On Sunday I made three purchases on eBay. Today one of them turned up (still waiting for the other two to arrive).
What surprised me however was that it arrived as a gift (purportedly from myself) from Amazon!
Yes, it appears that the seller is involved in a little marketplace arbitrage and not only doesn’t hold the stock, but lists products from Amazon at a higher price on eBay and waits for someone to purchase. When they get a sale on eBay, they simply place an order on Amazon, select the gift option (no they were too tight to spring for gift wrap) and let Amazon ship out to their buyer. Their feedback confirms this is their usual pattern of trading.
Of course having had it arrive from Amazon I now know that instead of paying £11.11 on eBay I could have purchased the same product for £5.99 on Amazon. It’s very tempting to ask for a return and even bearing in mind the return postage costs I’d still save money overall. What makes it worse is the gift despatch note stating “We hope you enjoy your gift, and we’d love to see you soon at www.amazon.co.uk“!
It’s hard not to admire the seller’s ingenuity however, seeing as I’m still waiting for the other two products I purchased they’re not all bad, in fact it’s a pretty good service. By using Amazon to pick, pack and fulfil their orders (and supply the stock) they’ve managed to get superb eBay detailed seller ratings.
What was amusing is I happened to be on a telephone call to someone pretty senior at eBay when the package arrived and couldn’t help blurting out what had just happened…. they too were amused at how the seller trades on eBay.
I’m not sure I would recommend this as a way of trading on eBay, although this seller seems to be making it work well. You’d need to keep track of what Amazon has in stock, but the biggest danger is disgruntled customers who realise they’ve paid over the odds. Would you risk it?