March 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your Questions Answered: BEST of 1-20!


Last week we reached the 20th post in our Q&A series, which I am extremely happy about!

I never imagined that this series would be so popular so in celebration of reaching this milestone, today we have a slightly special post – a Q&A BEST OF!

I’ve chosen ten of the most interesting questions from Q&A 1-20 and compiled them below:

  • How to position and sell PREMIUM products on eBay?
  • Importing iPhone cases with Disney characters, is this illegal?
  • Supplier wants an order BEFORE a factory inspection!?
  • How can I create a successful eBay business with a brand new account?
  • What are “grey imports” and can I sell them?
  • How to manage my eBay business when going on holiday?
  • Selling used books on eBay and Amazon – is this still viable?
  • Becoming a slave to my own business!
  • What promo materials should I include with each eBay order?
  • Starting an eBay business with £100k


Hi Andrew,

First of all I would like to thank you for website as it is such a good source of information. I have found some of your articles extremely helpful and the ideas you present have been very easy to implement into my own business, with great results.

I would like to ask your advice, and would really appreciate your help in the beginning of us trying to create a successful business on eBay.

1. As we will be selling European products on eBay, what do you think is the best strategy to enter the market with a product nobody else offers, in terms of brand and quality? There are of course plenty of low quality offerings but our products are 100% Italian or French made and we really want to emphasise the uniqueness of what we’re offering.

2. We’ve done our market research, looks at the sales, products etc. but do you think little extras will make any difference? Things like coloured bubble wrap, thank you stickers etc.? Basically do you think it’s worth investing in packaging to make us stand out from the crowd, even if it doubles the cost?

3. What 3 things you can suggest to invest money into that will put a smile on a customer’s face when he/she receives the product?

Thanks for your questions!

1) You want to make sure that you say it loud and clear – this product is PREMIUM quality, made in Italy and NOTHING on the market compares to it. Point this out in both the listing title and description. (more…)

February 27, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #20

questions-answers-20Yes, we have reached another important milestone in our Questions and Answers blog post series – the 20th post! So if you have a question you want me to answer, simply get in touch via my support desk here. And remember, even if your question isn’t featured on the blog, you’ll still receive my personal reply via email.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do I need a registered company to have a business account on eBay UK?
  • How do I get my money back from a scammer in China?
  • How to verify my PayPal account after change of name?
  • Do legit Chinese suppliers accept Western Union payments?
  • How to re-sell eBay products in Africa?
  • Can you get genuine refurbished mobile phones from China?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have read all your posts regarding selling on eBay these last few days to learn how to be successful using this platform and make my project profitable. You are a huge help as I was totally clueless only a week ago.

I was wondering if what I am proposing below is allowed within eBay’s policies.

Basically I started my little project on eBay about 2 months ago and I am unsure whether I can now upgrade my account to a business one as I don’t actually have a registered business? When I changed the account from personal to business, eBay didn’t ask for any additional information (to what I gave when initially creating the account) and I haven’t received any emails requesting any extra info or encountered any problems…

In terms of declaring my earnings, I am planning to do a year end self-assessment but I am just unsure how all of this sits with eBay and what their policies are?

Do I need to be registered as a business in the UK and open up a company or become a sole trader to do this or am I ok to just go ahead without registering as a business and simple declaring my earnings at the end of the year?

Thanks in advance,

Hi Silvia,

Yes, on eBay you can have a Business account without actually registering a company or even becoming a sole trader. They do not verify any business details when you upgrade your personal account to business account. So it’s fine by eBay’s rules.

The only thing you want to look into is whether it would be more efficient, tax wise, for you to register as a sole trader? Check out my eBay Business & Tax registration guide here to help you understand the differences. (more…)

February 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #19

questions-answers-19Hello & Welcome to yet another weekly Questions & Answers session!

If this is the first Q&A post you’re reading, this is how it works – you (my blog readers) can send in questions related to eBay, importing, or any other general online selling topic using this contact form and each week I pick the best questions and answer them publicly on this post. Rest assured, even if I don’t publish it here, I do personally answer every question via email.

So if you have a question or two you want me to answer for you, click here to submit a support ticket and I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours, Mon-Fri.

Today’s questions are:

  • What happens when a Chinese supplier under-declares the value of goods?
  • How to re-brand products to increase their value?
  • Can I sell copies of “patent pending” products?
  • Best way to sell mobile phone cases on eBay?
  • Where to host your website for maximum speed and reliability?
  • Why are shipping costs from China that high?
  • Are import duty and declaration fee two separate fees?
  • Can I use Western Union to pay a 9 year Gold Supplier on Alibaba?

Let’s get started!

Hey Andrew,

I read your blog post on importing from China and was wondering if I could ask a couple of questions?

I recently made a couple of orders from china after having a successful run with products, totalling £750.

I have been shipping with EMS even though there is a 2-4 week delivery time as it’s cheapest by far and via courier the profit margins are nowhere near as good.

One thing I came across is that though the supplier asked me for the value to declare and I said just put the total of all items, once in my trial run it was put as much lower.

Do you know what happens if your Chinese supplier under-declares the value of the goods being sent? And also I was wondering if it would actually be cheaper for my supplier to send 12 units individually rather than as a lot? As each one is under $20 they do not receive import VAT. I’m guessing import VAT is payable on the whole package rather than each unit inside?

Is this illegal, importing separate packages?

I’m in a learning process at the moment and want to ensure I do it correctly and your blog was very helpful.


Hi Matt,

Yes, absolutely – import duty and VAT are payable on the total order/shipment value; it really doesn’t matter how many boxes are used or how many items are in each box. If it comes in one shipment, value is calculated on the whole order.

If your supplier undervalues goods, there are two scenarios that can happen:

1) Customs stop the shipment because they think the declared value is too low. Then they contact you and ask for proof, such as invoice and payment receipt, to verify the actual order value. This is a very common procedure and doesn’t involve any fines against you. (more…)

February 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #18

questions-answers-18It’s Friday, which means – time for another Questions & Answers blog post!

Today we’ll cover these questions:

  • Can you start an eBay business using just a mobile phone?
  • Do I need an EORI number when ordering samples from China?
  • How to cancel transactions on eBay WITHOUT getting a defect?
  • Where’s the best place to buy jewellery in bulk?
  • Do I need responsive eBay templates in 2015?
  • Should I pay PayPal fees when buying goods from Alibaba?
  • Courier OR freight forwarder – which one is cheaper?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for all the information and the link you sent me! I have one more question and then I will finally be ready to start. I do not have a laptop or a working computer at the moment and because of that I only have my mobile phone to access eBay so my question is, can I start buying and selling using just my mobile or do I need to buy a laptop or a computer to build a full time income on eBay?


Hi Alex,

In a word – YES! You can definitely start selling using just your mobile phone and mobile eBay/eBay app. It won’t be as handy as working with a computer but you can still do it. You can still take product pictures, write descriptions and list items for sale. Yes, you won’t be able to use listing templates or format them with a visual editor BUT if you have no choice, you can still use just a mobile phone to get started,

Building a full-time business on eBay takes time and capital to invest in stock though. The more money you can invest, the quicker you can grow your business. But it’s not only the amount of money that determines whether you’ll make it work or not. Even more important are your personal qualities – how driven and how motivated you are!

I know a person who started on eBay with just a few hundred pounds and turned that into a full-time income in 7 months, working with the used goods model. He only managed this because he was highly motivated and spent every free minute he had on his business – looking for products to sell, creating listings etc. etc.

If you have loads of unwanted items, you can simply start with them – risk free! You can learn everything you need from my blog, such as how to take great product pictures (even with a smart phone) & how to create beautiful listings and then you simply get started! There’s really no risk in selling off unwanted items from your home and it’s a great way to get some experience. And if you’re good, you’ll create some decent start-up capital by doing this which you can then invest in importing goods from China or buying wholesale.

Lastly, if you need a step by step program on how to achieve this, take a look at my Easy Auction Business video course (instant access).

With the help of my course, the sky really is the limit! (more…)

January 16, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #17

questions-answers-17Welcome back!

In today’s Questions & Answers post we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • eBay OR Amazon – which is the best platform to start selling on?
  • How to outsource eBay customer service WITHOUT sharing login details?
  • Is it ok to under-value goods shipped from USA to the UK?
  • How to get your eBay listings ranked higher in search results?
  • Any mail forwarding companies in China?
  • Can I order goods from Alibaba on credit?
  • How to find trustworthy suppliers on Alibaba?
  • Is it worth going to China to place wholesale orders?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Just wanted your opinion regarding selling on eBay and Amazon. Which one do you think is better in terms of fees? Please bear in mind that I am thinking of starting a small business using either eBay or Amazon, so could you please suggest which you think is best.

Thank you very much for your time.


Hi Ahmad,

Fee wise both platforms are pretty much the same – you’ll pay on average 15% of the item’s sale price in Amazon/eBay & PayPal fees. On Amazon the payment processing fee is already included (there are no PayPal fees) but then Amazon’s cut in most categories is 15% while, on eBay, it’s 10%. So together it still works out ±15%.

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend you start selling on eBay first. Why? Well there are several reasons which I have covered in detail in my eBay, Amazon, or Ecommerce Shop article.

Once you’re up and running on eBay, you can then expand to Amazon and after that – start your own Ecommerce Shop (if you work in a niche market).

These are the three main selling platforms that most people should stick with. Others aren’t popular enough and usually aren’t worth your time unless you sell in specific niches, such as handmade/craft items, which you should sell on Etsy, or media goods (movies, video games etc.) which you should sell on Rakuten and some other similar platforms. (more…)

January 9, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #16

questions-answers-16It’s time for our first Questions & Answers blog post of 2015!

This year I will really try to stick with a weekly schedule for these posts so they don’t become too long. Friday will be the Q&A day, so remember to check back every week! And of course you’re more than welcome to send in your own questions as well, using the contact form here.

Today we’ll be covering:

  • How to reach TRS on eBay using dropshippers?
  • How to arrange shipping from China to UK?
  • Do I have to register with HMRC as a private seller on eBay?
  • How to spot a SCAM wholesaler in China?
  • How to properly download Spicy Auction Templates?
  • What to do with 200 phone cases on eBay?
  • Cameroonian scammers on Alibaba!
  • Can I share my eBay account credentials with outsourcers in The Philippines?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I would like to get your advice regarding becoming a top rated seller on eBay:

I sell cheap products (priced between $3-$8) via dropshipping from China and I only use auctions, as you advised me previously.

You were 100% right in that BIN doesn’t work as there are almost no views…

I prefer selling low-cost products so that I have a 100% sell-through rate as I’ve noticed that the more I sell the more views and bids for my items.

After a lot of research I have finally found a true supplier from the USA through Worldwide Brands and I plan to start dropshipping with this company (selling to USA) and reduce my dealings with Chinese dropshippers.

My main goal is to reach TRS status and my question is: can I achieve this with my new supplier?

I have found some hot products, both cheap and expensive but as you said; there’s not much chance of me getting any views with BIN. But then there are some products that don’t sell as well with auctions as BIN and then though listing with a low starting price will help me get more views, I also run the risk of selling products at a loss like this.

What would you suggest I do?

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,


Hi Muna,

Yes, to reach Top Rated Seller status, auctions are easier to work with as you are pretty much guaranteed to sell everything. The downside, as you pointed out, is the fact that you can’t control the final price and with more expensive items this can be a very risky strategy. You can of course use a reserve price OR start the auction at a higher price but that will put off the majority of bidders, thereby losing most of the benefit of using auctions in the first place. Also – if you start an auction at a higher price, that means higher insertion fees as well. (more…)

December 20, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #15

questions-answers-15This is it – the last Questions & Answers post of the year! I’ll be taking a break from writing starting next week (after the winners of my readers’ contest are announced) and will return on the 5th January (hopefully at least!).

I’m sure over the next 3 weeks I will receive tons of new questions from you so we’ll most likely start the new year with a MASSIVE Q&A post!

But for now, let’s cover some of the questions you sent in over the last 2 weeks:

  • Where to get stock Blu-Ray images?
  • What’s the best & quickest way to send a 100kg package from China?
  • Where to get small quantity children’s party dresses/costumes in the UK?
  • How to outsource your eBay tasks?
  • Best way to import giftware from China?
  • Do prices on Alibaba fluctuate based on season?
  • Can I use a Polish eBay account to sell on eBay UK?
  • What are your thoughts on using sourcing agents in China?
  • How to work with 3 eBay accounts at the same time from just one PC?
  • How to pay import taxes on a shipment from China?
  • Does Easy Auction Business come on a physical DVD disc?
  • Where to find good dropshippers in Greece?
  • Do I have to pay import tax on small shipments from China?
  • How does Ali Express’ escrow service work?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

You said to use Amazon for stock images of Blu-ray film covers, which is fine, but how are you lifting them – simply right click, copy then paste? Or are you saving the image first on to a computer and then loading it up to a template on turbo lister or directly to an eBay auction template?


Hi Graham,

Yes, what you do is you go to the Amazon listing for the Blu-ray you’re interested in; right click; open image in a new tab (this may differ slightly based on what browser you’re using) and simply download that image to your computer.

Mind you, these will usually be very large, high resolution images so before you upload it to your hosting account, you want to re-size it to something more suitable which you can do by simply following the steps in my image editing guide.

If you want to upload these images directly to eBay (gallery images), you make them square, 1600 x 1600 pixels IF the Amazon image is larger than that. If it’s smaller, make it smaller but still use square proportions, at least for the main gallery image. (more…)

December 5, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 16 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #14

questions-answers-14Hello & Welcome!

It’s time for another Ask Me a Question! post! Soon I will have to do this two or three times a week as the number of questions I receive from you has increased significantly! 🙂

That’s fine though, after all the whole point of me posting these is that more and more people can hopefully learn from them.

So to not waste any valuable web space, here are the questions I will be covering today:

  • What’s the best way to send a 115kg package from China to the UK?
  • Do I have to register for VAT if I only sell digital products?
  • How to reduce time spent on support requests on eBay?
  • How to use barcodes with Linnworks?
  • How to improve productivity and grow my eBay Business?
  • How to properly set-up two eBay and PayPal accounts?
  • Why aren’t my items selling on eBay?
  • Tips & Tricks for selling second hand goods on eBay for profit!
  • How to increase my email subscriber conversion rate?
  • What to do with my eBay business when going on holiday?
  • Do I need to upgrade my eBay account from Personal to Business?
  • Does your Easy Auction Business course work in the USA?
  • Do I need to register a company to import goods from China?
  • Will My Suspended Account Affect Sellers on eBay?
  • Can I buy genuine Xbox controllers from China?
  • How to hide your supplier details from distributors?
  • Does Amazon steal your supplier information?
  • Can I make a full time income selling at market stalls?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I’m looking to start importing from China and I think I may have found a profitable product to sell on eBay.

I’ve been talking to a supplier on Alibaba and can get 90 of this item at $7 a piece so let’s call it £400. It will be in 5 cartons with dimensions of 75x44x76 and gross weight of 23kg per carton.

I’ve had a quote from FedEx for £1300 before duties and taxes, which eliminates my profit completely. Would the best way to ship this be via air freight? And if so after dealing with the forwarding company and any tax and duties, will it be significantly less than the £1300 quote? The total estimated sales on eBay with this item would be £1400.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,


Hi Adam,

Sending 115kg goods worth just £400 via courier is not a good idea at all. As you can see from the quote you got, the shipping cost is way, way too much – eliminating any potential profit you may get out of this deal.

So you have two alternatives:

  • Air freight
  • Sea freight

If you send these goods via Air freight, you’ll receive them in a relatively short time, 5-10 business days. The downside will again be the cost as while it will be cheaper than courier, it will still be too expensive to make this profitable, considering the weight and order value.

So the only option left for you is to send these goods via Sea Freight. Shipping cost per pallet will be approx. £200-£300 plus of course you’ll also have to pay the freight forwarder’s fee, import duty and VAT. Shipping time will be roughly 30-40 days. (more…)

November 27, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #13

questions-answers-13Hello & Welcome!

It’s time for another Questions & Answers post and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Hong Kong vs China for Genuine USB Drives?
  • How Can I Make £1k a Month on eBay?
  • Help With My First Import from China!
  • Can I Still Make Money on eBay with Your Used-Goods Concept?
  • Is Alibaba Still a Viable Sourcing Option?
  • Selling Clearance/Closeout Clothing on eBay – Easy Money?
  • Declaring a Low Import Value so I Can Compete on eBay
  • Help With My Product Photography Set-up
  • Confused About VAT vs Sole-Trader vs Registering on eBay – Please Help!
  • eBay Sales Have Tanked! What Can I Do?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

My name is Mamun and I have recently purchased the EAB course. I’ve just finished watching all of the videos and it’s been extremely helpful for me (I’m now planning to buy more training materials in the future after seeing how useful they can be).

I have done some research on Terapeak and my current plan is to sell USB drives on eBay. I have searched Alibaba for suppliers, using SanDisk for example, and have found a supplier from Hong Kong with 6 year gold member status as well as an onsite check. Is it safe to order from this supplier?

Another company from China has the same features as the Hong Kong supplier but on the brand description they say ‘for SanDisk’ rather than just SanDisk? But the packaging is the same as the original so I’m a bit unsure? Is it safe to buy from such companies as they do have 6+ years gold membership?

One more thing – some companies mentioned Brand: OEM but I don’t really understand what this means, can you please help with this?

Thank you very much.

With regards,


Hi Mamun,

Buying branded products from China is a very, very risky venture. While it’s true that you can get genuine branded products, particularly electronics, from Honk Kong, it’s still very risky – even more so when these storage products are involved.

6th year Alibaba Gold status is obviously a good sign and generally indicates a reputable supplier but it alone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive genuine goods.

What you could do though is maybe order some samples from them and check whether they’re genuine products or not. It can be a tricky task though as often these knock-offs are so well made that it’s hard to notice any differences even when compared to originals side by side.

Also, when you deal with storage products, you have to be very careful and vigilant to ensure you receive the product you actually ordered. What I’m referring to here is one of the most common tricks used in this industry where you are sent the correct product but at a much lower capacity.

For example, you order 128GB memory cards but the supplier sends 8GB cards, but they look exactly the same. And you can’t even check this by simply inserting the card in your PC as they have programmed it in such a way that it will actually show as the fake storage capacity. So the only way to properly check such memory cards is to use special software or by simply manually trying to copy files to make up 128GB, that way you will know for sure whether or not the cards are the correct size. (more…)

October 24, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #12

questions-answers-12Welcome Back!

It’s been some time since our last Questions & Answers blog post so there are a lot of topics for us to cover today:

  • Can I Still Make Money on eBay?
  • Will PayPal Ban Me for This?
  • Selling Used Goods on eBay to Supplement My Trading Income
  • Do I Need to Register With HMRC?
  • Product Storage
  • Too Much Tax!
  • Can You Help Make Sure I’m Not Scammed on Alibaba?
  • eBay Sellers Ignoring EU Law
  • Closing the Deal with Suppliers from Alibaba

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Selling on eBay has become so competitive and very hard due to eBay taking so much in fees. I feel it is mainly for buyers rather than sellers nowadays… it seems like I am too late and the money making days are gone?

Making 10p on an item is not really worth the time surely?

I would really like to get your view on this. I do run an online business but again it’s new and I feel like eBay is a great place for potential customers, I’m just not seeing enough profit there.

Also what is your opinion on PayPal taking a fee from your postage?

As if postage is costing me £3.90 I charge £3.90 yet PayPal then take their fee and I’m left with less than the actual postage cost. It seems a bit unfair to me?



Hi Mark,

The money making days on eBay are definitely NOT gone! If that was the case, there wouldn’t be so many sellers on eBay. Yes, competition has increased dramatically over the last decade but so has the demand and number of products being sold on eBay.

The two biggest problems most people (sellers) face are:

  • Lack of buying power;
  • Getting enough sales in.

I will quickly cover each in detail.

Buying power – you really need to buy in true bulk volume to make a profit on eBay. Buying in small quantities from local wholesalers just won’t work anymore. In many cases the same wholesalers that you’re buying from are also selling on eBay and if not; their prices simply aren’t competitive enough anyway.

The solution to this is to start importing products in bulk from China or another country where manufacturers are located. This is what most successful eBay sellers do to compete and it’s the model I’ve personally been following for years now. (more…)