By Aron Hsiao. eBay Expert
Aron Hsiao is a former eBay employee and a longtime eBay buyer and seller. A computing and technology expert and six-time author, Aron joined eBay in 2000 and continues to sell on eBay today. Through thousands of transactions Aron continues to maintain a perfect feedback score and profile; he has never received a negative rating.
You can learn more about my work, hobbies, and areas of expertise on my Google+ profile .
Question: What does it cost to trade on eBay? Is there a catch?
Answer: It’s a common misconception that trading on eBay involves complicated surcharges or membership fees that actually make eBay trading a worse deal than its members think they’re getting.
While there are some costs involved in trading on eBay, they’re not what many non-eBayers assume them to be.
For Prospective Shoppers/Buyers
If your desire is to shop and buy things on eBay, eBay charges you nothing .
That’s right, nothing. You join eBay for free. find things that you want to buy, purchase them at the stated price (even if you’re bidding on auction listings. rather than on the more “regular” Buy It Now listings), pay for them using PayPal. and your item is delivered to your door. Just follow your nose through the eBay shopping and buying process. which is very similar to the typical process that happens on many ecommerce sites around the Internet.
There are no hidden charges, though you should make sure to take note of the shipping and handling charges stated in a listing while you’re deciding whether to buy. There is no monthly fee. There are no subscription costs, costs to join, or any other hidden costs. eBay will not charge your credit card unbeknownst to you.
“So how does eBay make money?” is the obvious follow-up question. The answer is simple: eBay charges members when they sell on eBay. The specifics of how this happens are also simpler and less costly than many imagine.
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For Prospective SellersIf you’re thinking about selling on eBay, the picture is more complicated, though not full of “catches” and “membership fees” as many imagine it to be. There are no up-front fees to start selling; anyone can do it, and the fees are all clearly published. Here’s how sellers pay eBay:
- There is no cost to join. Both prospective buyers and sellers can join eBay for free. and no separate, different, or “extra” membership is required to sell. Simply join eBay in the same way as everyone else; everyone has the same “kind” of eBay membership, and it costs nothing to get one. All eBay members can both buy and sell with their membership, but you’re only charged if you sell.
How eBay Gets Paid
So if you’re just a shopper on eBay, you’ll never send any money eBay’s way. Instead, you’ll simply pay for the things you buy at their listed prices, using PayPal to send money directly to the seller(s) who listed the item(s) you’ve bought.
If you’re a seller, you’ll be responsible for the fees mentioned above for any listings you post. You won’t, however, be “billed” in the mail or have to log in and “make payments” on a schedule. Instead, eBay simply keeps a running total of the fees you’ve incurred during the month, and will automatically debit this total from the credit or debit card you placed on file when you joined eBay.
If you don’t post anything for sale during a given month, eBay won’t charge you anything for that month. You are only billed/charged when you post item(s) for sale and incur the fees described above. You can maintain an eBay membership for weeks, months, even years without paying eBay any money whatsoever. You will only pay eBay each time you post an item for sale.
- Shoppers/buyers never pay any membership fees or surcharges to shop/buy on eBay. The listed price and shipping amount for each item is what you actually pay, and there are no other costs.