Items New Sellers Should Avoid Selling on eBay

Why the Easiest Things to Sell on eBay Aren't Necessarily the Big Ticket Items

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If you want to look like a noob on eBay, go ahead and list that expensive item as your first sale. You might as well be painting a target on your back for scammers and identity thieves. These guys can smell rookies a mile away, and with no seller history and zero feedback, that's how you'll appear. 

Plus, it might raise red flags with eBay and get your brand-new account suspended before you even begin.


Easiest Things to Sell on eBay

When learning to sell on eBay, start small, with inexpensive items around your home. Kitchen items, anything worth $20 or less that is new in the package, toys, mainstream (not designer) clothing, holiday decorations, books and media, or linens are good, solid options. Once you are higher on the learning curve, it's safe to add more expensive items.

Until then, here are five items eBay newbies should avoid.

1. Designer Handbags 

First of all, a very large percentage of "designer" handbags out in the world are fake. eBay does not allow counterfeit items for any reason, even if you add a disclaimer that the bag is designer inspired, a replica, or a knock-off. This is a huge no-no and your account can be shut down on the first instance. Familiarize yourself with the eBay Policy about replicas, counterfeit items, and unauthorized copies. Another reason to avoid selling designer handbags is that it is an oversaturated category on eBay.

 Why compete against those odds with a product that might even be fake?

2. Smartphones

There is a popular iPhone scam where a buyer will purchase a phone from a newbie seller, take the guts out of the phone, claim the phone doesn't work, and request a return. Since eBay has a 100 percent satisfaction policy, every seller has a return policy whether they want one or not.

The buyer returns the item, gets a tracking number, and when it is delivered gets a refund. The seller gets an unsellable phone back and is out the money from the purchase. Buyers want the guts of the phone to sell for parts. If you have an old phone to sell, it is better to sell through Amazon Trade-In, Gazelle, or through a Verizon trade-in program, because through these programs the sale is guaranteed, you get your money, and there is no risk.

3. Jewelry

Jewelry is risky even for experienced sellers. Unless you have a receipt and an appraisal, don't sell expensive jewelry with pure gold, silver, or precious gems on eBay until you have more experience and a high feedback score (at least 100). The buyer can claim he received anything, and without proof of the content of the item, the seller won't have a leg to stand on if a dispute is filed. Low-value costume jewelry is fine to sell. Unless you are experienced in valuing vintage jewelry, it's better to wait until you have more experience with that category, too.​

4. Electronics

The electronics scam is much like the iPhone scam. A buyer may claim the item doesn't work or is defective, and eBay usually sides with the buyer in these cases. The buyer may also take parts out of the item and return a defective item that is not resellable. The most common items in these kinds of scams are cameras, computers and tablets, and audio equipment. 

5. Expensive Collectibles or Autographed Items

You may have a lovely collectible teapot from your great-grandmother and have it priced too low. An experienced buyer may come along and snag it quickly to resell online or in an antique shop. New eBay sellers are famous for not knowing how to price and unknowingly leaving money on the table. Autographed items should be authenticated. eBay has a list of recommended Authentication Services here. Check these out before listing anything that needs authenticating.

The Bottom Line

The average American household has $7,000 worth of items that can be sold online. New sellers have plenty of items in their homes to sell on eBay. Start with low dollar items, learn the eBay landscape, and make mistakes on items that don't cost very much. 

Updated on August 12, 2016 by Suzanne A. Wells.

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