The 3 Stages of an eBay Auction
written by Mike Ballew February 12, 2023

Do you buy or sell items on eBay? Have you noticed any changes over the years? The current state of affairs can be summed up in the 3 stages of an eBay auction.

I have been using eBay for over 20 years. I’ve always said it’s a good place to sell things, not such a good place to buy things. The large number of potential buyers tends to increase prices. At least, that’s how it used to be. EBay has been hemorrhaging users. Over the past four years, eBay has lost 20% of its active user base.

EBay Auction Stage 1

When selling an item on eBay, first up is the question phase. You get lots of questions from people who are thinking about buying your item. What’s the serial number? Can you take another picture from this angle? What is the milliamp ohm resistance rating of the harmonic potentiometer wave transconductance rectifying flux capacitor?

The maddening part is, no one who asks a question ever buys the item. Are these people just lonely? All the time spent answering questions is wasted.

Despite the fact that the default auction lasts seven days, it all comes down to the final seconds. Someone who has never asked a question or bid on the item swoops in at the last second and wins the auction.

EBay Auction Stage 2

The second stage of an eBay auction is the disappointing sale price. The number of interested parties used to bid prices up to decent levels, but not anymore. I recently sold an item on eBay for about one-tenth of its value. There was a time when you could expect 50-75 cents on the dollar for used items in good condition.

EBay Auction Stage 3

The final stage of an eBay auction comes in the form of a message from the buyer. They didn’t receive the item. In this day and age when every form of delivery – even the postal service – tracks every detail down to the exact time, date, and location of delivery, some people have the nerve to claim they never received it. Then you have to go through the monkey motions of getting eBay involved. 

Bottom Line

I rarely use eBay. My recent experience was a one-off. I had purchased an item and after determining I didn’t need it I discovered the merchant didn’t allow returns.

The current state of affairs with eBay is not eBay’s fault, it’s the people who use eBay. Too many of them are . . . unpleasant. Craigslist has also fallen out of favor. And don’t assume you’re safe using Facebook Marketplace. A few days ago a New York cop was shot and killed while shopping for a car on Facebook Marketplace. When we need to unload a used item, donating to the local thrift shop seems like the best option.

Photo credit: Pixabay The Eggstack Blog will never post an article influenced by an outside company or advertiser. Our mission is to help you overcome uncertainty about retirement planning and inspire confidence in your financial future.
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