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Dangers and Perils of Selling Comics on Ebay



One of the most popular sites for the buying and selling of comics on the internet remains to be Ebay. The online auction site happens to be one of the oldest on the web, as well as one of the most trusted among online shoppers. The convenience and inventory for all things collectable makes it an attractive storefront for both entry level and seasoned comic collectors.


Comic buyers on Ebay benefit from the wide range of prices and certified grades of all ages of comic books. Frequently contacting sellers directly with offers or making bids which are lower than the current ask price of an auction can frequently reward buyers with purchases that are well under fair market price value for even highly sought after issues. Ebay is a slowing failing business that has been losing users for years and is desperate to satisfy buyers on their site. Due to this fact, buyers also benefit from a very liberal return policy. Up until recently Ebay also did not charge sales tax for most states, but that purchasing advantage is now disappeared as federal law has mandated that Ebay begin charging buyers for sales tax in all states in the US.


For sellers there are many negatives and potential landmines on Ebay that can eat significantly into profits. Ebay seller fees have reached absurd levels, with Ebay now charging on average 10% of the final auction sale price, as well as listing insertion fee and shipping fees. Ebay is even so bold as to charge an additional seller fee just on the shipping costs, so the seller will be forced to pay 2 seller fees on each closed auction. The buyer generally will pay for shipping costs, but the higher the cost of shipping the higher the shipping fee that the seller must pay. Additionally, shipping insurance is rarely paid for by the buyer, so the seller must also eat the cost of insuring the book unless they are willing to take the risk of a book being lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. Ebay does not actually take care of the money transaction for the sale, so sellers and buyers alike will be required to use PayPal, which will charge an additional 5% on average for the convenience. When all is said and done, the buyer will have been charged in the ballpark of 17% of the final sale price for the comic that they have just sold.



One feature offered by Ebay is to allow the seller to specify that they will or will not accept returns. In reality, choosing this option means very little as any Ebay buyer can specify that any aspect of the comic is unsatisfactory to return the item. If there is a defect in the item is of little consequence (as even a 9.8 could claim has defects such as a micro-scratch on the case, not a 10.0, etc.). Returns are escalated to Ebay when the buyer and seller cannot reach a decision and Ebay will always resolve a case in favor of the buyer (note: this has been verified with Ebay support) when a buyer raises an unsatisfactory item ticket. When this occurs, Ebay keeps the final value of the item (10%) and the Seller must pay for return shipping. This forces sellers to honor the return themselves and eat the cost of the shipping, regardless of the baselessness of the buyers claim.


With all of these negatives associated with Ebay, sellers may choose to use an alternative comics auction site to reduce seller fees, ensure they retain rights for as described items, and receive the full credit for their sold books without hidden policies, additional hidden fees, and a more educated buyers pool about comic grading and certification. We also encourage reputable sellers to build collector websites, similar to studiocomic.com


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