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Ptarmigan

What are the Golden Rules on eBay?

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As I didn't manage to sell my Jeffries Concertina on this board, I am now heading off to try my luck on eBay.

 

However, although I have bought a couple of, not too expensive, Banjos on eBay in the past, I have never ever tried to sell anything there, before.

 

So, as I know there are quite a few members here with a lot of experience of selling over there, I'm wondering if you could perhaps give me a few pointers?

 

e.g.

 

Should you set a starting price up front, right from the start?

 

Or is it better to just have a hidden minimum price you will accept?

 

I'm sure there are a number of pitfalls that I should be aware of, so hopefully you can help me to avoid the Bear Traps! ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

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In my own experience, there are many ways to sell and it depends on your situation. If you're not in a hurry, you could set a high minimum price or simply a BUY NOW price for a week. When you start high, chances are slim you're going to sell, but at least if it doesnt sell, you lose only 70 cents or so.

 

You could also use a reserve (invisible minimum price) but that's expensive, expect to have to pay 40$ for this. In the unlikely event your item don't sell, you'll have lost 40$ for nothing. So basically, by using a reserve you're raising the odds you're going to sell, and still partially protect yourself from disaster.

 

The most risky way would be to start low with no reserve, you'll attract lot of attention and lots of bidders, at the risk of selling your instrument at a very low price.

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In my own experience, there are many ways to sell and it depends on your situation. If you're not in a hurry, you could set a high minimum price or simply a BUY NOW price for a week. When you start high, chances are slim you're going to sell, but at least if it doesnt sell, you lose only 70 cents or so.

 

You could also use a reserve (invisible minimum price) but that's expensive, expect to have to pay 40$ for this. In the unlikely event your item don't sell, you'll have lost 40$ for nothing. So basically, by using a reserve you're raising the odds you're going to sell, and still partially protect yourself from disaster.

 

The most risky way would be to start low with no reserve, you'll attract lot of attention and lots of bidders, at the risk of selling your instrument at a very low price.

 

Thanks for that Azalin.

 

Yes, from what you say, it looks like I should start low, but use a reserve to, as you say ... protect myself from disaster!

 

I already tried starting high, when I tried to sell it here on the B&S board, so I might as well, try a different tack on eBay.

 

$40 seems like a lot, if I were only selling a small, cheap item, but for an expensive vintage instrument, I reckon it's a small enough percentage, to be worth it.

 

Cheers

Dick

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Time your auction to end at a time when a lot of people can get on line - 9 or 10 pm on a Saturday or Sunday , not mid-day, midweek.

 

Give as detailed description as possible, for something as valuable as a concertina, it is well worth paying the extra for a few extra photos to show the reed pans, both ends, and a good view of the bellows.

 

Be clear as to your postage charges.

 

 

(and Good luck)

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I have sold a few things on ebay, from books for £3 to a Rayburn for over £500. I sold the rayburn as an auction or buy it now, and with hindsight it would probably have gone for twice as much. The Buy it Now was snapped up within 8 hours.

 

I think it's best to either have a starting price below which you would not contemplate selling the item - I've done this, and it wasn't overly expensive. Or, you can have a reserve below which the item will not sell. I've never sold like this myself, but have bid on such items.

 

I know there have been many postings about how terrible ebay is, but my experiences have all been good. The one situation where my son purchased something that arrived broken and went to dispute was resolved in our favour. It took paypal 5 months to recover the money from the seller but they did persevere and he got a full refund.

Edited by P Carr

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I never sold anything via ebay, but I bought different things.

Sometimes there seems to be a reserve (hidden minimum price).

It appears to be a typically English and American feature in auctions.

If I am right a hidden reserve price is not possible on ebay in Germany and other European countries.

You can set a minimum price, and everybody can see it.

 

As a buyer I don´t like the `reserve` issue.

I may be wasting time if the reserve price is too high.

Why would the buyer not tell how much this minimum is in the first place?

Maybe I am not an average buyer, but I like to have it clear what I am doing when placing a bid.

Accept a "buy it now" price means that you don't have to fear a higher bid by somebody else.

So that could attract bidders as long as the price is acceptable.

 

edited to create more typos

Edited by marien

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I've never sold anything on eBay but as an occasional buyer I would think the obvious thing is to time the market. If there is a demand for 'xyz', then you're pretty guaranteed of success. If there isn't, maybe it's better to wait until there is a demand.. But of course, if you must sell the item - you have to make the best of it, I guess.

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My approach is to have a reserve to protect the item from selling really cheaply but to state what it is in the blurb so people know where they stand.

 

Ian

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My approach is to have a reserve to protect the item from selling really cheaply but to state what it is in the blurb so people know where they stand.

 

Ian

 

Yeah, that sounds fair Ian.

 

Thanks for that tip.

Dick

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I've never sold anything on eBay but as an occasional buyer I would think the obvious thing is to time the market. If there is a demand for 'xyz', then you're pretty guaranteed of success. If there isn't, maybe it's better to wait until there is a demand.. But of course, if you must sell the item - you have to make the best of it, I guess.

 

As a buyer I could never see the point of that approach. It puts me off just as much as would a high starting price, and probably costs a lot more in fees.

 

My view is that you have to think clearly about how to approach an auction sale. The essence of an auction is that you don't know what the final price will be, if you can't live with an element of risk then you have to ask if an auction is the right selling method to use.

 

Buyers are strongly attracted by a low starting price, and as a seller you hope to attract lots of potential buyers who will compete with each other to achieve the best price for you. If you reveal your reserve price you loose that element of excitement and bargain hunting which will put off some buyers. I have seen many examples of items that attracted no bids when listed at a high start price, but when relisted with a lower start price eventually sold for more than the original (high) start price. Its a psychological game, and you have to be prepared to take a chance and play the game. Ideally the start price should look cheap to bidders, but does not have to be rock bottom.

 

I agree with previous advice that lots of good quality pictures are important, and good description of the instrument and as much background info as possible eg how log you have had it, its previous history, reasons for selling etc.

 

Another important aspect of the sale is where you are prepared to ship too, there will be many potential buyers all over the world so investigate the shipping and payment options and spread the net as wide as possible.

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I've never sold anything on eBay but as an occasional buyer I would think the obvious thing is to time the market. If there is a demand for 'xyz', then you're pretty guaranteed of success. If there isn't, maybe it's better to wait until there is a demand.. But of course, if you must sell the item - you have to make the best of it, I guess.

 

As a buyer I could never see the point of that approach. It puts me off just as much as would a high starting price, and probably costs a lot more in fees.

 

My view is that you have to think clearly about how to approach an auction sale. The essence of an auction is that you don't know what the final price will be, if you can't live with an element of risk then you have to ask if an auction is the right selling method to use.

 

Buyers are strongly attracted by a low starting price, and as a seller you hope to attract lots of potential buyers who will compete with each other to achieve the best price for you. If you reveal your reserve price you loose that element of excitement and bargain hunting which will put off some buyers. I have seen many examples of items that attracted no bids when listed at a high start price, but when relisted with a lower start price eventually sold for more than the original (high) start price. Its a psychological game, and you have to be prepared to take a chance and play the game. Ideally the start price should look cheap to bidders, but does not have to be rock bottom.

 

I agree with previous advice that lots of good quality pictures are important, and good description of the instrument and as much background info as possible eg how log you have had it, its previous history, reasons for selling etc.

 

Another important aspect of the sale is where you are prepared to ship too, there will be many potential buyers all over the world so investigate the shipping and payment options and spread the net as wide as possible.

 

Theo is right about not limiting your sales to one area. My melodeon did not sell recently on ebay because of this. Then someone from Downunder offered me a price if I were willing to send it there and we struck a deal. A lesson was learnt.

 

Ian

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My approach is to have a reserve to protect the item from selling really cheaply but to state what it is in the blurb so people know where they stand.

 

Ian

 

Yeah, that sounds fair Ian.

 

Thanks for that tip.

Dick

If you're going to say what the reserve is you may as well save the reserve fee and start at your minimum.

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My approach is to have a reserve to protect the item from selling really cheaply but to state what it is in the blurb so people know where they stand.

 

Ian

 

Yeah, that sounds fair Ian.

 

Thanks for that tip.

Dick

If you're going to say what the reserve is you may as well save the reserve fee and start at your minimum.

 

Hmmmmm now why didn't I think of that? :rolleyes:

 

Aye, your right of course Paul.

 

Cheers

Dick

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Forget about 'fair', the success of eBay is based on psychological human behaviour. If you're using eBay, you'd better be part of the game or you'll lose a lot. Statistics show that when people start a bidding war on an item, you might get a better price than if you started with a high price on an item, even if that price is much lower than the auction that's been won in a bidding war. For example, selling an item with a start bid of 3000$ might not sell, but if you start at 1$, you might sell the item 3150$. Does it make sense on paper? No. But people hate to lose, and clicking to make a bid of a few extra bucks is very easy.

 

That's why eBay will often tell you to start low, or use a low reserve. They know that statistically, bidding wars bring the higher prices overall.

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Surprised nobody has mentioned the number one golden rule - make sure you actually own the thing before you list it, or people on here will get very cross with you. ;)

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Surprised nobody has mentioned the number one golden rule - make sure you actually own the thing before you list it, or people on here will get very cross with you. ;)

Surely that's number two Steve? ;)

 

Isn't number one ... make sure you actually have a Concertina to sell, before you start a sale! B)

 

Cheers

Dick

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You're right that a no-reserve, low-minimum-bid auction can bring a high price if there's a bidding war -- but if the item doesn't draw much interest from more than one buyer, the seller winds up obligated to sell at a low price. I'm not sure that it's possible to say that either of these things is the one that happens "overall". It depends on the item, the way it's presented by the seller, the seller's reputation (feedback ratings etc.), the state of the market for that type of item at the time of sale, and a certain amount of random chance, since there's a different set of potential buyers in the market at any given time.

 

I've got some excellent deals as a buyer on eBay over the years, which in turn means that the sellers didn't do so well. As an occasional seller, I've been too nervous up to now to try either eBay or this forum and have generally sold in person to people I knew -- which works well when I can find a buyer, but not when I can't. (If anyone reading this might want to buy a bass trombone, let me know!)

 

I think that the example of Chris Algar (cocoa111 on eBay) is instructive. He uses minimum bids and reserves and will only occasionally list an item without them, but he also doesn't seem to mind if one of his items doesn't sell.

 

Daniel

 

Forget about 'fair', the success of eBay is based on psychological human behaviour. If you're using eBay, you'd better be part of the game or you'll lose a lot. Statistics show that when people start a bidding war on an item, you might get a better price than if you started with a high price on an item, even if that price is much lower than the auction that's been won in a bidding war. For example, selling an item with a start bid of 3000$ might not sell, but if you start at 1$, you might sell the item 3150$. Does it make sense on paper? No. But people hate to lose, and clicking to make a bid of a few extra bucks is very easy.

 

That's why eBay will often tell you to start low, or use a low reserve. They know that statistically, bidding wars bring the higher prices overall.

Edited by Daniel Hersh

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Theo is right about not limiting your sales to one area. My melodeon did not sell recently on ebay because of this. Then someone from Downunder offered me a price if I were willing to send it there and we struck a deal. A lesson was learnt.

 

Be careful you don't limit yourself geographically by accident. This happened to me - I quoted shipping costs to UK but not for other regions, and failed to notice that ebay had interpreted this to mean that I was only willing to sell in the UK.

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