Mimi Jackson has been an eBay member, buyer and occasional seller for eight years. She’s not a professional seller, but someone who has enjoyed buying and selling, finding unusual objects and some bargains. Here she reflects on some of eBay’s recent changes and the effect they will have on her use of the site.
I have been a faithful member of, and true believer in eBay for about 8 years now. I have sold some things I thought could fetch a good price, and I have even built my collection of late 1800’s sewing, craft and etiquette books mostly by surfing ebay. Many of the books were lovely little gems from someone’s grandmother’s attic, or some dusty corner of a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. eBay has allowed me to find the things I never would have otherwise found, and connect with people I would never otherwise meet. It has allowed me to fanatically pursue and satisfy such a specific, quirky, and rare interestâ€¦ affordably!
Now, I fear, that era is coming to an end.
I always thought that eBay was founded on the idea that people are basically good and honest, and are happy to exchange unwanted/extra goods for money, when mutually beneficial.
Just this week, I decided to sell an old Lenox China (Ceramic Arts Company, c. 1900) sugar bowl that we’ve been keeping, simply because it is beautiful. After I noticed the markings on the bottom, a bit of internet research showed that it might be quite a bit more valuable than I realized, and I decided that it might be better off in the hands of a collector.
So I took pictures, and got ready to list it on eBay. After signing in, I saw that due to my â€œlimitedâ€ transaction history with eBay ( Me? 8 years? More than 50 transactions?), I would be required to accept Paypal as a payment option, and that the payment would be held until proof of delivery or positive feedback. Uhâ€¦ okayâ€¦ but, wait a secondâ€¦ I’m dealing honestly hereâ€¦ what if the buyer isn’t?
Many of my favorite purchases have come from people who aren’t sophisticated eBayers. It seems they just had a trunk of old stuff to clear out, and a need for some cash, in many cases. eBay won’t get those sellers (who are important!) with these new rules. Who wants the hassle of these new restrictions for something that might not even attract a good price? That leaves eBay selling to the businesspeople, those who know have more valuable items to sell, and those who are strapped for cash.
The whole idea of getting a good deal on eBay, in my opinion, relied on the fact that selling was cheap and easy, and that both parties were willing to take a bit of a risk, trusting someone they’ve never met to pay or ship as promised. In my case, I haven’t ever had a problem that wasn’t satisfactorily resolved, and have gotten some phenomenal deals, just because I bid on the right thing at the right time.
Okay, so I can see that there are some items on eBay that look too good to be true, and clearly there are dishonest sellers and buyers lurking about, but can’t we tolerate a bit of that for the greater good?
First posted on Mimi’s blog and reproduced with permission.