Going, going, gone!

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

To anyone with an interest in the eclectic, eBay is a dream come true. You can find just about anything you want for a price. It brings together buyers and sellers in a way that no other eCommerce site does. I’ve bought and sold everything from cars to complete tat. eBay is particularly good for commodity goods such as razor blades, batteries and light bulbs.

Since the acquisition of PayPal, the whole process of buying or selling is simplicity itself. Now that postage labels can be bought and printed, the despatch of items is easy too. It’s no wonder that so many home based businesses use eBay as their main sales medium.

Your item will live or die based on the description and photos you post. A key part of the description is laying down the rules of your particular auction. Will you end the auction early or do you want to allow overseas buyers for example. There are also rules that eBay lay down and it is amazing how many people are happy to break all these rules.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stated no overseas bidders, mainly because of the palaver of working out the postage. On items like these, I’ve had winning bidders from all over the world. Nowadays, there’s no need because of the ability to print labels for every country.

I’ve had phone calls from people desperately trying to get me to end auctions early. I’ve had buyers and sellers who want to carry out the deal outside of eBay to avoid the commission (despite availing themselves of eBay’s facilities). I always specify payment by PayPal only, but loads of people try it on to avoid the fees. I always stand my ground and insist on PayPal because it’s the only way to be reasonably sure you’ve got your money.

The rating system means there is transparency about the track record of whoever you’re dealing with and the whole experience is super-slick. Like Amazon, eBay has been honed to be a razor-sharp eCommerce site and despite the niggles about buyers and sellers that break the rules, it is a near perfect website.

Sometimes when I’m bored, I find myself browsing the eBay motors section which is a very dangerous activity. Every so often, you spot something shiny that has no place in your life and is far too expensive for a toy, but it’s nice to dream none the less.