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The Tricks and Traps of eBay

Updated on October 27, 2017
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I have been an eBay seller since eBay was eBay. I have learned and earned a lot and got hurt just as much.Today's eBay user needs an expert.

I am going to get started with a few assumptions about you....

1. You already listed a few items on eBay.

2. You haven't gotten a return or filed a claim....yet

3. The value of feedback is an unknown to you.

I make these qualifications about you to get a starting point. Explaining to you how to list on eBay has been streamlined due to Google's phone ready compliance across the internet. (My brother has his own commerce website and can attest to this).

1. You Already Listed a Few Items Already on Ebay

You now know (or at least you think you know) how to list on eBay. Wrong. Whenever you list an item on eBay, eBay makes a few assumptions about what you are selling. It lays out a template and it ASSUMES everything is cookie cutter and all the same as your last item you listed.

Let's say you are selling antique dolls. Not all dolls are the same weight and height, yet eBay prefills out the weight and if you overlook this part and list, you are obligated to sell it for the item at the weight that was prefilled out. There is no going back and telling the buyer, "I made a mistake on the weight". Doing so, at this stage, will get you booted off of eBay as the buyer complains you are changing the terms of the agreement after a sale has been made. How could this been avoided??

1. CHECK YOUR TEMPLATE!! Check EVERYTHING. If you marked "FREE SHIPPING" on your last listing, you can bet that mark is still checked off on your next listing when you wanted to change it and charge for shipping. Costly mistake. And now you have to eat it. If you listed 5 items of something and now you have 1 of another item, you need to check that box to make sure you are not selling 5 items of the one you only have only one of.

2. You may have used eBay's shipping tool. eBay has a convenient tool for printing out shipping labels on your printer. Currently, they only have USPS and Fedex as options for their shipping service (sorry. UPS is not on their list). You probably know by now that you should pad your shipping on eBay to at least cover the insurance costs. I recommend Fedex ShipSaver for smaller packages as they are usually better priced (Albeit, you can't opt for insurance through this service). Fedex ShipSaver is good for small priced items that you can go without insurance. USPS has their own insurance but you can opt for an alternative shipping service preselected by eBay (i.e. ShipCover Insurance). I usually toggle between the two insurance services to find out which is cheaper.

3. Insurance Claims: A BIG NOTE: should you need to file a claim there are two very important things you need to know between the two insurance carriers. USPS has their own website that you need to navigate (logon to their site, find where to make a claim). ShipCover Insurance is super easy to use and is done through Ebay. Now, you would think it is a no brainer to use ShipCover Insurance and save you the hassle of going offsite....WRONG! USPS is less demanding on the backside of the claim than ShipCover is. I try to save money by recycling boxes (I usually ask retailers if they are throwing out boxes and they help me with that). ShipCover requires NO markings on the box that might allude to the contents inside. This gotcha might cost you the voiding on the insurance when pictures of the broken item and box contents with writing about the prior contents are submitted by the buyer uploaded to ShipCover. USPS doesn't make this a requirement for broken items. This means for every package you send out with ShipCover, you will need to cover up ID marks on the recycled box you are using. This can be time consuming. If you are shipping costly items (say over $1K), you will need to use USPS as ShipCover has a limit of $1K. USPS has up to $5K insurance (domestic). Should a box get lost in the mail, USPS has their tracking devices put to work for them. ShipCover on lost items, requires you to have PICTURES of the box as it was sent out on all sides (again to trip you up if you left an prior identification mark from the original user of the box) . They will also require proof of how it is packed!! There is one case where ShipCover comes out ahead in this....Foreign deliveries. USPS does not have the option for insurance through Ebay for foreign shipments.

Now What About Returns?

Returns are never an easy pill to swallow. Now, not only are you out the shipping out to the buyer but you also now have to pay to have it shipped back to you. You don't have a choice in this. UNLESS, you can prove that the buyer is using the returns for a purpose not intended. Suppose you described your item thoroughly and the buyer stated in their return that "the item didn't fit them" or the buyer stated a fact that was described in the listing already. Get on the phone with an eBay rep (1-866-540-3229) and ask for "Returns" when the autobot askes you what you calling about. eBay will look up the return item ID that you provide to them after identifying who you are. If they agree with you, you can confidently "Refuse the return" and with a little nail biting wait for eBay to close in your favor. You see, eBay's policy for "Items Not As Described" are just has to be NOT as described in your listing. Be sure you have all your information straight and in writing on either the return portal or on eBay's message system. Ebay does not accept messages outside of their message system in defending your case.

What About Feedback? Is is Important?

Once you reach a feedback of 10, your Paypal funds are automatically released without waiting for the ok from the buyer (in the form of the item being delivered and a certain amount of days....say three... to pass).

Once you achieve a feedback score of 50, you are able to list with the magical "Multiple Variant" listing tool. If you are selling multiple items with slight differences, say color, or size, you can use the Multiple Variant listing tool. You are use to doing single listings, so now you can up your game and list a LOT more using this tool and still not get charged extra listing fees. The Multiple Variant listing tool (MV for short) is not found on every type of listing out on eBay-land. Only specific listings offer it. I'm going to do a screen capture below to show you how to find it in a listing.

Multiple Variations Page


The Gist of It...

In summary, eBay covers eBay's behind, not yours. If you get something back in a returned item mail and there is something missing ("harvested" is my term), how can this be proven? Who is eBay to believe? Ask me in my next tutorial under this series because I have the answer! See you then!

What is the outcome?

You are on vacation and an item is returned to you while you are away. It is sent back to the buyer because you didn't accept the package in time. Buyer opens case just as it is returning to him.

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

If there are any questions on specific problems you are having with Ebay or a buyer, please don't hesistate to ask and I'll give you a straight answer.

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