No longer an eBay virgin…(and yes, it hurt)

We all hear “sell your stuff on eBay and make a few bucks.” Well, it’s that jolly time of year again, when we can all use a little extra. So I figured, hey, let me give it a try.

I have bought stuff on eBay over the years; thousands of dollars worth. But I never sold anything before. It was a brave jump into the unknown.

So the first item I decided to put up for bids was something that I had paid over $100 for brand-new. I never used it, and it was literally collecting dust. I figured this would be a good place to start.

I watched my auction, hopeful that I could at least come close to breaking even. It ended at about 50 bucks. Okay, I figured, education is an investment, and I’m still learning how this all works. I waited and waited for the bidder to pay. I sent an email for them to pay. Day after day, waited. Sent two more emails. Finally, after 5 days, I decided to pull the plug. According to eBay, I could now cancel the transaction, and offer the item to the second highest bidder.

I sent the email to the second highest bidder. Meanwhile, I learned that I could open a “case” with eBay for non-payment of an item, and let eBay chase them down. So I did. The next day, the original buyer paid up. Thankfully, second-in-line never responded, or I may have been in some kind of trouble.

I then took my item to the post office to ship. The clerk started to ring it up– $54 to mail it! I stuttered, “I’d like to ship it the cheapest way, please,” and tried to stop shaking. The postage would have obviously eaten up any profit. Which was still a loss.

I was able to ship for $12. Hallelujah.

Then I learned that although the buyer paid through PayPal, I don’t get my money until the item is delivered and there are no problems with it, per the buyer. So my money is on “hold” in PayPal. They can hold it up to 21 days.

Which, according at my calendar, is a little after Christmas.

How jolly.

I did learn a few things for next time around. Feel free to learn from my mistakes:

  1. If a person does not pay, you can open a case, and then eBay notifies them. Do NOT do “second chance” to the next bidder until you know for sure the “winner” is not paying, and I think eBay gives them 32 days to pay.
  2. If you mail from the post office, you can input the tracking number into the eBay software, and when it is delivered, eBay will automatically acknowledge that it was delivered for you. This will free up your money from PayPal sooner.
  3. You can also buy the postage online, through eBay software, which will automatically give you a tracking number, which then tells eBay when the package is delievered.
  4. Once the buyer pays, it is “HELD” in paypal, and not released into your account until eBay is satisfied that they have received the merchandise in good condition and there are no problems.
  5. If you mail from the post office (using a person at the desk, not the machine at night) remember to get a RECEIPT which should also have the tracking number on it!

I’m not sure that I will be able to get any other items sold and have the money before Christmas, but I will be working on getting those “good seller” comments. Next year, it will be easier.

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