Ten Reasons I Did Not Bid On Your eBay Listing

ebay - why I didn't bidBy Wixx, special contributing writer

I am sure that I am not the only person who did not bid on your auction because of one of these reasons. That means that you may now be relisting your item, or selling it for a lot less than what you could have. The following is a rant. A rant that contains my opinions, which may differ entirely from your opinions. You are allowed to have your own opinions. You have been warned.

#10 You have a bunch of stupid characters in your title and or listing: L@@K A+++++++ quality jibber jabber. This listing must have been placed by a nine year old. A nine year old that is not likely to actually mail me the merchandise if I win, so I am not going to bid. L@@K a

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47 Responses to Ten Reasons I Did Not Bid On Your eBay Listing

  1. poundwise says:

    I completely agree about the stupid titles, bad descriptions, and not having a photo.

    I am less inclined to agree re:PayPal. Depending on the value of the item, eBay fees and PayPal fees have grown to the extent that a seller cannot reasonably certain items and accept payment that gets cut into. Plus, most folks who accept PayPal exclusively build-in a bit of extra into the shipping to cover the fees. I also refuse to bid on auctions with obviously inflated, or poorly estimated, shipping charges.

    Also, I would also say that I hate descriptions that leave a lot to the imagination, but I also despise those that contain too much information. For instance, I don’t need to understand the dynamics of Middle Earth to understand what a Frodo figurine is, right?

    In any case, I think this is good article with many points that should become a checklist for some eBay sellers.

  2. poundwise says:

    Wow. Sorry about the typos/grammar above. I guess I need to fully wake-up before posting. :)

  3. cakesy says:

    re Paypal, it seems that if you don’t want paypal, you will not get as much for your auction – which seems reasonable. Paypal is easy and convenient, but has caused problems for a lot of people. And as to not buying from Australia, can I ask have you ever tried to sell anything. You can sell only to your own country, or you have an option to the rest of the world – it costs no extra to list it to the rest of the world, so it is in the sellers best interest to do so.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with selling broken stuff, as long as it is listed as such – it is annoying if they don’t put faulty in the headline, but I have bought a lot of broken stuff, and profitted quite well.

    Some great points – one of the things that really annoy me is the guy with 5 feedback, trying to sell a brand new Sony laptop. No Thanks.

    Keep ranting about ebay, people need to know this.

  4. Jill says:

    I could not agree more. Especially regarding PayPal. I would have included insanely high shipping fees in your “mystery shipping” section as well. Those auctions where the book is $2.00 but the shipping is $7.95? What’s up with that? It’s like the seller saying “pay me $5 to go to the post office”.

  5. Tim the duck says:

    Apparently “WTF?” is now an accepted journalistic standard. Any article written with this mnemonic in it is very poor in quality, and has nothing of substance to offer.
    This article is useless, and factually incorrect. Poor research, poor reasoning, poor writing. F.

  6. cybergal5184 says:

    You can limit your search to US only. It’s pretty easy to do. I have to use it because otherwise I get a handful of products that are much cheaper than all of the others because it’s in China.

  7. allotment says:

    Greetings from England… Ten Reasons to bid, though NOT in order….

    1. The title and description contains the exactly the right words, an ebay search finds the listing..

    2. Shipping cost is clearly stated and is free or discounted on extra purchases. The seller tells me where the delivery is travelling from.

    3. I can pay using the method I like, the seller is flexible. (This is sometimes hard to do internationally, so yes PayPal makes sense)

    4. The Title, the Picture and the Description tells me ALL that I need to know about the item, no more no less. All three must be there.

    5. The listing isn’t littered with animated text, music, and other things unrelated to the transaction. Short and sweet is best.

    6. It’s in the condition I’d expect for that price AND the condition is clearly stated in the description. No guessing from the picture.

    7. The seller offers a returns and refund policy that seems fair.

    8. Good feedback and high scores on the five star rating

    9. The seller has experience selling this item

    10. I want it….

    From my own small world of antique postcards on eBay here is my guide…

    http://aboutcards.blogspot.com/2007/02/buying-vintage-postcards-on-ebay.html

  8. disneysteve says:

    I agree with everything except:

    #5. Nothing wrong with selling broken items as long as they are clearly described as such and the extent of damage is stated in detail.

    #4. I have sold items to buyers in virtually every major country and I’ve bought items from other countries as well.

    cybergal5184: I’ve bought items from sellers in China that were cheaper, with postage, than what the same items sell for at local stores. I’ve gotten a number of my wife’s knitting supplies that way. I don’t know how they do it, but I don’t really care. We’ve saved a bunch of money buying items from China on ebay.

  9. YeahRight says:

    While I agree with the common sense parts of this that really never needed a write up, three things are particularly ridiculous however.

    Descriptions can only say soo much before getting monotonous and over wordy. Most people search for items they already know about and are just looking for someone thats selling it now. If you like Lord of the Rings enough to search for related items on ebay and you already know who Frodo is do you really need a condescending speech on the history of the character? Some auctions just make your eyes roll the way they go on to describe things that have nothing to do with the item they are selling and the listing turns into a movie review. Meanwhile useful information such as its condition get lost in the clutter.

    One mans junk is another man’s treasure. People buy and sell broken items all the time. Key words BUY and SELL. There are people that buy the stuff regularly and sell the stuff successfully. Just because the writer of this isn’t one of them doesn’t mean he/she speaks or is representative of the entire earth’s populace. There are people who restore antiques or repair electronics to resell and double their money back or more. I think thats pretty smart. And others are looking for spare parts without buying something brand new only to cannibalized it. But yeah “its broke and I have no talent” would drive someone to write such a ridiculous thing like that. The choice is simple, just don’t buy it. But don’t say listing them is useless and no one else should have the option to buy/sell repairable items just because you think its stupid. You sound like a two year old that way.

    Also if something retails for $24.99 and the starting bid is $25 and its worth $25 AND all completed auctions end at $25 AND its scarce enough that you would even spend your time searching for it on the internet in the first place… that should clue you in on reality. If you can just go out to a local store and buy it good for you, you will also have to set aside time to shop around and pay for gas and sales tax anyway. Brilliant strategy. But if the item is something you cannot find in stores anymore unless you care to invest in a time machine the added shipping shouldn’t be that big a deal. If the added shipping charge is the real issue here then maybe purchasing anything online isn’t your cup of tea.

    Low staring bids are no guarantee you will get a great deal.

    What would you rather do? Bid on the same item in another auction starting at 99 cents? Like you will actually get it for 99 cents? Then watch it constantly. Hope you don’t get out bid when you inevitably will be. And get more frustrated because that sweet deal suddenly isn’t that sweet anymore? Low starting bids always end in bid wars and often the item ends up selling for more then $25 in the process.

    I see this happen all the time. Same with shipping prices. “Free shipping” ends up driving more bids and in the end the cost ends up comparable to, if not more then, all those other auctions with a shipping fee. The only real difference is you just wasted time and energy trying to get that “deal” that rarely happens. If by some chance it does end lower you probably will never see the item as some sellers refuse the sale regardless of policies and would rather take a negative or neutral then a big monetary loss or say it “got lost in the mail” and refund your money at the last minute to cover their backs. Some deals aren’t worth the hassle getting involved in. Things that are too good to be true often are.

    Ebay is not a place for cheapskates or people who do not like to pay shipping charges.

    If its a desirable item no “low starting bid” is going to last for long. You just aren’t going to get a BMW for 99 cents just because that was the opening bid. Even if you were hoping to get it for 99 cents. Thats what this sounds like here. When I hear whiners like the author of this thing complain about the going prices of popular widgets I can’t help but think of someone who always wants something for nothing.

    I’ll let you in on a secret. Those $25 items on auction for $25. I bid on them all the time if thats how much it costs and thats how much its worth why not? The items always end at $25 regardless of starting bid anyway. I rarely get outbid and I don’t have to fuss and monitor the auction. I get my item that much sooner and I don’t waste my time looking for deals that will never happen in reality. Time is money too and wasting it trying to scrimp and “save” is often futile.

  10. Misti says:

    I completely agree with all of the above comments you have made. I sell on ebay and keep my auctions completely clean and simple. The only thing I may overdo is pictures. but my pictures are clear.

  11. dan says:

    i agree with everything except for #6. im not one of those idiots who cares if something is spelled correctly.

  12. disneysteve says:

    “i agree with everything except for #6. im not one of those idiots who cares if something is spelled correctly.”

    dan – You’re missing the point. If something is spelled wrong in the description, that is sloppy but not a big deal. But if something is spelled wrong in the title, the item won’t turn up when potential buyers search for it. I collect Disney items. If I search for “Mickey Mouse Watch”and you titled your item “Mikey Mouse Watch”, I’m not going to find it and you will not get nearly as many bids as if you had spelled the item properly.

  13. Wixx says:

    Misti,

    From my perspective you can not overdo pictures. Seeing an item that I may bid on from different angles is good for me, the bidder. However it does cost you a bit more in listing fees, but the trade off is hopefully you get more bids because of the extra pictures.

  14. Alex says:

    “can not spell” should be “cannot spell”…

  15. Frank Smith says:

    Also annoying are people who either don’t respond to questions, or respond with an answer that’s unintelligible. I asked how a bike stand i was thinking of buying attached to the actual bike. Here’s the reply I got: “HI, at the bottom bracket area (cranks) with a bolt”. What? After reading it a few times, I figured he means it attaches with a bolt, that’s obvious (how else would it attach? With gum?). What kind of bolt? In short, HOW does it attach, as I’d originally asked? Arrrgghh! I didn’t bid on this item and it went unsold.

  16. Tom says:

    Actually you’re quite wrong on the misspellings, dumb sellers can be quite beneficial. There’s even several websites to help you find things that are spelled wrong:
    http://www.auctionlotwatch.co.uk/auctionspeller.html
    http://www.auction-typos.com/
    http://www.fatfingers.co.uk/

  17. SweetPete says:

    2 things. First, regarding PayPal – it sounds like you’ve never been screwed by PayPal. One day, you will – and believe me, you won’t be recommending PayPal anymore. Second, my biggest peeve about ebay is the use of the word “mint”. That particular word is unfortunately subject to the seller’s interpretation, but make no mistake, only MY definition of the word mint counts for anything. Mint = like new ie. no scratches, no dents, no fingerprints, no dust – just like it came from the manufacturer. Got it everyone?

  18. tikiloungelizard says:

    I’ve also bid on auctions where the sellers say that they accept paypal, but then it turns out that they either: A. funnel it through another pay site like BidPay which I’d rather not give all my info to, or B. They tell me that they only work through PayPal “debit”, meaning my checking account is in use with PayPal, which I’d also rather not do for security reasons. I only use my PayPal that’s linked to my credit card account, and that creates an extra fee for them, but as far as I’m concerned, if they say they take PayPal, they should take my payment.

  19. Wixx says:

    Pete- I love it…only YOUR interpretation counts…that it EXACTLY what this rant was intended for.

    Tiki – Paypal is starting to curb the whole I only take Paypal from Paypal balance, or linked checking account thing. If you accept Paypal on EBAY, and the buyer uses card funded Paypal payment, you are FORCED to upgrade to Paypal premier or business account. This way they get you with their standard premier fees. The only Paypal payment type tat you can refuse to accept on Ebay is e-check, which takes usually 4 business days to clear.

    Alex – can not = cannot

  20. Wixx says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to ask. Pete, how am I going to get screwed by Paypal? If I am ready for it, maybe it will not get me too bad…

    Frank – I agree totally with the lack of response from questions. I was only writing about why I may not bid on a listing, based solely on the listing, or that one would have definately been included. I have also had the wonderful experience of asking a question such as ‘In the picture, I only see 3 widgets and the one on the left looks broken. The listing says there are 4 so what kind of widget is the other one?’ The reply came back “Thank you for your interest. Please check the picture. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.” Nope, I did not bid.

  21. SweetPete says:

    Wix,

    From UsingEnglish.com (http://tinyurl.com/2oyx34):

    “If something is in mint condition, it is in perfect condition.”

    Broken? Scratched? Dented? Dusty? Covered in fingerprints? Sorry, that makes it imperfect. If you’re happy buying something on ebay that’s in “mint” condition, then upon receiving it it’s anything less than perfect, then you got screwed (even if you’re happy with it).

    I’m sorry you weren’t there last year when the people voted for ME to be the “mint” Decider. But regardless, my whole point is that mint = perfect, and if everyone would agree to that definition, there would be a lot less people on ebay purchasing “mint” condition items and actually receiving something that is less than perfect.

    You know that old saying “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”? Well, “Don’t tell me it’s mint when it shows evidence of wear-n-tear or outright damage.”

  22. SweetPete says:

    Wix,

    >> Oh yeah, I forgot to ask. Pete, how am I going to get screwed by Paypal? If I am ready for it, maybe it will not get me too badů

    Ever hear of chargebacks? And perhaps you should spend a little bit of time at this website:

    http://www.paypalsucks.com

  23. Wixx says:

    Pete, I think you misunderstood about my loving your mint interpretation. Really, I agree with you. YOu are the bidder, and your interpretation is what should matter most. Thanx for the link, I’ll check it out.

  24. Arkonbey says:

    Have two things to add about pictures:

    1) not enough pictures or no important pictures. To me, important pictures are things like if you’re selling a camera, pictures of the optics to show if there are scratches or if an item like a headlamp or bike light, shoot it WHILE ILLUMINATED.

    2) images reputed to be of an item, but are just a GIF of the product pulled from a retail website

  25. Rochelle says:

    You rock! These are all my peeves as well…but wait…there’s more…what about people who charge 4 times what they should for shipping, and you’ve sold similar items yourself on eBay, so you know this to be the case…or how about the “not” listings, where it’s a knock off thing, but they have the name brand in the description. Or, you think you’re going to see a listing that has a ‘lot’ of name brand things, but it’s really only 1 name brand thing, paired with 10 other things that are not. Or, how about the pictures that are taken on surfaces that are full of mystery crud and/or animal hair? Ew.

  26. SweetPete says:

    Wix,

    >> Pete, I think you misunderstood about my loving your mint interpretation.

    Indeed I did! I wasn’t sure if you were attacking me or agreeing with me, so I believed the former. Thanks for clarifying. I’ve been a victim of PayPal chargeback myself ie. the buyer got their goods AND their money back. There’s a lot of hate for PayPal – all you have to do is Google for it. Just wait until PayPal decides to freeze your account (with money in it) because they simply suspect something fraudulent is going on.

    A

  27. Bill says:

    Disagree with #4. Buying from far away places, even with high postage costs can often deliver real bargains. I often buy bits of PC hardware from Hong Kong sellers, where the postage is 4 times the cost of the goods. They still turn out 2 or 3 times cheaper than the same goods sourced more locally, and delivery is rarely more than 1 week.

  28. Tonya says:

    You forgot to add:

    Those sellers who will be charging something reasonable for an item, and then you notice that the shipping is $25.99 for a DVD or something. I once bid on a 4-set of lip gloss that would have cost less than $1 to send (including the padded envelope) but it turned out the $3.99 shipping fee wasn’t for the whole thing, she wanted $3.99 for EACH balm. Yeah, um.. let me think about that, NO!

  29. dsjunkie says:

    i love your list and i might be inclined to agree with most if not all of it. however i have come across a site that will hopefully help you with number six called ‘fat fingers’

    http://www.fatfingers.co.uk/Default.aspx

    enjoy!

  30. sal says:

    I hate when sellers use tired cliches (usually in all caps) like:
    MY LOSS = YOUR GAIN!!!!!!
    and then go on to blather about how much they are sacrificing.

    Does anyone fall for this crap…ever?

    I fear the answer is yes.

  31. Mobius says:

    Your comments about the item being in Australia is lame at best – and retarded at worst. Let’s get something straight right now: The USA has the worst postal system and charges the highest prices of any system anywhere in the world. An item that costs USD 20.00 to post TO the USA from New Zealand takes 6 days to arrive there. Whereas the exact same item posted from the USA to New Zealand costs USD $47.00 and takes 14 days to get here.

    Let’s get something else straight: if you aren’t prepared to wait the 5 extra days it takes to get an item from another country, then you are an impatient loser and please don’t bid at any of my auctions because I really don’t want you emailing me every second day whining and moaning about when is it going to arrive. Nor do I want to hear you bitch about how it costs $5 extra to post internationally when the vast majority of US sellers charge USD 25,00 more than the actual cost of the postage, to send something internationally.

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  33. hbk72777 says:

    If you have something someone else wants, it will sell. It doesn’t matter if you don’t take paypal, have a one line description, etc.

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  37. nanamom says:

    I read through the list thinking, Have I ever done that? I am an ebay seller and I agree, those things are awful. I like your writing. Keep it up.

  38. Jimmy says:

    First off, great post! Second, Tim (#5) must be flying with the ducks because I see no use of WTF in the post at all; enlighten me if I missed it. Third, WTF is an acronym or initialism, not a mnemonic. A mnemonic is a phrase used to remember something (I before E, except after C).

  39. wixx says:

    mobius – Sounds like you do not like to buy items from the USA…which is exactly what I was saying…there are some locations where if a listing is from, the deal has to be realy sweet to bid on.

    I bought an item from Australia, winning bid was $5.50 shipping charges were $30 and it took over 2 months to arrive. Sorry if that is ‘retarded at best’ but it is not like I was too impatient to wait 5 extra days.

  40. Louise says:

    Great article, however the bit about
    Australia got me thinking. I really want to get to the USA, so maybe if I sell a whole heap of things to Americans on ebay and charge $10 shipping each, I can
    afford a ticket, and your items will be delivered in 2 days. Then I can do the same thing over there to get back!

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  42. Sam says:

    Yes. I like this list. I totally agree and can relate. I sell on ebay too. I always use these tips and it helps me greatly.

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  44. supahJ says:

    Here’s one pet peeve of mine that I see in your writing- and many others. The word “cannot” is a real word, and it is one word, not two. It is never written as “can not”. Can you take care of that in your future rants?

  45. dan says:

    I’ve been selling on ebay for ages and it always astounds me when people place a starting bid above 99 cents. It’s the game, the “chase” so to speak that gets the bidding activity. I’ve been able to sell razor phones for more then a smart phone costs because every thing I sell comes with a low starting bid and a good story. Without a story, it’s just a phone.

  46. ted says:

    Photos -always. More than one? Not @ .15 a pop for a low value item anyhow. I use free image hosting for large value items/lots and insert.

    Title? Get the spelling right with basic info (complete with jetpack and machine gun accessories) then use the end for keyword grabbing like toy action figure doll -use what is given to you!!!!

    Description – we differ on opinion. Again low value items aren’t worth the time unless your moving 1000 of them. But like 2 neat coasters you don’t want? Nah. 2 coasters X brand. No damage. X material. Type the dimensions or better yet use a ruler in the pic. —

    If selling a lot list whats in the lot. Tell size and weight always -it helps.

    Don’t go crazy on descript unless its a fine/high end item (Crystal this/ iphone that). I figure most people who type in something like paddles beanie baby know wtf it is. Just title -short simple terms – condition.

    Besides on collectibles especially I mean how detailed do you need to be on a $30 hallmark ornament hmm? Anyone that reads the title and sees the pic knows hey thats the whatever my collection needs or ooh i like that one.

    Get what it is right and the pic. No need to type the back of the box wasting your time trying to sell it when you got 80 more things to list at mid to bottom prices anyhow. No need to say handcrafted in memory of the great captain who in the year X did indeed slay a whale blah blahblah

    As for shipping – offer it free always. Ebay taxes shipping money now (bastards) and most buyers are lazy and won’t do simple addition of 5.40 + item price.

    As for starting bid. I disagree. With reserve fee costing so much and the free 50 listings best to set the start bid on items @ your lowest point + shipping since its “free”

    Then put a free buy it now price at your fishing high point for folks who pay for then and there. No need to have an offer – truly interested folks always message you with things like how much for it now and would you lower the bin to $45 instead of 50 (if they have good feedback do so and get a sale)

    Putting free shipping and a .99 start bid on an item few collectors are into like a stupid plate can end up with you selling that plate for a buck or so AND eating the shipping. START AT YOUR LOWEST!

    If your selling a ps3 or popular dvd – sure .99 and the market will auto fix it for you. NOT SO on trinkets/clothes!

    As for broken crap -one mans trash is another’s treasure. Just cause you aren’t into it doesnt mean the seller won’t get something out of it. Broke crap is bought CHEAP irl and rare parts for collectibles/machines is QUITE profitable. I actually do the best on my for parts/not working stuff. Lots of leg work finding it/big return if fixed -thats why it sells. Your just not into the culture of repair/reuse is all. No biggie I could give half a fks thought about a $500 handbag either.

  47. Barry Trott says:

    cybergal5184 I buy a lot of stuff from china, why buy a laptop from the uk shops when I can get one from china for half price, and where are the uk store laptops made… oh China, well hows about that then!

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