How To Drive Customers Away on Ebay
ADD CHARGES FOR HANDLING AND PACKING MATERIALS
You want the advantage eBay offers of a million possible buyers, otherwise you could just have a garage sale at home. And, you want to look like an antique store without paying for rent, employees, insurance, etc. What you want is to have the best of both worlds. But, a professional can't have it both ways. If you are selling more than three items a year on eBay, you are a professional.
Has an antique store ever charged you extra to wrap the fragile antique in lots of tissue paper? Did they ever tell you it would be 50¢ extra if you want a bag? Or charge for the bag by a percentage of the item price? There are expenses in a business, and your way of dealing with expenses should be to deduct them at tax time.
Some sellers use a professional shipper to pack all their items. This probably does assure that the item will be packed safely. But that is not why the seller is using the subcontractor. When you see a seller with tons of feedback, peek in and see how many auctions they are running at one time. Maybe 50? Maybe 100? Even more? How could any seller 1) keep track of all those (computer software) and 2) have the time to wrap up all of those items? He doesn't, he pays extra for someone else to pack up each item. Well, no - you pay extra so he has the ability to run hundreds of auctions at one time. This extra expense benefits him, makes his life easier, allows him to make tons more money, BUT does not cut into his profit margin at all. It is just one more "gift" to you - if you choose to accept it.
This is one of the best off Ebay, for some dishes: "Due to the enormous amount of packing and shipping, shipping and handling is $200.00! I have not decided how to ship yet. I'm thinking UPS just because of their handling policies." First, the seller doesn't even know the cost of postage because he hasn't decided on which company to use. Second, here's an important piece of advice: If you don't want to ever pay for bubblewrap and foam peanuts, sell clothing! You will also find ways to possibly get all of your packing materials for free.
Ebay is full of "gifts" of extra charges right now. Many of the newer sellers have seen the example of these over-charging sellers and have followed suit. The handling fee is $1.00 for unbreakables, $2.00 to $5.00 on breakables (depending on size), and some are charging $5.00 for a "good strong box." That's not all. Someone told them that $.55 is a small price to pay for delivery confirmation. Well, it is a small price for the buyer to pay for the seller's peace of mind. The buyer uses trust to send a seller money, certainly the seller can trust the buyer not to say that the item never arrived when it really did. That is all that delivery confirmation is for - telling the seller the date and time that a package was delivered. Tracking is not included. Just one more charge that is unnecessary and is passed to the buyer.
You might get away with extra charges occasionally if the customer doesn't read the small print, or if the customer does read the small print but really wants the item. The sellers who want to get rid of as many customers as possible put in their listings that the bidder agrees to pay shipping, insurance and handling without a warning of how much the handling charge would be. There is not always time to ask the question and get the reply before making a decision to bid or not.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE A HUGE LIST OF ALL THE THINGS YOU WON'T STAND FOR
Man, there is nothing like reading about all the bad deals the seller has had and what they simply won't put up with anymore to make you want to rush to put a bid on his item! It is almost funny that the sellers with some of the longest lists of do's and don'ts for their bidders are brand new to Ebay. Hmm. Maybe they read the woes of so many other sellers that they thought this would nip all the problems in the bud. If you don't mention cheating, fraud, paying slowly, bad checks, etc., the bidders might not ever think of such things. If you treat your bidders with dignity, fairness and trust, that is what you will usually receive from them. Besides, you certainly don't want bidders thinking that the reason you've had so many problems just might be you.
SNEAK IN EXTRA CHARGES
If you see an item listed for much less than it is worth with no reserve, it sometimes pays to ask a seller early in the auction just what postage would be for their item. You can't just assume even postage rates will always be the same. If the item sells for much less than the seller expected, that 1-pound package may just cost you $3.95 or even $5.20 instead of $3.50. It has happened. After all (they think), they need to make up the difference somewhere, and you probably won't ever weigh the package to even know what they did. This is also when you may see the handling fee go from 50¢ to $2!
HOW TO AVOID EXTRA EXPENSES AND FEES
As a seller, you have a few ways to deal with expenses like eBay fees. One is to add their fees to the opening bid. At least the actual price is then out in the open. Another is to just keep track of all expenses so you can deduct them at tax time.
The best way to avoid having to worry about any extra expenses is to simply buy smarter. If you think a platter will sell for $15, spend no more than $5 in the first place. That means that you need to shop around for good deals, buy in quantity for lower prices on your end, and keep informed so you know the current values before you buy. You do deserve to make a profit - first for all your time, and second for making such a wonderful item available in the first place. If you want even more profit, sell only what you already own.
Most sellers don't even worry about charging for bubblewrap and tissue paper because they get more than enough free when they receive packages from others. (Which, of course, they found for a "steal" on eBay by following the advice right here at this site!)
Sellers can avoid even more fees by selecting more carefully the services they use. Lots of photo sites don't charge for you to store your pictures, and pictures there can be used with auctions. Some of the other sites that offer free picture storage will not let you use your pictures in auctions (like Yahoo). Still other services charge per picture, which can really get expensive with auctions. And, some picture hosting sites will cost you dearly in sales if you use them because the pictures never load so do your homework.
Some sellers currently admit in their listings that they will only use one photo per auction now because eBay raised their photo rates. If the item is not worth an extra 15¢, why even sell items like that? Or, just add 15¢ to the opening bid. Many items simply require more than one photo to show their condition or quality. You need to treat your buyers fairly, and most items sell for much more when more than one photo is used.
Speak up when you get hit with extra charges that either were not listed or are higher than expected. You can usually get unnecessary charges removed or high charges reduced. If more buyers spoke up, these practices would stop. Sellers would be out of business totally without buyers, and they should truly see their customers as being valuable. That's what gets repeat buyers. When you find a seller with items you like and no extra fees, be sure to click on "View seller's other items ." In fact, bookmark his seller's list so you can check back often.