I Sold a Sports Card for $1 on eBay: A Lesson Learned

I’ve been selling on eBay off and on for about 20 years. There have been many ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. Fees have always been a hot topic amongst sellers, with many using the term “feebay” to refer to the money-hungry platform.

Regardless, the sheer volume of traffic and exposure typically justifies the fees. For example, I recently sold a necktie on eBay for $13 – I bought it for $5, and the net order earnings were $10.22 after fees and such. I was happy with that transaction. The sports card was a different story.

eBay wants to discourage small transactions

Based on my experience selling a basketball card for $1 plus $0.25 shipping, I get the impression that eBay wants to limit smaller transactions:

The transaction fees include TWO final value fees – a fixed one for $0.30, and a variable that amounts to 13%. Many card sellers offer free shipping, so I was able to recover a little bit of the shipping cost.

I’m completely okay with a final value fee of 13%, but a fixed final value fee on a $1 sale is unfair. Yes, eBay publishes their fees upfront, and everyone is able to find them, but the TRUE final value fee for this transaction was OVER 40%.

The mistakes that I made

Obviously, I made a few mistakes to only take home $0.13:

  • For this transaction, I should have charged more for shipping OR shipping in a plain white envelope. The caveat here is that higher shipping reduces demand, and the plain white envelope leaves sellers open to “item not received” claims when selling cards.
  • Another mistake was selling this card on eBay in the first place – the Facebook Marketplace would have been a better option for such a low-cost item. Again, it appears as though eBay is discouraging small transactions.

eBay fees calculator

If you’re looking to sell items on eBay, use this tool first to ensure that you are comfortable with the fees.

In conclusion, eBay is still a worthy platform, but for lower-cost items, look elsewhere!

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