My Experiences with Ebay

I’ve been an ebay member since 2000 both buying and selling.  Initially, I saw the emergence of digital music and digital video recording that would make CD’s and magnetic tape obsolete so I sold off my CD collection (mainly purchased from Columbia House), CD player and tape cassette player.

I was able to upgrade to newer digital cameras (selling my older ones) a few times before settling on one.  Selling older technology, especially electronics and computing equipment, allows you to get some value back offsetting the price of a newer model.  Hold on to it too long and most of its value will be gone.

I was scammed once on satellite cards where I purchased two and ebay insurance at the time only covered your individual purchases up to $200 with a $25 deductible so I lost $50.  Ebay/Paypal now covers your entire purchase with no deductible.

I almost lost several hundred on a new camera that I arranged “off-ebay”.   The seller had good feedback selling mainly video games but was recently listing higher price electronic items.   After I sent the seller a postal money order, I noticed a wave of negative feedback on her account.  Luckily, she returned my money order.

I got caught buying “high density RAM” which is a bit of a scam since this memory isn’t readily available and has high incompatibility with most computers.  I had to contact the BBB in the seller’s state in order to get the seller to give me a partial refund after I returned the item.

Fairly recently, I sold an unused gift card which I sent out as an email.  Electronic versions of gift cards are actually prohibited on ebay and I should have sent it out by tracked post.  The gift card was promptly used and about a month later a chargeback was issued by the credit card company indicating it was an unauthorized purchase.  I got automated emails from Paypal indicating they were fighting the chargeback for about a month until the final email said they were unsuccessful.  I phoned Paypal’s customer support and the agent credited all my past Paypal fees until the amount I lost was zeroed out.

Gift cards are a big source of scams for both buyers and sellers.  Shoplifters will return items without a receipt, and are given store credit which they will try to sell.  Paypal requires tracking information for any item purchased, so “items not received” disputes will always go to the buyer without that information.  When returning items, always use a tracked service as well.  I usually don’t bother with low value items.

Currently, ebay has no listing fees but takes a 10% commission on the final value INCLUDING postage.  Sellers used to take advantage by listing items with a low selling price and jacked up shipping fee.  Paypal fees are 2.9% plus 30 cents.

Canada Post fees are currently pretty high making it tough for Canadian sellers to compete with US sellers using USPS.  US sellers find it tough to compete with Asian sellers selling some items for $1 or $2 including shipping.

I have bought quite a few items from Asian sellers including electronics cables, cell phone accessories and electronic components.  It is cheaper and more convenient than being in a market in Shanghai or Hong Kong.  Delivery ranges typically from 2-8 weeks.  There is no tax or duty if the declared value of the item is less than $20 CAD.

For low value and large items, I now get rid of my junk listing on Craigslist and use ebay only for unique, more specialty items.




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