eBay changes private seller listing fees

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eBay has changed the listing fees for private sellers. But it's not all bad news...

eBay has adjusted the structure of its fees for private sellers. The online auction house says that it has made these alterations to offer "more flexibility" in how people sell their items.

In a nutshell, the number of free listings allocated per month has been reduced, but sellers may still benefit as a result of restrictions on pricing being lifted.

How it worked previously

Previously, sellers could list 100 items for auction each month, so long as the bidding started below a pound. If an auction was set up to open higher than this, an insertion fee was administered. Buy-it-now (fixed) price listings were subject to a flat fee, usually 40p, though if you were selling 'media' (books, DVDs, video games or other similar items) it halved to 20p.

From their 101st listing, sellers paid a 'standard insertion fee' of 5p for media-related categories, or 10p for all other categories. If an item was placed in two categories, the fee was applied for the second category. Final value fees were capped at £75.

Upon an item being sold, a fee of 10% was taken by eBay. So, for example, let's say that an item was put up for auction (within a seller's first 100 auctions that month), bids began at 99p and the item had a final selling price of £25. The seller wouldn't be charged an insertion fee, but would pay 10% of the final value (£2.50) to eBay. PayPal then takes 3.4% of the £25 transaction (85p) plus 20p, a fee of £1.05. So the seller would get to keep £21.45 from the sale.

This example doesn't take into account postage, which is subject to further fees.

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What's new?

Now, sellers can create 20 listings for free each month. That's only a fifth of what was previously allowed, but the big change is that there is no caveat stating that bids must start below £1. These free listings can also include 'buy-it-now' formatted sales.

So if you're planning to sell a few high-value products using the site, the changes could be beneficial; you'll have greater control over getting the price you want. Say a seller has a mobile phone that they want to get around £100 for. They can now list it as a buy-it-now for free so that they don't lose out if, as per the previous system, the item doesn't sell and they have to relist it over and over to get it sold (incurring repeated 40p charges).

However, it's still true that if an item is priced too highly in a competitive category, it might not sell at all. eBay appears to be encouraging private sellers to get business-minded and offer buyers value for money with this type of sale.

If you have lots of smaller items you need to sell quickly, you'll end up paying a fair few insertion fees which will eat into the money your sales generate, as the 21st listing onwards will cost an insertion fee of 35p.

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What's the same?

The final value fee is staying the same, at 10% of the total transaction cost (including postage fees). It remains capped at a maximum of £75.

Note that PayPal fees would still apply where the seller uses PayPal to receive payment.

Fees for eBay business sellers remain unchanged. Private sellers with a shop will still pay the same £19.99 monthly subscription fee, which gets them a reduced 8% final value fee, 100 free auction-style or fixed price listings a month (after which they're 35p each) and a free scheduler for 100 listings each month (after which they're 6p each).

Should I stick with eBay to sell my stuff?

The changes mean that it might be worth considering other online selling options. If you think the new fees simply aren't for you, why not take a look at some alternatives to eBay?

If you're going to stick with eBay or sign up because of the changes, you could benefit by reading How to sell successfully with eBay.

The information laid out in this article does not apply to listings for motors, classified ads or property, as the fees for these are rather different. There is a detailed explanation on fees for these categories here.

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