Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – VAT changes and your fees.
- Out of stock option.
- Global shipping programme.
- Ask Molly – Where would you start from?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Inventory listing is moving ahead well and the total of items in the shop passed 1,600, thankfully not many are selling at the moment as I have no time for packing.
In this bulletin an insight into the European VAT changes that could cost you money, you’ll be none the wiser and my take on the ‘out of stock’ option. Riveting stuff.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – VAT CHANGES and YOUR FEES
It’s all change from January 1st when the way VAT is charged on eBay fees is set to change. This will bring to an end the lucrative business of locating your headquarters in a country which has a lower VAT rate and should provide George with a few extra pounds towards the new fast train route.
It will unfortunately lead to an increase in the overall cost for private eBay sellers. The fees we pay now include VAT which is currently 15%, the rate in Luxembourg. We just see our fees as an overall percentage fee of probably 11%, but it is made up of two parts. From January the 20% UK rate (23% in Ireland) will be used instead. eBay will still charge us their fee as they do now but will collect more VAT to pass on to the government, so fees will rise.
VAT registered businesses in the UK should see no change to their fees as the ‘reverse charge complicated stuff’ rule stills applies. I am also assuming that businesses on a flat rate VAT scheme carry on as before.
The jury still seems to be out regarding non-VAT registered businesses and what, if any, VAT will be paid on eBay fees. I’ll keep an eye on this and report back if anybody ever produces an ‘easy to understand’ document.
2. OUT OF STOCK OPTION
You may have spotted the out of stock option relevant to ‘good ’til cancelled’ fixed price ‘multi-quantity’ listings or it may have passed you buy.
“When the quantity of your Good ‘ Til Cancelled listing reaches zero, your listing remains active (meaning it renews and we charge you the selling fees every 30 days). The listing is also hidden from search until you increase the quantity.”
I have started to use this option in the cosmetics side of things as I often get a line which sells quickly and then have no more for months, meaning the original listing has gone and new pictures are required, which is a pain. This option costs me 10p per month per listing (plus or minus the VAT, so no idea really) and allows me just to update inventory levels without the rigmarole of creating a new listing.
You can turn it on / off via the ‘account’ tab in My eBay, then ‘selling preferences’ and check the box.
You can keep track of the listings you have which are ‘out of stock’ by clicking on the ‘active listings’ link from My eBay and then select ‘out of stock’ from the ‘status’ pull down menu.
I currently have 31 of these listings, 25 of which are covered by ‘inclusive listing allowance’ so don’t cost me a bean. An interesting way to take advantage of what little free things eBay offer.
3. GLOBAL SHIPPING PROGRAMME
“You wanted thoughts on the GSP being rolled in by eBay. My first thoughts on this were that it sounded too good to be true – sending off items abroad at little extra cost, and it’s not like eBay to offer something for nothing to traders. So, I researched a little on the internet and came across the views of traders in the USA, where the programme has been operating for some time.
They were not good. It seems the system works by traders sending off their items to a hub, where a company then sends them off to the international address. The main problems reported were:
– Longer wait times for international customers (you have added in an extra link in the chain after all).
– Unnecessary customs duties being charged to the recipient.
– Packaging being interfered with to make parcels lighter.
I can see these problems being replicated here, after all, it costs more to send abroad, yet traders are only paying domestic shipping. Someone, somewhere has to pick up the extra costs.”
I agree and have pulled all my listings across all IDs out of the programme.
One thing I am not sure about is if the additional shipping charges are added to the sellers’ turnover, which would be the case if they charged a shipping fee in the traditional way. If you know please let me know at the usual address.
4. ASK MOLLY – WHERE WOULD YOU START FROM?
Is this a good time to start an ebay business? If you were starting out again where would you start, where would you sell and what products would you focus on?”
I think it is as good a time as any to get started with an online business. Sure there are numerous problems and the rules seem to change on a daily basis, but that applies to all businesses to some extent. The great thing about eBay in particular is that you can work at your own pace and grow or contract as you see fit.
In fact, I am considering reducing my cosmetic turnover and de-registering for VAT as this will save me quite a lot of time to fill with other projects.
Saying that, my eBay DIY business is still growing and of course this is toy time so I am frantically trying to shift as much Thomas & Peppa as possible, so will see how the land lies after Christmas.
If I was to start again then I would also sell on Amazon and specialist websites. I would employ more Elves to sort out the packing and listing, I would also move the whole operation out of the shed into a business unit.
As to products, I would certainly keep with cosmetics as the margins are crazy. The DIY business came about from knowledge gleaned over recent years, so starting out fresh I would put more effort into this side of things.
As a young Elf myself I always liked toy soldiers and even now I turnover a reasonable amount of Warhammer and similar military figures. This is an area I would like to specialise in and there is certainly some good money to be made.
Another area I would investigate is the supply of spare parts for certain toys. Lego is bought and sold through ‘Bricklink’ and also Playmobil spares and a toy range called ‘Sylvanian Families’, so an eBay shop selling spare toy parts – something to ponder.
One of the more unusual areas that I drifted into is retro fit electric fuses. I buy these from electricians and sell them to other electricians who want to install a shower, solar panels, extra lights, etc., but don’t want to change the fuse board; they will pay to get a matching fuse which is long out of production. I currently have 355 different make and size fuses for sale, there must be more mileage in this side of things but I just can’t find an Elf who is as excited as me about MCBs.
There still seems to be a lot of avenues to explore and so little time.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. I will reply personally to every email 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 Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Another great e-mail arrived at HQ this week outlining the actions eBay have taken to protect my account, they:
- Removed 4 transaction defect(s) from seller dashboard.
- Upgraded 1845 detailed seller rating(s) to five stars.
- Prevented buyers from prematurely asking for a refund or a replacement.
I am very pleased that eBay have my economic welfare in mind but I am curious as to why 1,845 of my DSRs were upgraded. If my service was below par then the scores should stand, if the system was in some way flawed then why have the measure at all.
Given the number of e-mails asking when an item was posted I can only imagine that this adjustment was on the Communication DSR as eBay neglected to send out dispatch e-mails and they feel a little guilty.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
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