The Great Sellout: Legal Tips for Using eBay, Craigslist and Amazon to Sell Goods

6 years ago

Legal issues and ebay selling Hyper-Consumerism

The words, "We're having a baby" are basically synonymous with "We're about to become hyper consumers." If you have children you understand what I'm saying. If you don't, let me explain.

From the moment it's discovered that a little being is developing and will hatch within 9 months, it becomes a race to the finish line to equip yourselves, the fledgling and the fledgling's dwelling area with every possible, state-of-the-art, convenient, aesthetic, new-fangled, already in every celebrities' tiny offspring's boudoir and highly recommended for optimal development humdinger on the market. Even if you fancy yourself to be a reasonable, under consumer who responsibly practices the 3 R's {reuse, reduce and recycle}, you might be surprised at your response to getting the nest ready for the hatchling.

Yet once this flurry of action to thoroughly prepare for every want, need and whim of your soon-to-be born tiny tot is complete and the babe has finally hatched you will soon find there's more to be bought or altered or rejected altogether. And this cycle continues, as far as I can tell for years into the fledgling's life. I'll call this cycle BUD Infinitas; Buy, Use {for a few months}, Discard and Repeat.

The Relentless Cycle

There are several reasons for this: 1) many of the so-called must-have items just aren't so useful or imperative to caring for a child; 2) the tiny tots grow to be medium-sized tots and then large tots quite fast; growing out of the once well-played with and often worn items; and 3) new and better items are continually popping up in the marketplace.

So, the question becomes what to do when you get to the D in the BUD Infinitas cycle. There are a few options: 1) give it away to friends and family in need of such must-have items; 2) donate it to charitable organizations whose needs abound, yet have limitations on the types of baby/child items they can accept; or 3) sell it.

Selling Online

This third option is highly desirable since the discarded item can then partially fund the new item. Additionally, these days there are myriad options for selling baby/child paraphernalia. The old school and least successful method is a garage sale. The easiest yet least profitable option is to find a baby resale shop. And lastly, the best options for making a good profit with varying degrees of convenience are the online classified options: eBay, Craigslist and Amazon.

We have avoided this last choice by giving away items to friends with kidlets younger than ours and donating to charitable organizations. Yet we have accumulated a good number of larger items over the last year as Darling 2, the last of our hatchlings, has transitioned from baby to toddler and is approaching the preschooler title.

Legal Issues

So many people buy and sell on these online platforms daily. We've made purchases through each of these online classified sites without any hitches. And we're ready to switch sides and start listing items from our ever growing pile of outgrown baby items. This got me to thinking about the legal issues surrounding these transactions, how to avoid scams, etc.

Here are some things I found out when I started digging.

  1. Read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy of the site you choose to list an item to sell. It's important you understand your responsibilities and theirs. You need to know what you are agreeing to by using their site and how they will use the information you provide;
  2. There may be tax repercussions and advantages regarding the money you make from selling online. E-business attorney and author of The eBay Seller's Tax and Legal Answer Book, Cliff Ennico, advises, when in doubt, file a Schedule C;
  3. Don't sell {or buy} items that have been subject to a recall. Many baby items fall into this category. FYI: drop-side cribs will no longer be legal to sell beginning in June. It's not a good idea to try to sell them now either. Many have been recalled;
  4. Posted item descriptions are legally binding warranties. Your description of your item to be sold must be exactly what you are selling and shipping to the buyer. If they are not, the buyer has legal recourse to return it;
  5. Be careful regarding how much information you give out regarding your address, phone number, email address, credit card information, etc. whether you are the buyer or seller. Always trust your instinct and err on the side of caution;
  6. On eBay it's recommended that you have clear and concise terms and conditions regarding shipping, payment, returns, etc. on your listing;
  7. Make sure you are on the correct site and not a scammer's site. FYI: Craigslist's site is;
  8. If you are wheeling and dealing on Craigslist, it's a good idea to sell only to those who are local. That's really the whole idea of Craigslist, and helps in avoiding scams;
  9. Report any questionable activity, inquiries or general abuse regarding your account to the site and/or a law enforcement agency; and
  10. Don't engage in practices that artificially inflate your bidding price; it's illegal.

The Scoop

Overall, these sites are simple to set up an account and get started selling your unwanted goods. Tomorrow I will post tips for choosing which site is right for you and how to make your listings stand out and sell your items fast. Have you used any of these sites? Which ones have you found to be most convenient, cost and time effective, etc? Over and out...


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