eBay: A Bunch of Jerks that Are a Photo/Video Guy’s Best Friend

dollar singI recently sold off all of my Canon camera gear to fund the purchase of a Sony Alpha a6000. When selling electronics there are a couple of ways to go about it.

You can always visit your local pawn shop. They will give cash to purchase most photo equipment. They give about 25% -33% of what it’s worth, so they can make enough money off of it to pay employees and overhead. If you are in a huge hurry for some reason, this may be a decent route to go. Similarly, there may be a used camera gear store nearby. Same sort of expectations on what you’ll get, but they may offer store credit and have something you want to trade for.

Then there’s Craigslist. I’ve never sold anything on Craigslist. I have bought a few things. If you live in a decent size area, you may find a buyer who will give you what your gear is worth. I’ve never wanted the hassle of dealing with calls/texts and meeting people. A few camera web forums also allow you to sell gear, most for a small fee. When I sold my Pentax gear I used a Pentax enthusiasts forum to sell most of it. But be careful. Not every group is the same, and not everyone is trustworthy.

By in large, the easiest and safest way to sell and buy used camera gear is on eBay.

I’ve been a member of eBay since 1999. I have 138 100%-positive feedback ratings. I’ve bought and sold all sorts of stuff online. I remember selling something and waiting for a money order to arrive in the mail before you shipped the item. Now eBay owns Paypal, and the money changes hands almost instantly.

eBay is your best friend because they bring a worldwide audience to your listing. They provide all the research you need in order to list and sell your item for the most money possible. The more you sell for, the more commission they make. They also provide protection from scams. If you work within their system, communicate in their message board and ship through their Paypal shipping ecosystem, you have very little chance of being scammed. People will still try, but it’s harder to get away with it.

For this service eBay charges you 10% of your sale price. Sell that lens for $200? eBay snaked $20. Oh, and by the way they ripped another 2.9% plus a transaction fee off that sale when you used PayPal to get your money. Let’s call it 13%. You sold that lens for $174, not $200. Ouch.

And eBay is so very helpful when you are trying to figure out shipping prices. They suggest the weight for you, what size box you can use based on the item. Then they suggest shipping by Priority Mail, and tell you how much it will cost. Sure, there are cheaper methods available but you get a discount on this shipping, and there is tracking and it’s just a good deal. And then these jerks turn around and take 10% of the shipping fee they helped you calculate. They push you toward a higher shipping cost and then make more money off of it.

But where else can you get this large of an audience for your camera lens?

And if you’re the buyer? I love some cheap, used gear from eBay. Or even new gear. I just ordered a brand new lens from a brick and mortar store in New York through eBay. They are one of the only places in the USA that still had this lens in stock. And I got it tax free, free shipping, suppose to be delivered next week instead of months from now. And if you ever do get stiffed by a seller, you can not only leave negative feedback to warn others, but eBay will work with you to resolve the issue, even refund you the money. Want something not released in the USA? Try eBay. Want an older lens and an adapter for your camera body? eBay has them.

Yes, eBay is the best bunch of jerks ever when it comes to buying and selling camera gear online.