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How to sell a smartphone safely on eBay UK

By Dan Wilson November 4, 2014 - 2:11 am

iPhone 5s 5ceBay is promoting the sale of smartphones to sellers, especially consumer sellers who might not be totally experienced in the vagaries of eBay selling.

And it seems some sellers are being stung. Inexperienced sellers are getting ripped off on smartphone sales and eBay isn’t stepping up with their promise of protecting sellers whatever happens and hiding behind the T&Cs of the small print of seller protection. The smartphone selling arena is shark infested as media coverage testifies.

It is a tricky selling area, but most of the problems can be avoided. Here are my suggestions. What would you add?

UK Only
Stick to UK buyers only. State clearly in the listing that you are unwilling to ship overseas and make sure you have all your settings tweaked to reinforce that.

PayPal only
Don’t be persuaded to take any other payment method under any circumstances.

Pack it proper. Picture proof.
Make sure you pack your smartphone and photograph the smartphone as you pack it. Maybe even make a video showing the condition as it goes into your very well packed parcel. Don’t scrimp on packaging.

Ship to a PayPal verified address only
Double check that your buyer is bona fide and that means a PayPal verified address. Don’t be tempted otherwise.

Avoid the switcheroo
This is how several of the reports of problems I’ve read about happen. The buyer persuades the seller to send the phone to an address abroad or a location that’s not verified. Don’t do this. PayPal verified address, in the UK. No exceptions.

Send your phone. Tracked and signed for only
Absolutey make sure that your postage method will satisfy eBay in the case of a dispute. That means tracked. It means signed for. It’s so worth it and for a phone is inexpensive. Certainly way cheaper than a rip-off.

Make no exceptions. Stick to your guns.
As a seller you’re in charge. If you don’t like the cut of a buyer’s gib, say so. Set out all your conditions in the listing to be very clear.

  • 3 years ago

    i would add to that, select immediate payment only by paypal if possible (when using a buy it now option). This prevents time wasters and non paying bidders – of which I have found there are a lot of when selling phones.

  • Bobby
    3 years ago

    I have found when selling mobiles/tech on ebay, that collection is best. I have had no trouble this way and still easily find buyers.

    This way I am covering myself and the customer can see the phone is fully working and in the condition stated.

    This is something I do for all expensive phones and other tech bits. However cheaper items I have no issue sending as recorded and signed for. Over the years of selling on ebay here and there I have learnt i HAVE to cover my own back as ebay aren’t any help.

    • elvis
      3 years ago

      I know of people who have accepted collection, the buyer paid by paypal, turned up at my mates house, collected the phone, then opened a paypal case saying he hadn’t received it even though he collected it in person.

      If you do accept collections, only accept payment when the colelct the phone in cash.

  • paddy
    3 years ago

    I’d disagree with Paypal only. If someone is willing to pay by Bank Transfer I’d much rather accept that.

  • Dave from Trumpton
    3 years ago

    Customers Returning different phones or returning the sold phone smashed to pieces.

    This hasn’t been addressed.

    I’ve been a victim and ebay couldn’t care less. They always side with the Buyer no matter what regardless of Feedback.

    I think you should remove the “Pack it Picture Proof” unless you know for sure Ebay will accept it as evidence. Because I can assure you they don’t.

    Perhaps they feel the need to shout about it because people are losing trust and sales of phones are down.

    • james
      3 years ago

      eBay dont accept any kind of proof from a seller, you can video it continuously from putting it in the box to hand delivering it to the person who ordered at the address they provided, eBay still wont accept it
      (yes i have asked eBay and they confirmed this), so taking photos or videos is just wasting your time.

      as for the refusing to ship to different address, welcome to negative feedback land! unless the buyer specifically writes “wouldnt ship to unverified address” then eBay wont remove it either; buyer just writes “this seller is uncooperative” or “avoid” for example, and as far as eBay are concerned, thats the buyers legitimate opinion (yes i’ve asked, and eBay verified this).

      even if you have a tracking number, the buyer just needs to claim an empty box, and it will always be found in the buyers favour (yes i’ve asked, and eBay have confirmed this).

      and if they open a return, they only need to provide a tracking number that shows as delivered, if you receive an empty box as a return, eBay will refund the buyer regardless, and you have to get your money back through the courts (yes i’ve asked, and eBay have confirmed this, and had it happen to me repeatedly).

      my advice. dont sell on eBay under the current status quo if you can avoid it. put an ad in your local shop window, chances of being ripped off are infinitely lower.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    Picture proof is just deluding your self into a false sense of security .
    its no proof at all ,nothing to stop you takinga picture then altering the package or contents

  • UlsterGooner
    3 years ago

    How about a system where buyers have a trust and safety rating in their feedback?

    Non receipt claim? 63%
    Returned goods? 95%
    Reported late delivery? 100%
    Transactions without incident 40%
    Do you want to block this buyer? Yes/ No.

    That would be safe way to sell.

    • john
      3 years ago

      Buyer ratings would not benefit ebay, so why would they implement it. The sellers take the hit ebay takes the money.

      There is next to no benefit to having a buyer rating system or a better blocking criteria. Ebay would loose money and sellers would save money.

      Most sellers of refunded/failed sales are penalised or are out of pocket. Ebay gains or/and buyer gains.

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