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eBay Assisted Selling Program with Stuff U Sell

By Chris Dawson August 4, 2016 - 4:03 pm

I had a pleasant surprise this week. A cheque for a hundred and sixty odd quid dropped through my letter box for items I’d sold on eBay.

eBay UK Assisted SellingWhen I say “I’d sold” I mean that in the loosest possible terms, what I actually mean is I gathered up a load of unwanted possessions sitting gathering dust in drawers and sent them off to Stuff U Sell who are running eBay’s Assisted Selling pilot programme in the UK.

Naturally as you’d expect I have a few observations to make about the whole program, but overall it’s a fantastic program.

So the good points first… I sent off a couple of old (as in obsolete) smart phones, a model railway loco and a Windows 7 Netbook that was so underpowered (as cheap Netbooks usually are) that it struggled to boot itself and run MS Office.

Ease

I’d like to emphasise that this was ‘stuff’ I’d had laying around the house for years, I should really have sold it myself on eBay but just couldn’t be bothered. However, given the incentive of someone else doing the listings, handling the non-paying bidders or potential returns and the convenience of just filling a box and waiting for the courier to turn up was all that was needed for me to get my act together. Off the box went a couple of months ago and hey presto, today the cheque arrived.

Payments

And that brings me to one of the downsides of the pilot program. Payment is by cheque at the end of the batch at this stage, although this is likely to change to BACS direct into the consumer’s bank account as each item sells. Ideally this would be a PayPal payment as with a positive balance in my account I’d be that much more likely to re-spend the money on eBay. It’s a pilot program though and the complexities of arranging PayPal payments where the consumers don’t end up paying PayPal fees is a bit much for a trial.

Commissions / Fees

Back to the positives though, the commissions and expenses charged. There’s a 30% commission charge and NO expenses to pay. Stuff U Sell cover the eBay and PayPal Fees (which would cost you ~10% Final Value, 3.4% PayPal plus eBay listing fees, courier/postage costs, packaging costs etc). There’s also no charge for storing your goods, insuring them, photographing them, researching the item and getting them listed which all takes time and costs money. You don’t even have to pay the courier fee to send your items off as that’s also taken care of so all things considered a 30% commission fee starts looking like amazingly good value.

Speed of sale

The whole process took around 12 weeks and I’m told that this is about average. This was longer than I thought, but when I looked at the work that had gone into the sale, it made more sense. I’m so glad I didn’t list the mobile phones myself. I consider myself above average when it comes to using eBay — certainly more knowledgeable than the average consumer — but seeing 3 sales end with “Payment not received” plus a return makes me glad that it wasn’t me dealing with the eBay buyers.

The number of failed sales did make the process somewhat longer than I’d expected, but that’s sometimes par for the course when selling on eBay. And of course final payment has to wait for the buyer’s returns period to end. Another consideration is balancing the length of time it takes to get a successful sale against the price achieved.

David Brackin of Stuff U Sell elaborated on this explaining: “We’ve spent nearly 15 years figuring out how to get higher prices on eBay, and a big part of this is how long you leave it in the market for the right buyer to come along. We all know that a firesale – starting an auction at 99p – is one way to get something cleared quickly, but too often that leaves sellers with just a few pounds.

Our strategy is just the opposite to that – we take a little longer and price things fully to encourage buyers to pay more. We’re paying for storage during this time, but we reckon that’s more than made up for by the increased commission we get from the higher prices: don’t forget we only get paid when the seller does. And I reckon that if the main complaint is about how long it takes rather than the prices, then we’re erring on the right side of caution.

Of course we’d like to make things better. This is a pilot at this stage, but we’re looking at a number of ways to speed things up – including giving more pricing control to the seller – they can currently set their start price but we’d like also to allow them to set how fast their items are discounted. We’re also looking at putting in place “instant sale” options and allowing micro payments as individual items sell rather than a single batch payment.”

Prices achieved

stuff us sell weekly reportI’m pretty happy with the prices my goods sold for. They were more than reasonable, especially for the HTC Magic which is so old as to be practically useless:

Windows 7 Intel Atom 1.67GHz Laptop Netbook £73.95
Bacchman 00 Gauge Loco £59.99
HTC Magic Android Mobile £10.00
Samsung S4 Mini £89.95

Total sale price: £233.89
Total after commission: £163.71

Would I use the service again?

Yes, In fact I’m already putting another box of items together ready to send off. They’ve even introduced a Collect Plus drop-off service so that you don’t have to wait in for a courier. It’s totally effortless from the consumer’s point of view and if you’ve got anything of value that’s been laying around your house then all they’re doing (apart from gathering dust) is probably devaluing. I should have sold the mobile phones years ago when they were worth some real money.

You get weekly updates from Stuff U Sell on the status of your items so you know exactly what’s sold and what price it achieved, or if it’s been relisted and is still awaiting a buyer.

If you’d like to try eBay’s Assisted Selling Program for yourself, you can sign up at sellforme.stuffusell.co.uk

  • tinker
    8 months ago

    needs a medal as big as a dustbin lid

    lord knows the grief these guys must suffer

    • Steve
      8 months ago

      Somehow I don’t think they will recieve the same customer support as the regular sellers just like the outlets they will be protected from the buyer abuse we all have to suffer.

    • tinker
      8 months ago

      we dont believe there is any effective ebay customer support for any seller regardless of status

    • 8 months ago

      Just the same gig for us as anyone else. Although I do find if you’re nice to the lovely people in Dublin, then even if they can’t help you, it’s a more pleasant conversation. ;-)

    • Steve
      8 months ago

      Just been scammed this morning with a item switch return £30 down the pan and no help from eBay just the usual they don’t know what I sent and cant prove the buyer sent a different item back.
      The serial numbers are different from the listing picture and I only had one to sell the used the listing photos showing the serial number but even this is not enough so tough luck.

      Thanks eBay for all your support

    • Tim
      8 months ago

      Yet a buyer can raise an item not as described case and eBay will side with them despite not being able to see what you sent and what the customer received.

      I can understand eBay wanting to protect customers to an extent but they need to go about it a different way. They can not just assume every seller is bad and that the buyer is always in the right.

      Weed out the bad sellers and also ban the bad buyers (this will never happen)

    • Steve
      8 months ago

      But what happens to sellers who are fed up with been the victims of the buyer scams do they become the next batch of scam buyers ?

      Will the end game be a site full of scammers where nothing is sold or bought and goods just exchanged by scamming each other ?

    • TINKER
      8 months ago

      it does cross your mind when your peed off with your latest ebay fraudulent buyer
      loads of free laptops and mobile phones if you wished to go over to the dark side

  • elvis
    8 months ago

    I hope you didn’t leave any personal information on thenetbook or phones?

    I’m always a bit paranoid about selling these sorts of devices as I’m leaving myself open to identity theft or fraud.

  • Andy R
    8 months ago

    Interesting.

    But what happens if the items “are not received” or are claimed to be not as described, or paypal chargebacks?

    Who carries the liability?

    • 8 months ago

      Once my cheque clears it won’t be me :-)

    • 8 months ago

      Mostly that’s not an issue, Andy. And in any case, it’s not our first time at the rodeo…

      Almost all our items are sent tracked so INRs are pretty rare, but where there’s loss or damage in the post, we pay for that and the seller is unaffected.

      Of course the buyer can return the item for any or no reason at all, and part of the time that it takes to complete the sale is the returns period closing so that we know the sale has “stuck”.

      Paypal chargebacks are pretty rare with tracking information, but where they occur, the liability rests with us and the seller is unaffected.

      The whole goal of the service is to shield the consumer seller from these hassles and make it as easy as putting an item in a box and dropping it off at a local Collect+ shop or having a courier collect it from their work or home.

    • Steve
      8 months ago

      If eBay was a fair open honest company we would not need companies such as yours to shield the consumer seller from these hassles.

      These hassles are not just alienating people from selling but when they are treated badly when things go wrong they also stop buyer off eBay as well.

      eBay’s buyer is always right attitude even when its clear they are scamming sellers especially where the buyers feedback shows the pattern clearly is doing a lot of harm to the eBay brand and will eventually bit them in the ass

      Good luck in your venture and I hope you get better support than many other sellers from eBay.

  • Sam O'levski
    8 months ago

    Not much point getting assistance to sell stuff at 99p freepost I suppose ?
    Good idea perhaps for higher priced items, and for those too busy or lazy to do it themselves.
    Interesting comment about a ‘firesale’ starting auction items at 99p – I find there are so many listings like that, that I don’t look at them so much, preferring to focus on the 1p or 5p starts in the hope of picking up a bargain, which is the whole point for many buyers rather than sellers of course.

    • 8 months ago

      Sam — the service is targeted at items which we think will sell for £25 or higher. We assess them when they come in to us and we send them back free of charge if we think there’s no chance of getting past that hurdle.

  • Jonah
    8 months ago

    Just got off the phone to ebay customer “support”. Been scammed again, the buyer has kept a high value item and also a full refund. And the advice I got was “its probably a misunderstanding”. Amazing how so many misunderstandings happen on ebay. And will I get a refund on my fees- absolutely not- as the buyer charged back after the claim deadline. No misunderstanding there eh?

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