While continuing my eBay consignment sales for several years beyond eBay’s closure of the Trading Assistant program, I’ve encountered my fair share of disagreements. If you’re thinking about selling something on consignment, please understand all three of the points I’ve described below. This will save you a lot of time and energy if you’re not on the same page.
#1 – Have Reasonable Pricing Expectations
A product is worth what a customer’s willing to pay for it. It is not worth the retail sticker price that you paid many years ago. Especially with technology, selling off old goods means you’ll be taking a loss. The purpose of selling your old junk isn’t to make a profit, it’s to clean out the clutter. Sure, there’s a market for old junk, but that brings me to point number two.
#2 – I Require A Minimum Wage To Survive
When I sell an item on consignment, I may spend upwards of a half hour between listing, packaging, correspondence, and mailing. If it’s a $20 item, then after all shipping and selling fees are paid it’s not uncommon for only $10 to remain. My commission would be 30% of that, which leaves me less than a minimum wage. Therefore, bulky items whose value has greatly diminished are simply not feasible for me to sell.
#3 – The Buyer Has The Right To Receive What They Paid For
This is the biggest problem I’ve encountered in all my consignment sales. I’ve had one too many clients give me incorrect information about the items they gave me, and then complain up a storm about refunding the shipping costs when the customer inevitably returns the product. If the product you give me does not match the description you give me, the customer gets a full refund and that includes the shipping cost. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. You’d be demanding a refund, too.
No buyer is liable for any transaction costs – this includes shipping – when you supply them with a product that is not as advertised.
I will be happy to continue selling items for friends, family, and clients who understand that eBay is not a magic gold mine, that buyers have rights, and that I cannot run a business without turning a profit.