Article, April 2003
eBay for Beginners
Book excerpt: Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay
by Michael Miller and Que Publishing
submitted by Amy Sorokas
email@example.com (click to email author)
The excerpt below is a sample chapter from Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay from best-selling author Michael Miller and Que Publishing. This chapter covers getting up and running on eBay from registration to fees. The book itself covers everything from how to get the most of your eBay experience to dealing with deadbeats buyers and making your living on eBay.
Did you know that eBay consists of over 10 million registered members and is the most popular shopping on the internet? The site hosts more than 12 million items and boasted over $14 billion worth of transactions in 2002. All this makes it virtually impossible not to find what you're looking for (and likely at a great price). You'll be amazed of what you can unload as well, the 18,000 categories range from books to real estate, cars to toy cars. Go from novice to pro in no-time with the Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay.
Note: To view the images and notes, tips and tricks included in the chapter text from the Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay, visit http://www.quepublishing.com/catalog/product.asp?product_id=%7B19DF3F43-C3F4-495D-A378-8470884C62EB%7D&.
These elements have been removed for the purpose of this article.
Joining Up and Getting Started In this chapter:
Everybody Does It: Filling Out eBay's Registration Form Setting Up Your Payment Options The Costs of Using eBay
You can browse through eBay's millions of listings anonymously (and without registering), but if you want to buy or sell items, you have to register with the eBay site. Registration involves telling eBay who you are, where you live, and how to contact you. If you're interested in selling on eBay, you'll also need to give eBay a valid credit card number-which won't be charged. (At least, not yet!)
Although eBay registration is free, selling an item isn't. You have to pay eBay a fee for every item you list for sale, and for every item you actually sell. You don't have to pay eBay when you buy an item; fees are charged exclusively to sellers.
Read on to learn more about eBay's registration process-and its fee structure!
Everybody Does It: Filling Out eBay's Registration Form Registration is free, easy, and relatively quick. But before you register, you need to prepare some key information, as detailed in the following checklist:
Checklist: Before You Register
- Your name
- Your street address
- Your e-mail address
- Your phone number
- Your date of birth
- Your credit card number (optional if you're only going to be bidding on items; mandatory if you're going to be selling items on auction)
With this information at hand, you register as an eBay user by following these steps:
1. From eBay's home page, click the Register Now button.
2. When the eBay Registration page appears, enter the following information:
- First name and last name
- Street address (including city, state, Zip code, and country)
- Telephone number
- E-mail address
3. Still on the same page, create and enter a user ID into the Create Your eBay User ID box.
4. Create and enter a password (at least six characters long, with no spaces) into the Create Password box.
5. Select a question from the Secret Question list, and then enter your answer in the Secret Answer box. (This is used if you ever forget your password.)
6. Enter your date of birth, and then click the Continue button.
7. eBay now displays its user agreements. Read these agreements (if you want), check each of the I Agree boxes, and then click the I Agree to These Terms button.
8. eBay now verifies your e-mail address, and sends you a confirmation message. Click the Web page link in the confirmation e-mail message to continue.
9. eBay now displays a congratulations page, along with a pop-up window that asks you to enter more (optional) information about yourself. This information is used for marketing purposes; you can choose to fill in the blanks, or close the window and click the Home link to go directly to eBay's home page-and start buying and selling!
Setting Up Your Payment Options
If you intend to sell items on eBay, you'll need to give eBay either your credit card number or your checking account number. (You can pay eBay fees by check or money order, at least theoretically; it's a hassle to do, and not encouraged.)
When you set up your eBay account for credit card billing, eBay bills your credit card once a month for all the fees you incur in the previous 30 days. When you set up eBay to debit your checking account (called eBay Direct Pay), you authorize eBay to automatically remove funds from your account on a specified day each month.
To set up your eBay account for credit card billing, follow these steps:
- Go to the Site Map page and click Place or Update my Credit Card on File with eBay (in the Seller Accounts section of the Services section).
- When the credit card submission form appears (see Figure 3.2), enter your user ID or e-mail address, password, and credit card billing information, and then check the I Would Like to Use This Credit Card to Pay Seller Fees option.
- Click the Submit button.
Your credit card information will be applied to your eBay account within 12-24 hours-at which time you'll be able to participate fully in everything eBay has to offer.
The Costs of Using eBay
You don't have to pay eBay anything to browse through items on their site. You don't have to pay eBay anything to bid on an item. You don't even have to pay eBay anything if you actually buy an item (although you will be paying the seller directly, of course). But if you're listing an item for sale, you gotta pay.
eBay charges two main types of fees:
- Insertion fees (I prefer to call them listing fees) are what you pay every time you list an item for sale on eBay. These fees are based on the minimum bid or reserve price of the item listed. These fees are nonrefundable.
- Final value fees (I prefer to call them selling fees, or commissions) are what you pay when an item is actually sold to a buyer. These fees are based on the item's final selling price (the highest bid). If your item doesn't sell, you aren't charged a final value fee.
eBay also charges a variety of fees for different types of listing enhancements. Table 3.1 lists all the fees eBay charges, current as of Fall 2002. (Fees for items listed in the Real Estate/Timeshare and eBay Motors categories are typically higher.)
View eBay's current fee structure at http://www.pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html.
Table 3.1 eBay Fees
There's all manner of fine print associated with these fees. Here are some of the more important points to keep in mind:
Type of Fee Explanation Fee Insertion fee In a regular auction, based on the opening value or minimum bid.
In a fixed price auction, based on the Buy It Now price.
In a reserve price auction, based on the reserve price of the item.
In a Dutch auction, based on the opening value or minimum bid-multiplied by the number of items offered, up to a maximum of $3.30.
Items priced $0-$9.99:
Items priced $10.00-$24.99: $0.55
Items priced $25.00-$49.99: $1.10
Items priced $50.00-$199.99: $2.20
Items priced $200.00+:
Final value fee In regular and successful reserve price auctions, based on the closing (high) bid. In Dutch auctions, based on the lowest successful bid-multiplied by the number of items sold.
For example, if the item sold for $1,500, you'd pay 5.25% of the first $25 ($1.31) plus 2.75% of the next $975 ($26.81) plus 1.5% of the remaining $500 ($7.50), for a total fee of $35.62.
5.25% of the amount of the high bid to $25.00, plus 2.75% of that part of the high bid from $25.01 up to $1,000, plus 1.5% of the remaining amount of the high bid that is greater than $1,000. Scheduled listings Schedules your item to be listed at a specific date and time, up to three weeks in advance. $0.10 List in two categories Enables you to list your item in two separate categories. Double listing and upgrade fees Reserve price auction Additional fee for holding a reserve price auction. Items priced $0-$24.99: $0.50 Items priced $25.00-$199.99: $1.00 Items priced $200+: $2.00 Buy It Now Fee to use the Buy It Now option. $0.05 10-day auction Additional fee for extending your auction from the normal 7-day to the longer 10-day format. $0.10 Bold Boldfaces the title of your item on the listing pages. $2.00 Highlight Puts a color shading behind your item on the listing pages. $5.00 Gallery Displays a thumbnail picture of your item in the Gallery section. $0.25 Gallery Featured Randomly displays your Gallery listing at the top of the category, at a larger size. $19.95 Featured Plus! Puts your listing at the top of the listing pages for that category, and also displays your listing (randomly) in the Featured Items section of the related category home page. $19.95 Home Page Featured Puts your listing at the top of the main Listings page and also displays your listing (randomly) in the Featured area on eBay's home page and on the Featured Items section of the related category home page.
- Insertion fees are nonrefundable.
- You will not be charged a final value fee if there were no bids on your item or (in a reserve price auction) if there were no bids that met the reserve price-that is, if your item didn't sell.
- It doesn't matter whether the buyer actually pays you (or how much he or she actually pays); you still owe eBay the full final value fee.
Invoicing on your account occurs once a month for the previous month's activity. You'll get an invoice by e-mail detailing your charges for the month; if you've set up your account for automatic credit card billing (see the next section), your credit card will be charged at that time. (If you prefer to pay by check, now's the time to get out the old checkbook.)
Now that you're all signed up (and aware of eBay's fee structure), you're ready to start bidding-and selling. The bidding process is fee-free; all you have to do is find something you want to buy, and start bidding. The selling process is a little more involved, and costs a little money. Whichever you choose, get ready for lots of action-and fun!
The Absolute Minimum
Here are the key points to remember from this chapter:
- Before you can bid or sell on eBay, you need to create an eBay user account.
- Registration is free.
- If you want to sell items on eBay, you'll either have to leave a credit card number on file, or sign up for eBay Direct Pay (automatic deductions from your checking account).
- Buyers are never charged any fees by eBay.
- eBay charges sellers a variety of fees, including listing fees (non-refundable) and final value fees (if your item actually sells).
Copyright (c) 2003 by Que Publishing. Author Michael Miller. Reproduced with permission. Article reproduction coordinated by Steve Bass, Pasadena IBM Users Group. Excerpted from: Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay, Michael Miller, ISBN: 0-7897-2928-8, US $18.95. For More Information or to Order Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay or any other Que Books visit http://www.quepublishing.com.Click here to return to top