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Seller Confessions: My Biggest eBay Fails

September 24th, 2018

Nobody wants to lose money, but even the most experienced eBay seller makes mistakes.  Here are three of my biggest eBay fails.  Read and learn.

 The Trader Joe’s Nightmare

About 8 years ago, I bought $1,000 worth of Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels to sell on eBay.  I’d never sold food before, but I looked them up, and they were in demand.  I soon realized that I had purchased too many.  Before I knew it, summer arrived, and I had stacks and stacks of these tasty treats sitting in my garage.  Although we were still getting orders, they were melting in transit.  People were not happy.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until winter to get rid of them because they had an expiration date.  We started eating sea salt caramels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  What else could we do?  I gained five pounds trying to get rid of those suckers.  Eventually, I gave the rest away as presents.  Remember: If you’re going to sell food, always check expiration dates, and be careful buying items that cannot be shipped in hot weather.  Lesson learned.

The Shoe Emergency

Many of our biggest fails involved shoes.  Years ago we did not understand the importance of inspecting preowned shoes before listing them.  Shoes can look brand new but may fall apart the first time they are worn if they have been sitting in a closet for years.  For example, some manufacturers produce soles that do not stand the test of time and will disintegrate or even split in half if they get old.  When we first started selling on eBay, we listed a pair of name brand clogs.  The woman who bought them worked at a hospital and thought they were an amazing deal!  Unfortunately, the first time she wore them to work, she left a trail of rubber wherever she walked.  The soles were literally disintegrating all over the emergency room.  Uh, oh.  Instant refund.

The Fashion Fiasco

In another instance involving shoes, a buyer purchased a pair of beautiful designer heels.  She wore them to work with her favorite outfit.  A few minutes after she got to work, one of the heels fell off – the entire heel.  So embarrassing!  She hobbled around the office for the rest of the day.  Luckily, she thought it was funny.  We quickly issued a refund, and offered to send her a pair of shoes for free.   We now know the importance of closely inspecting all preowned shoes before listing them on eBay.  In addition, we have purchased a one million dollar insurance policy that covers us if anything goes wrong with the products we sell.

Selling on eBay is an adventure, but, like anything, it does come with some risks.  Luckily, each of these fails taught me an important lesson and made me a more successful seller!

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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