Are you ready for eBay?

Tried and Tested for Definite Sales

There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. When you know there are sites like Gumtree, eBay and Amazon that spend millions on advertising to attract shoppers it’s crazy to let them have all the action without taking a piece of the pie if it’s on offer. If you are selling from a bricks and mortar premises, why wouldn’t you use ready-made online storefronts to advertise your products? Gumtree is not free to businesses, but it is low cost advertising, just like AdTrader and the lesser known Craig’s List.

On the other hand, Amazon and eBay are completely free until you make a sale. In other words, there is no cost to your business if you want to start selling online and at the moment, that’s the great place to find new revenue streams. Distance selling is how many new retail businesses start these days because it allows traders to operate with very low overheads and benefit from the popularity of sites like eBay.

Beware the Legal Pitfalls

After hearing about eBay traders making millions and growing empires that started in a bedroom, it’s easy to think it’s all plain sailing. But there are a lot of added responsibilities that come with distance selling. The government has a guide for businesses on distance selling you can view by clicking here and the Office of Fair Trading does a good job of explaining additional obligations that include a customer’s right to cancel in their downloadable guide you can access by clicking here.

Avoiding Distance Selling Disputes

One of the most confusing and frequently disputed parts of the distance selling laws is customers’ right to cancel for simply changing their minds and who pays the cost of returning goods. Provided the customer is informed that they will incur return costs at the point of sale, then the customer will pay, but fail to make that clear and you soon find your costs run sky high.

Customers love free returns and free delivery, but that can be an expensive gamble for businesses that have little experience of distance selling. Of course, if your goods are defective or not as described, then you are liable for the cost of returns anyway. New online or distance sellers should ensure there is as much information about the product as humanly possible at the point of sale to minimise the number of returns and keep costs down.

You Know the Regulations – What Now?

It’s easy to start selling on eBay and there are step-by-step instructions here, but make sure you are aware of the fees you pay on each sale. As well as the fees to eBay, you will most likely use PayPal to process payment and their fees are explained here. PayPal fees come off top of each sale as the transaction is processed, but eBay collect fees monthly. If you need to refund a customer, PayPal also refunds their charges so you don’t lose out, which is good, but many eBay traders try to funnel sales to their own websites to reduce the overall fees of eBay and PayPal combined.

Legally Stealing Business from eBay

eBay is very strict on how you direct people away from the auction pages because they are aware of people trying to avoid fees, but they are reasonable. For example, you can advertise a product on eBay and instead of including every detailed piece of information about your product on eBay, you can direct customers to a product specification page on your own website as long as the page is not a sales page with a buy button.

Of course, you can have hooks on the page that direct visitors to other parts of the site and hopefully they will buy direct and you can avoid eBay fees. Similarly, you can have your business’ telephone number displayed on eBay and you can take payments over the phone if your card merchant allows you to take payments when the customer is not present (CNP). Merchants who have received investment from are already using Cardnet from Lloyds already with a CNP option. 

The Liberis Business Cash Advance - Designed to help SMEs
  • Funding from £2.5k to £300k
  • One fixed cost; no APR, varying terms or penalty fees
  • A quick, easy and no hassle onboarding process
  • Higher approval rates than the banks
  • Flexible and painless repayments that support cash flow
  • 80% of customers use us again
Founding member
The Association of Alternative Business Finance
Affiliate member
BFA Affiliate
Join our mailing list
Thank you for signing up to our newsletter
Registered in England and Wales No: 5654231. Address: Third Floor, Glen House, Glenthorne Road, London, W6 0NG
Liberis is a responsible financial provider. Liberis does not offer 'short-term loans'. The minimum expected duration of a Business Cash Advance is 120 days / 4 months and typical expected durations are 6-12 months. These business financing products are not consumer loans.