Don't Like What You Got? Sell It!

If you unwrapped a Christmas gift that you wish you'd left in the box, don't despair. There's a remedy, and it doesn't involve asking the gift-giver for the receipt to return it. Our Techie Mama says put it up for sale online.
Marla Hardee Milling

Sell unwanted gifts on eBay
Did you get an ugly sweater for Christmas? I did. My MIL gave me a beige zip up sweater that I wouldn't dress my dog in. But instead of saying Bah Humbug, my husband and I exchanged a look and simultaneously said "eBay!" Of course, MIL was not in earshot at the time.

While the sweater doesn't suit my taste, I'm sure there is an eBay shopper who will bid on it. At this writing, there are more than five million items up for sale on eBay. Post an item for sale, and you have a worldwide audience of potential buyers.

How it works
You must register on eBay before you can post any items for sale. Registration is open to people over the age of 18. You're required to provide your country of residence, your e-mail address, full name, address, and phone number. You must also place a credit card number on file with eBay in order to sell. eBay does provide a secure server to protect the information you type in.

Once you've entered all of your information, and received confirmation of your registration from eBay, you're ready to set up shop. At the top of the main page, click on the "Sell" button to list your item(s).

Choose a category
Getting good results from your auction includes pinpointing the right category to list it in. First, you'll choose a main category, and then select from a subcategory on the next page that loads. The main categories include: Antiques & Art, Automotive, Books/Movies/Music, Coins/Stamps, Collectibles, Computers, Dolls/Doll Houses, Jewelry/Gemstones, Photo & Electronics, Pottery & Glass, Real Estate, Sports, Toys/Bean Bag Plush, and Everything Else.

Here's an example, when I sold my maternity clothes on eBay, I clicked on the "Everything Else" category, and then I clicked on the subcategory of "Clothing: Women," and then I clicked on another subcategory of "Maternity."

If you don't take time to find the right category, you may miss out on potential buyers. It would be like a department store putting a rack of baby dresses in the men's department. Someone might stumble on them, but shoppers looking for baby dresses would be in the baby department and never find the ones hidden in the men's department. It's the same way online. Don't hide your items.

Showcasing your goods
When you've decided on a category, you'll be instructed to fill in your eBay user name and your password. The form also includes space for a title, item description, photo url, item location, quantity, minimum bid, auction duration. You can also set a reserve price which is the lowest amount you'll agree to sell the item.

The title is extremely important. Shoppers will often type in keywords to find items they want to buy. For example, if you have a pair of brand new Tommy Hilfiger jeans to sell, you'll get more interest if you type in the title of "Hilfiger Jeans NWT" (NWT means new with tag), instead of "Really nice jeans for sale."

Also, be thorough in your description of your item, and be honest. If the item has been worn, say so. If it has a small tear at the hem, say so. Shoppers want to know exactly what they're bidding on. They also want to see what an item looks like, so you'll do better if you take a digital picture of the item, or take a regular snapshot and scan it to include with your listing.

Optional features
eBay now lets sellers list their items in two categories -- this helps to get your item seen by more potential bidders. Take note that some fees will double if you choose a double listing.

Other options, for a fee, include highlighting your listing in yellow, or putting it in bold. You can also choose an icon, list your item in eBay's gallery, or pay for a "featured" listing. All of these options increase visibility of your auction. The fees range from a dollar for a gift icon to $99.95 to be featured on eBay's home page.

You'll also select payment options to let bidders know what type of payment you'll accept from them. Many eBay sellers have signed up with sites like which allow them to accept charge card payments. It is free to use Paypal, and right now, Paypal will give $5 for any new registrations, plus $5 for any people you refer who sign up.

The bottom line
How much does it cost to use eBay (not counting the optional features listed above)? The insertion fee for regular auctions starts at 25 cents for items with a minimum bid of .01 to 9.99; .50 for items marked $10 - $24.99; $1 for items with a starting bid of $25 - $49.99; and $2 for items $50 and up.

The insertion fee is $50 for the Real Estate Category.

Reserve price auction fees are .50 for items marked .01 - $24.99; and $1 for items $25 and up.

At the end of the auction, you'll be charged a final value fee based on the selling price. For items that sell for $25 or less, you'll pay 5% of the total to eBay. If the final bid was more than 25, you'll take 5% of 25 and then 2.5% of the remainder from $25.01 to $1,000. If the winning bid was more than $1,000, take 1.25% of the remainder.

It's relatively cheap and easy to sell on eBay. Other points to remember: it's generally understood that the buyer pays all shipping costs, but you should stipulate this in your item description. Also, if you accept a personal check, you'll want to wait until it clears the bank before you ship the

Tags: presents

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