How to use eBay

Written by linda harris
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How to use eBay
EBay is a popular online auction site. (gavel image by Cora Reed from

EBay is a popular listings site that allows people to buy and sell second-hand or new goods that they no longer want. The website has everything from clothes to DVDs, cars, mobile phones, toys and furniture.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • A computer with an Internet connection
  • A PayPal account

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  1. 1

    Click on the "Sell" link at the top of every eBay page and then click on "Create a seller’s account". Enter your details, including bank account or credit or debit card details.

  2. 2

    Check out the descriptions other people have written about items similar to the ones you want to sell before listing them. Check eBay’s list of prohibited items if you are unsure of anything you want to sell. Add a picture, particularly if you’re listing clothes or accessories.

  3. 3

    Choose whether you want to sell your item in the auction style, where people bid for a certain amount of days until the highest bidder wins, or as a "buy it now", where you list the price you want for the item and the customer agrees to pay. If you decide on an auction, choose how long you wish to list the item for. You can select 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10-day listings.

  4. 4

    If you’ve chosen the auction format, choose the lowest possible price you are prepared to let the item go for. It is recommended that you start low to encourage bidding. Choose what methods of payment you will accept. Many eBayers use PayPal, but you also have a choice of cheque or credit card.

  5. 5

    Select the method of postage you will be using and enter a price to cover your postage costs.

  6. 6

    Once you’ve sold your item you can send the buyer an invoice. Do not post out the item until you have received payment. Once the transaction has been completed you can leave feedback for your buyer, and they can do the same for you. If your item doesn’t sell, you can relist it for free.


  1. 1

    Create an account with eBay and enter your personal and bank details as requested.

  2. 2

    Browse categories to find what you are looking for; alternatively, if you’re after something specific, type it into the "Search" box.

  3. 3

    Read the item listing thoroughly and check the seller’s credentials. If he has had negative feedback, consider whether you want to take the risk.

  4. 4

    Place a bid once you’ve decided you want to buy the item. If you enter the highest price you are willing to pay, eBay’s proxy bidding will bid on your behalf until someone else enters a higher bid. For "Buy it now" items, the purchase is instantaneous and there is no need to bid. If you are undecided on an item or it has many days left and you want to see whether the price increases much, you can click on "Watch this item", which will place it in a list for you to easily check its progress. You will be sent a reminder when the auction is about to end.

  5. 5

    Once you’ve been announced as the winner, pay for your item. When it arrives, check it thoroughly to ensure it is as described. If there are any problems, contact the seller. Once the transaction is over, leave feedback.

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