Jennycola's "How to sell an Authentic Designer bag on Ebay" guide
I'm Jenny and I've been a seller on ebay since 1999. This guide is about protecting the honest seller who wants to sell an authentic designer bag from bad buyers and from ebay. Ebay has been cracking down on fakes (which is great) but they are also taking down lots of authentic items and suspending good accounts. Buyers sometimes dispute authenticity or use fraudulent methods to get your bag for free. Hopefully, my guide will protect you against these terrible things!
Table of contents
- Make sure you have an authentic item
- Pictures, pictures pictures! & Watermarking
- Title and Pricing
- Security tagging
- Restrict buyers on ebay
- Restrict payment on paypal
- Follow ebay seller protection rules!
- More tips
1. Make sure you have an authentic itemHere's a checklist that everyone should make sure they have on hand
- Receipt (This proves nothing to the buyer, because fake receipts are all over ebay, but it's good to have on hand to show ebay in case they pull your item)
- If you are not the first owner, did you buy it from a reputable seller? You can find authenticators on places such as the Purse Forum (forum.purseblog.com) or Caroldiva.com , the founder of Mypoupette. (mypoupette.com may take up to 3 weeks, and lately lots of people have trouble with them not returning emails.)...and some retailers will even authenticate for you. This is useful if you just inherited a closetful of bags and want to sell them but are not sure of authenticity. Once you are sure your item is authentic, you can claim it is authentic (again, claims of authenticity proves nothing to the buyer, but lack of a claim is suspect.)
1. Do NOT relist it until you get ebay approval. Relisting may cause your account to be suspended.
2. Gather up your pictures and receipt and anything else that proves authenticity, like an email from Carol, and send this information to ebay.
3. Wait patiently. In the meantime, you may or may not sell other designer things depending on ebay's restrictions. If you suddenly go from not selling any designer bags to 10, ebay will most likely put a hold on your account while they make sure you are legit.
4. Keep bugging ebay.
5. If you get suspended, search on google for ebay phone numbers (gethuman.com) and talk to someone to resolve this.
6. What if you need to sell the bags because you are short on money? To bypass the ebay's temporarily hold on listing new items, you can list on ebay through auctiva.
2. Pictures, pictures pictures! & Watermarking
You want to take as many pictures as possible.
You want to show the authenticity, the condition of the bag, and the color and design. Showing condition involves showing the often-worn areas such as straps and corners. Showing authenticity often means showing the logo and datecode.
But Ebay charges so much for pictures!!
- Your designer bag is worth hundreds or thousands. Spending $1.55 on pictures is very little in comparison.
- If you need more pictures than ebay provides, or think that the ebay pictures are too small (see my pictures above, haha), you need to find your own hosting. I have my own website that I use to host, so my actual auction with the LV bag above had much bigger pictures. You can use
- auctiva (free up to 10)
- google's piccaso
- more! search them, they are free!
- To add a picture, in the item description, choose html format and type in <img src="http://www.WhereeverYouHostedThePicture/Picture">
Take a picture in a well-lit area. Ideally, do not flash, as this makes the bag look like a different color and makes it look cheaper. If you are selling quite a few things on ebay, it would be wise to invest in a tripod. Many tripods on ebay go for $10 or less.
See the example below:
Notice that every single picture I took has been watermarked. The fastest way to watermark if you are taking a lot of pictures is with Adobe photoshop. You can download a trial of this software at adobe.com
**Adobe photoshop watermarking instructions:**
1. Open a photo in photoshop and click on the text tool 2. Your goal is to creat a new "Action", which is an automated series of instructions, for photoshop to remember and save. Under "Actions" toolbar, click the "new action" button, which is shaped like a piece of paper, on the bottom of the "action" toolbox. You can name it "watermark" or your desired name.
3. You are ready to record your actions:
4. Click somewhere on the photo and start typing (eg Jennycola) and press enter, space, etc until you have typed your watermark a few times spaced the way you want it. Change the text size and color as desired.
5. Go to Layer --> Layer style --> Blending options, and choose 50% opacity for the "opacity" and "fill opacity".
6. Click the red circle "stop recording" button under the actions toolbox.
7. Now, for all your pictures, you just need to click on your action "watermark" and click the triangle "play" button and voila, your picture will be watermarked!!
If you do not have photoshop, you can go to any image-editing program and use the text tool to write your watermark, but it will be more tedius and not as pretty. It's fine if you only anticipate selling 1 or 2 items, though.
3. Title and PricingThis is the best tool I found to optimize your ebay title:
Optimize your Title, click here!
For example, when you type in "Louis Vuitton Speedy 30", the title optimizer will suggest words like "Authentic" "Monogram" and "bag"
Why is pricing important?
- You don't want to lose too much money
- You can start your auction at a price at which you're willing to let go the bag.
- You can set a reserve price. This may discourage some buyers, but is common enough when a designer bag is involved
- Use buy-it-now (I recommend this!) with best offer. Sellers with less than 10 feedback in my opinion should either verify their ID with $5 (search verify on ebay) or simply buy stuff and wait till their feedback is higher. Please see section 8. Buy-it-now gives sellers a peace of mind and heightened security if you use "immediate payment required."
- You want your product to sell (don't price too high), yet not too low (if you have a very low BIN, for example, people will become suspicious.
- Research your item by searching online to find the current MSRP. You can go to the brand's site, check the website of an online retailer like bloomingdale's, nordstrom, or net-a-porter and eluxury.
- Another thing you should do is search for your item on ebay, and search the completed listings (search options are on the left). You need to sign in to search for completed listings. If you see super-low prices for your item being sold, don't worry! These might be fake! Click on the item and study the sold prices for AUTHENTIC items only. Please also note that a similar bag might sell for a lot more or less depending on season, color, and condition!
4. Security taggingThere are some buyers who try to take advantage of a naive seller. They buy an item that is authentic, and try to return a fake one! If you don't accept returns, they may take a claim to ebay saying that your item was fake! They usually do not win this if you have plenty of pictures, but it is a pain to prove. One way of preventing the buyer "switch-a-bag" fraud is to have a security tag. The buyer will not be able to claim that their bag is yours unless it has the security tag on it. So, what is a security tag? Some sellers just put a paper loop with their signature on it at the place where it's taped together, so a buyer can't take it off and put it on another bag without changing it or ruining it. Others opt for more sophisticated "party bands" that have a unique design. Take a picture of this "Security band" on the bag before it's sent, so you have proof of how it originally looked like.
Another thing: Don't say "100% authentic or 3x your money back!"...Please, we don't need that much assurance. This just helps invite dishonest buyers who may want your 3x the money.
5. Restrict buyers on ebayThere is no fool-proof way to make sure your buyer will pay up, but this is a step that I suggest everyone take to increase their chances.
- Block bad buyers: This is for people you've had bad experiences with in the past. Go there and block them now! On that page, you can also cancel bids and if your item is super expensive, like a birkin bag, I suggest you go to that link and set up a pre-approved bidder list
- Set up buyer requirements: Go here to restrict your bidders to those who have positive feedback! Don't let those with -2 feedback win your items!
- In My eBay, under the My Account column, click the "Preferences" link.
- In the Seller Preferences section, click the “Edit” link. The Buyer Requirements page opens.
- Select your buyer requirements. These include blocking buyers who:
- Are registered in countries to which you don't ship
- Have a negative feedback score
- Have received Unpaid Item strikes
- Are currently winning or have bought '1-100' of your items in the last 10 days
- Do not have a PayPal account
- Click the Submit button to save your requirements.
6. Restrict payment on paypalI suggest everyone take this step as well. Restrict your buyers to those who have a confirmed paypal account!
- Sign into paypal
- Go to My account (top left)-->Profile (top right)-->Payment receiving preferences (on right column)
- Select your requirements. These include blocking buyers who:
- Are registered in countries to which you don't ship
- Who do not have a confirmed address
- Who try to pay in a foreign currency
So what's so bad about unconfirmed addresses? Usually, they are okay, but if someone breaks into someone's paypal account and buys your bag, they will want to ship to a different, unconfirmed address, not the address of the person who actually owns the paypal account. Months later, the poor person whose account got hacked will try to get their money bag and file a chargeback. When you ship to an unconfirmed address, paypal will not protect you!.
7. Follow ebay/paypal seller protection rules!Make sure you track and insure your package and have done all the following (notice that I am talking about paypal protection. If you use money order or check, you need to wait 1-2 weeks for clearance. If you wait 5 days, some fake MO's even get cleared. Beware. If you ship after 7 days, you don't get protection. You have no protection if the buyer files a claim.):
Read the following: Ebay's summary on seller protection
I've listed them here:
1. Seller has a Verified Business or Premier account. The seller’s account must be attached to a bank account that is confirmed through PayPal’s Verification process. When you are a Verified seller, not only are you more protected, but you also increase your credibility and appeal with buyers. Verifying your seller account is free and easy to do. Learn more about Verification
2. Item is shipped to an eligible address. For your transaction to qualify, you must ship the item to an eligible address. PayPal is continually working to increase the number of eligible buyer addresses. To determine shipping address eligibility, refer to the shipping address area of your Transaction Details page.
3. Item is a tangible good. (You're all set for this one!) Only physical goods are covered by the Seller Protection Policy. Intangible goods, such as services or items delivered electronically (e.g., software, MP3s, eBooks), are not covered.
4. Proof of delivery. To file a claim under the Seller Protection Policy, we’ll need a copy of the shipment record. Always retain proof that the item was delivered to the address on the Transaction Details page. Acceptable proof of delivery varies by country. Please refer to the Seller Protection Policy for details.
5. Signature receipt for valuable items. Chances are, for designer bags you will NEED this! For items with a value of $250.00 USD or more, in addition to proof of delivery, you should provide proof of signature from the recipient. This proves that the item was delivered to the buyer. Many carrier companies offer these proof of delivery services.
6. Item sent in a timely manner. To be covered, the item must be shipped within 7 days of receiving payment. A special note regarding international shipping.
Currently not all countries and regions are covered by the Seller Protection Policy. Please visit the Seller Protection Policy page to learn more.
8. More tipsIf you follow all these instructions, you should have no problems! This is of course not 100%, especially if you are a new seller (newly registered, with that little shiny symbol next to your ID), or if you have very few feedback (<20). If you have no feedback, I suggest you familiarize yourself with ebay a bit and buy a couple of things before plunging in and selling a designer bag. The lower your feedback, the less buyer protection ebay will give (now the minimum they give is $200, which is not enough for a designer bag), and buyers will be more wary. Fear not, and sell some small things first. You have a designer bag, and it will not depreciate that much till you sell it later! Some have asked "Is it worth it to join something like ALVA or Mypoupette?" I believe that Alva is a closed group that is invite only, and only after being established in that community do you get the ALVA emblem. As for Mypoupette (you may see sellers who advertise themselves as MPRS, or my poupette recommended sellers), the $49 application fee and $99 annual fee is something you need to contemplate if you are willing to spend. If you sell a LOT of bags, it having the MPRS may help. I say "may help" because lately mypoupette MPRS reputation has been declining as more MPRS are approved yet not monitored by mypoupette after approval. (for reference, please search google).
In conclusion, here are some definite NO-NO's:1. Do not meet your buyer in person for your own safety! Okay, unless she happened to be your coworker or something
2. Do not leave positive feedback before the transaction is over! It is subjective exactly when the "Transaction is over", but I believe it is after your buyer receives the item, is satisfied, and leave positive feedback. I once had a buyer threaten to leave negative feedback unless I gave him $60, after he received the perfectly good item!
3. Do not save money by shipping 2 items together unless they paid for them together
4. Do not be caught without proof of doing everything right in the transaction. Save all emails, etc, about the transaction.
5. Do not be intimidated by buyers. Buyers who accused you of a fake item and cannot be convinced should be blocked from bidding and reported to ebay for harassment.
If you found this guide helpful, please vote so others can find this guide! Thanks!