James Stanley

eBay don't understand why people dodge their fees

Sun 30 April 2017

I've been selling some stuff on eBay recently, and I had a pretty crap experience with one particular item.

I created an auction to sell the item. A handful of people contacted me asking to end the auction early, but I refused as I am aware that eBay frown upon this, and it screws them out of receiving their fee. So I let it run until the end, and it sold for £132, and eBay took their 10% final value fee from my PayPal account.

Unfortunately, the winning bidder did not pay. I created a "second chance offer" to sell it to some of the other bidders, but none of them wanted it either.

At this point, I had to create an "unpaid item dispute" and wait until eBay's Kafka-esque system would be so gracious as to give me back the final value fee on the item which I still had not received any payment for.

After stewing for a week or so, I relisted the item on eBay. Once again, I received offers from people asking me to end the auction early. This time I accepted one, and a gentleman drove approximately 100 miles to come to my house and hand over £80 in cash for the item. This is clearly a superior way to sell the item: I actually received the money this way.

I then marked the item as "no longer for sale" on eBay.

eBay sent me a rather threatening email suggesting that I was violating their policies and that I was generally a bad person for trying to dodge their fees.

But here's the thing: I wasn't trying to dodge their fees. My only interest was in selling the item for a reasonable price, with a minimum of hassle. I already tried to play by their rules, and it did not work.

The reason people are ending auctions early and selling outside the auction is not to avoid the 10% fee. It's to avoid the hassle of non-paying bidders. eBay need to fix that before they accuse sellers of fraud.

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