Monday, 25 February 2013

Fee-free alternatives to Ebay

Since the last couple of books I sold on Ebay went for just 99p each, I've been looking at ways to  raise a little more cash when decluttering this Spring. Although I have car-booted and table-topped before, I found this was a lot of work for not much financial gain; I would rather sell things online, from the comfort of my own home. 

Originally MusicMagpie was a place to sell old CDs, DVDs and Games. You type the item's bar-code into the website, and MusicMagpie comes up with an offer, typically about 50p per CD. 

Since they introduced the ONE BOX system, you can also sell a whole load of other things like Tech, Electronics and Clothes at the same time. "When you sell different items to us, you put them all in ONE BOX, send it to us for free and we send you one payment. Simple isn’t it… well that," say MusicMagpie, "is what ONE BOX is all about – making selling easy!" Payments are made either by cheque, BACS or e-vouchers.  

Finally I got round to clearing out my CD collection for perhaps the final time - I am truly stuck in the Nineties; most of them are about 20 years old! Knowing that I can always listen to music online via Grooveshark, I am in the middle of putting together a box which should get me about £13. The bonus is that you don't have to store the CDs for weeks while you wait for them to be sold on Amazon or Ebay - you can get rid of them in a matter of hours - and there are no listing, postage and packing, or selling fees. 

Whether you are buying or selling second-hand, Preloved is an ideal alternative to Ebay. Packed with nearly new and really old bargains in over 500 categories, from Home Entertainment to Horses and Livestock, it costs nothing to advertise on Preloved, and you can create a widget for your blog to show what you are selling. 

All ads include up to three free photos, and private ads are completely free; no listing fees, no selling fees and no catches.You can do most things on Preloved for free, including submitting your own private adverts and participating in the forums and reviews areas. 

However, with the free membership you can't respond to adverts until ten days after they are posted, which is why I am considering upgrading. Full Membership, which is £5 for 12 months, means you can can respond to adverts from the first day they are placed on Preloved. This gives you first refusal on all the best bargains. 

So far I have only bought an embroidery hoop, but the transaction was very speedy and smooth and much more personal than Ebay. Payment is still via paypal, which gives you back-up should things go wrong, and there is plenty of guidance about buying and selling on the site. 

Gumtree is a similar site, but I have not yet successfully sold anything there; hopefully I will get some offers for Secundus' outgrown school coat soon. Members of HotUKDeals can also sell items via their For Sale/Trade section.

At GreenMetropolis, readers can discover a whole new way to buy, read and recycle books. Once you've signed up to the website (which is free), simply list your books for sale using the ISBN on each book, rate their condition, and then sit back and earn at least £3.00 for every one sold. 

Once a book is sold, GreenMetropolis notify you by e-mail of where to send the book and credit your account. Your money can then be used to fund new books (which they hope you’ll do) or simply cashed in; it’s your money, you’ve earned it! 

GreenMetropolis gives you access to a wide range of titles all priced at just £3.75 . There's no minimum order and most paperbacks include free delivery - that’s a typical saving of between 50% and 75% when compared with the price of new books from the high street. 

I have bought and sold books via this website with no problem. It isn't exactly instant, which means you do have to hang on to your unwanted books, waiting for a sale, but at least there are no fees to pay. For an example of a profile page, click here.

Other fee-free options include selling items via forums - MaryJane's Farmgirl Sisterhood has a marketplace section where members can post things for sale - or via Facebook groups such as this one in Harrogate. Community websites such as Streetlife often have classifieds sections where items can be sold for no fee.
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