Newest Review: ... final value fees to be paid when the item sells. I remember after fees and postage costs I pocketed about £300 which I was insanely happ... more
A massive marketplace
Member Name: GeoffHurst
Advantages: Huge user numbers. Find and sell anything
Disadvantages: Fees are unreasonable, especially if you use paypal too.
EBay is an online auction website, anyone can list goods on the site, and anyone can bid for them. It is home to all sorts. Whether you want to get a control pad for your retro Super Nintendo, toys for your dog, jeans, CDs, the lists are almost endless.
It is very easy to sign up and start selling, although the charges seem a little steep to me. You will have a listing price, which depends on how prominent you want you advert, the number of photos, the start price, if there is a reserve price (a reserve price is a limit, say £45, and if the highest bid in the auction is below this amount, the highest bidder doesn't win the auction - items are noted when they have a reserve price, but the reserve price itself isn't published). Then you have to pay eBay 10% of whatever you sell the item for. If you sell through PayPal (which is an eBay tool), you then have to pay PayPal fees to collect your money. So, there are a lot of fees and you will see a notable part of your selling price go missing.
There are some handy features - some people will list items with a 'buy it now' price, which means you can commit to the published price and end the auction early. Some people list items with a price but also a 'best offer' button, so if you think £15 is too much for a scratched Kylie Minogue CD, you can offer £3.50 and see what the seller says. Each member also receives feedback on their previous transactions - which is good for keeping people honest. Personally I try not to buy off people with less than 98% positive feedback, but I do look for 100% positive, which a lot of people have.
I am always dubious about people getting their friends to bid on items to push the price up - but this is a risk as if their friend wins, they will have to pay all of eBay's fees without actually selling the item.
Earlier, I said "EBay is an online auction website", I should have said "EBay is THE online auction website" - not to say it is the only one, but it might as well be! The reason for this is public awareness. Everyone knows eBay - hence you have many more listings and many many more potential buyers than any other auction website I know of. People actually make a living just by selling things on eBay - they have their only little 'shops' on there, where you can restrict listings to only show goods offered by a certain seller.
Overall, I think eBay is brilliant for buying, as there is just so much stuff on there and you can pick up some real bargains. But for selling, which I have done a handful of times, there seems to be too much in the way of fees. Considering the seemingly millions of listings they have, I imagine they could drop fees by half and still make obscene profits, but they are a business after all...
Summary: Better for Buyers