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eBay enrage high-end outlet store owners

By Chris Dawson August 25, 2007 - 8:07 am

The latest edition of the “Power Up” newsletter is causing more than a little controversy. (Power Up is the eBay.com equivalent of the PowerSeller News Letter).

It carries an article on “Sourcing for Profitability” where it suggests “When sourcing at retail, check the return policy before you buy. If items are returnable, you can always return the inventory if you find it doesn’t sell at a good profit.”

I’m not sure just why eBay would give this advice in the current climate of retailers scrutinising eBay. This advice is clearly aimed a new sellers looking for an easy route to market but checking return policies and “borrowing” stock from retailers will do nothing to endear eBay to the high street.

In recent news stories many brand names and designers are vigorously protecting their image and restricting eBay sales. Auctionbytes reported that Williams-Sonoma’s Pottery Barn Outlets banned eBay sellers from purchasing in their stores. Lancôme are suing several eBay sellers (and eBay) for selling US product in the EU.

A thread on the US PowerSeller board [log in required] points to Vera Bradley a designer of handbags, luggage and accessories. They state specifically on their about me page that purchases made outside their retail outlets are not for “new” products. Anyone reselling their products on eBay should describe them as used or “secondary market” products.

Of course avoiding the wrath of brand owners by reselling their products on eBay isn’t the only issue sellers have to face. Some sellers will find they’re unable to actually list designer products on eBay due to trust and safety trading limitations.

It’s unsurprising retailers take a strong stance against eBay sellers. They not only perceive their brand to be diluted but now eBay are suggesting using them for sale or return stock!

In the same news letter eBay have a “Keys to Success” section pointing to a profile on Seller Central. Selling adverts from magazines they state “Primarily we list in the Toy category because that’s where people are looking, but we make it clear that we are selling the ads not the toys. We don’t want people to be angry and disappointed.

  • 10 years ago

    PLEASE!~!~! Who is able to purchase retail anywhere and make a profit reselling it on ebay?
    Has eBay or anyone looked at the ending auctions lately? Listings either end with the beginning auction price or end with no bids at all.
    I should write a book, entitled “How to Lose Your the Shirt Off Your Back on eBay”. Who is making profit? Who has items that sell for a fair price? Please, someone tell me what items are selling for a profit. I sure can’t find any.

  • Mark (Villainous)
    10 years ago

    “Please, someone tell me what items are selling for a profit. I sure can’t find any. ”

    Pirate dvds.

    I had no idea that .com were so out of touch with their sellers. I assumed that behaviour was exclusive to .co.uk .

  • 10 years ago

    Hi Ann, Anyone purchasing at retail is gambling. Look at recent games consoles, some have sold at massive profits over the retail price and others haven’t.

    I make a decent living from eBay, but not from purchasing from retail stores and reselling on eBay! :shock:

    I did run an experiment a couple of years ago following a bet from my brother. I purchased four items from TV shopping channels and resold them on eBay. I did make a profit even after paying the high postage these channels charge, but it wasn’t realistic as a serious business proposition. The problem is you can only buy one of each item at a time so the stock isn’t readily available in the quantities you’d need to make serious profits. Plus the time spent to purchase the products is far in excess of what it would take you to find alternative sources.

    Still I was happy, my brother lost the bet as I did make a small profit :D

  • 10 years ago

    I did it when I first started in early 2000 because Walmart had a bargain bin for DVD’s in their store, so I would buy their heavily discounted items and sell them on eBay. I only did it occasionally and that was when you could make money off of DVD’s.

    The problem I have with the newsletter article was the suggestion you could return the items to the store you bought them from if they didn’t sell. So eBay is now encouraging seller’s to be un-ethical. Just when I think I’ve seen it all they still manage to surprise me.

  • 10 years ago

    Yeah but isn’t that link to the old advert sellers a stormer? Did anyone else look in their shop?

    There’s a couple of really old ads in there (including a 1935 ad for a Buck Rogers metal figure casting kit) that I’d love to have for framing and keeping – if only I could make enough off eBay to pay the $25 per ad that seems to be the sellers’ stock pricing for everything.

    Ah well ….. today my desk …. tomorrow ….. errrrr …… the front yard :-D

  • 10 years ago

    I also did it when I first started back in 2000. You could, then – because things being on eBay was a novelty. And you could buy on eBid and resell on eBay, and you could buy on eBay too and resell with better pictures and a decent write-up.

    Those days are gone, my friends.

    The thing that really shocked me was them encouraging miscategorisation. There are going to be some seriously pissed off sellers when their listings get pulled. :-(

  • rich
    10 years ago

    Anyone who’s ever had a listing pulled for category miscatigorization should report the people at the end of this story for the same thing. READ THEIR FEEDBACK like the one sitting right on top–people DO and ARE complaining that they thought they were buying the item they posted the ‘ad’ for. How CRAZY is it that ebay PROMOTES breaking their own rules as a way people SHOULD do business.. FUTZ! Ebay seems to be imploding, it’s getting worse every month.

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