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Lessons Learned From Listing on Ebay

I Suck at Selling on eBay

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A common suggestion given to those looking to bring in some extra cash is to sell their unnecessary “stuff” on eBay.

Living in New York City has given me an appreciation for minimalism and a constant need for more money, so this strategy seemed like a natural fit. Unfortunately, after a month of listing…and re-listing…and re-listing items, I haven’t made much progress…

Lessons Learned from Listing on eBay

Listing items on eBay is time consuming.

Not only do you need to take pictures of each item, upload them, and accompany them with a full description. You need to research how to price each item.

What’s the item selling for around the web and what price can you expect people to pay for the condition your particular item is in (new with tags, new without tags, used, etc.)?

It’s hard to sell. 

I’ve only been able to sell around one fifth of all the items I’ve listed, (most of which only sold after being re-listed several times at lower prices).

Packing is a pain. 

You’ll need to have some packing supplies on hand. At the same time, you don’t want to go out and preemptively buy a bunch of packaging material without knowing what’s going to sell.  When you don’t buy these things in bulk though, they tend to be quite pricey, so there’s really no winning.

Shipping is expensive.

I would definitely not recommend giving your buyers a free shipping option.  Due to some unfortunate estimates on shipping expenses, I have cost myself quite a bit of money in this department.
Here’s a quick run down of what I was able to sell on eBay this month, how much I made and how much it cost me.

  • Item: Necklace
    • Sold: $ .99
    • Shipping: $2.07
    • Total Received: $3.06
    • Paypal Fees: -$ .39
    • Shipping Fees: -$1.12
    • ITEM NET: $1.55
  • Item: Competition Leotard
    • Sold: $29.99
    • Shipping: $2.41
    • Total Received: ($32.40)
    • Paypal Fees: -$1.24
    • Shipping Fees: -$1.92
    • (ITEM NET: $29.24)*

The buyer of this item opened a case against me, saying they have not received the item (though I have most certainly shipped it).  Who knows what will happen, but in the meantime, the payment is not being released to me.

  • Item: Training Leotard Long Sleeves
    • Sold: $5.00
    • Shipping  $2.92
    • Total Received $7.92
    • Paypal Fees -$ .53
    • Shipping Fees $1.92
    • ITEM NET: $5.47
  • Item: Training Leotard Short Sleeves
    • Sold: $5.50
    • Shipping: $2.86
    • Total Received: $8.36
    • Paypal Fees: -$ .54
    • Shipping Fees: $1.61
    • ITEM NET: $6.21
  • Item: Movie Script
    • Sold: $3.00
    • Shipping: $3.22
    • Total Received: $6.22
    • Paypal Fees: -$ .48
    • Shipping Fees: -$9.64
    • ITEM NET: $-3.90

Item Net Totals: $38.57

  • Extra Postage (The postal machine ripped me off by not dispensing one of my stamps. The line to speak to an attendant was out the door, so I bought another): -$1.92
  • Ebay Seller Invoice: -$5.39

Total Net from 5 Items Sold on Ebay: $31.26

Although the majority of that is still on hold from the “open case” so…

Current Net from 5 Items Sold on Ebay: $2.02  

If the case isn’t resolved, I’ll be out the money, the item, and the cost of shipping it so….


Yep, ten cents.

After all that, let me share some lessons learned.

MORE eBay Lessons Learned

1. If you can’t get $25.00 for it, it might not be worth your time to sell it.

2. Shipping will cost you more than you realize, especially for heavy books (don’t forget to account for packaging too).

3. Fees are everywhere (payment processing, eBay, shipping…)

4. Don’t discount your time and effort.  I’ve spent several hours taking pictures of items, listing them, packaging them, and finally, taking them to the post office to ship. All of that for ten cents or best case scenario $31.26?

It doesn’t really seem worth it.

Have you ever sold anything online?  Was it worth your time and effort?

Related: Ways to Make Extra Money That Aren’t Always Worth It

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150 responses to “I Suck at Selling on eBay

  1. Stefanie,
    Saw you quoted in a WSJ article on spending, real cool. You’re right when you need to evaluate how much your time is worth, we tried recycling but it took so much time. Instead we donate it to the city for pick up.

    1. Thanks Charles, it was pretty cool to see that article come out today. As for Ebay, I think I may try to sell some of the more valuable items, but otherwise it’s just not worth it. I donate quite a bit, but I’d also be interested in reading about some alternatives.

  2. I’m totally lazy when it comes to ebay. I just don’t want the extra errand of packing stuff up and shipping it. I usually default to CL and if I can’t sell it there I either keep the item or give it away if it’s not worth that much. Or realist it at another time.

  3. It’s true, there are a lot of fees involved. Have you considered craigslist? I know it can be more dangerous but at least you avoid all the fees. We’ve had really good luck with a few extras from our wedding like some pampered chef kitchen utensils, and a then we sold a few graphing calculators. Those sold well too.

  4. I’ve tried selling all sorts of things on eBay but the only thing that I’ve been successful with is selling my old cellphones. I make a decent profit from it. Everything else is just not worth it.

  5. I buy and sell a lot on eBay. I mostly buy watches, sunglasses and jewelry. Lately I’ve also been buying and selling currency but not making huge profits. Watches I can make a lot of money, few months ago purchased one for 1859 then sold it for 2300, another time I bought in at 1200 and sold for 1650… I see a lot of people that don’t take time to take good pictures and descriptions so I’m able to buy stuff cheaply then re-sell it with better images and a better ‘story’. I will admit it is a pain and takes up a lot of time but with the mobile app I’m in there all day… the fees are killer, see my post about fees.


  6. Ebay is only fun when you sell something for a ridiculous price or get something for crazy cheap. I used to try to sell my old CD’s on Ebay. Just like you, I was making about $1 per transaction after all was said and done. So not worth it ….

  7. I kind’ve suck at ebay too and I haven’t sold anything there for a while. I had a few people claim that their items weren’t in perfect shape (even a shirt that was new with tags) so I had to refund their money and lose the item. It sucked.

  8. My wife has sold somewhere around 100 items on eBay the past few months. For her she is happy pocketing a few dollars per item (on average) and getting rid of the clutter in our extra bedroom. I don’t think I could justify selling on eBay, though, for the reasons you pointed out – there’s too much opportunity cost involved.

  9. I have always found electronics, video games etc always sell the best on e-bay and usually bring in a good bit of money. Problem I run into is I don’t have a steady stream of these type of items to sell. 🙁

  10. Oh no, you didn’t send the book media mail? It’s really stupid that they usually make you ask for it specifically, but it makes books, DVDs and CDs SOOOO much cheaper to ship – especially heavy books.

    That sucks about the leotard. I always put insurance on things over $15-20 because the USPS sucks and looses things a LOT. It’s really ridiculous. Sorry you had such a crappy eBay experience!

    1. I was about to say the same thing…media mail! My sibling has a scale that we weigh stuff on before we list so we can figure out shipping more accurately. If its going to be too much of a pain to ship, I’ll list on Craigslist instead.

        1. I’ll generally try to meet people in public places. If it’s something too big, I make sure the fiance is home with me and that the item is by the door so they don’t come into my home.

  11. I have not tried EBay, but I suck at Craigslist which is another avenue people tell you to use to make money. I know people who have made some good money selling to consignment stores in NYC and no shipping. 🙂 I also have friends who have hosted an apartment “garage sale” where people brought bags of things they wanted to sell and whatever didn’t sell was given to charity. PS: how many leotards do you actually own?

    1. I was a big time gymnast growing up so I still have quite a few in my old stash. I’ve tried selling to Buffalo Exchange before, but they take such a HUGE cut and they’re crazy picky.

  12. I’ve done ebay a few times….but I have far more success with craigslist. I also generally do not list things unless it’s worth my time and effort. For example, selling things for a dollar or two (or even 5) just doesn’t seem worth my time. if they’re low cost items I usually group them together and try to sell a set of like items. Hope you have better luck in the future!!

  13. I sell a good bit on ebay and it’s definitely helped make some extra money. I never do 99c listings nor auction style anymore. All my listings are fixed prices with free shipping with the “make an offer” option. This has helped tremendously! I’m selling things I didn’t even think would sell. You do need to be mindful of what you’re listing, because the fee’s add up quick, but if you do it right, it really is an easy way to make money. I try to keep my items limited to fitting in a bubble envelope or tyvek envelope (clothing..) to save on shipping. And for ebay I only ship within the US, print labels from home, and request USPS pick-up. It can be a pain, but once you find your groove with it, it has potential to be a big money maker. Just on books, DVDs, and used jeans (no designer!) I brought in $1200/mo. I know people suggest CL, but I live in a rural area, so that’s not as successful for me. 🙂

  14. eBay scares me. Both buying and selling! I’ve purchased a desk off Craigslist before but haven’t sold anything online (other than my writing talents). It seems like an awful lot of work, like you outlined. Have you done the Buffalo Exchange/Plato’s Closet/Consignment store route?

  15. I used to sell stuff on eBay to help make money or at least supplement a pricey hobby. So I got pretty good at the rhythm of it. That said, there’s always some question marks. By the way, “pricing” an item is best by just choosing to view completed auctions of that or similar items. It gives you a good idea of what eBay customers will pay, which tends to be different than what’s on the rest of the web.

    Unless it’s something I know is sought after on eBay, I tend to stick with Craigslist. You don’t have to pay to list things, no shipping is involved, and no PayPal fees either.

  16. What a well written and detailed article! Great Job! The past couple of days I have been in a spring cleaning mode, throwing things away and making a pile of items that I could potentially sell. I have purchased and sold items on Kijiji or Craigslist before. However, like you mentioned, it is time consuming, especially taking photos. It is also a headache arranging to meet with people to buy or sell the items. For that reason I have been contemplating selling items on Ebay, but after reading your article I am now hesitant. Many complications and additional fees that I could potentially run into. Maybe after all of this, it would be best to sell my items the old fashioned way, a Garage Sale. 🙂

  17. I’ve really given up on eBay. Unfortunately, their seller fees just continue to escalate year after year – with way more advantage to buyers than sellers. Heck, they even got rid of your ability to leave a negative comment on a deadbeat buyer! What logic is in that?!

    Thanks for your post,

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience! I have been looking into selling some stuff and I didn’t consider Ebay an option because they charge you fees to sell, but your post has totally convinced me to stay clear! I plan on sticking with Craiglist because shipping anything can be a pain and I really hope it works out. I am sorry for your run of luck with this venture!

    1. I sold a textbook once where the USPS flat rate would’ve been cheaper but the time I would’ve spent waiting in line at my post office would not have been worth the savings 😉

      1. Boxes are free, you can take as many as you’d like from the post office without waiting in line. Pack it at home, print & pay for a shipping label from home & schedule an at home pickup. Flat rate boxes also include free insurance & tracking.

  19. We sell quite a bit on Ebay, but you have to be choosy about what you list. If it isn’t worth $10, it probably isn’t worth the time. I have an app on my phone that makes listing super quick and you can use the photo right from the phone. If you print the shipping label from Ebay, you get a discount, and it includes tracking in case of the issue you are having with the buyer. Our daughter outgrows stuff really fast, so that’s lots of what we sell, but we also do lots of consignment as well. Craig’s List does not work great here because we are so rural, but it might be great in the city.

  20. I think many of the big time success stories we hear from Ebay come from people who have found a niche market to tap into. They only focus on those particular items so they have a great deal of knowledge about pricing, shipping costs, etc. I used to buy and sell baseball cards on Ebay so I became very familiar with how much my items might sell for. Any time we’ve tried to just sell stuff from around the house we haven’t come out as well.

    1. I think you’re right. Someone who found the post on reddit was commenting on how much of a “moron” I was with my ebay strategy. Fact is, I don’t know the strategy and unless you’ve found your niche it’s hard to figure it out.

  21. Hey Stefanie. Bummer to hear about your Ebay woes!

    Like a few readers have already mentioned, I think you’d have better luck on Craigslist. I’m gonna try selling a few items there myself to test the waters. We’ll see how that goes.

    If you do Craigslist, just be careful of the variety of scams there are out there…this is one of those cases where you really have to trust your instincts!

    Take care and good luck. All the best.


    1. I’ve used craigslist to find jobs before and I actually bought an amazing unit for my kitchen on there, so I’m familiar with a lot of the scams out there and hopefully good enough to weed them out, but always better to stay safe than sorry.

  22. I’m a big fan of Craigslist as an alternative to Ebay, as it avoids some of the things you mentioned (no shipping, no packaging, no fees). Unless I have something that’s rare or particularly valuable, I’ll just craigslist it and be done with it. But both sites have their place.

  23. I have several things I want to sell, including collectibles and my wedding dress. eBay seems like a good option but I’ve never sold on it before because I’m afraid it won’t be worth it! Your experience is exactly what I expect will happen and the main reason I haven’t done anything yet. I hope your buyer receives the item and everything is resolved so you can at least make $30 from all this effort! Thanks for sharing your experience. A friend of mine suggested trying to sell stuff through Facebook before going the eBay route.

  24. I used to do really well on eBay, but during the last year, there’s definitely been an increase in items not selling at all and the fees just do my head in! I tried to sell my hubby’s bike 3 times, it was a complete disaster with 2 non payers and the third one accusing me of shill bidding (drumming up the price with a fake account). It was completely untrue, yet eBay did nothing about it and I ended up having to pay the final value fee on it despite not receiving the payment!

  25. I’ve only really sold books on amazon, and maybe a few other products too. Usually, it is something that others are selling so I don’t have to upload another picture. Media Mail rate for books aren’t too bad either. I’ve been thinking about selling other things like clothes which I have a co-worker who does that. She sells them as a package deal though…like 3 shirts rather than just one to make it worth it.

      1. Media Mail is definitely the way to go for books. Just be careful because it is technically meant solely for educational materials, so always ship it via the machine or have your package sealed before you go to the counter. 🙂

  26. People keep telling me to sell stuff on eBay but I honestly think I would probably suck at it as well. I just don’t have the patience

  27. I’ve had some luck on eBay, nothing too much, but you’re right, it’s a serious pain in the ass. Time consuming, can take a very long time to sell, and can be disappointing when it finally does sell. I’ve got some things listed that have been there for months. And shipping it is such a hassle. I’ve really started going the craigslist route, even though it’s creepier and I likely don’t make as much. Oh, and the fees! Man alive!

  28. I just started selling on ebay recently myself and was surprised at the fees and how they are not really upfront about them. I have made some decent money, mainly because I was a video game nerd back in the day and there are a lot of nostalgic video game nerds on ebay. Electronics are king on ebay.

  29. The only way low dollar sales work is if you have the volume to make it worth it. I sold more than 1,000 SIM cards for an average of around $7 each. I bought them in bulk for $1/each so it was a great return on investment. It only made sense because I was able to buy them in bulk and sell them individually. The $1 cost also let me not worry about when people would tell me they didn’t receive their SIM card. I would immediately offer them a replacement or refund. To top it all off, all 1,500 fit into an average sized box so managing the inventory was a breeze. I miss my SIM card business!

  30. I’ve given up on trying to sell items through Craigslist, Ebay, or Amazon. Lets face it, the market on these sites is just not in favor of the seller.
    Craigslist sellers have a terrible time actually getting anyone to SHOW UP to buy the item, even when a time is arranged. Ebay and Amazon have policies hugely in favor of the buyer, making it easy for sellers to be scammed out of their slim earnings. Let alone the cost of commission fees these sites skim off the top!
    After a few bad experiences I’ve washed my hands of the whole mess. Now I give my stuff away to shelters or other worthy causes. In the case of books or dvds I use websites that buy books ( is a great resource) or I’ve had great experiences with all of these. 🙂

      1. If you’re only selling five small item things like a 99 cent necklace or a $3 movie script then it’s probably not worth it. But if you hit the garage sales and thrift shops consistently, it’s a great way of making extra cash. I hate the fees too. But if I owned a shop, my fees would be way higher and I wouldn’t have 50 million potential customers. It’s the cost of doing business. Again, probably not worth it for a buck or two profit…

        1. The higher profit margins help a lot. I was just trying to sell stuff I had lying around. I’m sure there are better ways to go about it when you’re making it a real business venture.

  31. Yes, I made the decision not to list anymore too. It takes too much effort. Years ago when I started selling on eBay it was worth it and I flipped a lot of items. Now, so many people don’t pay or put claims against you etc. Items sell for less, people want it now so there is not as much competition in the auctions etc.

    I make money other ways and I just don’t think selling is for me anymore.

  32. I’ve had the opposite experience with selling my crap on eBay. I’ve found that for the most part is that the stuff will sell for what it’s worth and not what you think it’s worth. Ebay allows you to automatically re-list your item for free x3. If it doesn’t sell in 3 weeks I donate or giveaway. I sold close to $1500 worth of stuff in Feb.

    1. That’s great. I’ve re-listed many items to no avail. Perhaps if I had something more valuable to sell it would be worthwhile, but after a few months of trying to figure it out, it hasn’t been worth the effort. I’m going to explore some alternatives.

        1. I’m in NYC so that nixes the garage/porch/patio option :/ The rate of return on consignment I’ve found to be pretty pathetic. I really need to try out craigslist.

  33. Sigh. Don’t even get me started. I just spent the time equivalent of a king’s ransom writing listing descriptions, taking photos, and listing my children’s designer baby clothes…only to find that I totally underestimated shipping fees, and what money I did collect will go toward fees…and — now here’s the best part — I shot the rest of my earnings where? You guessed it: Right back on eBay.

    I need to join eBay Anonymous.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  34. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that sucks at Ebay. I’ve tried a few times, but never made a profit after shipping & seller fees.

      1. Hey Stefanie,

        Sorry to hear that eBay didn’t turn out for ya. If you want to make consistent money off of eBay, it is best to sell a few things and get good at selling those things…

        I sell electronics, and since they are small and worth a good bit of money, they don’t cost much to sell. I mean $200 for a package that weighs a pound? Shipping isn’t too bad considering the item price.

        And yes eBay gouges you 10% usually, but if you factor it in, you can figure out if you are getting a good deal or not. It is frustrating at first, but once you figure out a few things it can and will become profitable.

        1. I think if you can figure out, as you have, it can be great. I have just failed so many times and lost so much time and money that I’ve moved on to other, more lucrative and less frustrating prospects. Though I still love ebay for BUYING.

  35. I’ve been selling on craigslist and another online website with pretty good results. Sometimes the sales are good, sometimes they’re not. I prefer being able to sell through craigslist since it cuts out shipping fees (but, a smaller audience).

  36. I agree with you Stefanie…eBay is just not worth it unless you have something of value. I have 1950’s collectibles that I cant give away on eBay. 10 years ago, these items would have sold for top dollar, $50 for one item. I also just dealt with a collectible I mailed to Australia (she was the only bidder, again, this collectible would have went for top dollar in the past), it arrived broken. Thank goodness eBay honored there policy of it not being the sellers fault if it arrives broken to an “out of country” buyer. It still was upsetting to deal with, even though the buyer was very nice about it. Items just don’t go for what they used to on eBay. I’m finding Craigslist is no better either.

    1. It’s so frustrating. I just wound up donating a whole bunch of valuable stuff instead because I can’t deal with the online markets. They’re not worth the effort.

  37. I have had good look on Facebook groups. I sell hunting stuff so i go to the sell pages. I am sure NYC is full of them. I also list my items on Craigslist and have recently thought about ebay as well.

  38. I have sold on Ebay for about a yr and a half, went through a business “coaching” program for e-commerce, royally scammed and ripped off but I did learn a lot about Ebay and over time it does pay but you’re right about probably needing to sell something for $25 or more because smaller items and the fees just really aren’t worth it. Thanks for writing this.

    1. I assume there are definitely some skills involved as a seller, but with nothing super valuable to sell, I don’t know that it’s worth even trying at this point for me.

      1. I enjoy your blog Stephanie, especially the email when there is a post. I have never had a member at eBay NOT pay me on eBay and I have been selling there since 1999. I hear horror stories about that happening and sure hope those that it happens to, report it to eBay so they know this is happening. I also have had good luck with selling on Craigslist. You get the occasional “Would you take $10 for it?” if I am selling something for $15, but for the most part, they pay what you’re asking without question. A word of caution: People have always been nice to do business with on Craigslist in my personal experience, but I’m a guy 6’3 tall and $220.
        So LADIES, if you’re selling something on Craigslist, always have someone with you (preferably a guy) whether you are selling from your home or going to their home.

  39. The only time I did good is when I would find Harvey Brody Manuals on amazon and sell them on ebay. ex One set I bought for 26 dollars sold for $400.00, my original set I paid 250.00+- sold for 1000.oo. when the amazon source dried up all I could sell was books etc. I got one dispute with a lady that purchased a screen printer. she had 1 purchase on ebay I sent the item on time with confirmation she threatened to report me to some internet theft agency, and other agencies as well, of course ebay took her side what a nightmare she had sent me around 32 threatening emails. If you sell used items be sure to subtract the time it takes you to research the item your selling the time to take a decent picture, write a nice ad when you do you’ll find your really not making very much. The people at ebay have big egos, but really their time has come and gone.

  40. HAHA! I love this! I can totally relate. honestly, I’ve sold mostly things that are useless to me that buyers see as a form of treasure. I try to focus more on the pricier end of my selling items such as electronics and or antique things. The more you sell, the easier and more profit you tend to make. Don’t give up just yet! 😉

  41. Thanks so much for posting your recent eBay experiences. I’ve never listed anything on eBay but have purchased plenty over the last decade. I just acquired 30-40 antique items from my grandparents estate and was considering attempting to ‘sell’ them on eBay but after reading several posts, I think I will look for another way of listing. In my area (Canada) there is a fantastic site called Kijiji. It’s free and extremely popular!

  42. Ebay is a business and it is work like anything else that you do for money. You have to be smart about it and have a business head. You need to know your market and sell to those people. I have always done well with ebay. One thing that I would never do is put up something for .99. Put it up for what you think it is worth and what people are paying. Check out other items similar to your and price it accordingly. It is way too much work to list something for .99. People seem to talk about what was. What was ebay is no longer you need to deal with what is and work with the reality of today.

    1. Good points Harriet. I was trying to use ebay as a way to clear out some stuff while making a little additional income (as I think a lot of new users do). Through my experience I found that the platform wasn’t really conducive to that kind of use- though I can see how it would be great for people who want to make it a true business and are willing to put in the time and effort.

  43. Stefanie, the title of this post caught my eye. I know you wrote it a while ago, but I still wanted to comment. Sorry you had such a miserable eBay experience. I agree with everyone that their fees are just too frickin’ high. I guess I am one of the successful ones. Have sold on and off for years with never any problems. It certainly is time consuming which is why I’m on the “off” cycle right now. lol I do sell .99 cent things, mostly books…and only if I’m listing other stuff going for a higher price. That .99 item then becomes a one off, might as well post type thing. I NEVER sell clothes on eBAy. Too competitive IMO. I take that stuff to consignment. And as another poster said, it’s gotta fit in certain envelopes. Large items, I try to Craigslist. My husband and I are trying to get through all of our eBay, Craigslist, consignment stuff in the next months and then whatever doesn’t sell, sell it a garage sale and then what’s left, donate.
    Funny story. Almost ten years ago I bought some Tommy Hilfiger shower curtains to resell on Ebay.. They were nothing more than clear plastic liners with the Tommy HIlfiger logo. They were selling for $20 at Macy’s. I bought them all up for .70 cents each after final markdown and coupon. I then resold them on eBay for an average of $9.99 plus shipping. I thought that was wonderful. Well I still had two that I uncovered last year. I put them on ebay just expecting the listing to expire. They were both bid up to $40 each!! For plastic shower curtain liners!! Ridiculousness. But you never know. Sure wish I had more of those liners. 🙂

    1. Hi Kim,
      Very good points. I have been putting a lot of hours into ebay for the past month and it is all new to me. I have basically only been selling clothes and shoes that I find at the thrift markets. One thing I’ve noticed so far is.. you get out of it exactly what you put into it. Being a new seller I am only allowed 50 items a month. So I figured, the more ads, the better my chances and went ahead and listed 50 ads. I was very precise as far as how much I paid at the thrift store as well as shipping so I know how much to mark up. My funny story is.. I recently found a pair of women’s Land Rover Duck Boots at the Goodwill which I paid 3 dollars for; put them up as a 7 day auction with 5.99 starting point and they sold at $68.00 and $7 dollars shipping. Out of all 50 ads I’ve put up of all clothes and 4 pairs of shoes, as of 16 days in I’ve sold 20 items. I put a lot of time making sure that the ad looks good and is well written. I plan to take this hobby as far as I can. I’ve approached ebay with a true business outlook and its paying off. All I’m saying in short is.. Ebay WILL give you exactly what you put into it in my opinion. The reason I’ve replied to your response is because you are so right in needing to have additional avenues to sell the items that are not selling on a particular platform. Thanks for the insight and good luck with your future selling!

  44. Ok so I read your post….was interested in it…..but as all people make mistakes……they also learn……my thing is I am new to eBay as of this year but I made one selling item…..I have one bidder that had bid on it…..I’m not quote sure how I am able to see if they bought it or if a payment has gone through……it would be lovely if someone could help with this situation because I’m very confused about it!!?!?! Thank you for any help given…..but I’m a 22 year old girl just trying to make a few dollars for the holidays!!!!!

  45. I hear you, but I have a manuscript I am working on, that will help people find items to sell, on a low budget; than flip them for a large profit. You really can’t make anything on regular everyday items….I have been selling for over 14 years and you have to search for that “Diamond in the Rough”.
    I run an estate sales business and before I even get my foot into the door to start the job, I see dumpsters full of treasures simply because they don’t t realize what they are tossing in the trash is cash. So, I came up with the title for my book, “Stop Throwing Cash in the Trash”. Go to Facebook page, with that same title, and view some of my tips. I hope you will like the page:-) I just sold a pair of Levi’s blue jeans for $1,350. I paid “zero” for them. Hope to help the public:-)

      1. I found 2 hot sellers, binoculars and telescopes, go figure. A neighbor asked me to sell them for her. Didn’t think they would sell, but sold fast and for top dollar. The telescope was a remote controlled telescope and the binoculars were for hunting.

  46. Oh dear, you don’t suck at Ebay. Ebay sucks. Period. I’ve sold on Ebay for over 10 years and the last few years Ebay has made it increasingly more difficult and much more expensive to be a seller. They are systematically pushing out small sellers for the big corporations and the Chinese manufacturers. I looked into Amazon but they want me to have a business account for the specific items i sell so I didn’t make a seller account. A lot of people who have sold on Ebay for years are treading through Ebay quicksand, losing their livlihoods, etc. and in search of a new place. Now, I’ve found this new marketplace that is supposedly launching in the spring or summer. I’m not sure exactly when but it seems promising because it’s being started by an eCommerce entrepreneur named Marc Lore who started and and later sold to Amazon for over 500 million. Right now they’re giving away free 6-month memberships before they open in order to build an instant customer base. I think it will cost money for membership in the future but if people join before Feb 6 it’s free and worth it to take a look. I’m hoping this will be the new and better Ebay. Here’s a link to the site if anyone wants to check it out and join.

  47. Great post. I re-posted it on Facebook as reselling often seems like a great second income type of job. There are ways it can work, like local 24 on line auction sites but there is no getting around the hassle of posting and then hoping the buyer shows up, or sitting somewhere waiting for them to meet in a public place. Good point about factoring your time when you calculate the benefits of selling.

    1. I didn’t have much of value to sell which I think was the biggest hurdle for me. If you’re not gonna clear at least $25, it’s probably not worth your time.

  48. Craigslist definitely wins over eBay.

    Maybe it’s my hoarder mentality, but in general I just don’t see the benefit of spending so much time trying to make $20 off a lamp I don’t want anymore. Seems like a waste of resources. I’d rather donate.

    That said my wife recently began using OfferUp and that seems like a pretty useful way to get rid of small items without much hassle. Of course you’ll run into bargain hunters who are trying to talk you down to nothing just like at your neighborhood garage sale.

  49. One other thing…

    Ebay has turned into more of a marketplace for retail outlets to list their items than for individuals auctioning their closet. Just as Amazon has filled the gap in their inventory with ecommerce companies willing to give up a percentage of the sale to get in front of more eyeballs eBay is following in their footsteps…unbeknownst to most casual internet users.

    1. Ebay is not the venue it once was, even for small business sellers. It’s definitely moving toward being an online mall housing all the big brands – and they get all the bandwidth in search results. Plus, their new policies make ‘liar buyer fraud’ the norm rather than the exception.

      I’ve heard that selling groups on Facebook are doing well, although I’ve not had a chance to really look into them. Something to consider though…

  50. I sell on the Poshmark app and to LikeTwice quite regularly as I had quite a bit of weight increase the past four years due to lifestyle changes and medical issues (now losing and on my way back to my regular, i.e. goal weight). Combined with a past shopping problem, I have a huge wardrobe with a variety of sizes. Now I’m working toward a minimalist capsule. But I probably donate 75%, sell 25%. I only sell certain items that I think will move well, I price at a bargain to move it quicker (lower than other poshers) and I have a short shelf life after which I donate. Poshmark is a mobile device app so it’s a bit easier to load. There is no commission charge until an item sells but then it is steeper than eBay (20%). The priority mail shipping is set by the app and is paid by the buyer, not the seller, unless a package exceeds 5 lbs (rare for me), than there is a flat rate extra per pound. The label is emailed by PM to the seller so you just weigh, pack and ship – easy peasy. LikeTwice ( will send you a bag, you throw stuff in, mail and then they send you a quote. You can accept or deny, whatever they don’t take, they’ll donate (you are accepting or denying the entire batch offer, not item by item). You get a higher offer if you take a credit instead of cash. I usually take a site credit as they offer a return policy so there is little risk to the buyer as well. But LikeTwice only takes certain brands and more recent seasons. I also setup a little pack and wrap station in the corner of my kitchen so I can get a shipment ready to go very quickly now. I’ve made over $3K in a year’s time on Poshmark. For my donations I often do the drive and drop options as it’s quick or if I have time I’ll give it to the local domestic women’s shelter (they also own a thrift store) or ship excellent condition business attire to the Dress for Success (there is no chapter on Maui). Many of the selling apps also now offer a selling service where you can ship your items to them and they’ll list and sell, take a cut. Those are better for higher priced or luxury goods however.

      1. more profit to be made on ebay for books, but look up there ranking and going rate on the amazon seller app. books are hard so dont waste time on books ranking over 3-4 million on amazon unless your profit is high or if ebay look at sold prices and go from there

  51. Dear Sirs,
    As an Ebay Seller, I was downgraded for the # of listings because apparently I did not input / use a tracking service for my buyers’ goods in the U.S. After almost 3 months now, I had been told that my rating would be reinstated and I would be able to list mroe. I am absolutely furious to learn that my listing amount had been downgraded again because i did not use their e-service / ups for logistics to the USA. I have worked hard trying to build an ebay business but they don’t seem to have infromed or pointed out the important clauses before Ebay and i enter into a contractual agreement. it is pointless and making so little and with more “uninformed” policies are restricting me making my bread and butter. I think I might as well I a mission for the rest of my life to try to use different means legally to destroy this Ebay Inc. no matter what their value is on the NYSE. For one, paypal is a sister company of Ebay Inc. and i have reasons to believe that Paypal is the largest online payment gateway and its market share might have violated the Anti-Trust Law in the US. How that their requirement for Sellers (also in the US) to use their e-service for logistics, (any vested interest for ebay to be find out) and if this is true, would a class action suit against ebay for such practice if it can be proofed that the shipping rates are much higher than other choices, can this be a valid class action suit against Ebay for any vested compenstion not including any fine if proofing that they had violated the anti-trust law and fair business practice within the players in the online auction ecommerce. I have reason to be that Paypal had the most market share in the online payment gateway and to be frank, as a user, their exchange rates, fees are very high and consumers have no choice other than via paypal for most of the online transactions. I hope you can help and I would do any investigation in order to make any class action suit happening. Appreciate your advice.

    1. How is that possible? If you ship through ebay or paypal, not only do you get a nice discount on shipping, your tracking info is FREE and it gets uploaded IMMEDIATELY.

      You are doing something wrong

    2. By the way–Paypal can and does hold your money to up to 21 days after a sale. After you have “proven” yourself worthy after a minimum of 3 months… they will release your money on payment—MAYBE… MAYBE.. BUT.. AS POINTED OUT IN THE 47 PAGE USUER AGREEMENT: In order for this to happen:

      The sun has to come up between a certain 10 minute period at the same time in every place on the globe and you have to be using the same bank as the buyer or Warren Buffett has to approve the transaction himself. If he does approve the transaction then this still can’t happen if it is a leap year. If it is a leap year and Warren talks to Jimmy (Buffett- no relation although even Jimmy probably thinks it would be worth overhauling to make it a possibility that he could be related to Warren because he still has more money than Jimmy– but Jimmy is probably close) and Jimmy thinks that you need more time to prove yourself as a human and not a align… then, and only then you could see your money upon BUYER payment… IF you are a natural blond and not using bleach. If you are blond and using bleach then you have to wait another 2 weeks, but if you can prove that the bleach comes a Salon and not the grocery store, then you could POSSIBLY get the money in one week from payment…. BUT ONLY IF YOU NOT BORN IN THE UNITED STATES. If you are born in the United States then you may need to prove that you have reliable relatives from other countries. Clearly you are not a good risk. IF YOU ARE ABLE TO MEET ALL THE ABOVE CRITERIA AND THE WIND IS BLOWING AT 5 KNOTS IN A EASTWARDLY FASHION AND IT IS NOT RAINING ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES THEN YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY UPON BUYER PAYMENT—-BUT– IT WILL TAKE PAYPAL 3-5 DAYS TO DEPOSIT THAT MONEY INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT BECAUSE THEY PHYSICALLY MUST WALK IT FROM THEIR LOCATION IN CALIFORNIA TO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT. IF THEY DECIDE TO HITCH HIKE IN THE PHYSICIAL TRANSPORT AND THEY END UP IN HUMBOLT COUNTY OF CALIFORNIA AND ARE FORCED TO BUY SOME (REALLY WELL GROWN) POT (dope.. weed.. not a pot for plants but pot the plant) WITH YOUR MONEY- WELL THAT SHIT HAPPENS. IT IS GOOD SHIT THOUGH…SO ALL IS NOT LOST.

      thank you for using paypal… we appreciate the high.

      1. LMFAO!!!!!!! Suzzie OMG YOU CRACK ME UP!!!! do you have a blog or anything?? Id love to read stuff you write, its awesome LOLOL!! anyway on a serious note, Im on my 2nd ebay adventure and the 1st went smooth (other then a lill issue i wont elaborate on) such as, after the 4 months, 25+ transactions and $250 made in ebay transactions, my money was not held anymore by paypal, it was like clockwork. this second round, I do the same and right around the same times, 4 months continuous selling, over $250 made and over 25 transactions, I finally get that beautiful email from paypal saying after that day, no more money will be held…I was ecstatic. I sell 2 items the next 2 days after that email…the money goes into a fu*king pending state again….another couple sells, still pending, I do everything by the book, I know my way around ebay and paypal pretty damn well at this point, still money is being put into pending…I email paypal….no response other then an email asking for my feedback on paypal customer service for the issue i had emailed about……they want my feedback yet never bothered to even reply to my inquiry on WTF is going on with my money being held.
        its now been about 2-3 weeks since that original email, ive sold another 10 items or so, made about 200 bucks, lots of good feedback, everything 5 star, A++, yada, yada, SOOOOOO what Im wondering is are others having same issue?? where your doing everything by the book and going on over 4-5 months of proven, successful seller history and your money is still being held???? and not only that my money is typically being held the entire 21 days even tho i ship priority and send out same day or next, through ebay labels and all that shit and there still holding my money hostage….. Im pissed and was wondering if it had to do with ebay and paypal breaking up?? or what? im bout to call paypal here pretty soon, this sh*t is gettin old and this isnt the 1st time paypal has pulled some weird shit on me…I wont go there but anyway, I still love ebay the same and honestly i ended up on this blog cause I sell clothing… mostly womens jeans and Im looking for a faster more efficient way to list…Im doing WELL, just need to list FASTER! lol

  52. I’ve been doing ebay and Poshmark, a website you can sell your clothing.. No luck with Poshmark, at all. I got a a few sales with ebay but not to write home about.

  53. I’m late to the game where, but there is no better opportunity on the internet to get wealthy than eBay. My brother and I went full time on eBay this month. I only listed 125 items in June and made $700. From the article I can be almost sure you are not taking eBay seriously. The fees are ridiculous, no lie there. It’s all about PROFIT MARGIN. If what you are listing is only worth $10 it better have cost you nothing or no more than a dollar because after shipping you will only have peanuts left.

    You must use tracking on EVERYTHING. There is no room for customers to say they can’t find a product that is directly posted to them.

    If you are doing this for casual money on the side you are wasting your time. You either take this as a serious business model or you are wasting your time. By serious I mean to say, list things worth something. Make it worth your time. People are not looking for stupid little trinkets. People like to go shopping at stores for stupid little trinkets for the same price.

    EBay is where people come to get a deal on something nice they like and it works. I use eBay all the time for things.

    Making money on eBay is a full time business. It is not something you do carelessly. It’s either serious or a serious waste of time.

    1. Great points! My approach was definitely casual. People often say “sell your old stuff for money” implying it’s an easy way to make some extra money, but like you know, it takes effort.

  54. I’m selling on Ebay but not as full time. At fiirst it is overwhelming and you make mistakes along the way but the secret is always be honest and br accommodating. Tips: Don’t waste your time listing those blouses, mugs, ugly decors from thrift stores. Consider yourself as a buyer and ask yourself what is worth spending your money on Ebay.
    Go to dept. stores when they are on sale and use coupons. Whatever markdown items you find, find that online and compare the price. Make sure you have aleeady calculated the fees, Ebay 10%, Paypal 5%, Shipping fee 10% ( that’s how much they take from your money). Buy your packaging materials on Ebay too.
    I guarantee that it will work, just have enough patience. I am a full time employee but through Ebay, I have spent good things out from selling, bought concert tickets, went to amusement parks, treat my family to a nice restaurant every now and then.

  55. Having been a seller on ebay for over 10 years with very high feedback ratings, I CANNOT RECOMMEND ebay to anyone anymore. Every year, the seller requirements become more difficult (like holding YOUR money hostage for 3 months). They will put your account on probation without provocation. More troubling is that ebay will SIDE WITH THE BUYER regardless of whether you fulfilled your obligation or not. In the years of selling, I have lost the cost of the item, been accused of lying about my item, and have received a returned item damaged (newly inflicted by a disgruntled buyer). And, if the buyer is unhappy for any reason, now the SELLER has to pay for the RETURN SHIPPING. Since when did I become Nordstroms? eBay has bullied me into adopting their strict requirements, while loosening their buyer requirements. When people with a zero rating buy my items, I hold my breath. They are high risk. ebay is no longer worth my time or aggravation. When the last of my inventory is done, I’m done. Stay away unless you absolutely need the money.

  56. You make some really valid points. This is a GREAT post to print and take to Garage/Estate sales when they tell you “well this is what it sells for on eBay”. I always tell them – GO SELL IT ON EBAY.

    This will be my 16th holiday season selling on eBay, since my 2nd child was born. It has been up and down and I have sold a variety from new items to vintage.

    As with a few sellers, I have a spouse who is employed and has health care and all that “stuff”. My goal is to generate enough for extras.

    You DO bring some good points. Shipping, etc – not all rainbows and unicorns.

    BUT I have made quite a bit selling. And have had some losses also. I hate to say this but its volume and knowing the net or potential before you list. Also the more you list, the quicker you get and the more prepared you are. I take a lot of pics at once, then do a lot of listing at once.

    these days there are a lot of other sites and apps and I have to say I am enjoying selling on Poshmark, or as someone mentioned listing not selling. Its a whole different philosophy of selling and communication with a large social media component.

    I also have a very simple excel spreadsheet where I calculate the net I will get. If its under $5 you really have to say, is it better to just donate? If you already have it listed you can also “set it and forget it” by using good til cancelled and just letting it relist. I have had a number of items sell just this past weekend that have been listed over a year. And for me, if I already am shipping stuff its incrementally not much more time and energy.

    good luck and try some other sites – my daughter sells on Vinted and has had some luck there – again a lot of items are listed and dont sell for a while

  57. I have been selling on Ebay for almost 17 years. It started as a hobby. I run about 200 items on there all the time now. This is part time for me as I have a full time job. I find it to be a very good extra income. Yes some buyer are a pain , but that’s any place. I am now 55 and looking to sell till I retire. Maybe longer.

  58. Iv’e read mist of the comments here….so I was happy to find out that it’s not only
    Me having difficulty with selling on ebay. I’ve been selling on ebay for about 20 years… and yes, it’s near impossible to sell on ebay now. Too many people trying to sell the same stuff…well what’s going to happen? Simple enough….supply and demand!!!!! now ebay has a search option for buyer who can find the item, fi d the lowest price, the lowest shipping cost, who is offering buy it now, offering free shipping what do you think is going to happen???? The buyer buys the best deal for him. If you search for an item as a buyer, you will always buy the one with the best deal for you. Well as for me, I don’t sell anything I won’t at least make 25.00 on….definitely not worth it. It’s a buyers market on ebay…been screwed many times by buyers. Lots of scams the sellers has to be aware of. Ebay does not side with the seller, which to me is stupid since their money comes from the seller..not the buyer. Once I get rid of my stuff, I’ll say good bye to ebay. Sold a cookie jar to someone, and they complained about it to ebay,saying “not as described”. Does ebay check my 100% good ratkngs..NO..they side with the buyer. So he sent me back HIS. COOKIE JAR…I mean really! Does he not think I know that he has played a switcheroo. Does ebay side with me..of course not. Like I said ebay sides with the buyer 99% of the time. I hope someone reads this and takes a few hints from me. Thanks for reading..I could write a book about ebay.

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