Henryís Random Thoughts
Item Categories: Following are tips on item categories which I have dealt with. Every category has different issues that can help or hurt you.
Event Tickets: The biggest issue with these is the fact that they are time-sensitive. You need to make it clear in the listing that you expect payment within a certain period of time. Unless the event is months away, it is not practical to accept payment through the mail. You really have to hold buyersí hands and let them know exactly what to expect with regards to shipping. You will need to let them know whether they need to sign for the envelope or not. Remember, if a sale goes bad, your loss will be total in most cases. You wonít get the chance to re-sell them in many cases, because the event will happen while the mess is being cleaned up.
There are sill anti-scalping laws in a few backwards states, so be aware of that. You might have to state the face value, which prevents bidders in that state from exceeding it. Many sellers get around this by inflating the face value. Iím not recommending bending the rules, but I donít have much regard for anti-scalping laws, so all I can say is that you will have to learn from experience what you can get away with.
Donít bother with pictures of the tickets themselves. Instead, insert a seating chart if it doesnít offend the source of the chart.
Most professional ticket scalpers use ebay very little, in spite of the fact that the news is constantly dwelling on ebay prices for hot events. For hot events that sell out in minutes or high-profile ones like the Super Bowl, ebay can be a good market. Also, if you get some seats for a bargain price and can sell them at a steep discount vs. face, that can appeal to ebayís community of bargain-hunters. But most events do not sell out or sell out very late. The bread and butter of scalping are good seats for events that are not sold out, but have only bad seats available at the window. These tickets do much better on sites like StubHub than on ebay.
Baseball Cards, Bobbleheads, and Other Collectibles: The most important thing to remember is to know your hobby. For example, bobblehead collectors like editions that are given away at the stadium. Sometimes the difference between these and versions sold in stores can be subtle. If you canít distinguish, you could have some unhappy customers if you promise one and deliver another. With cards, it is important to authenticate certain cards. While a 1987 Barry Bonds probably is exactly what it looks like, extremely valuable cards of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb have been reprinted extensively. You donít want to list something like that with a line like ďIím not sure if itís real, you be the judge.Ē That is exactly the line the crooks use when they know itís fake. If you use that line, the community will assume you are trying to sell fakes. As a general rule with collectibles, you should start out small. If you come across something valuable, look up completed listings to see what reputable sellers do to put the buyerís mind at ease. But most of the time someone offers you a box of old Ruths and Cobbs, they are reprints, and no amount of wishing will make them real.
Cars: Especially if you are selling a collector car, be prepared to get some questions. Take a ton of pictures, describe things meticulously, and check for questions several times a day. Remember, insertion fees are high in the ebay Motors section, so make your listing count and price your car to sell. You should be prepared to have people arrange to drop by and look at the car. Look at other car listings for ideas of what methods of payment to take. Shipping terms should be customer pickup, but be prepared to put some effort into pulling off the pickup. I guess my main point is that selling cars on ebay isnít much different from other ways to sell cars. You donít dodge the hassle. Many of ebayís car listers are dealers.
Music and Other Media: Stay away from bootlegs and other semi-legit issues. Ebay will remove such things.
Written by Henry Grimmelsman starting in 2007. Please do not use without citation and linking to my website.