If you have experience selling on eBay PLEASE HELP!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mxulive, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. mxulive macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2010
    Hi guys, I'm getting ready to put my old laptop on eBay, and while I've sold things on eBay before, they have usually been items with little value.

    I am super paranoid about putting a ~$1,000 computer on eBay... paranoid that someone might try to scam me after paying by saying that the item never arrived even though it was delivered to the address.

    I was wondering what kind of things I can do to avoid such buyer fraud. You usually hear about ways to protect buyers -- and PayPal flaunts this, but there doesn't seem to be many tips on how to protect sellers from dishonest buyers.

    Is it enough if I ship with tracking and can show that the item was indeed delivered despite what the buy claims? What other measures should I take? Please help!
  2. benhollberg macrumors 68020


    Mar 8, 2010
    Be sure to require a signature upon the delivery of the package.
  3. svenn macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2010
    Definitely use some form of tracking, and insurance would probably be good too. Be sure to input the tracking info to ebay and/or paypal so they have record of it as well.
  4. ZazenZach macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    just sell through craigslist dude, its so much easier

    ebay has become more of a hassle the past few years. fees are ridiculous, ebay almost always sides with the buyer and paypal is not entirely scam free.

    you might have to waite a little longer, but craigslist is far more worth it.
  5. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have sold stuff on ebay, but mostly used cell phones. I have had to wait for my money until after the buyer left + feedback despite the fact I had delivery confirmation. If you do decide to sell on ebay, you can block bidders with 0 feedback. While getting a confirmed address is a hassle for the buyer, with an expensive item like you are selling I suggest you require a confirmed address. Lastly keep in mind that your own feedback can deter sellers. If you've been on ebay for years and have feedback over 50 with no negatives you are in good shape. Otherwise I suggest some sort of return policy where you must receive the item in good condition to provide a refund. Make sure you specify that shipping is non refundable. I normally use ebay's shipping calculator based on UPS rates. UPS is good about either delivery confirmation or signature confirmation (costs extra!) while the post office version of signature confirmation involves waiting for a little post card to come back to you in the mail. I have also found USPS wasn't updated even days after I already had + feedback for my item. Not sure why USPS can't figure this out.

    I would also be careful about craigslist. I wanted to buy a phone. I found one on craigslist and the guy said his phone was dying and instructed me to meet him at night in a parking lot. I think not. You want to sell me a phone but your battery is dying and the only way I can meet you is by wandering around a parking lot alone at night? He also wanted to know what kind of car I drive. I told him he could recognize my car by the red and blue lights on top. ;)

    I went ahead and bought the phone on ebay and never looked back. Any craigslist transaction should be conducted indoors in a place with plenty of people around during daylight hours. Otherwise you are taking chances that you are dealing with a scammer. DON'T conduct craigslist business at your home. Again it incurs risks of letting a perfect stranger know where you live.
  6. loudguitars macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2004
    Wanted to re-emphasize the above. I have found that for selling medium-sized electronics like a computer, meeting at a coffee shop works really well. Lots of people, plugs and wifi to test the machine, etc. For smaller stuff like a phone, meeting at a bank is actually really good - that way the person doesn't have to carry the cash with them, they can just withdraw it from the ATM right there. Plus, banks have TONS of security, which would discourage someone from trying to jack you.

    Anyone on Craigslist who does not want to meet you in public is someone to be avoided like the plague. They do exist, but they're not as common as you might think.

    As for eBay, I had an issue selling an old iPod. The guy I sent it to tried to get his payment back by saying he'd never received it, but I had tracking info that proved he had. I was able to get the money out of PayPal pretty quickly, but the guy waited until I'd left him positive feedback to claim the item had never arrived. Shady as hell. I'm planning on keeping all electronic sales via CL in the future after that experience.
  7. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    I agree. Whats ebay's take now? 9%?
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Another vote for craigslist.
    If you take some commonsense steps, the process will be safer, easier and done in a snap.

    If you go with ebay, make sure you use signature required, record the serial number of the computer, and provide that number to the seller. Also take pictures of the laptop in the shipping box, that way everyone has proof that it left your hands in good shape.

    Also don't sell it to anyone who has a zero rating, and exclude any international bidders. When I have sold on ebay, I get a lot of requests asking what the reserve price is, and also requesting I change it to buy it now, with a price they provided. I don't respond to either request, other then the answer that I'm unwilling to divulge the answers nor change the auction type.
  9. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    it's 9% on auction-style, up to a maximum of $50. But then if you accept PayPal, there's a 2.9% + 0.30 fee if they pay by credit card (free if it's via their PayPal account or bank account) and then if you need/want to transfer the PayPal payment to your personal checking/savings account, it's another 2.9% + 0.30 fee to do so.

    A LOT different than when I sold my last computer on there about 3 years ago.

    However, regardless of where you sell something, always insure it and always request a signature upon delivery.

    OP - you can also look into places that buy old computers and give you money and/or credit. Such places to try are: www.macofalltrades.com, www.powermax.com and apple even had a trade-in program: http://www.apple.com/recycling/. Apparently Best Buy is doing it too: http://www.bestbuytradein.com/bb/?logout=1
  10. BIS2 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2004
    Selling on Ebay

    I've sold a few laptops and ipods on Ebay. It does get to be more expensive than craigslist, but I feel like at least there is some recourse if there is a problem. Craigslist just feels a little sketchy for me.

    One thing you can do on Ebay is do buy it now with the make an offer option - that way people can offer you a lower price and you can decided to accept or reject it. One thing that can be good about this is that you could check a buyer's feedback and make sure they have lots of positives - that might make you feel a bit more secure.

    I would also agree about the shipping with tracking and signature confirmation. I've found that Fedex is the cheapest - they include insurance and it often ends up being significantly less than USPS.

    Good luck!
  11. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    I've sold a few computers on eBay and on Craigslist in the past; both have their pros & cons. I ended up selling the last two computers on CL for about what I could have sold them on eBay minus the eBay and Paypal fees, so I still feel good about the lower prices. In some markets, you can get probably demand more on CL; in rural and poorer regions, you get a bunch of people asking low ball prices because they either don't understand the true value of a Mac or are too cheap or poor to afford one anyway. Be sure to insure your package thru UPS or FedEx and require a signature.
  12. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    On Ebay I've sold two Mac Minis and a MacBook Pro, and other expensive stuff too. No problems here.

    I send USPS with delivery confirmation, insurance, and signature required. Unlike FedEx or UPS, with USPS if there is a problem you can have the Post Office investigate for criminal mail fraud.

    If you ship UPS, ship directly through UPS. Do not use a UPS Store franchise. You can search these forums for problems trying to make a claim for insurance. Basically, you aren't insured with UPS corporate, you are insured with the little UPS store franchise, whose little manager may decide on his own not to allow the claim for various really common reasons like you packed it yourself instead of letting them pack it.

    I don't know much about FedEx.

    Craigslist is okay but I don't like inviting strangers to my home to pick up expensive stuff. Meet somewhere neutral. If the buyer wants to test the computer by powering it up somewhere, do not allow him out of sight with your gear for any reason. Go with a friend if you can. An armed friend. :)
  13. DukeOfHunslet macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    You could always post them it piece by piece. Only sending the next piece when they confirm they have received the last.

    That way if any of it goes missing in transit you only lose, say, the letter 'A' off the keyboard or a torx screw or something.

    Seriously though - it's possible with a bit of thought to break something down and send it that way. battery, hard drive, ram etc into more then one package - that way anyone out to fiddle you will know that they are limited in what they can do and hence it isn't worth it.

    I sell stuff on eBay and the best advice I can give is to get your postage sorted before you list anything - running around at the last minute for postage options...? don't go there.

    Another option is to send it to a friend who lives near to the buyer and then pay them a few quid to take it round. Sounds daft but I did that once.
  14. DC3400 Suspended


    Jan 2, 2009
    Smarties Land
    Please do not sell on eBay. Take a look at the forums here:


    Do google searches for ebay and paypal horror stories.

    At one point in time I sold a lot on eBay, was even invited to be part of the PowerSeller program (scam, LOL).

    Tracking will not do any good. In fact, even if you have 100% proof, it will likely do you no good if the other person is a scammer because eBay and PayPal DO NOT CARE! They will NOT HELP YOU!

    If you've never sold there and have no feedback no will bid on your computer. You'll need to sell numerous lessor items first and build up your feedback.

    If you sell there you will need to accept PayPal. That means the person buying the item can scam you any way they want and file a chargeback. They could claim you sent them a box of rocks. I had people using funds already in their PayPal account simply cancel their payment once I emailed their tracking number - they knew the product was on the way so why not keep the money also. Do you think PayPal and eBay helped me - NOPE - they told me this was not technically possible, LOL!

    eBay is not the innocent market place they pretend to be! Actually they do not want small time sellers like you on their site anyway - they have been trying to get rid of anyone other than large retailers on their site for some time in an effort to compete with Amazon.

    LOL!, when the person scams you out that computer you can't even leave negative feedback for them! I recall seeing a guy on YouTube - he sold a computer - the guy who bought it admitted he modified the computer - result was that the guy who sold it got cheated out of the computer, the money, and the shipping - he had 100% proof ?

    Look for an ebay alternative that does not require credit cards!
  15. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    After posting in this thread the other day, I saw a news article about someone who was killed trying to meet somebody from craigslist to buy a phone. Details here... As was mentioned already in this thread, arrange to meet in a coffee shop or bank.
  16. josh1231 macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    I haven't read anyones response, so hopefully I'm not repeating what everyone else said.

    I am not a professional seller, but I have sold a 27" Imac a 24" Imac, 2 13" Macbook Pros, 4 Iphones, 2 $1500 cameras, among others.

    What I always make sure to do is only accept Paypal and require the buyer to have a Paypal account in buyer requirements, setup in your preferences that you do not ship overseas and block anyone who resides overseas, or who has more than 2 unpaid strikes in last year, or who doesn't have a Paypal account. After this, setup in your paypal preferences that you don't accept overseas payments. Then specifically state in your auction that you only ship to the Paypal confirmed address. I hate not accepting overseas payments, but before I excluded them every person who bought was overseas and trying to scam me.

    I also hate only accepting one form of payment, but with a Paypal verified address, you are pretty certain you know who you are dealing with, and if something goes awry you are protected by Paypal.

    I also don't accept returns. I figure someone should know what they're purchasing, therefore the only reason they would need to return it is if it were in significantly different condition than you stated or was broke. UPS insurance covers the second condition, and your pictures and accurate description the first.

    Make sure to also record your serial number in case someone receives the Macbook, then says they want to return it and sends back a different one.

    Lastly, make sure to take pictures of it before, during, and after packing, and by all means make sure you insure it.

    I of course can't guarantee success, but I have never been taken advantage of on Ebay, and this is how I personally do it.

    It seems like a lot of steps, but really only takes an additional 5 minutes, and I feel is worth it.

  17. macjonny1 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2006
    Both craigslist and ebay work fine. Avoid the consipracy theories about ebay I have sold a lot of computers on ebay without a problem. You will find people with problems about just anything now. The vast majority of the time transactions go without a hitch.
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I used to buy and sell a lot on eBay (we're talking, 5-10 years ago) but now I don't bother nearly as much. For something high value like a laptop I would definitely prefer to sell locally, or on a forum such as here on MacRumors where people have histories and reputations (and, hopefully, know a thing or two about what we're buying/selling). If I'm selling locally I start with my workplace forums, followed by some local community forums, then the general Craigslist/Kijiji type listing sites.

    Buying and selling locally is no guarantee either, however, as I have been scammed locally too (now I know why the one guy selling his laser printer was so kind that he offered to drive out and meet me in the parking lot at my workplace).

    The thing to remember with both eBay and PayPal (owned by eBay) is that they're looking to make money. The cynic in me will observe that (a) they don't make money if it gets refunded due to a dispute and (b) regardless of whether your item ever actually arrives or is as represented, they've already made their money on the listing fee and the money transfer...
  19. MacHamster68, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    ebay is not was it was couple years ago , when i started on ebay , back then you could transfer all fees to the buyer , usually people dealt with it that way , ebay fees to the buyer postage cost to the seller or the other way round , in some countries you have to tell the buyer that you do not offer a warranty , and that you cant held responsible if the item breaks down in a years time
    and ebay really got expensive now with paypal together you could in total lose close to 20% in total , thats why you often find people ask higher prices "buy it now " and "reserves " to calculate their loss in before
    thats the reason why you might find much lower prices in your local free add paper which doesn't charge you for selling , but you get the same amount of money at the end of the day
    it just sounds better if you say "my laptop sold on ebay for $600" instead of $550 in your local paper but after fees and some might call them fines you got more in the local paper for the same laptop
    ok with luck you could get bids on ebay going up to $700 , then you would be better of on ebay , but these occasions are rare
  20. jbrenn macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    I have sold a macbook pro on ebay. I would recommend getting some of the check contents if broken tape. amazon sells it. Also take paypal and only ship to confirmed addresses.
  21. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004

    I've sold and bought laptops on ebay over the years without issue. Then last may, I sold my 2300 dollar macbook pro to some douche with 100% feedback with a confirmed address. He claimed that when it arrived it was broken. So we went through the process of giving out the refund. Welp, he sent me a fake ups box tracking ID number, PAYPAL (Ebay's fraud-ridden payment system) withdrew 2300 from my account. I did not receive my computer back!!!!

    Its been 8 months now since it happened. I've move on. I took it as a lesson learned thing. I have a higher paying job now and sold the mac when I was super broke and needed the money. I didn't get my computer back nor my money. The seller is still somewhere and I hope that some day, that guy will receive a horrible medical diagnosis. :mad:

    Anytime i have the opportunity to bad mouth paypal or ebay I do so since that's the only way to get any justice from them.

    This way to defraud sellers has been around and on the ebay forums sellers have long complained of this loop hole, yet paypal and ebay have done nothing. Therefore, please please please, take heed, before you sell on ebay. Deal in person. Sell it on this forum of craigslist. Meet the person in person at starbucks. Bring a friend, let them test it out in person. That's what I've done now. I'll never ever EVER sell online any high priced item above $200. ITs just not worth it.
  22. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    In 2010 I sold a 2009 MB, 2009 27" iMac and a 2010 13" MBP, no problems at all. The iMac ended with a local pickup at a Dunkin Donuts parking lot as the buyer was an hour away and he saved $75 in shipping and insurance. The 2010 MBP sold for more than I bought it for ($999 at Microcenter) and sold for $1075 plus shipping and I included iworks 09 and Photoshop CS4 to increase the value of this six month old laptop. I also sold a $2000 lens in 2010 and have purchased several lenses on ebay over the years (totaling several grand). Do your homework to see what similar items sell for and calculate the fees up front so there are no surprises. Don't complain about the fees, either accept it or find another way. The fees are cost of doing business that way.

    To insure a good price you can sell as a Buy It Now with Best Offer option. Send via UPS with signature required.

    About 200 buy/sells on ebay and rarely a problem and never a problem that was not resolved quickly. I've been using eBay for 6 years
  23. cu6236nu macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    I was recently scammed on eBay when the buyer of my old iPhone 3G claimed "Wifi doesn't work" and got a refund from eBay. He supposedly sent the phone back to me although it never arrived. I had withdrawn the money he paid into my PayPal account before he opened this case against me so now PayPal wants the money back and I have a negative balance.

    I'm obviously never going to use eBay or PayPal again after seeing how easy it is to scam people so I'll stick to the common sense Craigslist approach.

    Does anyone know what will happen with my negative balance in PayPal? I'm not going to pay that money since the phone had no problems when I mailed it and I never received it back anyway. What is eBay/PayPal going to try to do to me now?
  24. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I sold a few phones on ebay and had to wait for + feedback to get money released to my account for the most expensive ones. When I first joined ebay, the odds were heavily stacked in the sellers' favor. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

    I expect your ebay and paypal accounts will get suspended. If you linked a bank account, they may try transferring the money themselves. If they close your account, you can open a new one and lose all the feedback you had. Of course you'll need a different email address. If you try to confirm the same confirmed address you have now with paypal, they will probably figure out you are merely opening a new account and suspend your new account as well.

    Ebay / paypal are a huge pain. But if you're not careful, craigslist can be worse than a pain. At least with ebay/paypal you're not dead. A few posts back, I included a link to a local news story in the Detroit area where somebody tried to buy a phone on craigslist and got murdered.

    This story really hit home for me because only a few months ago I was in my car, in the dark, on my way to meet somebody who wanted to meet in a parking lot to sell me a used LG ENV at a lower price than any which were available on ebay. I turned back when I called and they didn't answer. The excuse they had given me earlier was that their "phone was dying". So let me see... You want to sell me a phone but the one you are using to speak with me has battery problems? What does that say about the one you are trying to sell me? You want to meet me outside rather than inside the store (as I suggested) and you want to know what kind of car I'm driving? I'm driving a car that says "State Police" on the side and has red and blue lights on top. :rolleyes:

    If I'd kept going to that dark parking lot, I can't help wondering if I might have gotten robbed or worse. The bottom line is to insist on meeting people indoors in coffee shops or banks for craigslist transactions. Never at night, even in the winter months. Make the time when it's light out or pay extra to buy from (or sell to) a more reputable source.
  25. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Agreed. Your safety is never worth saving a couple of dollars. Remember, deals will always come -- you'll find another buyer, or you'll find another item to buy. If something doesn't smell right, don't do it.

    I can list a few times I've proceeded with a sale and "just had that funny feeling" that something wasn't right. Not being able to justify it, I went ahead with the purchase each time. And each time, it turned out I was right. In my circumstances, I was sold defective merchandise (the laser printer with logic board errors, the G4 Cube with a defective power supply, the NEC laptop with broken USB ports). You're right, it might have ended up far worse.

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