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What to do when your eBay items won't sell

Updated on December 28, 2009

Nothing can be more disappointing as when an item will not sell.  I once did an auction with seven items, and only one sold.  Actually, two items sold, but one guy actually emailed me and said that he didn’t think he would win, and just wanted to forget about the whole thing. 

However, unsold items don’t mean that the items won’t ever sell and that you should throw them away.  In fact, I have discovered that it is just the beginning of another potential sale.  In some situations, I have had buyers contact me saying: “Do you have this particular item?  I saw that it didn’t sell, and I am interested in it”.  You better believe that I know how to respond to that one.  “Yeah, go ahead and buy it off of me, please!”

If that happens, feel free to go to PayPal and use their “Create Invoice” function.  Of course, you will need the buyer’s email address.  Once they get the invoice, they will hopefully pay you.  I say “hopefully” because come people are not willing to do deals off the books like this, and you can’t really press the matter.   You see, with eBay, if a customer sends a payment and doesn’t get their merchandise, then there is someone that they can complain to.  However, in a deal like this, there really isn’t anyone to complain to. 

I have discovered that there is a lot of cross-merchandising that can come from deals like this.  For example, if you sell three of one kind of item to someone, and you have an item of the same type that didn’t sell, it is pretty easy to sell this item.  All you got to do is send the person a message saying:  “Hey, thank you for buying these items.  I had one item that did not sell, and I was wondering if you would like it.  All I would have to do is add it on to your bill.” 

During the time of your sale, you probably received many inquires about your item.  You could also contact some of the people who didn’t bid on your item, but questioned it.  You could tell them that you would be willing to let them buy it for the opening bid, and sweeten the deal by offering free shipping. 

And in a worst case scenario, you can always just put the unsold items up for bidding again at another auction.  In fact, it is quite easy to hit a “Relist” button, and set up the sale for another day.  I’d highly recommend trying to reduce the cost if you are going this route. 


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