People that have never bought and sold on eBay are almost always curious about it, but often they're kept away by some of the "common sense knowledge" about the trading site that's floating around out there.
Like any venue this size eBay does have its issues, but the following myths aren't generally amongst them.
- eBay is an auction house. (It isn't.) Yes, you can buy and sell
at auction on eBay, but there are
other listing formats available to sellers, meaning that there's lots of
room on eBay for buyers that
don't want to bid on things. Most items on eBay aren't sold at auction
at all, but for a fixed price, just like items at most other online
retailers, and "eBay" is also the owner of dozens of growing platforms and
RedLaser. The idea that eBay is just about
sniping is more than a decade out of date.
- You can get anything on eBay for pennies on the dollar. (You can't.) Sure
you can get the odd
hidden deal on eBay. You can also
minimize the purchase price you'll pay with sound trading practices.
Mostly, though, the
market decides the prices of goods on eBay as it does everywhere else,
even when it comes to
auction format items. Better deals are
often to be found elsewhere, so it's important for smart eBayers to
comparison shop. The "pennies on the
dollar" meme probably comes from other, decidedly un-eBay-like,
penny auction sites.
- There are no quality brand-name goods on eBay. (There are.) There
are variations of this myth. Some have eBay full of disinterested
drop shippers, others are about
Chinese imports, and others see eBay having nothing but
counterfeit goods. In fact, most of the goods on eBay
are quality brand-name goods, and most of the Chinese sellers are the
manufacturers of the brand-name goods you buy at retail stores, only on eBay
you can get them direct-from-manufacturer for less.
- You can buy and sell literally anything on eBay. (You can't.)
Yes, there is room for weird things to be sold on eBay—World War II surplus
gas masks and french fries shaped like religious icons and hair clippings
from practicing witches and all of that (you know the stuff). But there are
definite limits. Anything that can't legally be sold, transported, or
possessed is forbidden on eBay, along with consumer items that have been
recalled and things that eBay judges to be in bad taste, like Nazi
memorabilia. Most sellers have good common sense about
not to sell on eBay, making it a surprisingly clean marketplace, given
- eBay is an unregulated free-for-all. (It isn't.) Restrictions on
what can be bought and sold aren't the only rules on eBay.
rules are fairly clear, elaborate, and well-enforced, from policies
counterfeiting, and the
release of personal information in feedback to regulations about item
presentation in things
- Buying and selling on eBay is extremely risky. (It isn't.) Yes,
risks to buyers and
risks to sellers, and there are some scams that affect
sellers on eBay as well, but the truth is that the majority of buyers
and sellers on eBay haven't been affected by any of them. If eBay were as
wild-wild-west as some imagine, it wouldn't have survived for nearly two
decades and grown into one of the two most used ecommerce sites in the world
(Amazon holds the top spot).
Does this seem like a lot to you already? Well hang on, because we're only halfway there. There are some doozies ahead in the second batch.