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A while back I shared a list of 25 things you never knew you could sell on eBay. Today I decided to take a different approach. What items should you NEVER sell on eBay?
eBay is a great way to earn some extra cash by selling almost anything and everything. However, there are some items that you really shouldn’t sell on eBay.
Please keep in mind that some of the items below may be on the list because they are against eBay’s policies, some due to safety, some due to convenience.
Okay, you may be thinking, why not? All those other items we’ve listed previous, why not sell food? Among the many reasons why you need to consider expiration dates, packaging/shipping, ingredients, etc. (Note: This does not necessarily apply to k-cups and other SEALED, non-perishable items.)
2. Handmade Crafts
You are allowed to sell these on eBay, but you may well not get as good of a price for your work as you would on etsy.com. Do yourself a favor and sell items on the best site!
3. Items that need authentication
I’m talking about autographs, collectors items, etc. Not that you CAN’T sell these on eBay. Just be sure to keep in mind what it is you’re selling. You need to make sure you can authenticate it. Make copies of all necessary paperwork should the buyer open a case.
I’m not talking about handmade jewelry, I’m talking about actual quality pieces. There is a risk of items getting lost in the mail (yes, you can insure them, but still). You may face a dispute with the buyer who doesn’t think you described it accurately, or you may have a hard time getting a fair price. If you choose to sell jewelry online, consider visiting a local jewelry store in order to get the item weighed, cleaned, and identified. Some jewelers will give you an approximate value for the piece and some will even write up a note or certificate verifying the piece’s information.
5. Large items
Large items are not big sellers on eBay (typically) because they are hard to get good pictures of and can be a pain to sell. You might want to try Facebook selling groups, Craigslist, or a yard sale.
I've bought and sold several washing machines, couches and other furniture/appliances as well using Craigslist. It has almost always been an easy transaction.
6. Heavy Items
You know that antique chest you’ve been wanting to sell? Or how about that old ship anchor? You might be laughing, but people will often try to sell very heavy things on eBay. This really isn’t the best plan for a variety of reasons. For one thing you may not know how much to charge for shipping and it wouldn’t be pretty if you undercharged for a super heavy item. The other consideration is how you would package said item. Keep in mind: eBay DOES allow for local pickup, but you may find that you have better luck on Facebook or Craigslist!
7. Counterfeit (bootlegged) items
Did you accidentally purchase or come across a bootleg version of a movie or game? You are not permitted to sell these items on eBay. When in doubt, don’t list it!
8. Cigarettes and Cigars
These items are not permitted to be sold as per eBay’s restricted list. No real surprise here…
Alcohol is also something not allowed to be sold on eBay. Although you CAN sell the ‘containers’ and bottles.
Did you realize you actually aren’t supposed to sell coupons on eBay? Even if you were, imagine the hassle of ensuring someone got it before the expiration date, limitations of geography, and more.
What?! You can sell books on eBay, but you have a much better shot at selling them quicker and for a better price on either Amazon.com or Half.com (which is actually owned by eBay!).
However… eBay can be a great place to BUY books.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are better ways to sell plants than on eBay. Plants would be difficult to ship and even more difficult to ensure that they’d arrive alive.
Many states have very strict regulations on seeds. In some cases it’s because they wish to keep invasive non-native species from being grown. It can also be difficult to know for sure what you are purchasing. Many gardeners like to preserve their own seeds and take part in Seed Libraries or simply save them for the next year. However, if you are purchasing these preserved seeds there is no way to guarantee what you’re getting.
14. Items with personal info
This is a bit vague because it can apply to many different items. If you are selling computers, iPads, phones, or other devices that may be linked to your identity, banking info, etc., you want to proceed with caution when selling them. Make sure you properly wipe the memories and be sure they’re ‘clean’ before you sell them.
15. Magazine Subscriptions
So someone gave you a gift of a subscription to a magazine that you have no interest in. Unfortunately in many cases these cannot be transferred and even if you wished to sell them, due to identity theft issues you may want to reconsider. However, you CAN always sell the magazines once you receive them (or store them for awhile and then try selling them later on down the road).
Even if they are your famous (or not-so-famous) ones. Many recipes can be found for FREE online so they don’t tend to sell well. Do you have a large collection of great recipes that you’ve created? Have you looked into self-publishing an eBook on Amazon?
Some people like to ‘load up’ rewards accounts such as Swagbucks, Bing, etc. Selling them is not only NOT allowed, but not a very good idea. You are much better off making the most of the Swagbucks you’ve earned!
18. Intellectual Property
Have a great idea for something? Selling intellectual property is a big gray area and you should probably steer clear of it.
Due to the strict regulations and controls over these items they are not allowed to be sold on eBay. You would be much better off looking for a local deal or trade show!
Animals are not allowed to be sold on eBay, but let’s face it, who would want to ship a live animal? If you are a breeder there are much better ways to sell the puppies or kittens.
21. Pelts/Stuffed (taxidermy) animals
This is another item that falls into the ‘you can’t sell it on eBay’ category. Many pelts may come from endangered species which aren’t allowed to be bought or sold.
22. Beanie Babies
Do you have a tote full of these, too? Unfortunately, despite predictions that these toys would be instant money-makers someday, most of them have ended up not being worth very much. That’s not to say that some of them aren’t worth a good amount… but in general, they don’t sell well. Check out the listings for Beanie Babies…
Tools are widely available at stores, they are also common staples at yard sales and garage sales. Combine that with the fact that many tools are heavy and would be tricky to ship, they aren’t the best items to list on eBay.
24. Dollar Store items
This is a category that can really vary. For the most part, most dollar store items do not sell well on eBay. However, if they are name brand items or items that are unique, you might have luck.
25. VHS Tapes
Most people no longer have devices that will play VHS tapes. So most VHS tapes, whether they are brand new or not, do not sell very well. Take a peek at how few of these VHS tapes sold… and how low the prices are. Thanks to websites such as Netflix and Amazon, many DVDs do not sell particularly well either.
Have you found any other items that just do not sell well on eBay?