Five-minute guide to selling online

26 February 2009

If you plan on clearing out your clutter this summer, selling it online can be a great way of earning a bit of extra cash. The online marketplace is by far the cheapest and most popular website site to sell your goods, but others include and

Selling on eBay

Start off by registering on eBay and creating a seller’s account. You’ll also need a PayPal account, as it is one of the most secure ways to accept online payments and a preferred choice for your buyers.

Before you start selling your wares, think about a price you would be happy with. You could choose an open auction starting at just 1p, or set a minimum limit the item has to reach before you’ll consider parting with it.

Once you’re happy, you need to list your item. Put your item in the right category, and give it an eye-catching title. Always describe your goods accurately – it avoids disappointment, disputes and negative feedback. Taking a picture can also help boost your chances of selling, especially if other users are trying to sell the same item.


You will have to pay a fee for listing and selling your item, with the amount you pay depending on how much you list and sell it for. eBay charges a small fee for listing your item, and you will have to pay a final value fee if it sells.

Listing fees range from nothing to £35.00 depending on the item you're selling and the starting price you list. For items listed at 1p to 99p there is no listing fee for private sellers.

The final value fee is 10% of your selling price, up to a maximum of £40. If your item doesn't sell then you will not have to pay a final value fee. 


You may also have to pay postage, but you can choose to pass this on to your buyer by increasing the selling price - as long as you let them know at the start of the transaction. Always send your items via recorded delivery as the buyer will have to sign for it. For more expensive items, special delivery guarantees are recommended, it will be received the next day and lets you claim for up to £500 if the item is lost.

Selling elsewhere

For newer goods, such as games and gadgets, check out and It’s free to list your item, but when it sells you will pay a small closing fee, and a percentage of your sale price. These start from 50p and 10% per item. You will be given the address of your buyer and you post the package. To help cover the cost of postage, your buyer is charged a delivery fee on your behalf.

Sell safely

It’s crucial that you choose a secure payment method, such as PayPal or Neteller. If you’re new to PayPal you can’t access your funds for 21 days unless the buyer leaves you positive feedback on eBay. Don’t ever send the item before you receive payment, and avoid taking foreign cheques and cash in the post. Finally, if a bid seems too good to be true, it probably is.


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