You Can Sell Anything on eBay – Or Can You?
Over 100 million people are members of eBay. Through eBay, you can buy items in almost any category that you can imagine – at great prices.
You can also sell almost anything you can imagine on eBay – people often sell items that have absolutely no real value for very high prices.
There are limits, however, to what can be bought and sold.
eBay does not allow certain items to be auctioned through their website. Services are one type of ‘item’ that cannot be auctioned – simply because it is not an item.
Some seller’s blatantly ignore this however.
The sale of certain items is illegal, even if it isn’t being sold through eBay.
eBay restricts the sale of any type of item that is considered ‘illegal for sale’ in any other selling format.
Illegal items such as satellite descramblers are forbidden as well.
Anything that is copyrighted – such as copies of DVDs, CDs, or software – may not be sold through eBay auctions.
You can, however, sell a DVD, CD, or any software that you bought legitimately…as long as you are not just selling a copy that you made of these types of items.
eBay does not allow the sale of ‘replicas.’ A replica is a knockoff version of designer items, such as purses, dresses, shoes, or sunglasses that look identical to those that have designer labels.
Items that are regulated by the state or federal government are forbidden on eBay.
These items include alcoholic beverages, weapons and firearms, all tobacco products, and both prescription and illegal drugs.
There are small exceptions to this rule, however.
If you have a collectable, such as a tin that contains tobacco, you may sell that item if the package has never been opened, and if you state the contents of the package are not meant for consumption.
There are other conditions that must be met as well when selling these types of collectables.
Any type or breed of animal or reptile may not be sold through an eBay auction. This includes animals that were once living, and are now stuffed and mounted.
This rule may also apply to items that are taken from endangered species, such as Ivory. When it comes to these types of items, when in doubt, don’t.
Tickets may be sold, but it is illegal to sell tickets for a higher price than you originally paid for them. This is called ticket scalping, and it is illegal.
Lottery tickets are also banned from eBay auctions, as well as raffle tickets.
Again, if you are not sure if your item is eligible for an eBay auction, either don’t put it up for auction, or contact eBay to get an answer one way or the other.
Don’t risk breaking the law!
Hot Selling Items for eBay Auctions
Many people who are trying to start an eBay business spend a great deal of time trying to figure out which items sell the best on eBay.
Many of these people have elaborate systems for determining this information, and many others purchase expensive courses that teach them how to find this information as well.
None of that is necessary. Everything you need to know is right in front of you – on the eBay website!
Take a look at any category, and you will see the word ‘hot’ beside some items.
These items are not marked as hot sellers randomly – there is a method to the madness!
Items only get marked as hot when there have been more than thirty bids placed on the item.
All you have to do is wonder around the eBay website for a while to find an item that will do well.
However, most power sellers will agree that there is more to figuring out which items sell best than this. In fact, they claim that it is a science.
A great way to start your search for items that will result in a successful auction in the future is to do research on the auctions that were successful in the past.
You can view old listings that have completed at:
A new way to determine what items sell best on eBay is ‘eBay Marketplace Research.’
Marketplace Research will allow you to view important statistical information on the buying trends at eBay.
This product contains all of the data one could possibly ever need to determine how well – or how poorly – an item will do in an eBay auction.
There is a small fee for using the eBay Marketplace Research tools, however.
Another tool that will be very useful in your quest for finding hot selling items for your eBay auctions is the listing of popular eBay search terms that is found on the site.
This list can be found at:
This list is divided into categories, which will make it easier to determine how popular your potential item may be.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an item will do poorly, or that it will do well without doing your homework on the item first.
Some of the strangest things sell for the highest prices, while items that would sell quickly in any other environment just sit there.
Almost any eBay Power Seller will tell you that the key to a successful auction rests in the amount of research you put into the items you hope to sell.
eBay and Customer Service
If you are running an eBay business, you may not realize that the need for great customer service still exists – even for online auctions.
When a buyer receives quality customer service from you, they will potentially do one of two things – or both.
They will give you great feedback, and they may look for more of your auctions in the future.
If you hope to make a living from eBay, you have to stop thinking of it as an ‘auction’ and start running it like a ‘business.’
If you owned a brick and mortar business, how would you treat your customer while they were standing at your counter, waiting for you to finish ringing up their order?
You would be helpful and respectful of course! You would do everything that you could to guarantee that customers return to your establishment in the future.
You would bend over backwards to make sure that their buying experience with you was both satisfactory and enjoyable.
Why would you do any less at the close of one of your eBay auctions?
First, act quickly at the close of your auctions. Contact the winner, and congratulate them.
Describe the item they have won and how the item will be shipped – even if this information is already part of the description for the auction.
Remind them of their winning bid amount, and give them payment options and instructions. Let them know when the item will be shipped.
Close your email by thanking them for participating in your auction. You might even take this opportunity to tell them about other open auctions that you have as well.
Think of this contact with the winner as a conversation that you are having with a customer who is standing at your counter in that imaginary brick and mortar store.
Once the payment and shipping details have been taken care of, contact your buyer again.
Let them know when the item was shipped – the exact date and time – and when it is expected to arrive on their end.
During this contact, let them know that if they have any problems or questions, that they should contact you through the eBay site.
If they do contact you in the future, make sure that you answer promptly, and that you do all that you can to make them happy with their purchase – even if it means issuing a refund.
Yes. You should be open to issuing refunds, depending on what the item is. Furthermore, you should issue refunds promptly.
Of course, it is reasonable to expect the buyer to return the item to you, at your expense, before the refund is issued – but once you receive the item, issue the refund promptly.
This is just good business!
eBay and Drop shipping – Getting the Product to Your Customer
If you hope to own an eBay business, and make a full time living at it, you can easily make that dream come true – even if you don’t have a product of your own to sell.
eBay provides many people who want to quit their corporate nine-to-five jobs with a way to make a good living, without having to put up a lot of start up capital.
This is made possible with the help of drop shippers.
Drop shippers send merchandise to the customers of business owners. If you have an eBay business, you are a business owner.
This will allow you to offer a wide variety of stock in your eBay store, without having the need to warehouse all of those products!
All you have to do is set up your auction, and sell the product. You then pass the customer’s information on to the drop shipping company.
The drop shipper does the rest, and they will even use your company information, as well as your company logo if you have provided it to them.
When the product arrives at your customer’s home, they will have no idea that your company didn’t send it.
The drop shipper will package, label, and ship the products that you sell, allowing you more time to set up even more auctions, for greater profits.
You must establish a relationship with several drop shipping companies in order to become successful.
In the beginning, most companies will require you to pay for the items that your customers order before they are shipped.
You need to fill orders in a timely manner, so you should pay for the items with a credit card for speedy service.
Eventually, you will be able to have the drop shipper fill your orders, and then bill you for them later.
When you set up your eBay auctions, make sure that your reserve price is set higher than the price that the drop shipper will be charging you for the item.
The idea, of course, is to earn a profit!
Depending on the item you are selling, a markup of about 10% should be about right, but you should do some research to see if the item is selling for a lower price in another eBay auction, or through other online sources.
By starting an eBay business using the drop shipping method, there is essentially no financial risk involved.
The product will be sold before you pay the drop shipper for the item.
This is one of the few businesses where you can actually turn a profit before you have expenditures!
eBay Scams – Steps to Take if You Have Been Defrauded
eBay is a relatively safe marketplace. Unfortunately, like most online marketplaces, it is vulnerable to scams.
eBay tries to keep instances of scams occurring, but with more than 100 million members, and approximately $40 million moving through the site on a daily basis, this can be a little difficult.
Sometimes, scams occur.
If you have been scammed, there are certain steps you need to follow to report the incident, and to try to come to a resolution.
If you paid for the item through Paypal, the first step is to login to your Paypal account and open up a dispute for the payment.
If you did not pay through Paypal, contact your credit card company. In most cases, if you have used one of these two cases, you will recover your money.
The next step is to use eBay’s dispute process to report the seller.
This is specifically for items that were not received, or items that were significantly different than what was described in the auction.
eBay also has a purchase protection program to further protect buyers.
If a settlement cannot be reached with the buyer, the next step is to make an eBay buyer purchase protection claim.
How to Avoid Failure on Your eBay Auctions
Many first time sellers have one thing in common – they fail. Many of them fail time and time again, never understanding what is going wrong.
They do hours of research looking for the perfect item to sell, get the auction set up, and wait for the bidding to begin.
Hours go by and no bids are placed. Days go by, and there are still no bids – or there are very low bids. Finally the auction ends, and it turns out to be a total failure.
Considering the huge number of sellers who run eBay auctions, there are specific things you must do, and specific things you must not do if you are to be successful.
There are many reasons why auctions fail. The most common reason is that the item is not in high demand.
This problem can be avoided by doing the necessary research to determine which items sell well, and which items should be avoided.
This research takes a great deal of time – but in the end, you will find that it is time well spent.
Another reason for eBay failure is pricing. No matter what your reserve price is, your opening bid price should never be more than $50 or so.
This is how you will attract potential bidders to your auction.
If you set that opening bid too high, most people won’t even click the link to read the description for your item. Another pricing problem is lack of research.
Before you set your reserve price, you must determine what the item is really worth, and the price similar items have sold for in past eBay auctions.
Poorly written descriptions are another cause of failed auctions. Poor grammar and misspelled words drive people away.
Failing to post a picture of the item will also keep people from visiting your auction page. Make sure that your description is well written.
This is essentially your ‘sales copy.’ Shipping prices scare people away from auctions if they are too high.
Find the lowest shipping prices that you can find, and consider paying for the shipping yourself if it won’t cut into your profits too much. Do not charge handling fees.
Offer great ‘customer service’ for all of your auctions, and ask your buyers to give you feedback.
If the items that you sell are everything that you said they would be, and you offer great customer service, you can expect wonderful feedback – and this feedback will help a great deal in your future auctions.
Increase Your eBay Profits Without Relying on eBay!
While it is possible to earn a full time living on eBay, it is a mistake to depend solely on eBay for your income.
You could be using your eBay auctions to generate a huge amount of business for other products and services!
Many people, however, fail to fully utilize eBay’s resources to this end.
eBay has over 100 million members, and they gained those members by continually running major marketing campaigns. Essentially, they do your marketing for you.
But you have to help yourself as well. The key is to drive people to your auction page, which in turn can be used to drive traffic to your website.
You can sell many different items on your website, including items that are up for auction at eBay!
This is a fabulous way to earn income that does not rely on eBay auctions.
You can easily accept website payments with a Paypal account, so there is no need for an expensive merchant account!
You are not allowed to include the website address of an outside website on your auctions – you are, however, perfectly welcome to place a link to your website on your eBay ‘About Me’ page.
Invite your bidders and potential bidders to view your about me page, and watch the website traffic roll in!
The eBay Item Listing Rules
Because eBay is such a huge marketplace, with members from all walks of life, in almost every single country around the world, it is no wonder that there are many scammers lurking about.
In order to better protect the buyers, eBay has specific rules concerning the items that can be auctioned off on the site.
These rules must be followed, or the person posting the item for auction can be banned from the site.
Even though there are numerous categories, items that are put up for auction really only fall into one of four categories at eBay: Prohibited, Questionable, Potentially Infringing, and Approved.
Approved is the simplest category to define and understand. An approved item is any item that does not fall into one of the other three categories.
That is fairly simple, right?
After the ‘approved’ category, however, it starts to get a little harder to understand – with the exception of prohibited items.
A prohibited item may not be auctioned on eBay for any reason, under any circumstances.
Prohibited items include alcohol, drugs, animals, tobacco, human remains or body parts of any type, lottery tickets, and governmental property.
There is quite a bit more on the list, and that list can be viewed at the eBay website.
Questionable items are those that are not prohibited, but are not necessarily infringing. Adult material falls under the ‘questionable’ category.
Tickets of any type may also be questionable. Law enforcement related equipment, as well as guns, knives, and other weapons are questionable items.
Artifacts, food items, batteries, all hazardous chemicals and materials are also on the list of questionable items.
You can auction questionable items at eBay, as long as those items meet certain conditions.
Potentially Infringing items are those that violate copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights.
These items are almost always some type of media, such as software, DVDs, and CDs, but the list contains other items as well, such as counterfeit items and illegal recordings.
You can find out more about ‘potentially infringing’ items at the eBay website as well.
If you are unsure as to which category your item falls into, you should contact eBay with this question before setting up the auction.
As a buyer, you should carefully consider the consequences of purchasing items that fall under one of the three categories above.
In some cases, it may be very illegal to have some of those items in your possession – no matter how they were obtained.
Before making such a purchase, or bidding on such an item, you should find out more details about the item in question, and then get some legal advice.