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eBay Dos and Don'ts

Whether you're buying or selling, eBay presents endless opportunities to do very smart and innovative things, as well as endless opportunities to make some very big mistakes. Here are a number of dos, don'ts, and gotchas that you should keep in mind on eBay, whether you're buying, selling, or just passing through.
  1. Rules and Fees
  2. Selling Dos and Don'ts
  3. Shopping Dos and Don'ts

Clues That Tell You Not to Bid
Big red flags to avoid when bidding on eBay auctions.

Avoiding Counterfeit Items on eBay
eBay is full of rare, interesting, and popular items. While most of them are legit, some of them just plain aren't, and it can be a bad investment to buy a counterfeit product.

Signs Your eBay Account Has Been Stolen
Stolen accounts are one of the most serious, and regrettably one of the more common, problems in the eBay community. Find out how to recognize a stolen account problem and what to do to fix it.

Phishes and Spoofs
How messages that fraudulently appear to be from eBay can be used to commit crimes in your name, take your money, or steal your identity--and how to stay safe.

Nine Small Business Pitfalls to Avoid
Are you running a small eBay business? Have you taken steps to ensure that you don't turn any of these necessities into a management gaffe or pitfall?

Don't Fall Prey to 'Tough Times' Mistakes
In tough times sellers face an unusual array of temptations. Keep your head about you and your business model sound with these eight tips to help you navigate troubled marketplace waters successfully.

Five Tips for Better Feedback
Too often eBay traders take feedback for granted or assume that there's nothing additional that they can do to enhance their feedback. Not true! These five easy to execute tips will help you to improve your feedback scores.

Don't Avoid Filing Disputes
eBay buyers and sellers often complain that as eBay grows, there are more and more problem eBay users. Are you doing your part to ensure that problem users are removed from eBay? If you're not filing disputes in response to bad experiences, you may not be.

How (and How Not) to Un-Suspend Your eBay Account
Getting suspended as an eBay trader can be a rude awakening, or even a totally unjust situation. Here is what you should (and should never) to do get back on track at eBay.

Don't Let Your Friends and Family Bid on Your Auctions
Your friends and family can not bid on your auctions. It's not only unethical, it's against eBay rules.

Time to Avoid Auction Format Listings?
Old school buyers and sellers routinely bemoan eBay's shift in emphasis away from auction format listings, but as times, policies, and the eBay marketplace change, the auction format has become risker and less promising for all involved.

Win the Buyer Protection Battle
eBay makes "Buyer Protection" sound automatic, but in practice actual humans review the cases. What do you need to do to ensure that you come out on top, whether as a buyer or as a seller?

Don't Use Risky "No Overhead" Techniques
Drop shipping and other types of "no overhead" selling can be tempting for sellers, but for sellers who don't take them seriously enough, such techniques are like playing with fire. Be sure that as a seller, you don't burn your buyers or yourself in the process.

Don't Compete Against Your Own Auctions
eBay may reach a global audience of buyers, but it's also an auction format sales site with a lot of sellers. List too many items at once and you could drive down the price of your own goods.

Don't Price Yourself Out of the Market
By selling too high, you might earn no sale at all, while by selling too low you chould cheat yourself.

Don't Keyword SPAM or Miscategorize
eBay buyers rely on categories and keywords when they search for items to buy. When you miscategorize or use unrelated keywords, you don't make friends with buyers and you make eBay harder to use.

Don't Quietly Sell Defective Items
Sellers who knowingly sell defective items but mention only that they are "AS-IS" or "condition unknown" are risking negative feedback and worse.

Don't Reregister After Getting Suspended
If you've been suspended from eBay, you may be tempted to simply open a new account. Don't! eBay will very likely figure out who you are, suspend you again, and lock you out permanently. Here's what to do instead.

Don't Start a Business Without a License
eBay makes it so easy to sell that it can also be easy to accidentally transition from casual seller of used personal items to professional seller for profit. Don't do this without first registering yourself as a business.

Don't Create Drab, Boring Listings
No buyer is going to remember, much less try to return to a bid on, an uninformative, unenlightened listing.

Don't Add More Features Than Your Item's Worth
Promotional features are powerful tools, but there is a definite limit to the kind of return that they can provide.

Don't Steal Photos From Other eBayers
Photos used to sell goods on ebay, like photos in any other industry, are copyrighted works belonging to the photographer that took them.

Don't Leave a Premature Negative
Before you leave negative feedback, exhaust every avenue to resolve the dispute with your trading partner. Don't rush to leave a negative from the start.

Don't Expect What a Seller Doesn't Offer
Before getting upset after being disappointed with an eBay purchase, read the item description carefully to be sure that your expectations were fair.

Don't Contact Anyone You're Not Trading With
Nobody wants to hear unsolicited requests or sales pitches from strangers, so don't contact other eBay members unless you're trading with them.

Sniping on eBay, Revisited
Many readers took umbrage at our earlier article on eBay auction sniping, so it's time to revisit the issue and answer the two concerns that figured most prominently into user feedback.

Don't Spend Too Much Time on eBay
eBay shopping may be fun, but if you're not gaining anything by doing it, it may also be addiction.

Don't Get Caught in Bidding Wars
Sometimes the best way to win is to let someone else win, especially if there are several listings that feature the item you want to buy.

From eBay: Avoiding Spoofs and Phishing
This eBay guide explains how to identify the all-too-common email messages that claim to be from eBay but are actually be harmful to your computer, your eBay account, or your bank account. Read it carefully!

Spoof Emails a Growing Problem
This document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discusses spoof emails of the type often seen by eBay members and gives details on how to detect them.

Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed
This quick and dirty guide from Consumer Fraud Reporting gives a few basic points on how to avoid getting scammed on eBay and other auction sites.

Don't Blindly Accept eBay Catalog Data
These days you've got to use eBay's catalog to list your items if you want the best search placement. At the same time, the catalog isn't perfect, by any means.

Should I "Max Out" that eBay Promotion?
eBay increasingly offers tempting listing promotions to sellers on a regular basis: 100 free listings this weekend, 1,000 free listings next weekend, and so on. What's not to like? Shouldn't you take advantage of these promotions since eBay is offering them? The answer may be more complex than you imagine it to be.

Dos and Don'ts for Sniping on eBay
Sniping isn't for everyone and it doesn't help in all cases, but it is for some, and sometimes it does win the day. Here are some dos and don'ts for sniping on eBay to help you decide whether to do it, when to do it, and how best to snipe when you choose to be a sniper.

Top Ten Mistakes Made by Beginning eBay Shoppers
Being a new eBay shopper isn't exactly an easy task. For all the cost savings and variety to be had on eBay, it also remains a complex and often chaotic shopping experience when compared to other online shopping venues. Here are the top mistakes new eBay shoppers make.

Recognize Common eBay Scams Against Buyers
eBay scams aren't as common as some imagine, but they are out there. Learn to recognize the signs and avoid them by running in the other direction when you see them.

Recognize Common eBay Scams Against Sellers
eBay scams aren't as common as some imagine, but they are out there. Learn to recognize the signs and avoid them by running in the other direction when you see them.

Clean (or Don't) Appropriately for Used Item Sales
The amount (and method) of cleaning that you apply to an eBay sale can have a lot to do with the value at which it ultimately sells. Here are some tips about cleaning (or not cleaning) used items on eBay.

What You (Maybe) Shouldn't Buy on eBay
Sure you can buy most anything on eBay, but there are some kinds of goods that you should only buy on eBay after having thought long and carefully about your purchase.

Rules and Fees for eBay Photos
Pictures are a reality of life for all eBay sellers. Here are eBay's rules and best practices for seller photos, as well as how much it's going to cost you to follow them.

Is eBay the right venue for what I'm trying to sell?
If you're trying to sell some of these things on eBay, you're probably not getting as much for them as you deserve. Find out where to sell the things that don't do so well on eBay these days.

Make Feedback Less Final
If something has happened in your feedback that has got you frustrated or even furious, take a deep breath. Then, take a look at these techniques to help you to have the last word in the matter.

What is feedback manipulation and how do I avoid it?
eBay's feedback manipulation policy is often seen as confusing, but there are a simple ways to grasp its intent and common behaviors that can be seen to violate it.

Dos and Don'ts for Selling Digital Goods on eBay
Yes, it is possible to sell digital information on eBay, but it's not as easy as many imagine. Here's what you need to be sure to do, and what you need to be sure not to do, if you're going to make it work.

Don't Limit Yourself to Domestic Sales
It's not just that you can sell internationally on eBay so much as it is that eBay's growth is more and more an international phenomenon, one that you'll be missing if you stick to one domestic market.

Don't Change Your Selling Identity Suddenly
If you've spotted a great opportunity, you may be tempted to radically change what or how you sell on eBay. But be wary of making sudden changes, and understand the reasons for being smart about change.

Don't Underestimate the eBay Garage Sale
It can be tempting to imagine that "there's no point" to listing all of the little things you're not using at home on eBay. Total up the possibilities, though, and you may come to another conclusion.

Don't Automatically Exclude APO and FPO Sales
Do you exclude sales to APO and FPO addresses just because you've seen everyone else do it and assume it must be either more trouble or more expensive? In fact, it's neither.

eBay Photo Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping eBay Internationally

Mistakes to Avoid When Making Best Offers
eBay's Best Offer tool is a great way to save money, but these common Best Offer mistakes can kill a deal just as you're about to make it.

Give your eBay Store Some TLC

Don't Leave Money on the Table when Pricing Your Items
For some sellers, pricing is a margins game, but for others, it's about one-off decisions. If the latter is you, be sure you're not missing out.

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