Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

eBay Spring Seller Update looks promising but look for yourself.

Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 11:47 AM
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  • Speaking of e-bay - Steve - I am looking to sell some vintage china given to me by my great-grandmother. I have a lot of pieces, including some unusual ones. What are my best options?

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 12:44 PM
  • I've asked some folks who sell vintage china about this before. All suggested selling by the piece rather than as a collection.

    I have a complete set in its original box and they STILL suggest by the piece. Actually, trying to ship the complete set would be expensive, so I can see some extra advantages in addition to getting a better overall price.

    Some will group pieces, like bowls, cup & saucer, dinner plates, etc. but they usually do not put them on auction unless they absolutely do not know the value.

    In determining value, there is the eBay value and then the value placed on it by appraisers or sentiment. They may differ quite a bit so research carefully. Simply checking completed listings may not tell the whole story.

    If they are not selling, look at the listings to see if their offering is in the same condition as yours. What are their return policies?

    What are the listings like? Are they informative, and friendly or make you feel uneasy about dealing with them.

    Are their feed-backs good? Read a few comments, especially about anything fragile. What are their shipping policies?

    All these things and more can affect the sale, so if the competition is not selling, but have less than stellar listings, there is still hope for you to make the sale.

    All this is assuming you want to sell them yourself. If not, let me know and I will discuss what to look for in a qualified eBay Trading Assistant. (We are one, but we are not specialists in China, and we are maxed out anyway.)

    Also, check with me if you get any unsolicited or unexpected offers from this blog. It goes out around the world, so one has to be careful.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 9:20 PM
  • This seller update is also being touted as eBay's effort to compete with Amazon and lure away their dissatisfied sellers. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/19/us-ebay-fees-idUSBRE92I0UH20130319

    Whatever you want to call it, it sounds good for eBay sellers, so far. I always have to add that caveat since the "Devil is in the details". :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 7:57 AM
  • Thank you, Steve. This was very helpful. I am not terribly interested in selling it myself and would be happy to pay a fee or however that works.

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 12:41 PM
  • OK, a quick opinion about eBay Trading Assistants (TA)Obviously, they are not created equal and just being a TA does not mean a lot except that eBay has recognized they have achieved modest success and is in good standing with eBay.(not too many bad feedbacks and they pay their eBay fees)

    So.., you want to check them out as if you were a buyer. Look at their feedback, their listings, their experience in selling your type of items.

    If all they sell is electronics, your china may not be their strong suit and that could mean how much you sell and at what price. Your research might say they are a good seller, then give them a shot, but with less valuable items to start.

    Most TAs will want to take possession of the items so for that reason, you need a contract and a signed receipt for what you consign with them. It is probably good to go to their home or business, since you can make some judgements from what you see.

    If they run it like "Sanford & Son" breakable items might not do well or things could get lost. It might also be good to establish a base value in case things get lost, broken or they have a fire.

    Setting value brings up another few points. Be reasonable in your expectations. One reason I got into teaching more than selling for folks was because they usually had much higher expectations than the eBay market could produce.

    The TA is going to have to be brutally honest when it comes to describing the condition, so don't hold it against them that they point out hairline crackling of the surface or a minor "flea bite" chip.

    I could ramble on but let's get to something that is probably foremost in your mind. What is it going to cost?

    eBay has no regulations on commission, so you could see something very low (10%) or something above 50%. What! Highway robbery!

    Well, not if you know what they are going to have to do to research, photograph, weigh, create the listing, package, answer questions, ship, pay eBay/PayPal fees and occasionally handle a refund. Basic business, but sometimes it is easy to think they are just slapping it up there.

    And some MIGHT just "slap it up there", which can explain why some are lower than others. Basically the eBay and PayPal fees average about 20%, so if they are paying those fees and splitting 50/50 with you, they are really only charging 30% which is probably average.

    Value and ease of listing will make a difference in pricing. We usually work at 30% plus fees but I have listed some items over $10,000 and took a 5% commission because it was not much tougher than a normal listing and there was real money to it.

    If we have to spend almost the same time for a $100 item, I want my full 30% because there is serious time involved, plus not everything sells so we have time invested in some things that do not bring much money if any at all.

    The main "take-away" here is to check your TA out and feel comfortable with what they say they can do for you and what they are going to charge.

    Hmmm, that opinion wasn't too quick was it. :-P

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 3:15 PM
  • Not quick but a plethora of information - thanks so much for your time.....

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 5:12 PM
  • No worries.(since we are talking marsupials on another post) I tend to talk, talk, talk when it comes to eBay.

    I once taught a class, standing up all day, the day after I had three neck vertebrae fused. Never felt the pain until I was done. But then, I was ready to sit down and shut up.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 21, 2013, at 6:28 AM
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