Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

As a buyer on eBay, Amazon or any other internet selling venue...

Posted Monday, October 7, 2013, at 7:34 PM
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  • Steve, how do you determine the shipping cost, when selling on E-Bay, I always buy, but have never tried to sell anything.. can you help, or direct me to where I can get this information.. thanks

    -- Posted by Perplexed on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 7:36 AM
  • Keep in mind, this is a basic description. There are other things to take into consideration if you are going to sell on a regular basis.

    Your first time selling I would choose something small that is not too fragile. While the USPS postage is expensive, it is probably the least expensive alternative without getting an account at UPS or FedEx.

    Before you list the item you will need to find a suitable box for shipping that allows some extra room for padding. Keep in mind that the original box needs to be packed as well.

    After you find the right box, wrap and package it as if you were shipping, get a weight and measure the size of the box.

    The detail to which you fill out the information for the USPS will be determined by the service you intend to use. Parcel Post, Priority, etc.

    Unless you know to whom you are selling, we find it best to use "calculated shipping" when listing on eBay. That is where you put in the method of shipping, then fill in the other details that open up such as weight and size of package.

    This way eBay and the USPS will calculate the shipping based on your zip code and the eventual buyer's zip code.

    You can get a "ball park" idea of what it will cost to ship to a certain area (like California) by getting a zip code from there, then filling in the details on the USPS site.

    Some people use a flat rate, some use "free shipping" (which is not free), some discount shipping and adjust the selling price accordingly, etc. There are many options.

    Short of writing a small book here, I will await your further questions.

    Thanks for asking and I hope this helps a little.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 8:51 AM
  • I have bought a few things on overstock.com and amazon, I never read the fine print. I've always been a little reluctant to buy anything on ebay, but have on occasion when looking for part of one of my collectables...I have always thought they would take my money and not ship it...those I have bought from were honorable so I'm sure it's just my paranoid brain. I do remember reading the rating and comments on the shipper, but it has been over 8 years since I have made any ebay purchase...It is difficult to figure shipping. I did at one time sell a few things on it, but someone assisted me, and it was not worth the trouble for what I made in profit...It was several years ago...last time I looked, I came to the conclusion that it cost up front to even have an ebay account....I guess I'm more of a buyer then seller...I have found things on overstock to be cheaper for the things I need but, ebay usually has what you can't find anywhere else.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 9:05 AM
  • eBay has ridden many of the "fly by night" sellers out from 8 years ago, but regrettably run out many fine sellers at the same time.

    Shipping can seem like a mystery but once you do it a few times it clears up quickly. However, I would not sell on a regular basis without a good scale. (no, we don't sell scales) :-)

    Having a buying or selling account on eBay does not cost until you use it. As a buyer, there are no fees except for what you buy. As a seller, there are listing fees and selling fees, then a PayPal processing fee for handling the sale.

    Listing fees are free to new sellers for up to 50 each month but the seller and PayPal fees will average 15%+- then up to 18% when you start listing more than the first free listings.

    Of course, the one constant with eBay is that it will change so ALWAYS check the site for listing fees and policies. Even though I am an Education Specialist trained by eBay, we constantly get surprised. LOL

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 9:24 AM
  • thank you, this helps alot,my husband and I may try selling a few things and see how it works out.

    -- Posted by Perplexed on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 10:51 AM
  • Keep my email address if you need any extra help. I will start a new post and discuss it so others can learn as well.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 1:23 PM
  • Hi Steve,

    Indeed, the eBay executive suite is located on another planet, the "planet of fools" ...

    And, the man sitting in the big chair, Johnny Ho, is a narcissistic sociopath and a fraudster, but worst of all, he is the greatest of the fools ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

    Then, what else could one expect from a boy who did his apprenticeship at Bain & Co, where he apparently learned only how to deconstruct a businesses with a wrecking ball, and has never had an original idea in his life with respect to the constructing of a successful commercial entity ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

    Regardless, in the meantime, the eBay marketplace continues on its journey down the toilet, and everything the chief headless turkey does only accelerates the atrophying process ...

    Having said all that, the only thing that matters for an online sale is that the description of the goods be meticulously accurate and not fail to disclose any material defects ...

    "Ignorance can be fixed, stupid is forever."--Don Wood ...

    Clearly, John Donahoe's condition is forever ... http://bit.ly/12xvzyA

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Tue, Oct 8, 2013, at 10:38 PM
  • Good to see you are still doing well Phillip. I was just a few hours away in time zones a few weeks ago but still too far away to try to say hello.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 9, 2013, at 9:38 AM
  • for eBay I am mostly a buyer of antique glass (EAPG cake stands). I rarely pay close attention to sellers with long ranting detailed terms, as they are required to abide by eBay policy. I always purchase using PayPal and charge to my AmEx card. I rarely have any problems since using PayPal and have been buying for nearly 15 years. NEVER buy from anyone using a money order or check these days. For those rare problems of broken deliveries or not-as-described, I rely on AmEx to resolve and have never had a problem.

    My biggest eBay problem has been broken deliveries since I buy mostly glass. With eBay's current policy I simply require the seller provide my refund and have them deal with their shipper on filing for insurance. Many sellers either self insure or use third party insurers. I always message sellers when buying and kindly request that they package very carefully to insure safe delivery.

    I have sold a few things over the years and have not had any problems with that either. The fees are fairly reasonable for eBay & PayPal. I always check shipping costs for a couple of carriers and compare to the eBay calculator, and have had no problems.

    I've also made numerous Amazon purchases and never had a problem. Only had to do a return once and Amazon provided return shipping with a full refund.

    I've also done a number of other online purchases and usually rely on PayPal/AmEx for all purchases with no problems.

    I've used smart phone, laptop and Nexus. I prefer the computer as it is just easier to maneuver thru eBay, PayPal and various sites having multiple tabs open.

    -- Posted by bentryder on Wed, Oct 9, 2013, at 7:20 PM
  • I agree wholeheartedly, "I prefer the computer as it is just easier to maneuver thru eBay, PayPal and various sites having multiple tabs open."

    It is much easier to list by computer as well, although eBay keeps pushing folks to list by phone.

    I find my smart phone app to be limited. There are parts of eBay that are either very difficult to find or not able to access at all.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 9, 2013, at 7:34 PM
  • Ebay has a group of people who look for fraud and knock off merchandise.I had tried to sell a genuine Rolex watch that had a diamond bezel that had been put on after leaving the factory.Since Rolex did not offer that model with those features they pulled the listing.After several emails they finally told me they had people who specialize in different fields that check listings ,and also do mystery shopping type purchases.I can see there stand on this,but the buyer has the upper hand on the seller.They can demand partial refunds on items that were described damaged or sold as-is or leave you a bad rating.I had sold a ladies 14k gold watch with a bad movement and listed it as such.After she got the watch she emailed me back and made threats to leave a negative rating if I did not refund her $25.She paid basically scrap gold price and gold fell off and that was the amount she wanted back.I refunded her the money but told her I would not ship to her again.Shortly after that I quit selling on Ebay

    -- Posted by kings11 on Wed, Oct 9, 2013, at 7:41 PM
  • I understand your frustrations. Your experience is typical of items being sold in the VeRO (verified rights owners) group of products. These are folks who own and protect their trademark, patent, official name, etc.

    eBay's enforcement is unpredictable and aggressive.

    They want it to be unpredictable because they reduce the possibilities of someone knowing how to scam it. Even people like me who are trained by them to teach the platform are not told exactly what they look for that triggers it. We know trends and wording that usually brings on the audit, but not everything.

    They are often over-aggressive because they have a (virtual) target painted on them and VeRO owners love to sue. A sign of our litigious society and the devious world we live in.

    It is also because we have some dedicated and talented scam artists out there. For every security measure you take, there is a way to beat it.

    There are ways to work WITH the VeRO program including documentation and formal appraisals in your specific case. On a highly visible product like Rolex, I would do some preemptive work with Rolex before the listing is made live and probably contact eBay as well. Once it has been flagged, it is a "bear" to clean up.

    This does not mean that you won't see VeRO products and even some that appear questionable. eBay is a huge marketplace and some slips through their "web".

    Regarding the "feedback extortion" you mentioned, things have changed back toward the seller on this. Keeping all communication on the eBay system, allows eBay to see the threats and that usually automatically rules in the favor of the seller.

    If they leave a negative, it should be removed and the buyer will actually get a strike against them. Although the public will never see it, eBay is keeping tally and at some point (again, we do not know what point)the buyer will be removed from the venue.

    Feel free to ask any questions, or if it is private, send me an e-mail.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Oct 10, 2013, at 2:52 AM
  • A question came in by email about websites. The answer was quick and easy but I thought I would throw out some ideas about the value of having a website and how eBay might compliment that development.

    Please remember, these comments are my opinion and I have built them on our experience, as well as the experience of my students. That does not make them golden thoughts from an internet guru. :-)

    We found that eBay can help give your site more "relevance" in the search eyes of Google and other search engines. We found a eBay I.D. that was also available as a domain name so that every time listed on eBay, we were putting out tiny seeds on the internet that said BedfordTradingPost was doing something.

    Now you cannot put a direct link to your website in an eBay listing UNLESS you are not selling anything from the pages you refer to AND those pages do not have other links that go to selling sites off eBay.

    BUT, if you set your new website up as an information site (to begin with)you can build more relevance in search engines eyes if their are links from eBay and back-links to your eBay listings.

    You can also, (at this time) put your direct link to your website on your "about Me" page. Even if it is selling something.

    There is more involved in those statements but if you are thinking about setting up your own website, consider making eBay and this site the same name. It won't hurt and it could help.

    Then there is posting on forums, Facebook LinkedIn, other social sites, shopping sites, etc. all using the same name. Just building a website will not by itself, bring you tons of business.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 9:56 AM
  • I selected my eBay ID based on my collecting EAPG cake stands and my hobby of baking. When I set up an information website a few years ago it was to share my collection and knowledge gained in conjunction with other hobbies. I used by eBay ID as my website name as it was intuitive to my collection. I participate in a couple of glass ID/sharing sites; CW & eBay PGP discussion board. I do have a web link in my eBay signature line. I've seen several auctions include links to my site for ID reference for their listings. Tho' I do not specifically offer anything for sale at my website I have been contacted by numerous visitor about IDing their items and requests for direct sales. As a result I have made several sales at the high end of the EAPG resale price line.

    One issue has been eBay sellers 'stealing' my copyrighted images and using them in their auctions. This happened a couple of times and eBay was less than helpful is responding to any copyright issues. However, the seller did drop my images when contacted directly.

    -- Posted by bentryder on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 9:23 AM
  • Excellent use of your website. These are like gold nuggets for search engines: "several auctions include links to my site for ID reference for their listings".

    Did you have a copyright watermark on the photos? If not, eBay would have to get heavily involved. Your solution of contact the other seller was the best approach. We had it happen to us a time or two and contacting the seller worked as well.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 9:55 AM
  • No, I don't watermark my images. One reason is that they become intrusive or are easily cropped. I'm aware that any image on the web are easily copied and it's not that great an issue for me. I just don't like the idea of someone profiting from my work. Also when selling/buying antiques of any kind I feel it is very important to have real images of the actual item being sold; it seem deceptive to use stock images for these kind of sales.

    EBay's response for the copyright infringement was to direct me to participate in VeRO.

    -- Posted by bentryder on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 10:56 AM
  • "very important to have real images of the actual item being sold; it seem deceptive to use stock images for these kind of sales" It sure is and actually against eBay policies to not have an original picture of anything used, whether it is antique, vintage or something else.

    I did not know what EAPG was, but I am now guessing it is Early American Pattern Glass?

    If you were in the business of selling your photography I might understand their recommendation to join VeRO but since you are selling EAPG and other antiques, I can only assume they did not understand your issue very well.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 3:42 PM
  • correct, EAPG=Early American Pattern Glass. EAPG generally approximates the Victorian Era; most accept that to mean around 1850-1915. VeRO in no way can apply to these sales as none of the original companies are in business today.

    Not everyone in eBay support understands coherent English; many of them just read from a script and don't exhibit independent thought.

    -- Posted by bentryder on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 5:45 PM
  • The support does get better depending on time of day that you call and your ranking in eBay. Higher volume sellers often get a different call center.

    I sometimes wonder what the guidelines & evaluation points are for call center employees. ARe they rated by customer satisfaction, number of calls thy handle in a day, their accuracy on answering questions, demeanor, ....?

    Regrettably, more often than not, I get the ones to whom you refer. Hard to understand and apparently hard for them to understand and read from a script.

    When I do get a good one, I plead for a way to find my way back to them, but rarely do I get that. Occasionally they will give me an email but that is undependable since sometimes my note goes unanswered.

    It has been said by numerous people that eBay should take their guidelines for sellers to heart.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 16, 2013, at 6:12 AM
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