Everything has value, even replicas, broken consumer goods, and worn out machines and appliances. For many businesses, success or failure depends on determining just what the value of inventory items is, and then finding ways to realize it.
As many sellers around the world have discovered, eBay is great at this sort of thing, and is one of the best avenues through which goods with niche value can be liquidated at a profit, direct to the public. Sometimes, you can sell on eBay for quite a lot of money what you can't sell at all in most local markets, at any price.
When selling replica/reproduction, liquidation, damaged, or bulk untested goods on eBay, however, some sellers seem to get the "kid in a candy store" mentality, pushing the boundaries of fairness right to the breaking point in order to move stock. This kind of "power selling" doesn't help anyone. It leaves buyers unhappy (and in some cases justifiably angry) and sellers' feedback profiles full of negatives.
To make matters worse, auctions for these types of goods tend to attract a disproportionate number of new eBay buyers, since new eBayers haven't yet developed the "buyer's eye" that can help a shopper to score great deals while avoiding unwanted hassles on eBay. This leaves a bad taste in the mouths of what could otherwise someday have been active eBay traders, and makes intervention by local law enforcement, regulatory agencies, or even the federal government more likely.
So list your items [i[honestly on eBay, and by all means don't do your best to hide from your buyer an item or listing's flaws or weaknesses.
What To Do InsteadThere's often nothing wrong with selling reproduction, liquidation, damaged, or bulk untested goods on eBay, so long as you are careful to be conscientious about it when you list your items.
- State the item's condition clearly. Shady sellers will equivocate here. If you find yourself coming up with reasons why this is hard to do, shame on you. Sellers know what condition an item is in. Unless an item is new, in box with manufacturer's warranty intact, always state the item's condition using one of the following:
- Guaranteed to function completely as new
- Partially functional (list what works and what doesn't)
- REPLICA of original item (put this in capital letters so buyers won't miss it)
- DOES NOT WORK (put this in capital letters so buyers won't miss it)
- UNTESTED/AS-IS (put this in capital letters so buyers won't miss it)
- State your post-sale terms clearly. Don't simply omit your return policy in hopes that the buyer won't need one or won't think to ask before the purchase is made. If you don't accept returns or exchanges under any circumstances, or if you have specific return policies and steps, state so very clearly and visibly with the intent that prospective buyers will use this policy as a criterion in their decision about whether or not to bid.
- List what's missing. Take care to keep prospective buyers fully informed about what they're getting. List everything that's included with the item clearly in your description and then state that only those items listed are included. If there's something a buyer might still expect to receivea power cord or user manual, for examplefurther state that such things aren't included if or when they're not.
- Send the buyer what they've bid on. Don't sell a buyer on an auction with a stock photo or a photo of an item in great condition only to then send a poor specimen (or even a different but similar specimen) altogether. The words "item may not appear as in photo" don't get sellers off the hook here. If your buyer has bid on an item with a photo, send them what's in the photo. If you don't have that item for sale, don't use that photo to begin with. Period.
Many sellers who have had complaints about buyers with unreasonable expectations could have avoided negative feedback or eBay investigations simply by following these rules. If you're a seller and you don't follow them now, start doing so. Your feedback percentage will improve, as will your blood pressure and peace of mind.