I consider myself a relatively with it kind of gal (though use of the phrase probably negates any possibility of actually being, you know, With It). I do the texting and the tweeting. I shop and research and manage life online. I run point on tech in this house – well, except for the game room, I don’t understand a damn thing that goes on in there – but overall? I’ve never thought of myself as Bambi-like when it comes to this stuff. Right up until the moment my kid wanted to sell things online.
That’s when reality hit hard – I was an eBay virgin.
I felt like the last person on earth to wander into this bizarre auction/yard sale/for profit/get-this-thing-the-hell-out-of-my-house area of the internet. Then again I found out that the guy who does my hair just got “The Netflix” so it’s a pretty good bet I might not be the very last.
Regardless, in case you’re thinking about wandering into the online sales waters, let me share my vastly limited knowledge of The eBay with all of you.
1. Your average Joe transaction involves PayPal. This is a way for you to pay for or accept payment for something without exchanging credit card information. It seems like a good thing.
2. PayPal isn’t a charitable organization. Buying is free in the U.S. but they’ll charge a fee if you’re the seller.
3. If you transfer earned money to your linked bank account the fee is smaller, especially if you don’t fall for the Instant Transfer!!! bells and whistles option. Sure, it’s only a 1% fee, but standard transfer is free and deposits your money the next business day. Live and learn.
4. This one’s important now. DO NOT under any circumstances accept your under-18 child’s word that “sure, I can have a PayPal account, everybody has them!” without confirming it in the fine print. If you take this very important step you’ll see that no, you’re actually NOT allowed to own a PayPal account as a minor.
5. Following #4 will prevent that painfully panicky feeling of holy crap, have we just trapped money in an account AND NOW WE CAN’T ACCESS IT FOR YOU??? Seriously. You’ll thank me later.
6. People will message you on eBay asking to buy your thing. Ridiculous ones are the easiest. “I will pay you $7,000 and $200 for shipping if you will just send me your PayPal address right now.” Umm…no. Negotiations are trickier. I guess maybe people use this to get around paying eBay fees (yeah, they’re not a charity either) but since we have z-e-r-o experience we weren’t even messing with that.
7. So about those eBay fees. You can list up to 50 items a month for free (like I’d ever want to handle 50 items a month, this is stressful). Final Value Fees – or what I like to call “holy hell, it actually SOLD fees” – are a percentage of the total sale. They’ve got a whole chart on it but ours was 10%.
8. This one’s important (and also bullshit). eBay took 10% of that sale, INCLUDING THE SHIPPING. That’s right. The buyer covered shipping charges to, you know, mail the item and eBay took a cut. File this under details that would have been helpful to understand while listing the item.
9. Speaking of shipping, if you don’t already have the packing materials make sure you factor this into the asking price. Learned that one the hard way.
10. They get pissy if you pull an item. We listed an xBox that ended up selling on Facebook Marketplace (more on that platform later) and had to remove the auction seeing as we no longer had the system to sell. I got a disapproving pop up box that said “removing items from an auction disappoints the buyers” along with a threat to charge a Final Values Fee like I was some errant sixteen-year-old who’d kept the car out too late on a school night. I believe “bite me” were my exact words as I clicked Remove.
That’s about the long and the short of it. Feel free to share your own eBay knowledge in the comments and we’ll crowdsource this baby.