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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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After the financial crisis, I consistently lost money on sax items I sold on ebay, so I stopped...however, I recently sold a bunch of sax stuff on ebay for the first time in six years or so (I continued to buy stuff on ebay) and I thought I'd share my experiences and maybe the members have related experiences at ebay recently.

Lately, I'd been hearing crickets when I try to resell stuff here, so I put some saxes (and guitars) on Craigslist at competitive prices...I got a lot of responses but almost no one showed up for their appt. to check out the instruments. The folks who did show up seemed like lonely people and didn't want to leave and they felt comfortable blowing my horns at full volume (but weren't they weren't buying my stuff.) My wife insisted I stop selling on Craigslist.

So, I've gone back to Ebay. I made good money on 3 of the 4 items I sold (three premium mouthpieces and a vintage sax.) I ran the auctions for 7 days with low starting bids. All four were sold to bidders from outside the US. It seems good, but 1) ebay fees were much higher than I remembered; 2) none of the bidders left feedback (par for the course when the bidder is going through third party intermediaries) 3) one of the winners was in the country of Georgia - and he wanted me to lie about the price on the invoice and when he got the item he tried to extort a 30% discount based on an imaginary flaw. I had taken many good photos of the item for the auction and he wouldn't send me photos of the supposed flaw, so I wouldn't budge...and he eventually slithered away; 4) ebay has this global shipping program (new to me) where the winner pays for shipping and I mail the item to a ebay affiliated shipper in KY (domestic mail) and the shipper sends out the package internationally. It seems pretty good but it's weird that ebay conceals the true amount of shipping charged to the auction winner. I guess it works - but the winner may think that the seller knows how much the winner paid in shipping, but it is not revealed to the seller.

Verdict: I got my stuff sold in 7 days which is great...but I'm not thrilled about fighting off scammers. SOTW marketplace is still my first choice for selling but...
 

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Lately, I'd been hearing crickets when I try to resell stuff here
SOTW marketplace is still my first choice for selling but...
ABSOLUTELY, in my opinion we've damaged the marketplace to the point that it has become almost useless for ordinary members and only the people with special market privileges seem to roam the place and sell anything (in bulk) :whistle:

I have heard from many that they haven’t noticed what I put for sale here for a few months now ( really you have an ad on so and so going? :soapbox: ), which is hardly strange, after a day or two things are buried under piles and piles of stuff. Few , if any, look in the marketplace , past the advert of the day and if you are there and can’t bring things back, selling here has become next to impossible.

Good luck on ebay!
 

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I was a regular buyer (100% feedback) from the US to Canada until the Global Shipping Program was established. I
think it's owned by multi-national Pitney Bowes. This basically increased shipping costs substantially and the charges
for customs were often inflated or just wrong and much higher than Canada customs would charge.

From a seller's perspective it seemed to make sense: send to one location domestically but for a non-US buyer it's
been a deal breaker for me far too often.
 

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The problem with the global shipping program (and international shipping in general) is that you're screwed if the buyer disputes. There isn't a return option. If ebay sides with the buyer, good look getting your item back!
 

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The market is a bit weird, and it almost seems like no one plays saxophone now! I stopped playing for almost a year because of family matters. I listed my King Zephyr alto and Buffet SuperDynaction on Craigslist with (what I think) a very reasonable price considering how much it cost for a brand new Taiwanese horn, but almost no reply. It is fortunate because I finally have some time to play again and I am glad that I didn’t sell them. Looking back, I regret selling a Buffet SDA alto and King Super 20 tenor. But there are just too many good saxophones out there and I don’t need 10 of them. =P

But here is the thing, the market is just flooded with saxophones and we don’t really have that many players, I feel. A saxophone can last for a decade!


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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Its true they don't like to give feedback anymore, even when you post a buyer's feedback as soon as they pay. Sometimes you get it if you beg for it but you can imagine how much I like asking for my feedback. The paradox is, everybody wants to see years of positive feedback before they'll bid, but then they won't give it. However, I still do okay on ebay, buying and selling.
I am in the middle of a punk deal right now - a 'zero-feedback' guy in the Czech Republic pushed the 'buy' button on a mouthpiece. I don't allow international bids but I said, well, whatever and sent him an invoice including the $14.25 postage. It was free shipping within the USA. Anyway, I haven't heard anything from him and of course he hasn't paid. It's three days now so I guess I'll open a case on him so I don't get stuck with the 10% fee. Its really a lot of trouble when somebody does this. All you can really do is block them from bidding on your auctions again.
 

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Haven't purchased anything major (say over $100) from ebay in years. For small odds-and-ends it's okay like old vintage mountain bike components (vintage in mountain bike terms is mid/late '90s or earlier), or other stuff that doesn't have enough value or interest to attract nefarious behavior. For most everything else, like quality saxophone gear, it's a dumpster fire. Phony buyers, phony sellers, phony pictures and descriptions (in some cases of phony merchandise), counterfeit horns and mouthpieces, ever changing policies, increasing fees, etc.. Everyone seems to be playing some sort of angle which means there's little chance of making a fair deal in either direction.



The market is a bit weird, and it almost seems like no one plays saxophone now! I stopped playing for almost a year because of family matters. I listed my King Zephyr alto and Buffet SuperDynaction on Craigslist with (what I think) a very reasonable price considering how much it cost for a brand new Taiwanese horn, but almost no reply. It is fortunate because I finally have some time to play again and I am glad that I didn’t sell them. Looking back, I regret selling a Buffet SDA alto and King Super 20 tenor. But there are just too many good saxophones out there and I don’t need 10 of them. =P

But here is the thing, the market is just flooded with saxophones and we don’t really have that many players, I feel. A saxophone can last for a decade!
Yeah, I tend to agree. For the most part saxophones and mouthpieces are durable goods presently being produced at a much faster rate than they are being consumed or worn out. We've seen a huge explosion of mouthpiece makers and horn brands while in general there's been a reduction in the number of players. In addition, most of the players I know are either struggling to make ends meet so they aren't really in the marketplace at all for gear or if they have the disposable income they already own more stuff than they could use in two lifetimes. Neither group is much willing to take their wallets out for anything that isn't a fantastic deal.
 

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I've been shying away from selling on eBay unless they're doing a promotion that lowers the "final value fee." It seems like that damn final value fee climbs higher and higher every six months and it kills one's ability to sell at a fair price. I've also had issues with eBay buyers taking advantage of eBay's generous "buyer protection" program. I don't offer trials or returns on gear but, lately, I've had people purchase (or win) a mouthpiece, play it for a week, and then contact me saying, "there's a scratch on the body you didn't mention in your listing - I want to return as 'not as advertised'." It's pretty clear in those situations that the "buyer" just wanted to try a particular vintage mouthpiece - very frustrating. That said, now that Ohio and many other states are collecting online sales tax from sites like eBay and Reverb, I've been doing less buying on those sites, as well.

I like the SOTW Marketplace much more now that the threads don't devolve into useless bumps and petty sniping or commentary, but it does seem like there're fewer buyers here these days. I'm hoping that with the rise of online sales tax the attractiveness of selling gear through forums such as this will return.
 

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ABSOLUTELY, in my opinion we've damaged the marketplace to the point that it has become almost useless for ordinary members and only the people with special market privileges seem to roam the place and sell anything (in bulk) :whistle:

I have heard from many that they haven’t noticed what I put for sale here for a few months now ( really you have an ad on so and so going? :soapbox: ), which is hardly strange, after a day or two things are buried under piles and piles of stuff. Few , if any, look in the marketplace , past the advert of the day and if you are there and can’t bring things back, selling here has become next to impossible.

Good luck on ebay!
I’ve had better luck on Face Book.
You can dicker and complain about the re-lacquers and high prices over there.
 

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i just bought something on ebay and was shocked to see 9% sales tax added to the price - i almost backed out of the purchase. when you're already taking a gamble that you'll be happy with a used item and then add tax - it's a bit much. i also think that when buyers realize the tax situation, they are either going to pay less for item, expect seller to cover the cost or just not shop used items on ebay(my choice).
 

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The tax situation is not eBay's fault. They'd much rather not have to do it but many states have enacted laws that force ebay to collect the taxes for them.
 

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I haven't tried to sell any horns on eBay yet, but do sell a good amount of photography/cell phones $125k (edited) annually as "zapatista" and ~$150k annually on amazon operating as "Cameras for Less!". So not huge volume, but good enough to put in the effort as a side hustle. Everything I do is buy it now (for instant payment only) and the only way not to get screwed on the final value fee is to have a basic web store, which only is feasible with decent sales volume. I've gotten very little push back on sales tax as it is something I can not control and refuse to negotiate on. Generally I only sell within the USA as international returns/disputes aren't worth the risk.

Mike
 

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Why wouldn't you use Reverb instead of eBay? Fees are lower, the native-US referees are instantly available by chat, it was built by a music store owner for musicians and music businesses, and many B&M stores use the Reverb engine as their web storefront.

I bought my beloved Ref 54 alto on eBay, turned out from a SotW member. But I don't think I'd sell there, for all the reasons listed above. Only good experiences with Reverb, however.
 

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Heavily revised here:

Reverb fees= 3.5% plus ~3% for Paypal
eBay music instrument fees= 10% for Saxophones or 7.15% with a Basic or higher store plus ~3% for eBay payments/Paypal.
Guitars/Basses only-eBay price matches the 3.5% fee of Reverb.

I have a synthesizer listed on Reverb right now as kind of a trial. eBay has a wider/different audience than Reverb.For photography ebay fees (6.15%+~3% for eBay Payments/Paypal) are about the same as amazon (8% plus $1 a sale if you don't subscribe to their "professional plan").
 

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I use eBay and recently had decent results there. For me, and I know some disagree, the marketplace is far worse than before. What was lost was positive endorsements and discussions of particular brands or models, which is informative for potential buyers. Also lost is the endorsement of sellers with whom we’ve had positive experiences. I’ve had almost zero interest in anything I’ve listed here and no sales since the changes were made. I had no negative experiences with people commenting on my listings prior to the change and thought the prohibition on pricing discussions was adequate. Aside from a fire sale, the marketplace seems to be a waste of time as it exists.
 

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I use eBay and recently had decent results there. For me, and I know some disagree, the marketplace is far worse than before. What was lost was positive endorsements and discussions of particular brands or models, which is informative for potential buyers. Also lost is the endorsement of sellers with whom we’ve had positive experiences. I’ve had almost zero interest in anything I’ve listed here and no sales since the changes were made. I had no negative experiences with people commenting on my listings prior to the change and thought the prohibition on pricing discussions was adequate. Aside from a fire sale, the marketplace seems to be a waste of time as it exists.
Yep
 

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I used to sell primarily on eBay (not that I sold a lot) using their promos (no final value fee on 3 sales, $10 max final value fee on 10 sales, etc.) but haven't sold a single thing there since the new tax regime went into effect (buyers now build in the tax amount into the max price they're willing to pay --- I also do that when I'm on the buy side). Now I've been selling more (and having decent success) on FB and OfferUp. I've also sold a few things here.

I've also only bought 2 relatively inexpensive items on eBay since October 1 (that tax is really a killer when you're looking to buy a horn or recording gear).
 

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Why wouldn't you use Reverb instead of eBay? Fees are lower, the native-US referees are instantly available by chat, it was built by a music store owner for musicians and music businesses, and many B&M stores use the Reverb engine as their web storefront.

I bought my beloved Ref 54 alto on eBay, turned out from a SotW member. But I don't think I'd sell there, for all the reasons listed above. Only good experiences with Reverb, however.
Because

a) the viewership is FAR less than eFlay

and

b) there are no open auction formats, only list price with an 'offers considered' option.

(Mind you, I think the latter is great just because open auctions are sorta BS anyway for 80% of musical-instrument related stuff...because really the ONLY time someone is gonna swipe something on eFlay auction format for significantly under-market is when the item is either pretty obscure but a 'gem' to those few who recognize what it actually is...or if the auction is really really short (3-day) so it's over before it gets as many views/interested parties as a longer auction would).

But for whatever reason, the open auction format just simply attracts more viewers and potential buyers. People would prefer not to face the reality that they are not very likely gonna get something for nothing.....

I like Reverb...it is not bad at all to sell there, really....but for saxes and horns, I cannot see that the traffic or sales has really picked up any over the 3 or 4 years I have been using it. IOW, it's popularity as a platform for band instruments has not seemed to expand/increase....
 
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