The eBay UK Bulletin: Issue 237, 13th January 2012
Topics in this issue:
1. eBay news – No thanks
2. Through the square window
3. Account hack – beware
4. Ask Molly – Will the Olympics make me money?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
It is a brand new year with the same old problem: ‘where is my item?’. There must have been a massive delay for parcels to Australia during December as I still have 20 or so missing. Memo for November 2012: block all overseas shipping, it is just not worth the hassle.
January should be a quiet month especially as the cosmetic shop is shut for a few days, however I decided to open a new toy shop and am now spending all day adding inventory and moving items away from the main shop. More on this below.
Also this week; an introduction to the items prohibited by some countries – essential reading for all eBay sellers.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – NO THANKS
Several emails arrive at HQ each week asking which items would sell well on eBay and my standard reply is that almost anything will sell however there are a few exceptions if you are thinking of world domination.
Most countries frown on weapons, explosives and human remains, as you would expect. Here are just a few of the prohibited items from a selection of countries around the world; it can be a minefield, but thankfully toys seem to be OK in most places.
Bulgaria – “Musical” cards (cards that play a sound recording when opened).
Switzerland – Radar detectors.
Albania – used articles
Bahamas – Skimmed milk in tins.
Cyprus – Leeches and silkworms
Germany – Pulverized coca beans
Guatemala – Police whistles.
Ireland – Hay and straw, including articles made of straw.
Russia – Live animals except bees, leeches and silkworms.
Swaziland – Honey and preparations of honey
Tanzania – Japanese shaving brushes
At least you now know the best place to ship your leeches and silkworms.
For the full breakdown check this site – http://pe.usps.gov/text/Imm/ab_toc.htm
If you know of an unusual restriction, please let me know – Mollybol@ebaybulletin.co.uk
2. THROUGH THE SQUARE WINDOW
The new toy shop is up and running (sort of). There’s still a long way to go but the basic structure is in place. My main concern was to start selling; tinkering with the design and layout is important but not urgent. Sales in the first few days were around £500.
You can follow progress if you wish – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Through-the-Square-Window
Starting from scratch is not easy; hopefully it should achieve Powerseller status within three months. In the meantime free postage should help promotion in the search results.
Breaking the toys away from the main shop will give me a lot more flexibility as I can keep one shop open and shut the other, or shut them both. This should be very handy during the coming months as a couple of new eBooks are on the radar [Ed - the Harriman House editorial team are sharpening their digital red pens as we speak].
3. ACCOUNT HIJACK – BEWARE
A timely warning to kick off the new year; watch out for those spoof emails. Never log on to to any of your accounts using a link in an email.
I would like to share with your readers my experience of having my eBay account hacked just before Christmas.
On 19 December I received an email from a “customer” saying that they were trying to pay for an item but it was showing up as no longer available. Oddly enough, this had actually happened several times during December with people having genuine and unexplained issues with the “Pay it now” button not working, so I clicked on the link in the email to see which item was causing the issue but it took me to eBay saying that this item number was wrong or had been removed. I then became suspicious and wished I hadn’t clicked through so I deleted the email and hoped I’d be OK.
Then on 20 December I received an email from eBay saying that someone had hacked into my eBay account and I needed to change my password. I was suspicious of this email too but I checked for all the usual things as recommended to ensure an email is genuine then got on and changed my password as instructed.
Later the same day eBay rang me (all the way from Salt Lake City!) to let me know that the same person as before had hacked back into my eBay account by hacking into my email account and reading the email about me changing my eBay password. So now I had to change my eBay password again, my email password and (as a precaution) my PayPal password too.
The guy who hacked me had listed iphones in my shop and I presume had no intention of ever sending out iphones and presumably was working towards some way of getting the payment for them for himself. I have to say that I was hugely impressed with eBay’s actions in this matter as they dealt with it even before I knew of the issues and patiently talked me through everything I had to do to restore my account.
They removed the fraudulent listing too, which was great. As a side effect, they also removed 3000 of my feedbacks and 35 of my genuine listings and it took me about a week of contacting eBay before all of this had been restored and in the process about 8 listing never did return and I had to reconstruct them from scratch.
So, lessons learnt – all common sense and things we should all be doing anyway. Make sure you have different passwords for eBay, email and PayPal. Make sure you have an up-to-date knowledge of how many listings you have on eBay and your approximate feedback score so you will notice if any go missing! If possible, have the text, etc. for your permanent listings stored somewhere so if you have to redo a listing you don’t have to try to remember what it said.”
‘Hazels-Homegrown2’ – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Hazels-Homegrown
4. ASK MOLLY – WILL THE OLYMPICS MAKE ME MONEY?
I’m just starting out selling on eBay, like you I worked full time for a considerable number of years, and I no longer have the appetite to make money for somebody else!
Unfortunately, even though I’m an avid reader of your books, I’m still at the stage where I’m unsure of what to buy to sell – I just need to build a bit of confidence.
I would appreciate your thoughts on buying UK Olympic memorabilia – perhaps restricting myself to limited edition items?”
Major national events can certainly provide opportunity; in fact I think the UK government is pinning quite a lot on the success of the Games!
The Olympic idea could well fly if you can get the right items. I would be concerned about the post games potential and what could be done with any excess stock. I did notice that there are currently 4,500 items for the 2012 Olympics listed at the moment, things such as coats and clothing may have some value after the games, other items might become worthless. If you can get the right items at the right price and sell them quickly then you could do well, selling outside the UK could well increase sales.
General nationalistic items such as flags, towels, car stickers, etc., can be used for the next big event, but they need to be stored and the market does seem to be very competitive.
On a more general note I would suggest starting in a small way and then expanding as you gain more experience of eBay and selling in general.
As you know from the books I started by selling the kids’ toys from around the house and then buying used toys from boot-sales etc. The main business is now cosmetics which I would never have thought of in the early days and a small line in DIY products is developing nicely. What you start out selling may not be where you end up; the first step is the hardest. I have always said that if you understand the items you sell then it is easier.
General wholesalers will probably have Olympic stock, but again I would stress the importance of checking the competition and only buying what you can reasonably expect to sell.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org – I will reply personally to every e-mail I receive and remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips, or stories.
– END NOTE –
That’s all for this week. Check out www.ebaybulletin.co.uk for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Christmas seems such a long way off now, but the nightmares of prolonged packing still linger. I did keep the shop open with a few sales on the big day and a very busy Boxing Day. The best sale I heard about was a Powerseller who took an order for an ironing board at 11.30 on Christmas Day – a last-minute gift for a loved one I guess.
The other main event of recent weeks is the end of Q3 so it’s time to get those accounts out and update the figures. If you had a good Christmas season keep an eye on your turnover, remember that VAT in the UK is calculated using a rolling 12-month period so it might be time for a short holiday!
Best wishes and happy eBaying
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – available direct from the publishers: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness