Monday, November 7, 2011

Ebay - Pricing themselves out of the on-line auction market? Making changes and losing sellers

Once upon a time, I was in love with Ebay.  It changed the world for collectors everywhere.  We no longer had to hunt down the items we collected at antique shops, antique auctions and estate sales.  They were right there at our fingertips.  Type in "Florenza earrings" on the Ebay search bar and there were hundreds of them to choose from.  Search for McCoy Pottery and you would get pages and pages of vases that you had spent years trying to collect.  And roosters....oh boy - I loved collecting roosters.  Pre-Ebay, I had several - post Ebay and I needed to sell some off since I went a little wild buying them.  Roosters and old tins, vintage jewelry and cutesy kitsch items and Roseville Pottery - all were so readily available on this new shopping experience.

We collectors were in hog heaven.  It was a buyer's market - wide open to collectors all over the world.  We loaded up on unnecessary junk and thought we were happy.  But after awhile, things began to change.  Slowly the little antique shops with their musty smells and hidden treasures began to disappear one by one.  Our own little sideline antique business at a local flea market's sales started sliding and we could no longer find things at a bargain at estate sales to re-sell - they listed their good stuff on Ebay.   The small towns that we used to frequent  to purchase "American Picker" style were no longer fruitful places to buy.  They listed their good stuff on Ebay.   It was rather sad - an American way of life was rapidly fading away.

So, I started going with the flow by being a Seller on Ebay.  Things went well and I gradually moved from antiques and collectibles to other venues.  I was lucky to get in on some department store "overstocks" and started selling designer purses and shoes.  My hubby also got in the game and found a good supplier of overstock and "return stock" sports equipment.  In 2008, our Ebay sales combined was more than my day job salary that year.  Things were looking good.  But then, the economy took a nosedive.  Department stores no longer stocked so heavily so I lost my overstock ability to buy.  People no longer were impulsive shoppers, but more selective bargain shoppers.  But we still had the sports equipment (mainly fishing and hunting) to sell and continued to do pretty well with that.  A fisherman may do without groceries for a few days, but he'll never turn down a fishing trip.   But was bound to happen....

Ebay got greedy.  They upped their commission.  They purchased Paypal, the on-line banking institute that most everyone used to pay for their items.  They eliminated any other payment method except Paypal.  No longer could a buyer pay by check or money order - they had to use Paypal.  Some buyers left.  Not only did the seller have to pay a hefty commission through Ebay, but then they started charging a hefty transaction fee through Paypal.  Some sellers left.

The last straw happened recently.  Ebay decided that not only is the seller's fee based on the amount he sells the item for, but ALSO the amount he charges for shipping.  For example, I recently sold an item for $207 and the fee I had to pay was $19.  It was heavy and was going cross-country, so the shipping cost was $20.  Another $1.90 fee was added for that.   Then on top of that, I had to pay a transaction fee for accepting payment for the item through Paypal which added another $6.49.  All told, my fees for this $207 item I sold were $27.39.  Which now means I really sold my item for $179.61 instead $207.  And the fees would have been much more than this if I was not considered a "Top Seller" on Ebay.  As it is, I get a 20% off final value fees.   As you can see, there's not much profit to be made for the seller these days which is why I will no longer sell on Ebay unless I buy something dirt cheap.  I've found other venues to sell - there's for vintage items and for everything else.  Neither has the traffic that Ebay has, but it will build as more sellers move their business elsewhere.

With fewer sellers, who knows - maybe the old musty smelling, hidden treasure kind of antique shops will rule again.  I hope so because I truly miss browsing through those old places hoping to pick up a one-of-a-kind jewel in the rough waiting to shine again!  

Goodbye, Ebay - it was good thing we had going until you got greedy.  I'm afraid we have to part ways now.  And please, don't let the door slam you in the butt backside on the way out.


  1. Dear Glenda,
    As I am not using PC for buying nor selling, I have no knowledge about Ebay. So, it may not my place to comment anything; but I feel SO sorry for you that you must have had good time and then things got no longer the same as before! I can see beautiful items you collected.
    Hoping you're having a nice new week, my friend, xoxo Orchid*

  2. I gave up selling on E-bay, and any other business with them, years ago. They charged me a seller's fee when the buyer backed out. I wasn't allowed to leave negative feedback on the jerk so...I told E-bay just where to go and how they could get there.

  3. Orchid, Having a blog just gives me a good forum to rant and rave occasionally. Especially since my cat, dog and husband seem to find my rants rather exhausting and no longer seem to care, lol.

    Mike, I failed to mention what you just brought up. Ebay doesn't seem to care about its sellers anymore. The buyer is always right, even if he is a scam artist. And not being able to leave negative feedback for buyers just give them free reign to terrorize us with threats of neg feedback for us sellers. They have us up a creek without a paddle.

  4. I never got the Ebay bug - but know that my kids did. I think this was the obvious way it would go though and I'm glad people are drifting away from it.


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