Sells eBay used items

Sell ​​used items

How to get rid of your old things profitably

  • Sellers on Ebay and Amazon have a good chance of a high sales price. Both platforms charge a commission from 10 percent of the sales price.
  • Individuals sell for free on classifieds sites such as Ebay Classifieds and Quoka. However, the group of buyers there is smaller and the selling price tends to be lower.
  • Professional buyers pay even less for used items. The advantage, however, is that you can get rid of your goods quickly and easily.
  • Describe your goods truthfully and upload at least one or two photos you took yourself.
  • Let eBay auctions run as long as possible and answer any questions from interested parties.
  • You can post less popular articles on Ebay classifieds or Quoka for a long time free of charge. Only ship if the buyer transfers the price in advance.
  • If you want to get rid of your things quickly, use a buying service. You can find out which currently pays the highest price with, for example.

Treasures lie dormant in the drawers, in the attics or in the garages of most Germans. Books, DVDs and electrical appliances will eventually become obsolete, but not everyone consistently sheds their old stuff. Clearing out the soul is good - and can still bring in some money. With the right tips, you can get rid of your used equipment at a profit.

Which sales platforms can I use?

Sales platforms on the Internet tend to bring the highest price. Most people look for goods there. Usually the seller sends the item to the new owner by post or parcel service; Pick-up can also be arranged. The most famous site for private sales is the eBay auction platform. But private individuals can also offer their things at the online mail order company Amazon. There are differences between the platforms.

Auctions are common on Ebay: As the seller, you determine the duration of the auction and thus also know when you will get rid of the item. You only stay seated when no bids are received. At the end of the auction, the highest bidder is accepted. However, the latter usually does not pay the full amount that he entered, but that of the second highest bidder with a small premium.

All bids except the current highest are visible (modified Vickrey auction). You can only apparently recognize the highest commandment, but not in reality. Only the second highest bid plus 1 euro is displayed, but not how much the current highest bidder has actually entered.

Advantage for you: Bidding battles at the end of the term ensure that the price soars. Alternatively or as a supplement, you can also ask for a fixed price on Ebay (buy it now).

Vendors only sell at a fixed price on Amazon. So they can gradually go down if they can't find a buyer. This corresponds to a reverse auction, also called a Dutch auction. It has the advantage for sellers that potential buyers can get the feeling that they have to strike quickly before someone else snaps the coveted item from under their noses. The disadvantage is that as a seller you don't know when the auction will end.

Features of Ebay and Amazon

Sales formsAuction, fixed priceFixed price
Advantage for sellersBidding skirmishesBuyers feel time pressure
End time1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days for auctions, none for fixed price offers; Time of day adjustableNo

Source: Finanztip research (as of June 29, 2020)

If you want to get rid of an article relatively quickly, offer it on Ebay. There you benefit from the defined end of the auction, but you may have to cut back on the selling price. On Amazon, you sometimes need a little patience when you gradually move down the price. We tend to recommend Amazon for coveted goods such as current smartphones or tablets, because the effort of the reverse auction is then limited and a buyer can usually be found quickly.

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How do I get the highest possible sales price?

There are a few things to keep in mind to get the highest price.

Article text - Describe the article accurately and, most importantly, honestly. There is no point in hiding a large scratch on the mobile phone display. You would only receive a negative rating for this, which makes further sales much more difficult. If the article works well, state it explicitly. In any case, add: “I exclude warranty or liability for material defects.” Otherwise, even as a private seller, you would have to be liable for the functionality for twelve months.

Images - You should at least take photos of higher quality articles and upload them. This increases your chances of a good selling price enormously, because potential buyers are much more likely to "fall in love" with a beautiful picture than with sober facts. It is best to photograph the item in daylight. Don't use the camera flash. Also show the described defects on the photos - that creates trust. Warning: Do not “steal” any images from the Internet, for example from the manufacturer's website. You can get an expensive warning for this.

Offer duration (Ebay) - Since many potential buyers watch an item for a while before placing a bid, a long transit time can be helpful. Note that you should be available for questions from potential bidders during this time. Answer quickly! At Amazon, your publicly visible seller performance will even be devalued if you take too much time with the answer.

End of auction (Ebay) - If you don't specify anything, the auction starts immediately and ends at the same time as you created it. It is better to plan the start time and thus the end. That costs only 10 cents extra and can have a positive effect on the sales price. Let the auction end when a lot of people have time for Ebay, for example at noon or in the early evening.

Time of sale - Don't leave things you no longer need lying around for a long time; sell them quickly. The longer you wait, the less things are worth. The selling price of electrical appliances falls particularly sharply when a successor model appears. For example, if it is foreseeable that a new iPhone will come onto the market and you want to get rid of yours, be sure to sell it before the successor is introduced.

What does it cost to sell on Amazon or Ebay?

As a seller, you cannot use Ebay and Amazon for free. This is how Amazon charges several fees. In addition to the flat rate of 99 cents for each sale, there is also a so-called sales fee (table below) of 7 to 45 percent (often 15 percent) on the sales price without shipping costs. There is also a closing fee for media items: around 1 euro for books and around 80 cents for music, DVDs, videos, video games and software. VAT comes on top of all fees. Conversely, Amazon will reimburse shipping costs of around 2 to 4 euros, depending on the item.

Amazon Selling Fees


Sales fee


Minimum fee


Car15 %0,30 €
Hardware store12 %0,30 €
Clothing, shoes, handbags15 %0,30 €
Books, music, videos, DVD15 %
Computers & Electronics7 %0,30 €
Computer & electronics accessories15% up to 100 €, above 8%0,30 €
Cycles10 %0,30 €
Musical instruments & DJ equipment12 %0,30 €
Jewellery20% up to 250 €, above 5%0,30 €
Software, video games15 %
Sports & Freetime15 %0,30 €
Clocks15% up to 250 €, above 5%1,50 €
Video game consoles8 %
Accessories for Amazon devices45 %0,30 €
Many other things15 %0,30 €

Source: Amazon (as of June 30, 2020)

The fees for sellers on Ebay are simpler. The commission is basically 10 percent on the sales price including shipping costs. The commission is capped at 199 euros. The auction platform waives a fixed fee for up to 300 offers per month. Overall, you can tell Ebay that it was originally developed for private sellers, while Amazon is more of a marketplace for professional sellers.

Comparison of seller costs on Amazon and Ebay

 fixed entry feecommissionother feesRefunds
Amazon€ 0.99 plus VAT

15 to 45% plus VAT

from € 0.80 plus VAT for books, music, DVDsShipping costs 1.99 to 4 €
Ebaymostly 0 €10 %Start time planning recommended for € 0.100 €

Source: Amazon, Ebay, own research (as of June 30, 2020)

Where can I sell at no cost?

Classified ads portals such as Ebay classified ads and Quoka do not charge any commission. The biggest difference to the "big" Ebay and Amazon is that the goods are usually not supposed to be sent. The buyers should collect them personally. Some of the portals even expressly warn against transferring money to a stranger and then trusting that he or she will send what has been bought. The fact that the goods have to be picked up naturally reduces the potential buyers considerably. As a result, sellers also tend to get a lower price.

Nevertheless, users sometimes ask the seller whether he would be willing to send the object of purchase. As a seller, you should only get involved in this if the buyer is willing to transfer the price plus shipping costs to your account in advance. In that case, you don't take any chances. The buyer, on the other hand, has to be aware that his money is gone if he gets into a dubious seller.

Classified ads are also good for less popular items, as they can be offered there for free over a longer period of time.

How can I sell quickly and easily?

If you have just cleaned out and now want to turn a lot of used items into cash without much effort, you can send the things to a buyer. Buying portals on the Internet accept books, CDs, DVDs and electrical appliances and transfer a certain amount to the owner. The portals take on the resale, which of course they do not do for free - therefore the purchase prices are significantly lower than the value that sellers on Ebay or Amazon could achieve. But buying is always more convenient.

To find the buyer who is currently paying the highest price for a certain item, you should use a comparison portal, for example You can use it to find buyers with the highest bids for cell phones, tablets, game consoles, iPods, Macbooks, books, music, films and computer games. The portal from the same provider specializes in electronics. We have had good experiences with the pages.

At the flea market, the focus is on having fun

In every major city there are flea markets where rarities are on offer, but also lots of junk. The focus here is on fun and not on profit. Inquire about the stand fees and it's best to bring a friend with you so that the hours don't get boring.

How much you redeem depends on your negotiating skills. In order to attract visitors, it is best to place some showcase items in front of them in a clearly visible position. A garage sale works similarly, as you may know it from American films. Such an action is particularly useful for apartment closings. You can donate the unsold items, for example to a social department store or a refugee facility.

Do I have to pay tax on the profit?

If you only sell something now and then, you can keep the surplus for yourself tax-free. It looks different if you sell things more often and in a targeted manner at a profit. The courts only ever judge in specific individual cases. For example, a mother who had sold 80 items of clothing for her four children within one month was classified as commercial (Landgericht Berlin, decision of September 5, 2006, Az. 103 O 75/06). However, there are also judges who are much more generous.

Daniel Pöhler

Daniel Pöhler

Daniel Pöhler mainly works on the Finanztip newsletter and, as deputy head of text, contributes to the linguistic quality of all Finanztip texts. His focus is mobility and the digital. In his traineeship at the specialist magazine Telecom Handel, he learned what makes the telecommunications industry and trade tick. Daniel holds a degree in business administration from the University of Bayreuth.

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