I was reading up on some Twitter posts and read a few by legendary baseball card case breaker, Brent Williams (@brentandbecca). He talks a little about EBay’s plans for immediate payment to fixed pricing and for auctions stating that he doesn’t like this for auctions. His posts made me really think about eBay fees. I have been an eBay buyer and seller since June 1998. My feedback rating is over 5,000 during those 15 years with a 100% positive feedback rating. I used to be a “top seller” on eBay having met all of eBay’s requirements. I used to have an eBay store as well. Notice that I say “used to”. Why is this? Well, you probably know the answer without me telling you. For me, I felt as if eBay was trying to control how I operate my business by forcing me to adhere to their increasingly stringent policies. For example, I was recently told that if I did not offer a 14 day no questions asked return policy, that I would no longer become a “top seller”. There have been a lot of other changes that they have made over the past several years that I prefer not to discuss as it only conjures up hard feelings. This is also why I no longer have an eBay store. I personally do not understand how people like Brent who sell a bunch on eBay can be so profitable due to eBay’s high fees. It seems we are actually working more for eBay and not for ourselves. I am sure he is profitable but not nearly as profitable as he could be if eBay’s fees were reasonable. The most irritating factor as of late and the main reason why I do not do as much on eBay has to do with their increasing fees. I would prefer that they would just have one fee per item and at a flat percentage. This way, it would be easier to understand and there would not be any obscure funny stuff going on like there is on my monthly cell phone bill. Here is an example of an item that I sold last week:
2009 Topps Heritage Hobby Sealed Box with Free Shipping: $109.99
eBay fees: $9.10
Paypal (an EBay company) fees: $3.49
USPS Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box: $11.35
My total take before taxes: $86.05
(Related post: You could click to read more about PayPal)
I might be mistaken but I believe eBay was even running a promotion or something during this time so my fees would normally be higher. In this case, eBay fees totaled 11.44% of the sales price. Add my cost of shipping and total fees were 21.76% of the sales price. In order for me to recover my fees, I have to try to sell my items at levels way above what I would normally sell them from my web site. So, in the next coming weeks if you see me selling things on eBay, keep in mind I have to have higher starting bids or Buy It Nows in order to cover my eBay fees. However by doing this, less people will want to bid.
Although I feel strongly about the increase in EBay fees, I have been very loyal to eBay and thankful for what eBay has done to help me enhance my collection. Without eBay, my collection just wouldn’t be what it is today.
However, I do miss the days where all auctions were “auction-style”. I wish eBay would permanently separate the “auction-style” format from the “buy it now” format. I think it confused everyone when they integrated everything together.
So what can be done to avoid eBay fees? Well, you can avoid EBay. Another solution is for someone to start an auction site strictly devoted to sportscards with fees that are a lot less than eBay. It would take time for someone to do this but there seems to be a market for this kind of service due to the number of people who have had it with eBay. I would think that an established business such as Blowout Cards, Check Out My Cards, Atlanta Sportscards, or even Beckett could branch out and offer this service to the sportscard collecting masses. I think it would be a great thing for the hobby to have only one main place to go where buyers can buy cards “auction style” from sellers willing to sell their cards. At reasonable fees, of course.