eBay issues – always read the small print!

Unfortunately the $50,000 charity fundraising goal has had a bit of a setback, and I have had to withdraw the sales of the fundraising pictures from eBay!

eBay’s Giving Works offers to refund eBay listing fees in the same proportion as the amount of the final sale that is donated to the chosen charity. In my case with the photos I am offering in return for a charitable donation, I obviously chose to donate 100% of the final sale to the charity.

I assumed that this would then mean that all of my listings would be free. Ahh, but be careful what you assume!

I listed all 50 of the photos as Buy-It-Now offerings in my eBay Store, with 40 of each picture being available, for a donation of $20. I then listed each of the pictures as an individual item too, each individual listing linking back to my eBay Store, where all of the other photos are available too.

I planned to keep listing individual items on short term sales, hoping to entice interested parties to the store to donate.

But when I checked my eBay bill, I found out that my outstanding balance was over $1,100. I sort of assumed (again!) that this would be refunded, but just to be on the safe side I emailed the eBay rep who had been helping me, and asked when these fees get re-credited.

I was alarmed by the response, to say the least! The listing fees only get re-credited if the item sells. I had already listed 50 pics as 1-day sales, and not one had been bought. I also had another 50 listings in my store. I am still unsure as to how this works out to be over $1,100 in listing fees.

If the photos are bought in similar numbers to sales from my website, I will soon have lost all of the money that I have raised so far, and then some!

I emailed my eBay rep, who has been very helpful, and all of my shop listings have now been cancelled. When I looked earlier this morning, my bill now stands at a slightly less worrying $410. This is for the 50 x 1-day auction sales already finished and unsold.

I am hoping I can get this money refunded too, but I don’t really have a leg to stand on if eBay decides to keep this money, as it is my own fault. I should have read the small print. It does quite clearly state in their “How to sell on eBay Giving Works” info :-

Turn your eBay listings into a force for good with eBay Giving Works. With each listing you can pledge to donate from 10% to 100% of an item’s final sale price to your favorite nonprofit and get a pro-rated fee credit on your Insertion fee and Final Value fees when your listing sells.

I guess I should have spotted that!

But I think it is a bit of a shame that when trying to raise money for charity, especially when donating 100% of the sale price, that the seller has to take a gamble on the item selling.

If eBay really wanted to help charities maybe they could offer free listings for 100% donations? After all, their sales process is completely automated, and they seem to be doing pretty-well financially from all of the other non-charitable auctions. Their 2009 Balance Sheet shows a net income of over $2.3 billion!

I have already invested quite a sum of money into getting all of the pictures printed, and a lot of time numbering and signing them, and then more time in trying to publicize my fundraising efforts. It took a long day of effort to get the 100 listings arranged! I will bear the cost of the $410 if I have to, it was my mistake after all, but I am hoping eBay will do the right thing here!

I will let you know the outcome.

Accountability Progress Report

Wednesday 23rd June
Develop a six-pack stomach – gym session with Val
Learn how to lucid dream – no dreams remembered
Set up the “BlindsidedNetwork” support forum – nothing
Raise $50,000 for charity – nothing, and possibly $410 lost to eBay!!!
Night skydive – nothing
Book deal for 100goals – research plus started to set up book templates

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