Here are some facts about eBay that many won’t understand or have experienced, however, there are many that have!
Firstly how would we know and what qualifies me to write about this? Read on and find out at the end of this article.
Given that eBay UK has so many Chinese sellers lying about their actual location is never a good start and more counterfeit products than the real thing is it any wonder buyers lose confidence and soon learn to hate the place. Every bad experience leaves a bad taste in the buyer’s mouths and they have left the place in droves and trust is a real problem regardless of their feedback system. Quality isn’t something you would associate with eBay and really shouldn’t be included in the same sentence.
Way back in the late 1990’s I traded part-time in ceramics at antique fairs (Torquayware specifically) this was my other passion besides my trade and I collected these wares for a number of years. I eventually traded on eBay where there was a crowd and times were good for a while, that is until a wider range of people with less or no knowledge in the subject started to join in on the action. This is where the problems started for collectors, dealers were suddenly competing with the general public who had no vested interest and collectors often fell foul of their antics, prices dropped and they never recovered to their previous heights.
So where did the good buyers go? Many found other avenues and market places but many fell out of love with their collections due to them becoming worth a fraction of what they paid for them.
EBay rose is popularity a few years ago mainly due to the antique market where dealers selling ceramics and smalls found it as an alternative from selling directly through antique fairs. There was a boom before the bust where certain types of wares (usually under 2kg for low postage charges). That’s why used tools never caught on in the early days but with couriers who suddenly provided good affordable shipping rates for heavier goods other areas of eCommerce opened up.
Did eBay care? Not by the evidence of the past, they win regardless of the price, their model is designed to undermine prices whilst still charging their same listing and commission fees.
If you think lower prices are good here is something to consider, it’s the old adage ‘you only get what you pay for’. Once an industry is undermined it becomes neglected especially when it’s no longer viable. As collectors buy cheaper antique tools this depreciates the value in their own tool collections and soon what once an enjoyable pass time becomes a non-investment.
Collections require a surging market place and this comes through increased demand, education and thrill of the chase. No collector buys things to see them devalue, yes they like a bargain but not at the expense of devaluing their existing collections.
That’s the problem with eBay, it records poor results that may have come through no fault other than buyers nor being focused on a specific time or date, or just through poor presentation and selling methods.
If the buyers only look on eBay like they did back in the day it’s a race to the bottom but there weren’t more choices back then, unlike there is now with the internet is maturing.
Luckily for the antique tool market, there are those who swim against the tide and have created alternatives for buyers and sellers but most importantly specialise in this sector. We have Tooltique that serves the user market well and have invested heavily in both time and cost to bring this website to serve an audience that will benefit in the long run from supporting this project.
The best products will increasingly avoid the clutches of eBay’s race to the bottom and that’s a good thing. Just like Torquayware and other collections the best and rarest pieces go into hibernation, that’s until the market for them recovers and comes back. EBay won’t be the answer that’s for sure but instead reputable specialist outlets who can facilitate all its good points but with added benefits and features that support the interest, whilst also delivering more reliability and less risk for buyers.
Sellers will always opt to sell their goods where the buyers are and they are looking for new or better marketplaces. Customers demand better standards and eBay isn’t consistent enough to build buyer confidence in the same way as a specialist in a subject can.
We are friends with leading dealers who already have established tool businesses as well as many collectors. This new version of antiquetools.co.uk is a platform that can help them and others when they have a special or rare tool to sell. These rare tools require a focused audience that is ever-expanding over time and the costs for doing this can compete with eBay without all the work involved.
Ebay’s fees are roughly 10% commission plus listing fees plus the cost of PayPal which is 3.4% + 30p per sale. Selling with us is 18% inc VAT which is roughly the same however we do all the images, deal with emails and packing postage etc.
Our website does add a buyers premium but this is variable according to the memberships levels chosen. Membership type can reduce these costs drastically and is designed to be an initiative to the best buyers of antique tools and rewards them for their loyalty and support.
So take it from me as someone who has seen first-hand how eBay isn’t as perfect. Left to their own devices how can antique tools survive where other collectors markets failed. That is unless someone within the industry fights them for the business and those rare tools.
It’s also obscene the number of antique tools that have disappeared via their Global shipping Programme and when confronting Pitney Bowes on this, they would only say they have been ‘disposed of’, for containing rosewood. Cities do not apply to many antiques but try and get through their thick skulls, oh I forgot they lack knowledge in this area, and simply didn’t care. It still makes my blood boil every time I think about it!
Note: This is not a dig at eBay sellers selling old tools but instead words from someone who was once a power seller with over 31,000 positive feedbacks (different product line) where the business was featured centre pages of the Daily Mirror, we’ve been there and have well and truly worn that T-shirt. We have learnt how to work without eBay and many others will follow suit once we fully developed this platform and open further opportunities to sell their old tools.