September 25, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #40

questions-answers-40Happy Friday everyone!

It’s the 40th time a Questions & Answers post has gone live on this blog! We’re only 10 short of my goal for this year – 50 – and with 3 months left before Xmas, I’m sure we’ll reach it!

Thanks for all the questions you have sent in and please – keep them coming! All you have to do is send your message via my contact form on this page and I’ll get back to you within 24h max, Monday-Friday.

Okay, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to spot a scam once you’ve placed an order?
  • Can you import patented un-branded products from China?
  • How to deliver imported goods from the port to your address?
  • How to connect all your email addresses to one Gmail account?
  • How can eBay sellers make any profit selling £0.99 items with FREE P&P?
  • What’s the best way to register an eBay business when in a full time job?
  • Can you start importing with just £1000?

Let’s get to it!

Hi Andrew,

I placed an order with a Chinese supplier from the website He seemed very professional and legitimate and provided pictures of all the products. However since the order the costs keep pilling up!

First customs clearance on his side, which I thought was unusual, and then having to pay insurance before it can be cleared through customs and now brand taxes. In total these charges have been in excess of £800.

What should I do? I have refused as yet to pay the brand tax as I now feel like I am getting scammed. I initially used bank transfer and then western union for the most recent payment.


Hi Josh,

Unfortunately you have been scammed, 100% – no doubt about it! You’ll NEVER see any of the products you ordered or your money again. Sorry to bring you this sad news but that’s how it is.

You should really have spent more time researching typical scams to avoid a situation like this. (more…)

September 18, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #39

questions-answers-39Welcome to yet another instalment of our hugely popular Questions & Answers blog post series!

This week we only had one other article, rather than the usual two. This is because I’m preparing a post on the recent eBay Seller Update and it has turned out to be very long, over 3000 words! Look out for that on Monday as it contains some very important stuff!

Anyway, back to business and let’s take a look at some of the questions you sent in during the past week.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • The best way to list items – BIN VS Auctions?
  • Can you revert back from a business account to a private one?
  • Is this iPhone seller on Alibaba a SCAM?
  • Is it okay to deal with a trading company instead of a manufacturer?
  • How much does a pre-shipment inspection cost?
  • Do Chinese suppliers provide any product warranty?
  • Achieving TRS status on European eBay sites!

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

First of all congrats on the blog in general and the great advice contained within.

A couple of questions:

1. I’ve decided to follow your strategy of reselling Blu-rays to reach the 100 transactions required to get to TRS status. My question is what is the best way to list these items when selling them? I.e. Auction vs BIN, free postage vs postage at £1.26 etc. Looking at completed and sold listings there is a bit of uncertainty as to which is the best method.

2. I have been using eBay recreationally for a decade now, and have sold quite a few items around the house and have 100% positive feedback of around 250. This seems to me like a potential boost for an eBay business right from the start.

However, if I decide to go ahead with my eBay business idea it seems inevitable that I will have to switch to a business account. Is this something I should be concerned about, because it seems that there’s no going back to a private account once you do make the switch? What if in the future I decide to ditch my business and want to keep using eBay privately? I don’t want all my hard-earned feedback to go to waste. Would it be prudent to start a new eBay account specifically for business purposes?


Hi Tony,

1. There are no strict rules on this, and really you can use either method. I usually recommend using auctions IF you’re in a rush and need to get some sales in ASAP, as with £0.99 auctions you’re basically guaranteed to sell every item within 7 days (or even 3-5 days, if they’re popular titles). The downside is that you of course have less control over the price and may not get the exact amount that you want, in comparison to BIN listings.

If you don’t need to rush this, you should probably go with BIN listings. You may want to price your listings a bit below the market’s average to get sales in quicker OR you can go with market price and just be more patient.

In both scenarios, I would definitely recommend using free shipping as that helps greatly with your listings’ search positions. (more…)

September 11, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #38

questions-answers-38Welcome back!

Another week has passed by and it’s Friday – time for our Questions & Answers session.

This week has been rather difficult for me – last weekend I was attending a party and seemed to have picked up some kind of nasty virus. My whole family has got it, including our kids, which is never nice!

I just hope it wasn’t because of this:

tatooThe lady who did this to me said it won’t last more than 2 weeks, and fingers crossed she was telling the truth as it’s getting hard to hide!

Anyway, so on Tuesday morning we basically all woke up with scratchy throats, mild headaches and all the rest. The kids don’t actually seem to mind as it means a sort of holiday for them.

But what do I have to do when I’m sick? Head to the office and work as normal, right? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing as there’s just no rest when you’re a business owner. But I at least kept my days short and tried to get some rest when back home. By rest I mean watch TV of course (I know, I know – not the ideal way to recharge your body!).

So I used this time to watch the whole first series of Narcos, a Netflix original show.

And it was awesome!

narcosI’m now adding this to my “can’t wait for next season” list, which includes:

  • House of Cards
  • Returned (even though I heard there won’t be a season 2 for this)
  • Orange is the New Black (don’t judge, please)
  • Better call Saul
  • Bloodline
  • Prison Break

So if you have a Netflix subscription and like gangster movies, I highly recommend you check out Narcos – you won’t be disappointed. (more…)

September 4, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #37

questions-answers-37Welcome…. September!

It’s getting darker and colder. With kids back in schools, the roads are slower and days shorter. Is it all doom and gloom though? Not if you’re an online seller, no! As September is the first month after the summer when sales return to normal in most businesses. That is unless you sell sunglasses and weekend trips to Ibiza (I could be wrong on the Ibiza part though!)

This week, on Monday, I covered in detail how to predict sales fluctuations over the up-coming months, right before Xmas kicks in. Now is really a good time to prepare yourself for an increase in sales, due to numerous short term sales like Halloween, Black Friday and of course Christmas itself at the end of the road.

It’s now Friday, which means it’s time for another Questions & Answers post! In this series I answer questions sent in by you – my blog readers, so if you want your questions to be featured in future posts, get in touch with me via the contact form on this page.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to simplify the importing from China process?
  • How to register multiple eBay accounts on regional sites?
  • What safety requirements are there when importing children’s clothing from China?
  • Can you protect the design of a product?
  • Can you lose TRS status with one VeRO case?
  • What’s the next step after making money with used goods?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and I just have to say that it’s brilliant – the information you provide is incredible.

I’m looking to start importing goods from outside the EU, namely China. Up until now I have been making use of UK based suppliers.

I’m pretty clued up when it comes to duty and import VAT. However, after looking on the HMRCs website I have become baffled once more. They talk about using the CHIEF system and filling a SAD form for every import. Is this necessary, what does it all mean and is it as confusing as it sounds?

Thank you in advance and kind regards,

Hi James,

It sounds more difficult than it actually is! 🙂

If you’re just starting out with importing now, with your first deal, I would recommend you use a courier for shipping to minimise your work load. That is of course if the products you source are suitable for courier shipment (small or valuable) as courier is the most expensive shipping method from China. (more…)

August 21, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 15 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #36

questions-answers-36Welcome to our 36th Questions & Answers – a weekly blog post where I personally answer questions sent in by my blog readers!

Summer is nearly behind us now as we head into September and everyone gets back to full work. Quarter 4 is the most important of the year for most companies so it’s time to really ramp up your business so you can hit Christmas with a bang. Jeez Andrew, thinking about Christmas already!? I know, I know – I plan things too far in advance! 🙂

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do you need a registered company to import from China?
  • Why does my eBay account have selling limits?
  • Why do my competitors’ listings get ranked higher on eBay’s search?
  • At what stage are VAT & import duty payable on imported goods?
  • What to do with under-valued imports from China?
  • Is it worth starting a new online clothing shop?
  • How to compete with people who copy what I do?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I read your recent article and found it very informative and I was hoping you could help me with a quick question – I’ve been in touch with a supplier and they’ve asked for my company name.

Do I need to have a registered company to import from China?

Many Thanks!

Hi James,

No, you don’t have to have a registered company to import products from China, not at all.

The reason why they asked for your company name could just be that they want to know you’re seriously interested in doing business as Chinese suppliers have to deal with many time wasters on a daily basis who ask for prices, samples, and other info but never make an actual order. (more…)

August 14, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #35

questions-answers-35Happy Friday everyone!

It’s time for the latest post in our Questions & Answers series. I can certainly see that the summer holidays are well and truly over for many of you as there are more and more questions being sent in!

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to not get overcharged by couriers?
  • What is the best way to sell on regional eBay sites?
  • How to get back Top rated seller status?
  • Do you have to pay taxes on refused parcels?
  • Where is the best place to sell 150,000 used books?
  • Is it possible to buy goods from UK based manufacturers directly?
  • At what stage does being VAT registered help your business?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your great article:

I’m importing some products from China to the US, and I’m being quoted vastly different UPS prices for shipping – can you shed any light on this?

The supplier has quoted me $430 for 250 units via UPS and this sounds about right to me. But if I go onto the UPS website and get a quote, the price comes in at $1500.

Some other suppliers are also quoting me in the region of $1700 for UPS, shipping the same package, and some as low as $300.

In your article you are suggesting that shipping via courier is about $5/kg for a 50kg package, which is around $250.

Any idea what’s going on here? Ideally I’d like to handle the UPS side of things myself so I know I’m not being overcharged, but I’m obviously not going to pay $1500.

Many thanks,

Hi John,

$1700 for a 50kg package, wow, that’s really EXTREME!!!

That’s a totally unreasonable quote. In my article I mention that a courier costs about £5 per kg (not $), so it works out about $7-$8. So a quote of around $400 sounds very reasonable to me. (more…)

August 7, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #34

questions-answers-34Hello Everyone and Welcome Back!

As many of you will have noticed, our Q&A series has been absent over the last few weeks, but it’s back this week and today is our 34th Questions and Answers blog post! You can check out previous posts in this series using the Archives page here.

For those of you who are new to my blog – every week (almost!) I do a Q&A blog post where I go over, in detail, questions that have been sent to me by my readers.

You can easily take part in this by sending in your question via the contact form on this page.

What kind of questions can you ask? Really anything related to:

  • eBay selling
  • Ecommerce
  • Branding
  • Importing
  • Online business in general
  • Shipping
  • Marketing
  • Etc. etc.

So don’t be shy and send in your questions! Even if it doesn’t make it into our weekly Q&A post, I’ll still send you a personal response via email.

Okay, so for today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Can you open an online shop as a Sole Trader?
  • How to properly send goods via courier from Pakistan?
  • Do you need a separate eBay shop for each product group?
  • How to make sure you’re dealing with an ethical supplier in China?
  • What’s the best way to manage stock levels for a new eBay Business?
  • Do I have to offer a FREE shipping option on eBay?
  • How to increase search exposure for old listings?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Firstly just a quick thank you for sharing your knowledge, I found your blog extremely helpful when registering as sole trader and when using Alibaba!

I wanted to ask you about the requirements when setting up my online shop. I have already registered as an online trader, as I am selling on eBay, but do I need to register as a company when opening an online shop? The rules aren’t really clear to me here.


Hi Inga,

No, you don’t have to register a company to be able to open an online shop. (more…)

July 17, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #33


Judging by the relative lack of emails I’ve received, it seems that most of you are busy sunbathing and preparing for your holidays, or are simply too lazy to do any work! That’s fine! I actually enjoy these quiet few weeks during the summer, when I don’t have to deal with as many emails every day! 🙂

So today we have a short and sweet Q&A post, covering just 4 questions:

  • Why do I only have to pay import tax on some shipments?
  • How to sell branded goods on eBay for a profit?
  • Can patented products still be sourced from China?
  • How to deal with sales fluctuations on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I hope you can clarify something for me.

I recently placed 2 separate clothing orders with surfstitchaustralia, to be shipped to the UK. The cost of each order was around $400 AUD.

When the first order arrived (approx. 17 items of clothing) it was delivered by DHL and no payment for duties or VAT was requested.

However with the second order I received about 3 text messages asking me to pay £76 GBP before the items could be delivered.

I thought this strange as it was the same value as the 1st order and only a few more items overall.

I then received a text to say that they will be delivering my order tomorrow.

I am presuming that they will be wanting me to pay when they deliver but I don’t want to pay anything until I am clear about why they are charging me for this order and nothing had to be paid for the 1st order.

Hope you can help.

Kind regards

Hi Andrea,

Chances are that the first shipment simply slipped through customs without the required charges. This happens fairly often.

But it doesn’t change the fact that an order worth $400, imported from Australia into the UK, should be cleared through customs and have its import taxes paid for. So you should be happy that you only need to pay this for one shipment, rather than both. (more…)

July 3, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #32

questions-answers-32It’s Friday – which means time for this week’s Q&A post.

As we enter summer, and the days are warmer (should I say – SUPER HOT?) and longer, many people are spending less time on the internet… and as seasoned eBay sellers will know, this can mean a slowdown in sales!

However, these seasonal trends are completely normal, and nothing to worry about at all. Of course for new sellers it can be very frightening to see a sudden drop in sales, and that’s exactly why I wanted to mention this in today’s post – before I get hundreds of emails from worried sellers. Take a look at my previous article if you want to read more about this: Why Are My eBay Sales Going Down!?

But for now, let’s take a look at today’s topics:

  • How to print eBay shipping labels using a Dymo 450 label printer?
  • How to get rid of small clearance stock job lots?
  • Can you buy branded designer clothing directly from the factories?
  • PlayStation SCAMS – how do they work?
  • Can you start an online shop BEFORE first trying out eBay?
  • How to start an eBay business from scratch?
  • Can you transfer selling limits and sales history to a new eBay account?
  • How do you add variations to an existing eBay listing?
  • Is it safe to buy established eBay accounts?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

As recommended on this blog (which is absolutely excellent by the way!), I have purchased a Dymo LabelWriter 450.

However, I am unsure how to print all the shipping labels in one go. I have found that I can tick the boxes of the items I have sold on eBay, click “print shipping labels” and then select the “address labels” ratio button. However, it seems to be that eBay only allows me to print them on full size pieces of paper, rather than being formatted such that I can print them on the Dymo labels.

Would you be able to explain exactly how you would automate the process of printing shipping labels using a Dymo LabelWriter 450?

Also – I have stock that I am unable to sell, and I was hoping to sell it off in bulk to clear space. I have found that most companies are only interested in buying pallets of stock, but I do not have this much. Surely there is a better option than dumping it?

If you could offer me your guidance on what to do in these two situations, that would be great!

Thanks very much,

Hi Danny,

I personally use for order processing and it has built-in support for printing shipping labels on a Dymo printer.

BUT you can also get this working directly on eBay – what you need to do is make sure you set the page size within your browser AND printer settings to the label size you’re using in your Dymo 450. So that in essence you set the whole page size as the exact size of one of your labels. That way you can print these labels correctly from eBay directly. (more…)

June 12, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #31

questions-answers-31Welcome back!

Another week has passed and it’s time for this Friday’s Questions & Answers post.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Can you sell items that look similar to branded ones on eBay?
  • How to avoid getting my eBay account suspended?
  • How to register a business on eBay as a Partnership?
  • How to evaluate the level of competition in a new niche?
  • How to minimise “Item Not Received” cases?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew!

I’ve been reading your website for the past couple of days and love it!

I want to start selling bracelets on eBay, but the ones I’m planning to sell are shown on My idea was to buy them from China, and they’re basically the same, at least as far as I can tell.

Under the T&Cs of stinghd it talks about how you cannot sell anything that comes close to the design of the items shown on their website, but it doesn’t say these design are actually registered on any intellectual property sites?

I’m a bit confused here and was hoping you could give me your advice…


Hi Kris,

IF they don’t have those designs registered, you shouldn’t face any problems selling replicas made in China, as long as you don’t mention Stinghd’s brand name anywhere on your sales page.

To be sure these designs are not protected, you would have to do a search for the company’s name in USA patent/trade mark/registered design directories. (more…)