May 15, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #27

questions-answers-27

It’s FRIDAY & time for another Questions & Answers blog post! Thanks for all of the questions you sent in during the last week.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • How to make importing work on a small budget?
  • How much money can you make per month by importing from China?
  • Can you re-sell products that are made specifically for chain stores?
  • Can you sell the same items from multiple eBay accounts?
  • How can you find out if a product is patented?
  • What’s the safest way to pay Chinese suppliers?
  • How to deal with unauthorised PayPal payments?
  • What’s the best & cheapest way to import mobile phones from China?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I use your blog as if it is a bible, and would appreciate any guidance you could give to this newbie.

I currently live in Australia, and am very interested in the import business, but I cannot see how to lower the freight cost. http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Can-Bottle-Crusher/2045244124.html is the product I am currently interested in importing, but I do not see how I am able to import it at an economically viable cost. The cheapest I am currently able to import it to Australia is via EMS at US $60 dollars which is $75 Australian dollars after conversion.

I also have two questions for somebody with such a large knowledge on this subject such as yourself:

Is it still possible to make good profit from the import business?

What kind of pay could a successful importer make on average, $/per month?

Thank you for writing your blog, as it is easily the most useful information I have read on this topic.

Regards,
Kyle

Hi Kyle,

You can’t really buy an item like this, in such a small quantity, then ship it via courier and expect to make any profit from selling it. It’s a cheap, rather bulky item – which means it’s totally unsuitable for shipping via expensive courier services. What you need to do is find a supplier/manufacturer on Alibaba.com (not Ali Express) and buy this item in decent quantity – at least 100 units or so. The more you buy, the cheaper the price you’ll get.

As for the shipping – a cheap and bulky item like this (probably heavy too as it’s made from metal), needs to be shipped via sea freight, not air couriers! You can read more about how sea freight works in my importing from China article here:

https://andrewminalto.com/how-to-import-products-from-china/

This is the only way to make this work I’m afraid Kyle. If you can’t afford to buy this item in such a large quantity, you’ll have to look for smaller items which can be sent via courier services.

As for your second question – there’s no answer to that I’m afraid. There are importers who are broke, there are importers who make $100 per month and there are importers who make $10M per month. It’s akin to asking how long is a piece of string?

Hope this helps & Good Luck!

Hi Andrew,

I wonder if you could help me with some advice?

I purchased some bottles of hair conditioner from Aldi which were reduced in price but on inspecting them more carefully discovered they were produced exclusively for Aldi and had Aldi contact details on the packaging.

It may be a daft question but am I legally allowed to sell these on eBay and if so do I have to state they are Aldi products?

Thanks,
Leo

Hi Leo,

Technically I think you can do so, as I’m not aware of any such laws that would prohibit you from selling an Aldi item on eBay. Unless maybe there’s text on the bottle saying this item can only be sold in Aldi stores. If there’s no such message, I wouldn’t really worry about it.

The biggest problem you “may” face is that some customers might simply get annoyed that you’re selling an item that was made solely for Aldi stores… I can see some customers on eBay being upset about that. To minimise the risk of this happening, you can simply mention this fact in the listing description and even include a back picture of the bottle clearly showing the part which says that this item was produced exclusively for Aldi stores.

Apart from that, I can’t see any problems with you re-selling these items on eBay.

Hi Andrew,

I was hoping you could help me with some questions about the use of multiple eBay IDs.

I’ve read many convincing arguments about the benefits of selling via multiple eBay accounts and also spoken to many advocates of the practice. Overall it was convincing enough for us to set up a second account earlier this year.

However, we contacted eBay directly to ask about a minor technicality (linking a duplicate SKU to our inventory and order management software), and they informed us that it was against eBay policy to duplicate product listings on different accounts. So this of course stopped us in our tracks.

The thing is, though, the practice is clearly rife. None of the competitors we know of who use more than one eBay ID have ceased to do so, and by chance, I even noticed a major UK brand (and I mean very major, at that!) doing it today – exactly the same product images and description on both listings.

So is this a mere technicality that’s unofficially overlooked, or is it a more serious eBay rule, that we shouldn’t even be giving any further consideration to?

Your guidance on this issue would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Jon

Hi Jon,

Yes, it is allowed by eBay to have multiple accounts BUT it is against eBay’s rules to sell the exact SAME item from multiple accounts that you own. This is explained under the search manipulation policy on eBay’s help pages.

While it is true that many companies are breaching this rule, that doesn’t change the fact that it is against eBay’s policies.

It’s not that easy for eBay to spot duplicate listings from multiple accounts owned by the same person/company, so usually they only find out when it’s reported to them.

Hey Andrew,

Firstly, I would like to say I am a big fan of yours and try to read everything on your website.

Secondly, I am an eBay retailer but I am finding it difficult to source products to sell, specifically in regards to the legal side of it. My main sourcing occurs at Alibaba and I am sticking clear of branded goods but I’m now facing the issue of patented designs. Is there any way to tell if a product is patented/100% legal to sell on eBay?

Your help is always greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Haci

Hi Haci,

Yes, you can search for an item via its name/related keywords on UK’s registered designs website, here:

https://www.gov.uk/search-registered-design

Hi Andrew,

I have been dealing with Chinese suppliers for about 2 years now and I am about to place several orders to Chinese suppliers.

The order amounts are about $1,200.00 each.

Please tell me the safest methods of making these payments.

Previously I was using PayPal but recently lost several cases because I either paid 50% down and 50% when the order was ready to ship OR I paid in full for my order to be manufactured and had to pay the freight upon completion of the order because they had no way of determining freight charges until the order was complete.

When I received the goods, I had severe quality problems to the point that we couldn’t sell 90% of the shipment.

I opened a case with PayPal but lost it almost immediately because they said that they cannot honor any case with split payments.

I then appealed and lost.

This has happened to me three times so can you PLEASE tell me the safest way to make payment to my Chinese suppliers.

Very truly yours,
Jim

Hi Jim,

The safest method when dealing with suppliers on Alibaba is using Alibaba’s escrow payment system.

When using Escrow, you only release funds to the supplier once you have received AND inspected your goods.  Also, I would highly recommend you deal with suppliers who are protected by the new Trade Assurance cover too.

Hello Andrew,

I sell on eBay and recently came across a scammer! I sold an item and everything was fine – I received positive feedback etc. However a few days later I received an email from PayPal telling me that the payment was unauthorized and a few minutes later I received a further email saying that he had been refunded.

I immediately tried to contact PayPal but my worry is that I won’t be able to get any of my money back because the item was sent without a tracking number. Is there anything I can do?

Thank you very much.
Marek

Hi Marek,

This is most likely a chargeback case where the account/card holder informs their bank that they didn’t make that purchase. Or it could be that someone hacked that person’s PayPal account as chargeback cases usually take longer than a few days to show up.

Either way, there’s nothing you can do about this – PayPal will always side with the bank or account holder (in the case of un-authorized use) and unfortunately you’re out of pocket for this transaction. Rest assured that this won’t happen very often though – depending on the niche/products you’re working with, the % of such occurrences will be well below the 1% mark, closer to 0.1% in fact. Personally I get such cases once every few months and it’s just part of doing business online.

Hey Andrew,

I am just starting off my online selling business.

I am going to be initially ordering 100 un-branded mobile phones as a test – how would you suggest I get them shipped over.

I am unsure as my quantity is still low and do not know if I should go for Air or Sea freight – (need to keep costs down to a minimum).

Any suggestions please?

Many Thanks,
Suki

Hi Suki,

If the boxes for these phones are relatively small, I think you could even go with courier for this first order of 100 phones. Sea freight is definitely out of the question here so you would want to compare prices for courier and air freight – if the courier fee is reasonable (like $2-$3 per phone), I would personally just go with the courier option as it will be quicker and easier for you.

If on the other hand courier is too expensive, $5+ per phone, then you will probably want to go with air freight. But contact a freight forwarder (such as Woodland Global) and get a door to door quote so you know EXACTLY how much it will cost. Don’t let just your supplier send you goods via air freight as you’ll be hit with loads of extra charges in the UK.

***

Alright, that’s it for today. Keep me busy by sending in your questions via the contact form on this page and I’ll see you in our next Questions & Answers session!

For me – the week is over and I am now getting ready for my birthday, which is TOMORROW! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend!

Andrew

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