eBay 101


Insurance protects you and your customers by paying to replace or repair items that are damaged in transit. For high-end or very fragile merchandise, insist that buyers pay for insurance for the full value of the goods. For low-end or very sturdy merchandise, you may allow buyers to make the choice of whether to buy insurance. But stress that if they reject insurance, your responsibility ends when the product leaves your possession. Be sure you can prove that you shipped the merchandise, either by using a carrier (such as FedEx or UPS) that will provide you with a shipper's receipt or by using the U.S. Postal Service's delivery confirmation service. Also be sure to print a copy of the closed-item page.

Some carriers automatically provide coverage for loss or damage up to $100 per shipment at no extra charge; others charge for the first dollar of insurance coverage. Don't bother to buy insurance for more than you can prove the item is worth; the carrier will reimburse you only for the actual value, not for the amount of insurance you purchased. Documents that are generally accepted as proof of value include a current bill of sale, an invoice, or a statement from a certified appraiser.

Even when you purchase insurance, it's important that your items be properly packed for transit. If damage occurs and the carrier determines that the shipment was not appropriately packed, your claim (or the buyer's claim, in most cases) will likely be denied.

Under the eBay Umbrella

eBay actually offers buyers and sellers a collection of options and services. In addition to standard listings, the variety of other offerings includes the following:

  • Charity auctions, to help people raise money for various causes
  • eBay business marketplace, a category designed especially for business buyers and sellers
  • eBay motors, where vehicles, parts and accessories of all kinds are bought and sold
  • eBay stores, where sellers can easily showcase all their items like an online retailer
  • Live auctions, where buyers can bid on merchandise at a Live Auction as it's happening
  • PayPal, eBay's payment processing service, which allows sellers to accept online payments from buyers immediately
  • Wholesale lots, a special category to buy and sell in bulk
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