June 5, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #30

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questions-answers-30Yes, today is the 30th time that I’ve published a Questions and Answers blog post! Hooray!

To celebrate this milestone, I’ve created a brand new graphic/design template for our Questions & Answers series. I hope you like it! 🙂

Even after answering hundreds and hundreds of questions, I still receive new and unique questions every week. This just goes to show that we’ll never run out of topics to cover in this blog posts series as selling on eBay, importing and eCommerce are just such massive fields. It’s a never ending learning process for you, my blog readers, as well as me of course as I don’t know the answers to everything either!

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Which camera is better – a smartphone or DSLR?
  • What to do when eBay asks you to upgrade your account to Business?
  • How to edit & customise Spicy Auction Templates?
  • How to pay VAT & import duty for goods imported from Hong Kong?
  • How to get TRS back after your account has slipped below the standard level?
  • How to deal with chargebacks on eBay?
  • Can you share eBay account login details with outsourcers?
  • How to deal with unbranded mobile phones imported from China?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I work in the watch niche and want to create a website.

I have taken some pictures with my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S5) and while the quality is very good, I would like something better.

I’m considering either upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S6 or buying a Canon 650D – what’s your advice?

Please let me know.


Hi Moaied,

You will definitely get miles better product pictures using a DSLR camera (Canon 650D) compared to ANY smartphone camera so it is really a very simple choice!

Hello Andrew,

My name is Joanna, I live in Greece and I have been selling on eBay.co.uk for the past 2 months as a private seller. I am actually dropshipping products from Amazon. I am making very little profit, but I am just starting out and want to build a selling history and get good feedback. I read your blog a lot and really like it – you provide a lot of value to your readers.

I read your posts about how to rank high on eBay and how to become a TRS. I started a shop subscription last week so that I can use the GTC listing format. I listed 14 products with the GTC format and for each product I submitted a quantity of 5 available. On my last listing I got a warning from eBay saying that I have to register as a business seller because I trade in large volumes.

I tried to change my previous listings, but I can’t change either the GTC format or the quantity available. My problem is that I don’t have a registered business and I think it is too soon for me to make that step.

Should I end the 14 listings with the GTC format and relist them as a 30 day BIN? But then I will lose the GTC advantages.

Do you know if I register as a business seller do I have to provide eBay with a registered company name and business VAT number? Do they have some kind of verification process?

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

Hi Joanna,

Chances are that you will get that warning when you list everything as BIN listings anyway, with the same quantities, so I don’t think it’s a good idea. Stick with your shop subscription and GTC listings and simply upgrade your eBay account to Business. You don’t need a registered company for this, no, you can work as a sole trader (individual) and still have an eBay business account.

No, as far as I’m aware, eBay does not verify business information.

As for VAT number – it’s totally optional so you just leave that field blank.

Hope this helps Joanna!

Hello Andrew,

I was looking over your blog and website and I signed up and downloaded some of your free templates, but I was wondering how I can add my own header, that has my contact info and logo?

In addition, I wanted to know if it’s possible to add “Home” and “About Us” buttons?


Hi Bennet,

It is possible to edit the header section of the free Spicy Auction Templates but it requires some basic HTML and design/editing skill. If you’re comfortable with that, here are the steps you need to take to customise the header:

1) Download the header image on to your computer;

2) Edit the header design in Photoshop or any other graphics editing program;

3) Upload your newly created header design to your hosting account or any free online image hosting site;

4) Change the header link URL, within the template’s HTML code, so that it points to the new location (the place you just uploaded it to).

This way you can customise the header design as you want!

Adding Home, About Us and other buttons will require some more HTML coding on your part so that’s only possible if you’re really good with such tasks.

Hi Andrew,

I’m quite new to all this importing and have ordered some items from Hong Kong for personal use. I’m guessing we will have tax/duty to pay, but I’m wondering if / how that gets paid? Will I be contacted and given notice for when to pay this? And help would be great.


Hi Gemma,

If you ordered just a few items for personal use, it was most likely sent via airmail or some courier company. In either case, Royal Mail OR the courier company will do the customs clearance procedure for you and send you an invoice for VAT, import duty (if any) and the processing fee you have to pay.

You don’t really have to do anything extra as this is an automated process.

Hi Andrew,

Back in January 2015 I contacted you regarding City Link Couriers going bump and a few of my parcels being stolen by the drivers which in turn had a bad impact on my aim for achieving TRS. At the time your advice was to start a new account and start all over again. After considering my options I decided to stick with my account and work twice as hard to turn things round. Just this month I have actually managed to achieve TRS; all this has been done by purchasing new unbranded items at retail price and selling them on without making a profit, just to achieve TRS.

I wanted to share this info with you and say thank you very much for all the advice in your blogs and for your continued excellent work.

Kind Regards,

Hi Jamie,

That’s awesome, great to hear that! 🙂

Just shows that you can get out of a really bad account situation with lots of hard work and a bit of patience.

Congrats & good luck with your business!

Hi Andrew,

I have a dilemma and would welcome any advice you have.

I wish to sell a big ticket item which I know will sell at a price of around £250-350 (depending on the size ordered). My markup is about £30 and I sold many of these items last year until I received a chargeback which virtually wiped out my entire profit. If this continues, I would have to sell approximately 10 items to cover the cost of the chargeback.

Any advice you have to avoid chargebacks would be greatly appreciated!


Hi Patricia,

Thanks for your email.

I assume you’re selling these products on eBay?

If so, there’s not much you can do to avoid chargebacks as there is no way for you to “select” which customers you sell to. The only thing you can do is edit your buyer requirement settings so that people with very bad feedback or with no credit card on file can’t purchase from you.

But in general, unless it’s a very high risk item, I’d say that you were simply very unlucky to get a chargeback case in 1 sale out of 10. The chargeback percentage over time is usually less than 1%, which means that you may sell another 90 units with no chargebacks at all. Unless it is a very high risk item that attracts a lot of scammers.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for your valuable insight into support systems and order management. I plan to implement your methods in the coming week.

For now I have a difficult and slightly unusual question for you about eBay “tracking”.

We have outsourced some of our work to staff from China & Pakistan and as a result our eBay account is signed in to from different locations – China, Pakistan, as well as other parts of the UK and Europe as I travel a lot.

I have heard that eBay is very strict with accounts being accessed from multiple IP addresses and when I asked them if people from China and Pakistan could log in to my account for customer support they were unable to give a clear answer.

This is something that I am quite worried about as I have read a lot of horror stories, so I wanted to get in touch with an expert such as yourself.

So my question is how badly can it effect my eBay account if the IP address is changed often?

Also to add some more info – I bought a VPN with a dedicated UK IP address and for the last two months my outsourcers have used that when signing in to my eBay account. BUT only one member can use it at a time…

Do you think this would have helped, or could it have had a negative effect?

Lastly from my research I found another solution was to opt for a VPS which is more secure than a VPN. What is your opinion about this?

Note: we are not selling any counterfeit or VERO items, just plain and simple clean, quality products only.

Thank you in advance for your time and reply. I just love your blog, it is full of actual information that people would pay thousands of dollars to get. Hats off to you sir!


Hi Atif,

Yes, logging in to your eBay account from multiple countries can definitely cause you issues. I have seen instances where eBay accounts have been banned for similar occurrences. The reason given is that they have spotted a security breach and there is nothing you can do about it. They won’t restore your account and you’ll be banned for life. It’s stated very clearly in eBay’s rules that you CAN’T share your eBay account login details with anyone, so you will have very little to fall back on if they do ban you.

Using a VPN might work, yes, but it’s still very risky as it will be a different IP every time you use it. Or it will at least change frequently.

Using a VPS (virtual private server) with a fixed UK IP address would be the safest way to do this. Then all of your outsourcers can login to your eBay account via your VPS and the IP address will remain the same all the time.

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew,

Do you have any experience with Ananda Industrial Co Ltd as I am looking to buy some unbranded phones from them?


Hi James,

No, I don’t deal with unbranded mobile phones so haven’t come across that company.

But their Alibaba profile looks good, as does their website. As with any Chinese electronic products, your biggest worry/issue will be the quality of the goods you receive. So make sure you keep an eye on this and have strong arrangements in place with your supplier on how to handle dead on arrival items (DOA) as well as any warranty issues.


Ok, that’s it for today. It was great to reach the 30th post milestone though of course nothing ends here. I will try to keep publishing these Questions and Answers posts and my goal is to reach 50 by the end of the year.

So if you have a question (or two), feel free to get in touch with me via the contact form on this page.

Thanks for all your support! 🙂


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