mouse click.
After you shoot your photos and then clean them up on your computer, you should try to add as many photos as you can to your auction. Try
to find an image hosting service that will host an unlimited number of photos … better yet, try getting a free hosting service. Post as many in your
auction as you can afford. We often put more than a dozen photos into our auctions including close ups of many features of the item we are selling
(we use an auction service company that allows unlimited photo hosting). Always remember that eBay shoppers are actually buying something
―sight unseen‖ so the photos you take are crucial to their decision to buy your item. Note that if you are selling DVDs, Books or electronics …
items that are already known to the marketplace … and you sell them new-in-box, your photos will be less important since people already know
what your item looks like. However, it‘s still important to show a photo of what you are actually selling … not just a photo you downloaded off
the manufacturer‘s website. You are providing tangible proof that your item is in good shape and that it is what you say it is.
Write good auction copy.
Seems like a DUH!, doesn‘t it? However, you‘d be surprised at the auctions we see with little or no copy that explains what‘s for sale and its
features. Start by telling buyers as much as you know about your item including where you got it (unless it is a new-in-box item that you got from
a wholesaler or drop shipper). People really want to know where things come from and as much history as exists on something. We sell antiques
and collectibles and nearly always tell people where we got our items. If you bought it at the estate sale of the nutty old lady in your neighborhood,
tell eBay buyers that in your auction copy. That makes the item more interesting.
Then do some research on your item. Please don‘t write ―I don‘t know what this is, but it‘s cool‖. We‘ve seen that line in auctions all too
often! Your item will seldom get any bids if you can‘t figure out what it is, how old it is, who made it, etc. There are often clues on a piece as to
who made it – a maker‘s mark, a signature, a label, a number. These things can be ―google‘d‖ which will lead you into the fascinating world of
researching collectibles and antiques. For example, there are numerous good online china matching services where you can look up pattern names
(if you are selling china or silver it will really help you to know the pattern name and the maker). There are other websites which will give you
photos of hundreds of pieces of antique furniture and the names of their styles so you can tell the difference between Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Just spending even a few minutes poking around the internet can reveal an enormous amount of vital information on the piece you‘re selling.
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Make sure you give dimensions and a report of the condition of the item. If it‘s new, tell us … especially if it‘s in the original package. If it‘s
not new, then tell us about any signs of wear on your item. If it has damage, state the damage clearly – you‘d be surprised at what you can sell
even if it has damage. There are many eBayers who are in the market for a bargain or are experts in restoring just the type of damaged piece you
might be selling. Price damaged pieces accordingly. Don‘t let someone find out about the damage for the first time when they receive it. That‘s a
costly mistake. If the item is new-in-box, make sure to tell people as much as you know about how the item functions. If you‘re selling new
electronics, try to go to the website of the maker and get the full specs of the item and put them into your auction.
Finally, make sure you type your auction neatly. Please don‘t type it in all capital letters or in one long, run-on sentence. That makes it
impossible to read and won‘t encourage bidding. Above all, please try to make it typo free. Proof reading is really important. It also will help your
auctions to learn a little "html" coding so you can make them easier to read (html is computer-read coding that works in the background to enable
your text to have paragraphs, bulleted lists, bold face type, colors, etc.). You really only need to know the html coding for two things: 1) creating a
new paragraph and 2) making bold type fonts. There are dozens of websites you can visit that will show you the basic of html coding – just type
‗html‘ in a search engine and you‘ll find them. If you choose to get fancy with html you can learn how to introduce color, add links, etc.
Tell the eBay community a little about yourself.
Create an ―About Me‖ page if you don't already have one. Credibility is the key to successful selling on eBay – that‘s the entire purpose of
the feedback system. If you haven‘t established a large feedback record yet, telling us who you are really helps. Even if you only tell us that you
are a hobbyist who is selling off her old clothes or her maiden aunt‘s possessions … it gives you credibility. It is important that your potential
buyers know who is behind the eBay ID and that you‘re a real person, who is going to do an honest transaction and not abscond with the buyer‘s
money! It‘s very easy to set up an About Me page and your eBay auctions will automatically link to it (that‘s the ―ME‖ icon you see next to so
many eBay ID‘s). You don‘t have to give any personal information, just the facts that are relevant to your eBay sales … like how long you‘ve been
on eBay, what types of things you sell, how you like to do business, etc.
State your policies ... clearly and nicely.
It‘s important that people know what you will and won‘t do and it‘s just as important to keep this buyer-friendly. We‘ve seen so many
auctions that literally start with ―These are OUR RULES and if you WON'T ABIDE BY OUR RULES, DON'T BID!" Would you bid on
anything sold by someone who wrote that?! Sellers who are unpleasant, inflexible and unwilling to work with the customer, limit their bids.
Your shipping policies and the shipping price are the most important things you need to be specific about. For example, will you combine
shipping for multiple item buyers? (You should do everything you can to encourage multiple purchases). Shipping is a great concern to all eBay
shoppers since the price of it is going up so dramatically, so clear shipping policies are important. If you only ship once a week because eBay is
your ―second job‖ and Saturday‘s the only day you can ship, state that in your auction so there‘s no expectation of the purchase arriving
eBay will soon require sellers to always list their shipping price. You don‘t have to include the shipping calculator if you aren‘t comfortable
with it…. just give a price. Don‘t let your buyer be surprised if something is heavier than it looks in a photo and will be costly to ship. Buyers can
now rate sellers on their shipping speed and shipping price so be certain your price is fair ... and, if you are shipping something large so shipping
will be costly, be certain your buyer understands WHY the item will be so costly to ship. Many buyers are used to paying the reduced shipping
charged on the larger online merchants -- those dot-com merchants (like QVC, Macy's, Target, etc.) get deep discounts from shippers so the prices
they will charge for shipping . Many sellers are trying "free shipping" on for size. There are really only a limited number of sellers that can
afford free shipping (and they generally have the shipping built into their item price) -- many things are simply to large and heavy to build shipping
into the cost of the item. The clearer you make your shipping price, the better it will be perceived by your customer. We sell a lot of large pieces
of furniture that are shipped by truck which costs $$ hundreds -- buyers don't hesitate to pay this cost, once they understand the need for crating
and truck shipment.
Have a concise, buyer friendly refund policy and state it clearly – this shows you are willing to rectify any mistakes you may have made (we
are all human and most eBayers are very patient with errors, as long as you‘re willing to correct them). eBay now requires all sellers to state their
refund policy and it is in the main auction template. However, it's more user friendly for you to write out your policies on refunds and/or
exchanges within your own listing copy.
Take ALL forms of payment.
Accept checks – you can hold the item until the check clears. Bouncing checks are rarer than you think. Accept PayPal. It‘s easy to sign up
for PayPal and the small commission they charge is worth it. Most Power Sellers will tell you that over 75% of their business is transacted with
PayPal payments. There are many people who aren‘t comfortable with PayPal but your eBay business will most likely be limited unless you accept
PayPal payments. Any downside to PayPal (we‘ve all read and heard those scary PayPal stories too) is more than compensated for by an increase
both in bids and cash flow. Please note that eBay will also be changing the PayPal requirements soon so that PayPal will likely be a required
option by sellers. Furthermore, PayPal now has new advantages to sellers that ensure you won't lose money because of a dishonest buyer.
We hope you‘ve found these five eBay seller "tricks of the trade" to be informative. While there are many more, these are the five we
consider to be the most important …. so they‘re strictly our opinion and you may have others you‘ve found vital to your eBay transactions. With
eBay changing the rules of the game lately, what's important to sellers is changing ... but the five basics, we think, haven't changed much ... just
taken on different characteristics and perhaps a new order of importance. We cannot tell you anything about how to improve your "DSRs" or
figure out eBay's new "best match" algorithm -- because we haven't figured that out yet either! So, for now, we're sticking to the basics and we've
found they still work.
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Top 10 More Keys to Selling Successfully on eBay
As a successful Power Seller on eBay I often get turned to for advice. Since I registered on eBay in 2000, I've ran thousands of profitable
auctions which I follow these guidelines. Most importantly always try to be fair with other users who deal with you and never be intimidated by
any competition. eBay is big enough for us all, and currently there is 1 seller registered to 78 buyers.
1) Low starting Price
Before you list your auction, ask yourself what's the lowest amount you'd be prepared to accept for your item. A low starting price will attract
more bids and at a quicker pace - usually within the first day of the listings. Research shows that a .99c starting price will get you bidders within a
few hours. Many vehicles and high value items are sold with a low starting price especially by established Power Sellers - because unless it's an
extremely poor week the item will normally end up with hundreds of bids and at a cost that's acceptable to the seller.
Additionally users are more likely to view auctions which already have a successful bid as it generates interest in your item. It's like if you see
a market stall with hundreds of people standing around it - your curiosity would tell you to stop and see what's generating interest. Use curiosity to
2) No Reserve
Many sellers still place reserve prices on their item. A reserve price is one which unless it is met by your sellers you are not obliged to sell the
item. An example would be if you have an reserve of $10, and your item sells for $9.00 you do not have to complete the sale & release the item.
Reserve items, although very occasionally may be necessary in the case of extremely high value items or businesses for sale are off putting to
bidders. Why would you bid on an item with a reserve price on, unless you already knew were aware of what the reserve was. Personally I'd look
for alternative items without a reserve price.
eBay has already removed the Reserve Price option from some of it's site in a move that is largely welcome by the majority of users. It could
be a sign that this policy change will be extended to all of it's sites.
An Image is worth a thousand words. Take photos of your item to clearly show the condition of it, and any damage or unusual aspects of it.
eBay allows you to include one photo free of charge and if you use your own image hosting service you can easily include as many photos as
necessary to show your item in a detailed manner.
Many Power Sellers use up to 20 photos for one single item. Ask yourself how many are necessary for your item, and also consider using the
gallery option so the image will appear within the search listings.
You've worked hard to get users to view your listing, so while their viewing it also include a link to any other items you've available. This is
allowed in addition to the already provided link to "View other sellers‘ items". You can use commercial services (such as Anadale) to
include images and descriptions of your other items.
5) About Me Page
Sell yourself on your About Me Page. This is your chance to establish some credibility for yourself. The biggest reason people will not buy
from you online is because you have failed to establish any credibility for yourself. So include details about you and your business. Where are you
situated?, how long have you been registered on eBay?, What do you specialize in? If your a high volume seller you may also want to include a
photo of yourself. Have a look at other About Me pages to see what works and what doesn't.
6) Return Policy
Nothing gives buyers greater confidence than knowing that they can return the product if it's not for them. So consider drafting yourself a
returns policy. Will you accept returns? What if the item arrives faulty? How long is the policy valid for?
It may seem like a big risk to offer such a policy knowing that you'll have to incur a cost relisting and reshipping items but only a very small
amount of users will return the items.
Leave feedback for the winning bidder as soon as the item is paid for. Some sellers like to protect themselves by only returning feedback
when it is left for you. I consider this unprofessional and your bidders will most likely think the same too. Don't be scared of getting a negative or
neutral comment on your feedback record. The majority of users will consider all of you feedback before bidding, not just looking at one or two
Additionally if you deserve any feedback left for you such as if you were late shipping, accept it was you fault. Don't be too worried about
admitting it with an apology in response to your feedback. You may also want to compensate your winning bidder with reduced postage or a bonus
item to show it was a genuine error on your part.
If you know the there is going to be a delay in completing any transaction, email the bidder and inform them. Apologize with a comment such
as "This is a rare incident that's completely out of my control. I hope by looking at my feedback record you will see this is an completely isolated
incident". Always try to keep on good terms with all your buyers.
8) Instant attention
Give immediate attention to your bidders and prospective bidders. Don't leave a delay of days before responding to any emails or phone calls.
And following a successful transaction you may want to email your bidder to tell them when the item has been shipped and when it will be
expected to arrive. I know many sellers, some of them Power Sellers who takes days to respond to a simple email. If you don't have time to
respond immediately consider delegating the responsibility to someone else who can respond on your behalf. Never give any bidder reason to
doubt whether you‘re a genuine seller or not.
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9) eBay Store
Opening an eBay Store is a necessary step for anyone medium sized seller. Not only do you benefit from cheaper and longer listings within
your shop, but you can also cross-promote your products easily, send out newsletters and establish a trusted brand for your listings easier. Also
you'll gain more coverage (and hopefully bids) for your listings by appearing in the eBay store directory.
Don't be tempted to over price your shipping costs and try to make a small profit on this. Firstly you can be found out to easily, and it's one of
the most unforgiving things for a seller to do. More importantly over pricing your shipping costs is against eBay policy.
If you‘re offering digital goods such as an eBook or special report, you may consider a small handling fee to cover your time and
administration costs. If you do make sure it's fair and clearly highlighted within the item listing. The last thing a bidder wants to do is find out
there are unexpected costs associated with a purchase they've made.
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