Learning the Hard Way to Read That Fine Print on eBay
When I first tried to sell items on eBay, I messed up big time – but the mistake taught me some valuable financial lessons.
The most humiliating moment of my life came during a recent attempt at being thrifty. My sister often sells old or unused items on eBay and so I figured I would give it a shot.
I had two Lilly Pulitzer dresses that were no longer my size or style, and so I decided I would put those up and see what I could get for them. I estimated that I could sell each of them for around $50, and that would give me a nice cushion for my monthly budget.
For those of you who have never forayed into online clothing exchange, here’s a tip: Read the fine print.
I did not. I clicked a few boxes, uploaded my pictures, and sat back and waited for the money to pour in. A few days later, I received an email that both items had sold! Huzzah! I basked in my superior budgeting strategies until I read the details of the transaction.
The dresses had been sold to the same buyer for 99 cents each.
That’s not even the best part, though: I had to pay for shipping.
At the end of the transaction, I had lost $3 and essentially paid another person to take these dresses off my hands. How could anybody be so incompetent? I amaze myself. At least I could make someone’s day while ruining my own.
It took me a few hours of sulking before I sent a text message to my sister asking for some eBay tutorials.
She got a substantial laugh from it as she drove me to the post office to mail the two pieces of clothing that I hoped would pay for two Friday nights out.
Since then, I have learned that there is, in fact, a “minimum payment accepted” box — and that it would be in your best interest to fill it out.
I have also learned that you should include the cost of shipping in your minimum price. However, I am still very wary of the eBay universe, and I have my sister proofread all of my items before I put them up.
The eBay failure, though tough to swallow, was a serious learning moment for me. The biggest takeaway was that you need to be careful in the ways that you attempt to save or make money.
Buying the cheapest, crappiest cut of meat at the butcher may not be worth the three dollars in savings.
I was so excited to gain $100 that I was careless and ended up losing $4. (Seriously though, how did I do that?)
Another takeaway for me was the importance of being careful with how I engage with the internet. The best deals can often be found online, for sure. But still, it’s important to always read the fine print and know what you are signing up for. Otherwise, you might end up with a monthly subscription to some dog owner magazine you didn’t know you paid for.
Lastly, I learned that you can pay dearly for trying to get creative with your frugal living.