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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #11

September 12, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 11 Comments
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questions-answers-11Happy Friday everyone!

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

  • Is it safe to order from a Vietnamese supplier?
  • What are the best products to sell on eBay?
  • Do your courses rely on dropshipping?
  • How does Alibaba Escrow payments work?
  • Why is there a difference between eBay and Terapeak results?
  • How to safely import cosmetic products from China?
  • Can I manipulate eBay’s selling limits?
  • Where can I get Turbo Lister?
  • Can I make money selling jewellery sets on eBay?
  • How does Terapeak’s 7 day trial work?
  • How to print shipping labels using a thermal label printer?

If you have a question or two, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via my support desk here.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I posted a buying request for blue & white pottery on Alibaba & received several quotations. One of these was from a supplier in Vietnam (DKB VIETNAM ONE MEMBER COMPANY LIMITED; website: http://craftviet.vn/).

This supplier has the designs I am looking for but my problem is that they are not a Gold member & don’t accept escrow. My second choice is a Chinese company that is a Gold member, but their designs are not exactly what I am looking for and they also don’t accept escrow (both companies are requesting payment via TT).

So is it safe to buy from the Vietnamese supplier? Is it difficult to report a problem if the supplier is not Chinese?

How can I proceed if things go wrong (i.e. I don’t get my shipment despite payment)?

Thanks for this great blog.

I personally wouldn’t deal with a non Gold member supplier on Alibaba. But I can understand that in some cases, with harder to find products, you do in some cases have to consider suppliers that are not Gold members.

If you really, really can’t find any alternative suppliers for these products, I would recommend doing a company check using a 3rd party inspection service. That is if you can find such services in Vietnam… with Chinese suppliers it’s much simpler as you can simply use one of the inspection agents listed on Alibaba’s inspection portal.

If you can’t verify the company, I would stay away from them. It’s just too risky to deal with an un-verified company who doesn’t accept any safe payment methods. You can of course make a small sample order to test them out but even if that goes all well, it doesn’t guarantee that they won’t scam you on a bigger order.

In general, if you pay via bank transfer, there’s NO protection or safety net whatsoever. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a Chinese or Vietnamese supplier – if they scam you, it’s very unlikely you’ll ever get your money back.

So I would recommend that you simply look for alternative suppliers altogether. Check out other B2B sites such as GlobalSources.com and Made-In-China.com

Maybe there you can find a more established and verified supplier for these items, who does accept safer payment methods.

Hi Andrew,

We are June and Adam, we want to start selling on eBay but we were wondering what would be the best products to buy in bulk and sell on eBay?

We are not very experienced at this, but would love to make some extra money selling on eBay, can you please help us?

Thank you!

Hi June & Adam,

Thanks for your email.

No one can give you an answer to this I’m afraid… Finding profitable products to sell on eBay is the most difficult and time consuming part of this business. You can’t expect someone to just share all the hard work they’ve done with you, just like that…

So what you need to do is start learning HOW to find those products so you can do the research process on your own! I have put together a very handy, step by step guide on how to find profitable products to sell on eBay.

So start with that and then if you need more help or want to learn more about selling on eBay, check out my Easy Auction Business video course which goes into much greater detail and covers product sourcing, selling and many other related topics.

Hope this helps & good luck with your new business venture!

Hello Andrew,

I want to start an online business to help support my family and I’m interested in getting one of your business courses, however I’m not sure which best fits my needs, considering my location.

I live in Bandung, Indonesia so if any of your programs require stocking, then overseas shipping costs will kill the business.

Please advise.



Hi Jim,

Thanks for your question.

I’m afraid both of my courses – Easy Auction Business & eCommerce Magnates – rely on you holding stock and shipping directly to customers. I don’t recommend dropshipping for various reasons so the only other way you could make this work is by using a fulfilment house in Europe or USA to sell to these markets.

If you can find suitable products for this fulfilment house business model, you can run your business from Indonesia by selling directly on eBay UK or eBay USA without ever touching the goods you sell. It won’t be easy and will require some start up capital but theoretically it can be done.

Hi Andrew,

I was wondering if you know how an Escrow payment works with Alibaba?

I’m new to importing and don’t know if I can send money via PayPal to be held by the Escrow program and it then be sent from there to the seller? Or am I misunderstanding something altogether?

You can’t use PayPal with Alibaba’s Escrow service, at least not anymore.

Credit card, bank transfer, Western Union and some other options are available, as listed here.

But yes, with an Escrow payment your money will be held until you receive and check the goods sent by your supplier. Only when you’re happy with what you have received, do you then release payment to the seller. This is essentially the safest payment method out there as you’re in full control of payment until your goods are safely received.

Hey Andrew,

A friend of mine and I have followed your steps on becoming successful eBay sellers.

The information you have posted has been extremely useful and we cannot be more thankful.

We have a question for you moving forward…

We have noticed that when we type a term into Terapeak (i.e. leather bracelets) the results that appear indicated that within the last 90 days there have been 658 listings but then we have noticed that there are over 100,000 listings on eBay?

How do we take this into consideration? What tips can you provide when putting up a listing?

Many Thanks – we look forward to hearing from you!


Hi Luca,

Thanks for your question.

eBay use a different formula to show the number of available listings. Basically they will show all listings that include one or another of the keywords that you entered and will even show listings that are merely related to the items that you searched for. Therefore the number provided by eBay is widely inaccurate.

Terapeak on the other hand uses the keyword phrase to find and show you exact phrase listings – which gives a far more accurate number.

Even with eBay, you can get more accurate search results by using quotes when doing a search. So for example, don’t search for leather bracelets – search for “leather bracelets” instead. When you do this, the number of listings eBay shows will reduce dramatically.

As for tips on creating listings – check out these guides from my blog’s archive:

Plus many more in the archive section on this page.

Hi Andrew,

I was searching the internet about importing cosmetics from abroad and came across your article but didn’t find any mention of regulations that I need to comply with?

I’m just wondering if you know much about importing skincare/beauty products and the paperwork around it. I’ve done some research and the EU Cosmetics Regulation requires every product to be registered via the “portal” and have a Product Information File held.

I’m just wondering if I’m dwelling on this too much or not but a lot of people seem to be importing beauty products without having this concern about compliance.

If you can shed some light on this I’d really appreciate it, if not point me in the right direction?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Hi Sandra,

Thanks for your email.

You’re totally right about this – all cosmetic products and even ingredients that are used in producing cosmetic products sold in the EU most comply with the European Cosmetics Directive. This is a recent directive that was introduced just a few years ago.

If you want to stay 100% safe, this means importing cosmetics from China is unfortunately a no-go as it will be very difficult to verify that Chinese suppliers have all the necessary documents in place.

An alternative would be to source these products from an EU based company. Germany and Poland both have very good cosmetic manufacturers (I have personally worked with many) and they will have the proper documentation in place.

With all that being said, the reality is that many online sellers, and even offline retailers, do not follow this Directive. I can’t comment on how risky that is for them and their customers but that’s just how it is. Whether you do the right thing and play by the book or simply follow the majority of other sellers and ignore this directive – well I can’t give really give you an answer to that question…

Hi Andrew,

I just came across your blog and wanted to say what an incredibly informative resource it is! Well done!

You say that eBay allow you to open as may accounts as you want? Well as when starting up you are restricted to 10 items per month, can you open more than one account to get around this? I.e. 2 accounts to list 20, 3 accounts to list 30 etc. and if I opened 3 accounts, can they all be used to list similar items in the same category?

And you also mentioned that all accounts have to use 1 PayPal – what does this mean?

Many thanks and keep up the good work.


Hi Linda,

Thanks for your question.

No, you can’ do that. If you did, it would be a classic example of breaching listing/selling limits which can lead to banned accounts.

eBay has systems in place where they can spot duplicate listings, even if they’re from different accounts. And if eBay does catch you, they will ban you for life for breaching their rules.

So it’s really not worth doing this, AT ALL. Read my guide on how to lift eBay & PayPal limits and just play it safe by following the rules!

Hi Andrew,

I hope you are doing well.

I was watching your video on Listing Formatting and wanted to start practicing on my listings, but I can’t seem to find the Turbo Lister that you use.

How can I get it? Do I have to pay anything to use it?

I can already sell £3,000 on my eBay account and am an above standard seller (though that’s just from selling household items as I haven’t started a business yet).

Do I have to apply for it?

Please let me know as I would like to start practicing using it so when I do start selling as a business it will be much easier for me.

Kind Regards,


Hi Lenara,

Thanks for your question.

No, you don’t have to pay for it! 🙂

Turbo Lister is completely FREE to use and available to any eBay seller. All you have to do is download it from here:

Please note that UK and USA have different versions. Even though you can add additional countries to Turbo Lister after installing it, I highly recommend downloading the native version first, to avoid potential problems with it.

So for example if you are based in the UK, download the UK version. And then, if you want to sell to regional eBay sites, just download additional countries via the Turbo Lister interface.

Lastly, Turbo Lister is PC compatible only so it can’t be run on MACs. If you’re a MAC user, check out my Turbo Lister Alternatives for MAC Users guide here!

Hi Andrew,

I recently purchased EAB and found it very useful. But one thing I’m struggling with is choosing a niche. I was thinking of buying 5 different jewellery sets from DH Gate or Alibaba and creating a store on eBay. Do you think this would be a profitable niche as I haven’t seen many jewellery sets on eBay? Also, what are your thoughts on sourcing jewellery from these kind of sites; is it simply not worth it as the last thing I want to do is order them if they’re going to look tacky and cheap?

Kind Regards,


Hi Munesh,

Thanks for your question.

Jewellery in general is a very difficult market to work in. Even though the market is massive on eBay, so is the competition. If you do some basic Terapeak research (as I teach in the EAB course), you’ll see that the sell-through rate is quite low for jewellery, and this is due to the huge level of competition.

You really have to know the market inside out to make it work. There is still money to be made selling jewellery but only if you can find hot selling trends and sub-niches that have better overall numbers than jewellery in general. Like it was a few years ago with Pandora style bracelets or Italian charms which were huge sellers at that time.

It’s definitely not something I would recommend a newbie eBay seller to get into. So go back to the Market Research module and try to come up with some simpler, easier niches to start with.

Hi Andrew,

I want to start the 7 day free trial on Terapeak to brainstorm items to sell, but it’s asking for payment details? If I enter my card details, will I be charged and if so, can I get a refund?



Hi Munesh,

No, your card won’t be charged for 7 days (as it’s a free trial).

To be 100% safe and ensure you cancel in time, just use PayPal as a payment method when signing up for Terapeak as then you can see from your PayPal account when the first payment is due and can make sure you cancel in time.

Hi Andrew,

I’m an avid reader and have learnt so much from your blog. I have just bought a Zebra GK420d thermal label printer with 6×4 labels. When you use postage through eBay it gives you an A4 sheet with one label at the top which is useless for a label printer. You then have to take a screenshot and print from that! How poor is that!?

Surely power sellers do not mess around doing this?

What is the solution? Buy postage elsewhere? I looked at Royal Mail’s site and they do not have a label printer option either!

Best wishes,


Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your question.

I have personally never printed labels directly from eBay as right from the beginning I had special Excel software made up for batch processing orders and printing out invoices, shipping labels etc.

BUT you can still use your thermal printer to print labels directly from eBay. You just have to set the correct page size in your page setup/print settings, so from A4 change it to the label size that you’re using. This is done in the browser directly, so Chrome for example if that’s what you use.

Another alternative would be to use order processing software, such as Linnworks, which has direct thermal label printer support built in and will also help you with other order processing tasks.

Hope this helps!

All the best,

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  1. Andrew, you say it would be easier to import cosmetics from germany or poland, do you have any contact details please,

    I am wanting to import a mascara in to the UK, An American company will be bringing it in to the UK in NOV, but its not for re-sale, with this company you just earn points then points are turned in to pounds, Commission basis.

    There ingredients is Natural, i have had a look in the ingredient in china one and that says natural, so does that mean i can sell it in the UK with out a certificate with it being Natural products?

    Your advice would be greatly recieved

    1. Andrew Minalto


      No one will give you their contacts just like that…. you have to do your own home work and find those suppliers via:

      * Google search
      * Yellow pages
      * Wholesale directories
      * Trade shows

      As for natural products – not sure, you would have to check/read Cosmetics Directive to see whatever natal products/ingredients are also under this.


      1. Thankyou Andrew, will check it out!!

  2. Hi Andrew

    Some follow up on your supply from Vietnam question. I get a lot of product from Vietnam (having worked there for a few years helped) but thought I’d mention that there is an intertek office in HCMC and in Hanoi so third party checks are no problem.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks very much for sharing this information with us Peter! 🙂


  3. Hi Andrew,

    I’d just like to ask you a question about becoming an ebay Top Rated/Powerseller. I realise that I’m evaluated as a seller on the 20th of each month. All I need now is my sales to reach £1000, and the sales add up over a 12 month period. For example, 1st October 2013 – 30th September 2014. So although the powerseller status is evaluated on the 20th, my sales that I’ve accumulated since the end of the previous month have not been added on.

    So this doesn’t sound Japanese, here’s an example.
    Lets say I don’t reach enough sales for August 20th, I only get £900 in sales. Then from the 20-31 August I get another £50. This £50 will be added to the total in my seller dashboard and will state I have £950 of sales. If I then go and reach the £1000 target by gaining another £50 in sales after the 1st of September but before the 20th, does that get me my powerseller status. On the seller dashboard it will still say £950 but in reality I would’ve reached £1000. Or do you have to wait until the end of the month when it’s updated? Or the next evaluation?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Evaluation date is 20th yes BUT it takes into account data only for period ending in previous month. So for example, on 20th October eBay looks at sales data ending on 30th September. And to qualify for TRS/PS on 20th October, you need to reach £1000 and 100 transactions by 30th September (and not 20th October).

      I hope this makes sense.

      Let me know if you have further questions on this.


      1. Thanks for clearing that up, guess I’ll have to wait until next month!

      2. Andrew Minalto

        You’re welcome Jack!

  4. Hi Andrew,

    I’d like to ask if you could share some basics for ebay bookkeeping.Also would be great if you could attach some sample of useful spreadsheet.
    I have a big mess in my books,to be honest I don’t even do them.Right now I’m using free godaddy bookkeeping(probably is not suitable for UK,because all prices shown in US dollars) and basically I’m only collecting info of my sales.
    Also,I know how much I’m making from each product,but it would be really hard to say what is my profit for last 3 months.How do you track your profits?
    Right now I’ve got almost one year of unsorted sales info,and “Annual Return”date is coming,so I’m in really big stress now.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for suggestion Agnius.

      I’ll def. try to put together a guide on basic accounting for eBay in near future.

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