Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Hassle and Joy of eBay

Six months after I created eBay, I started receiving a spate of complaints. Everyone was complaining about each other. - Pierre Omidyar
I'm getting more and more used to "renting" technology where I continually upgrade to the latest gadget and then sell the previous one. I do all of this through eBay, where I have yet to be taken advantage of, but it has been a big hassle. I wish this could be easier for me. I just recently sold off my 2018 iPad Pro, 2011 MacBook Air, and iPad mini 2. I thought I'd share the process.
The first thing I do is get the trade in value from somewhere reputable like Apple or Gazelle. What will Apple give me if I give my product back to them? Once I have that, I know what the minimum price is that I want from eBay (with some math). eBay is going to take a 10% fee for the item and then when I use PayPal, PayPal is going to take 2.9% fee (+ $0.30). So I'll take whatever price I was going to get from Apple, do the reverse math, and that will give me the starting bid price at eBay.
iPad Pro 2018? Apple will give me $480, so I need to sell that on eBay for $552 ( - $55.2 from eBay and -$16.31 from PayPal). I'll do the same thing for the MacBook Air and iPad mini 2.
eBay will not let you set a reserve price for free, which is why I use this as the starting bid price. eBay will also whine at you that you should set a lower starting bid price to attract more buyers, but just don't do that. Silly talk. Schedule your auction to be 7-days and to start on Sunday evening - I read this is the best and it makes sense to me. I end my auction at 5pm PST (8pm EST) as the time that seems to work well.
I currently also disable international sales - but that's just paranoia. I used to allow it and I've had items ship internationally without a problem, but I've already read horror stories about it.
Buy It Now price? Accept offers? I don't do either of these. I have never seen an offer come in that beat the final selling price. So while this might make sense from some items, it doesn't seem to be the right choice for electronics. Of course, just because your auction doesn't allow offers, this will not stop people from sending you messages asking you things like, "what is the lowest price you will accept for this?" Ignore those silly shenanigans. I used to reply, but I don't think there is a point now.
Once your item sells is where the fun begins. You need to follow the rules here. Wait for the payment to come through PayPal and ship to the address associated with the PayPal account. This is the easiest process and this is the process where eBay/PayPal will protect you if something crazy happens. What is, sadly, likely to happen is the buyer will try an convince you to do something else. They will suggest they have moved, please ship to a different address. They will suggest they can send you a check and avoid the PayPal overhead (2.9%). They will tell you they have already paid you (even though eBay does not confirm this) and demand you ship. DON'T SHIP. I don't know if this is a scam or not, but don't ship. Also, don't cancel. If you don't put up with the scam and the buyer suggests you cancel, don't. A cancelled transaction puts the ding against you. Let two days pass and file an "unpaid order" and eBay will refund you the fees.
So when this happens (it happened to me 2 times for the iPad Pro and 3 times for the MacBook Air) just relist your item on Tuesday with a 5-day auction for the next weekend. Repeat and relist.
The "best" scam that happened to me was my iPhoneX. Apple would buy it from me for $525 so I listed it for something like $600. First bid was $601 followed almost immediately by an $850 bid and then an $851 bid. WAHOO! Score. The week ticked by... and then at 4:59pm as the auction closed.... the $851 and $850 bid were cancelled and it sold to the $600 bid. Ha! Well played. I canceled the auction as "no longer have the product" and took the hit to my sellers reputation and just sent the phone back to Apple. But, seriously, well played. How is this scam not WAY more common?