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30 Tips For Buying And Selling Clothes On eBay Like A Champion

Look at that pile of crap in your room. Look at it. Get your shit together and sell it.

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1. When making your eBay account, make sure you don’t reuse any passwords.

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Hackers target innocuous websites and steal user data from there. If you use the same password and email on every website then hackers can use your information from some website you haven't used in a year and get access to your eBay account, your Paypal, your bank account, and everything you love.

2. Now that you have a nice and secure eBay account, the first thing you should do is buy stuff to get some feedback.

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With every transaction, eBay users have the option to leave the other party feedback (both buyers and sellers). Most users avoid sellers with less than 10 reviews, because there is no way of knowing if they're legitimate, making it a risk to buy from them. Buying stuff is the quickest way get some positive feedback and establish yourself as a real human before you start selling.

3. Know your measurements.

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Sizes mean nothing and differ hugely from brand to brand. Before buying anything, ask sellers for exact measurements. You can also compare measurements of the clothes you're considering against clothes you already own and know fit you well.

Please note that measuring does not involve actually consuming any measuring tape.

4. If you're looking for a bargain or a vintage gem, it is best to be as broad as possible in the search.

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People are lazy and rarely fill in all the criteria when listing items, so often the filters aren't as effective as they are on an online store.

So, if you're just looking for cool, unspecific items, first put in a broad search term such as "ankle boots". Then, limit your search to UK only to minimise the number of wholesale, non-vintage items that will come up.

5. Next, refine your search results by choosing your sizes.

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Choose all the possible closest sizes to your own. There is quite a lot of scope for what can fit you, so it may also be worth choosing larger sizes too, as vintage sizes are smaller than modern ones.

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6. Lastly, sort the search results.

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Order the items from lowest price to highest to help you scope out the bargains. Then, be prepared to trawl through 100 pages of garbage before you come across a beauty. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

7. Or, it is a case of finding the ~magic search term~.

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If you’re looking for a certain type of item, such as a '70s folky blouse, you may need to try various different search terms before you find the right wavelength for your search. So, try "peasant blouse", "70s blouse", or (cringe) "boho top" until you find what you're looking for.

8. If you're looking for one specific item, be prepared to play the waiting game.

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If you want a specific item, such as a particular dress from a particular brand from a particular season, it will eventually turn up on eBay. You can search for it and then follow the search so that you will be notified when it is eventually listed. Try following several different searches under which it could be listed – such as what it is called by the brand itself and a more literal descriptive search.

9. Read the whole description and ask questions.

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Don't be afraid to ask for more pictures, and never assume that it'll fit or that it's in great condition or the right colour. Most sellers are willing to answer all your questions because they, obviously, want to sell.

10. Don't hesitate to ask sellers if they're willing to end the auction early for you.

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If you really, really want something, don’t be afraid to message buyers and ask them if they’re willing to sell the item as “Buy It Now”. You can name your price and negotiate from there or ask the seller how much they want for the item. Same as haggling IRL.

Note: Some sellers may specify in their auction description that they are not willing to end an item early, in which case, obviously, don't ask them if they would be.

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11. Avoid wholesale items.

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This is, of course, a personal preference, but there are a lot of sellers in China who list cheap, wholesale stock on eBay. I tend to avoid these sellers because if the item is a disappointment, it is probably more expensive to send it back than to buy another one. Additionally, most of these items can actually be bought even cheaper via aliexpress.com.

12. Keep in mind the feedback of the seller.

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If it is terrible, avoid, obviously. However, be sure to read what the actual feedback says – sometimes, buyers overreact and give negative feedback for a genuine mistake before trying to resolve whatever issue it was.

13. When making a bid, wait till the last second.

I'm high bidder on an eBay auction that ends in an hour. I'll fret over it for next 50 min, then get distracted & be outbid at last second.

Put in the highest price you're willing to pay and only submit the bid in the last few seconds of the auction, minimising the chances of being outbid. There is no point bidding in the last hour as all you do is raise the price. Most of the bidding always happens in the last few minutes of an auction.

14. Or, bid incrementally over a long period to deter other possible bidders.

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Make small bids over the duration of the auction. If people see something has 20 bids (even if it is just between two people) they may be put off because it indicates that the the price will go up substantially, which minimises the competition for you.

15. When you bid, bid a precise number.

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Most people bid in nice, tidy, round numbers. If you make your bids a more precise number like £18.78, then you will outbid the person before you who bid £18.50 by just 28p, again increasing your chances of winning.

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16. If your item isn't as described, contact the seller!

Hahahaha! Best thing I've seen today! Online shopping: Expectations vs. Reality

Always check and see if the item you bought is as described (e.g. if it has any marks that weren't mentioned, etc). If it isn't, contact the seller and let them know – politely. Most sellers are eager to ensure you're happy because they don't want negative feedback, and will be happy to give you a refund or a partial refund. eBay has a money-back guarantee so if you receive no reply from the seller, you can open a case in the resolution centre and eBay will ensure you get your money back.

17. Keep in mind the postage times.

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Let the seller know if the item hasn't arrived by its expected delivery time. This way, if the item is lost, they can make a claim with the delivery service and initiate a refund to you, or you can claim a refund yourself if they're being a total numpty and not responding.

18. Keep the mailing bags your online purchases come in.

Great, fun way to jazz up your jiffy bags! #envelope #mail #courier #postage

You can reuse these to post the oddly shaped stuff that won't fit into the mailing bags you bulk-bought. It's better for the environment, too. Just be sure to cover up old addresses to avoid confusion.

19. Leave feedback.

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If everything was fine, or even if there was an issue but the seller was eager and quick to fix it, leave positive feedback. If there was an issue that the seller fixed but took a long while to do or wasn't very cooperative in doing, leave neutral feedback. Only leave negative feedback if the seller was completely uncooperative and deceitful, because it is a massive blow to a small-scale seller.

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20. After you have some feedback, start photographing your stuff to sell!

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Make sure you photograph during the day so that the colours are most accurate, and photograph any signs of wear. You can do it with just your phone camera, but try to keep the background clear of clutter and your own naked reflection.

21. Buy postage bags in bulk.

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Save yourself a lot of money and pain by buying some mailing bags in bulk. You can get 50 for under a fiver – just search 'postage bags' on eBay or Amazon. The 12" x 16" bag size fits most items, including shoes.

22. Be as accurate as possible when describing your item.

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DON'T LIE! Don't say your item is new when it isn't. If the item doesn't match the description, it'll just be returned and you'll end up with negative feedback. It's dumb and don't do it.

When giving your listing a title, you can use these abbreviations:

BNWOT = Brand new without tags

BNWT/BNIB= Brand new with tags/brand new in box

In the description in the actual body of the listing, go into as much detail as you can and give measurements too. Describe all possible signs of wear. Also, fill in as many of the criteria as possible – all of this will mean your item will show up in more search results.

23. Bear in mind the time you list your items.

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The time when you list an auction is also when it will end the following week. If you go on a listing frenzy at 4am on a Tuesday, all your auctions will end at 4am the next week and no one will bid on them because they're asleep.

So, make sure to list everything in the evening when people are most likely to be on eBay. Better yet, list in the evening on a Sunday, because that is when people are least likely to be stuck at work, in traffic, or in a pub.

24. List as many items as possible at once.

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eBay allows 20 free listings per month (i.e. they won't charge you the regular insertion fee, which is 35p per item). Take advantage of that and list as many things as possible. This way, if one of your items is particularly popular and has lots of views, many of those potential bidders will have a look at your other items too, giving all your stuff more exposure.

25. Always post by a tracked service, and as soon as possible.

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If your item gets lost in transit, you're obligated to refund the buyer and then seek compensation yourself from whatever service you used. If you don't use a tracker service, you won't get compensation. Although Royal Mail will send you six first-class stamps to say thanks for filling in the 10,000 forms.

Make sure you post within the timeframe the listing says you will (you have the option of posting within 1-3 working days, but you have to specify). The sooner you do it, the better. People are used to the shit they buy online arriving the next day carried by a drone, probably. The future is now, my friend.

26. Always keep your proof of postage.

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Try to keep your receipts and proof of postage organised and at hand in case anything gets lost. The buyer has 60 days in which to open up a case, so keep the proof of postage for that period of time.

27. You don't have to use Royal Mail.

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You can post via courier services that will pick up the items from your house at a specified time, which is convenient if you don't have time to pop to the post office during the day.

28. Keep up communication with the buyer.

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If you're delayed in posting, let the buyer know. Once the item is posted, make sure you update the status of the package as "dispatched" and enter the relevant tracking number.

29. If a buyer simply doesn't pay for the item they've bought, contact them first.

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Usually there is a good reason if someone doesn't pay for their purchase immediately. But if they are being a total arsehole, or are simply not replying to any messages, you can open an unpaid item case in the resolution centre. If the buyer still doesn't pay, you can request final fee credit (i.e. you won't be charged a percentage of what you sold the item for). This is a pain because the "second chance offer" option (offering the item again to the second-highest bidder) is useless because few people ever respond. The best thing to do is just relist the item.

As a seller you cannot leave negative feedback, but a buyer who doesn't pay gets a strike against their account, and after three strikes their account is banned. When listing items, you can select buyer restrictions and ban bidders with two or more unpaid item strikes against their account.

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