Thursday, July 28, 2011

eBay is a Rip Off - Hidden Fees and Frustrations

Have you tried selling something on eBay lately?  If you do, expect to get a lot less than you actually sell your item for.  I recently sold something on eBay and was quite shocked at how much they took out for fees.

First of all, just getting the item online was a hassle.  There are so many options you have to carefully read through when you are putting an item up there.  You will probably have to go back and revise your listing several times because you will figure out you are getting charged fees for things you didn't even know about.

They make it look like you can list an item for free, but if you want to actually get what your item is worth, there is no way to do this.  You will have to pay the insertion fee to get it online and then the final value fee if it sells.

The final value fees are outrageous.  Expect to pay around 10% of the sale price of your item to eBay.  Some common items such as media take out 13%!  And what is worse, is that these fees are not clear at all.  When you are posting your item, it should clearly tell you that if the item sells you will be charged 10% of the final value.  It does not say this.  You have to search deep into the support documents to find these fees.  Not cool eBay.

I will be doing most of my business on Craigslist for now on.  They let you buy and sell items for free.  Why can they do it for free when eBay is charging these ridiculous fees?  Yes, eBay has a better website and you can sell internationally, but it's still not worth it with the fees they charge.

PayPal also charges fees, but they are not nearly as bad as eBay.  Still, when you factor in both of these costs, you end up with a lot less money than what you were actually selling your item for.  There must be a better way.  If Craigslist could bump up the security and make it easier to buy and sell items to people in other locations, and still keep it free at the same time, that would be the best.

UPDATE: 1-17-13
I have been selling things on eBay for a while now and I still have many problems with it.

1. It is too hard to navigate the site.  When you log in your are bombarded with images and information that is not wanted.  We want to see our account information like what we are selling or buying.  To get to this, you have to go through several clicks.

2. They hide the charges from you.  Do you want to see your fees for the month after you have sold a few things?  Good luck.  Expect to do some research just to figure out how to find this section on eBay.  It requires careful navigation and several steps.  Once you find the right place, you have to adjust the date time frame just to see the previous months charges.  This needs to be a lot easier eBay.

3. People don't leave feedback.  About 4 of the last 5 items I have sold did not receive feedback.   I have 100% rating, but still I don't have a lot of sales so I could really use the feedback ratings. 

So yeah I am still bothered by many things on eBay.  Not to mention shipping prices at the post office seem to be higher than ever.  It is becoming very difficult to sell things these days and actually make a profit with all the fees and charges involved.

UPDATE: 11-18-13
So eBay has made some changes such as free insertion fees but they are still charging 10% for the final value.  I still think this is too much considering you also have to pay a PayPal fee and most likely the shipping costs when you sell the item.  With all these fees it is hard to actually make a profit when selling an item.  The eBay site is still hard to navigate.  Overall not very happy with the site.

UPDATE: 10-18-14
Now eBay has brought back listing fees and of course this was not clear.  Previously you could list items for free up to a certain amount per month.  Now I go to list a new item and find out I am already charged $.30 without the item even selling yet.  They really need to be more clear about the fees.  Before you press the button to list and item, it needs to pop up a warning showing exactly how much you are going to be charged for placing the listing.  Still just trying to find the fees page is incredible difficult not only to find, but also understand. After all these years, I am surprised at the continued poor navigation and overall usability of eBay.

UPDATE 11-21-15
They seem to have made improvements to the listing procedure to make it a little easier to list an item. Also they are offering free listing most of the time which is better. Still there is the large selling fee if your item gets sold which takes a chunk out of the profits. Also it is still hard to find the fees page. I still use eBay sometimes but there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.


  1. I agree.. You simply can't make a profit... Also if start selling alot of items watch out for their "supplemental service fees".. at least with your final value fees you get a warning before they suck it out of your account. Also I noticed you can't track what they are for?? Weeks can go by before this comes out of your account.. Sell a $100.00 item and you're lucky if you get $50 by the time you're done paying for all the fees.. Its become ridiculous.. I just pulled all of my listings because of another "supplemental service fee" was sucked out of my account, no less on a holiday weekend (Sunday even).. No warning. No telling what it was for... This is horrible..

    1. Absolutely correct! Shit is getting old...I'm way over it. I will no longer be using eBay...

    2. My daughter was selling used brand name cookware. They are now holding $1,300 of her money and won't give her a direct answer as to why. She has supplied them with all documents that it is sold as used cookware not new "clone" or counterfit cookware. It's factory used sets. It's basically theft now of her money. What recourse does a person have?

  2. Connected IsolationAugust 31, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    I hear ya. I also have been using the site less because of the fees. It seems the only way to make decent profit is by selling a high value item that is very small and easy to ship. But still those fees take a big chunk out of the profit.

  3. eBay really is a joke. Selling is pointless. As a seller, I have zero protection, and where would eBay be without sellers? We are the ones who keep items moving through their site. Without us, there would be nothing listed. Yet, we are still gouged on everything. I don't care about Feebay policies. I charge buyers the fees. If I am offered no protection from thieves, then I am going to make up my own rules and make the buyers fork out the difference. eBay used to be great, but I have zero protection on the site as a seller. I see no incentive to support this crooked business model any more.

    Don't get me started on the fees either. Gouge gouge gouge. Ebay has made a point of dipping their grips in to every micro transaction in sale. Insertion fees, final value fees, pay pal fees, and even your shipping fees. WTF! Why the hell do they get money from the cost of shipping an item. Do they physically help me ship the item? Do they supply me with packing materials. No, but they love to route my goods to Pitney Bowes, and repacked my items. Let's poke a stick at the GSP now. Forcing buyers to use a shipping program. It's a pointless middle man cash grab.

    Ebay... go to hell.

  4. I just got E-boned as well! 10% sellers fee?? I called customer service and she just said "You should have read the users agreement." If the fine print is where we are advertising our fees nowadays then count me out. What ever happened to transparency and honesty? If they would have been upfront about the fee I would have adjusted my selling price to accommodate and if it didn't sell, oh well. Instead, I matched my low craigslist prices, dicked around with shipping the damn things, and got screwed with a 10% sellers fee. They just lost one more customer..

  5. What a bunch of whiners. If you sell at a swap meet the table costs 20.00 or more, sell at a trade show the fee can be 500.00 to a thousand dollars. I sell comics and toys and such and love it. Of course they take a cut. List from home, discounts on shipping, it can't be beat for the cost. Over a thousand feedback and loving it....have a garage sale at home and get 20 to 50 people. Use ebay and have thousands of peogle all over see your for me.

  6. @Steve M, what a jerk self-righteous comment to make when people are venting their frustrations. Let me guess, you're always happy with everything, never complain and never feel ripped off? Comments like the whiners one is the reason people often won't speak up-fear of being ridiculed or bullied. Try not commenting at all if you can't relate to issue at hand.

  7. I was a seller on eBay as well and not eBay cost me well over 7k and i ended up paying out more then I made. the fees change they would lower my prices after i had set them costing hundreds of dollars and they will not pay it back for costing the loss of hundreds if not thousands of dollars.