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Selling Your Car on Ebay: A Sample Case

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
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When it comes to selling your car, most people still opt for traditional tried and tested methods. Placing an ad in your local paper or car trade magazine, trading at a local dealer or even advertising on the car itself is still a great way of attracting potential buyers, but there’s also a new way to sell your car. Many people are turning to online auction site eBay to sell their vehicle and our case study shows the highs and lows of the eBay method.

Arranging your Car for Sale on eBay

Before selling your car on eBay there are some simple procedures you need to follow. If you’re new to eBay, you will need to open an account; if you’re a seasoned eBayer then you’ll be able to use your existing account. In many cases having an existing account is better as potential buyers for your car can check your feedback. Better feedback means buyers feel more confident with you and you’ll be more likely to receive bids.

Setting up your auction effectively can be the biggest deciding factor on whether or not you’ll make a sale. In this case, we are selling a Mini vehicle so we must do all we can to provide viewers with information.

  • Title of Auction – Ensure the title is brief and descriptive. List make of car, year of manufacture and subtitle if you wish e.g. 2004 Mini – Mini One Red.
  • Description of Your Vehicle – Give as much detail as you can about your car and be honest. Use the tool on the motors section of eBay to include all the information people will expect you to list. Information such as mileage, specifications, faults and why you’re selling the car will go here.
  • Photograph of Your Vehicle – This can make the difference as to whether you make a sale or not. A sharp, clear photo of the car is essential. In this case, extra photographs of the Mini were uploaded so potential buyers can see the inside and outside of the car
  • Choose a Starting Price for Your Auction – You can have a reserve price on your auction if you wish. This means that your car won’t sell unless it meets the minimum price. The Mini was listed at a starting bid of only 99GBP – we were confident that the car would reach the correct market value

Seller Obligations on eBay

As a seller on eBay there are a number of different obligations that you will be required to meet when selling your car. Listing fees will need to be paid and thankfully these are extremely low, often much lower than an advert. Listing fees are only 6GBP and if you sell the car you will be asked to pay a percentage. This ranges from 15GBP to 30GBP dependent on how much your car sells for. As well as listing fees, you will be expected to answer a number of questions from buyers. Some common questions received on the listing for the Mini are likely to be common across the board and include:

  • Why are you getting rid of the car?
  • Are there any faults with the car?
  • Does it have a full service history?
  • What extras does the car have?
  • Can I collect the car?
  • Do you offer any kind of warranty?

These questions are all fairly standard and no doubt many people will ask you far more technical questions. Be prepared to answer these and remember that prompt responses promote buyer confidence.

Potential Customers and Payment

Ultimately selling your car on eBay is not just about ease, but also about cost. It’s a relatively cheap way of selling your car and because of this you should be willing to put in a little effort with potential buyers. If you were going to buy a new car you’d want to test drive it, so let people test drive your car if they ask. The Mini was test driven by 4 people, all of whom treated it with respect. You can often tell a bogus buyer by their demeanour, so be careful and go with your gut feeling. Always vet your buyers – check their feedback and if you’re unsure about them, cancel their bid.

There are a number of ways that you can accept payments on eBay. In our case, we decided to accept PayPal or Escrow. Escrow was finally used to sell the car, which was preferable as it means that the buyer’s money is held in a ‘trust account’ type set up until the goods are received. Then the money is released to the seller. This makes it easy as you know that the money is there and you can hand over the keys with confidence. Be very careful about accepting cheques or postal orders and always be confident that the money has cleared before you hand over your car.

Successful Selling on eBay

In many cases there will be no interested party in your car. Don’t worry if this happens, you can re-list on eBay for free. The Mini sold within 10 days which overall was much easier than going through many other traditional outlets. It is certainly worth trying to sell on eBay if you can, but always acquaint yourself with the rules and remember you’re entering into a contract, live up to your side of it.

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