Is Presale selling a good idea on eBay?

I spoke to a seller recently who had been terribly stung because of a presale cock-up. He put his hands up to his own failings in the incident in question but eBay made it much worse with the inflexibility of the Defects system. The echoes of which are still resonating nearly a year or so on.

Presales. Read eBay’s policy here. It’s where you sell something that you don’t yet have but will. It could be something like a video game or a fashion item. Or an event ticket. You have the right to sell the item but you don’t yet have it in your possession. eBay allows a 30 day window for such things.

It’s a minefield though. The seller I spoke to was let down by his supplier. He fulfilled all the orders but some were longer than 30 days. He received more than a few defects and this has stifled his selling since despite the fact that he clearly signalled the nature of the sales and all were fulfilled as quickly as possible. Throughout the process he offered refunds to anyone who was unhappy.

There will always be something of a risk involved with presales but the rewards can often be good too, especially if you have a good relationship with a supplier an can sell something that enjoys great demand.

But it seems to me that there’s scope for a much cleverer presales/pre-order system on eBay. It could be a spinner and satisfy sellers and buyers alike. Payments made could easily be held in something akin to escrow so that buyers were reassured. And specific features could keep buyers informed on the status of the purchase and protect sellers from defects related enquiries from buyers before the item is supposed to be available.

Do you ever presale? Does it work? Or does it represent too much of a risk?