eBay Tip: Be Careful Who You Tell

I NEVER mention the word “eBay” when shopping for merchandise to resell. If I ever receive questions about the quantity I purchase, I typically say something along the lines of “the sales are too good to pass up” or “these will be perfect gifts”. This is not a lie since I frequently use items from my eBay stash as gifts anyway and sometimes the sales are just too good to ignore! In no way do I consider what I do taking advantage since the retail store has a goal to sell merchandise and my objective is to find merchandise that I can make money off of. If a store doesn’t want to make a sale, then they need to remove the merchandise from their clearance racks.

My reasoning is because not everyone will be enthusiastic with the fact you are making a profit reselling their merchandise. Some managers have a real problem with it. For example, I used to buy merchandise at the Burberry outlet; however, one day I carried several umbrellas to the register and was told there was a 5 item limit. When I asked the reasoning since I saw no rules posted by the cash register, the manager firmly stated “Burberry merchandise is popping up on eBay and it is diminishing our brand”. I was stunned. I would think making a sale would be important to the outlet but not if it meant the items could potentially show up on eBay (and for the record, the Burberry merchandise does not sell for less than outlet prices on eBay so I am confused how the brand is being diminished).

I follow the same rule when shopping at yard sales or discount stores to obtain eBay or Craigslist merchandise, I never mention my intention because some people just do not want to know (or need to know) you plan on making a profit from their junk.

Have you ever been scrutinized for being an eBay reseller? How do you handle questions while shopping?

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14 Thoughts to “eBay Tip: Be Careful Who You Tell”

  1. JustSaying

    IMO, if a store has a problem with customers purchasing too many items, then they need to publicize their limitation rules. Wouldn’t that solve the problem? I do not buy or sell on ebay but when I go on personal shopping sprees, I am guilty of purchasing a piece of clothing in every single color. If a store would tell me I cannot purchase it all, I would walk out and never return.

  2. Marie Owens

    Funny! I’ve become chattie with one of the managers from RL he was telling me that he doesn’t care what people buy stuff for but that they have a company policy against allowing people to stock up for ebay! My reply is prove it.

  3. I have the utmost respect for those individuals who can identify items that will resell on eBay and make a profit. I am in fact a customer of those people and often know when I press bid or buy now that they paid less than what I am purchasing the item at. But like with any business the seller is usually in it to make money and that is ok with me. It is the seller who took the time and made the effort to find the items and often to create the collection, for them it is a business for me it is a cute matching set that I can dress my son in. If stores have problem with this concept then they need to analyze why, as you mentioned they still sold the item. And often the buyers on eBay do not have direct access to the store. I have thought at times I could make an eBay store but realistically it is like any other business and it takes time, effort, money and perseverance. I find it humorous that individuals would divulge to the staff of a store that their purpose of their purchase is to resell on eBay, while I do not have a store it just seems common sense would kick in and tell you the store would frown on that. I remember going into a store once and loving a shirt so much I bought 6 or 7 different colors, they are still in my closet and I would have been pissed if I was unable to purchase all of them because of silly rules and regulations put in place by ignorant individuals. If you have a problem with resales follow suit of the companies who host their own eBay and advertised sales.

  4. @Marie – I had a disagreement yesterday at Polo and was only allowed to purchase a certain number of labels in one transaction. I was not a happy camper (as you can imagine). The manager tried to tell me their policy has been in place for months and I was like “take a look at my transaction history and then tell me your policy has been in place for months”. LOL!

  5. @FaithConfessions – Thank you for your comment. What people fail to realize is building an ebay store “takes time, effort, money and perseverance” just as you mentioned. I have had several friends attempt to sell on eBay and they quickly realized it was not for them. They either didn’t realize the amount of work that was involved (finding merchandise, preparing it for auction with photos and descriptions, shipping the merchandise, deciding what to do when something doesn’t sell, etc.) or the costs involved (buying merchandise, fees involved, etc.). Several barely broke even and said it was too much work for the little amount of profit made. An eBay seller MUST be passionate about what he or she does, otherwise it cannot be successful.

  6. What? You can’t purchase more than 5 of one item? That is ridiculous on every level. It’s not like Polo or Burberry is some exclusively hard to find item (like Furby from the 90’s lol). I hope you will call the corporate offices and complain!

    I am shaking my head at this. I guess it’s wrong to find gems at Goodwill and resell it as well, huh?

  7. Steph, I have heard mixed comments on people who go to Goodwill and resell. An old co-worker of mine once told me “you are the very reason I no longer donate my designer duds”. I was like what are you talking about? I have never shopped at Goodwill or thrift stores for eBay merchandise but was thankful for the idea! I do not understand why people think that is unethical? It’s not like the buyer is stealing, he or she is paying for the merchandise and what they do with it afterwards shouldn’t matter.

  8. Oh, and I should probably mention that this same coworker also asked me if I would sell those designer duds before they were donated and split the profits. I was like “sorry, I do not sell merchandise for others at this time but if my policy changes, I’ll let you know”. LOL!

  9. Dana

    Did you ever stop to think it’s not the respectful sellers ruining it, but the newbie band wagon ebay jumpers who want a piece of the pie? You know, the ones that stalk your ebay store to see what you are selling and then run out to buy the exact brands and merchandise. Instead of being incognito, they loudly announce they are looking for a specific brand or label and even ask if there is a stock pile of merchandise they can purchase before others have the opportunity?

  10. Hi Dana. I hope that is not the case but unfortunately, I know for a fact someone I recently helped with eBay went into one of the regular stores I shop at and asked for specific items. In all my years of being an eBay picker (I just received my congratulations on 11 years by the way) I have NEVER asked a store for anything specific. I shop just like all the other customers, by rummaging through overstuffed racks and bins. Some days I find incredible merchandise, other days I find absolutely nothing. I do not ask for merchandise to be held for me or for preferential treatment, in my opinion that is unethical. I take a chance every time I shop.

    Perhaps it is how my face lights up when I talk about eBay that makes people excited about doing the same. It really is a lot of work and at times completely overwhelming. I personally love to help people and see them succeed. I believe eBay is an excellent avenue for bringing in extra money. With that said, I hope new eBayers will be respectful and not try to beat the system in any way. Also, I think it is important for new sellers to find merchandise they enjoy selling and not just rely on products others have success with.

  11. stefanie

    Some people just see it as dirty but it is no different than what Marshalls does. They search out deals and pass on savings.

  12. 11 years! Wow. That is impressive.

    I have never sold anything on Ebay. I don’t seem to come across good deals very often when I shop, it just doesn’t seem to be my gifting. But I’m impressed with those who do.

  13. My kids know the “don’t mention eBay rule” whenever we shop. I’m usually not asked, but sometimes “kinda” questioned. I just mention, the items make great gifts, I have a large family, lots of nieces and nephews, etc….So far, I’ve never had a real “problem”. 🙂

  14. @TUM –Just an aside about Goodwill and other Thrift Stores. I know several people who volunteer there so they can (in their own words) ‘get the good stuff before it hits the sales floor’. Always left a bad taste in my mouth. Your friend needs to know THAT is the common practice and you are not the one she should direct her displeasure towards.

    We just say we’re stocking up for Christmas and birthdays and donations. And it’s the truth.

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