Selling on eBay. Safe or Risky?

I'm looking to sell a week old iPhone 8 on eBay.

I very quickly got a buyer and he paid me via Paypal…

However, due to my new-ness in selling a eBay, I originally wanted local pick up only because I wasn't confident of selling an expensive item after hearing of scams that happen.

Can anyone share some tips or experience selling on eBay. What should we watch out for and how risky/safe is it?


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  • +5 votes

    Kiss goodbye to the phone and the money if you complete the transaction. It is highly likely that the buyer will put in a claim via PayPal that the phone didn’t arrive, and PayPal are know to side with the buyer.

    Refund the buyer and sell it for cash on Gumtree, just don’t get mugged on pick up.

    • +1 vote

      Plus if you do it on Gumtree or Facebook no fees and COD. just do local buyer no postage for such an item.

      If on ebay also look at the buyers feedback as buyer and seller. If new then not so good. You all have to start somewhere. It could be a legit buyer, but you just done know. Ebay have the loop hole for buyers and it needs to be stopped as both parties can be scammed.

      • +1 vote

        Yeah agree 100% - gumtree with caution seems to be best option for me. I make sure if it's a high price item that I talk to the person first before committing to the sale. You can tell a lot this way. But also, if people mess you around, I smell a rat and pull out of the deal at the first hunch something is wrong. Cash only. Simple rules.


      If selling on Gumtree do the exchange somewhere with cameras. (Outside a bank is a good idea.)


    I cant refund as it's already open.


      What’s open?


        Sorry… I misread your last sentence. I thought you meant refund to the shop I bought it from.

        Yes - i did refund the buyer already. Unfortunately, copped my first negative feedback on ebay becuase of that.


          I assume you didn’t buy it direct from Apple? They’ll take it back within 14 days even if opened.

          Appeal the feedback with eBay.


            @Master Bates: Nope, got it from Officeworks. Dont think they will refund an open box right?

            How do I appeal the feedback? the buyer has a valid reason for giving me a negative feedback and I dont and cant really dispute that.

              • +1 vote

                @scrimshaw: thanks. I think after reading that, the buyer has every right to leave that feedback.

                He paid… I cancelled the order and then told him that I wasn't willing to post the phone to him (and I didnt originally specify that in my initial listing).

                • +2 votes

                  @jecec: Whilst you may not be able to appeal the feedback you can put a reply to the negative feedback.

                  This will allow a buyer in the future to understand what happened.

                  It’s called follow up to feedback received.

                  Just leave a comment that there was an error in the listing and you wanted to change it but it sold before you could do anything.

                  You can try to appeal the feedback letting eBay know you made a mistake.

                  You can also contact the buyer to explain your situation. Let them know you acknowledge the feedback and is valid but would appreciate it if they could revise the feedback. If they agree then you can send them a feedback revision request. Just let them know that you are new to eBay.

                  If you are happy to sell it to them maybe offer it at a lower price for the trouble they had. When shipping formitems like this always include signature on delivery as well as insurance as part of the cost. Take a video of the item being packed and photos to show them that it has been securelybpacked and the condtion of the package before shipment.

                  With eBay you can also put restrictions on buyers in the listing. Just state it so if you cancel a sale you are protected from negative feedback if it contravenes your listing rules.

  • +1 vote

    local pickup is worse than sending.
    no seller protection at all


      But at least local pick up I'll get the cash in my hand… no?

      • +1 vote

        You can specify cash on pickup however its also mandatory to offer Paypal as an option, as it's one of eBay's rules for sellers. If your customer wants to pay using Paypal, you'll have to accept that.

        Also if your phone is sealed and brand new in the box, and you bought directly from Apple you can still return it.


        I would specify cash only on pickup, which would be the safest for you. The buyer also has the opportunity to inspect the item and once the money is exchanged there is no recourse for them to screw you over later, as there is no buyer protection on local pickups, particularly with cash.

        I have done this many times and it has all worked out fine. If they pay you with paypal, refund them and tell them its cash on pickup only.


    One of the more really obscure ones is when the buyer asks you to ship the item to a different address (e.g a different country) after paying for the item. Always insist that you only ship to confirmed addresses that are recorded on their address book and not anywhere else.

    Also, when you're new to eBay, scammers will try to target people with very low feedback scores because they know the user isn't familiar with selling yet and make easy targets for scams. You can try and build up your feedback over time by selling unimportant 2nd hand crap (like video games) and accruing feedback from other sellers.

    • -1 vote

      Ok - it sounds too complicated. I'll stick to local pickup with cash on FB marketplace & gumtree then.

      Pity… I've got an iphone 8, 256 gb that I'm trying to sell at $950, but havent got lots of bites..


    I’ve sold a bit of stuff on ebay. Never encountered any of the problems outlined in this thread. I use the ebay no fee offers that they always send out. I reckon better prices can be had on ebay, less tyre-kickers / low-ball offer people.


    I sold these during early 2018: iPad 3 64gb - $230, iPhone 5 16gb - $170.

    Last month I sold a Yamaha AV receiver, Tivoli table radio and sub-woofer and Usher bookshelf speakers. All no issues.

    • -1 vote

      u shouldnt sell phones that u once used at all. its very easy to get back every single piece of info u ever had on that phone. pictures, passwords, documents, everything.
      even if u deleted all and reset the phone.
      old phones should only be destroyed.

        Apple’s iOS devices are equipped with a security chip that automatically encrypts all stored data. When you reset the device the security key is destroyed, making all data unusable. Apple explains all necessary steps in a support article.

        If you have deleted your private data irretrievably from your device, you can give it away or sell it without worrying.


        If you're really paranoid about it, wipe it, set it up again, and fill it with music. Do it as many times as you're comfortable with. I think one wipe and fill should be enough though, unless you're particularly worried about state actors with state resources getting into your phone data.

        Frankly, I don't think it would be worth the expense to perform forensic data recovery on my devices, but I do a wipe and fill and wipe again anyway.

  • +1 vote

    I have about 1600 transactions - never an issue
    If phone etc meet at MacDonalds - larger items in my garage

  • +1 vote

    Selling everyday items - pretty safe. Only about 1 in 300 of my letter items go “missing”.
    Selling phones and laptops - I wouldn’t even consider it.

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