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Know Your Responsibilities as an eBay Trading Assistant

What is an eBay Trading Assistant? Simply put, an eBay Trading Assistant sells merchandise for people on eBay. A more complex definition is that a Trading Assistant (TA) sells items on consignment for those who are not familiar with the eBay site or simply don't want to bother to learn the ropes.

The first thing to take into consideration before becoming a Trading Assistant is to be sure you are familiar with the eBay site and its rules and regulations and — most of all — are experienced in selling items at a profit. To be a successful Trading Assistant, you need to know how to research items on eBay and how to parlay keywords into winning auction titles.

The Trading Assistants Program home page appears on the eBay site.

To find a Trading Assistant in your area, click the link to find a Trading Assistant and you'll be taken to a search page. Potential customers can search for a Trading Assistant in their area to sell their items by typing in a ZIP code.

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This page is promoted on the eBay site to new users and in eBay promotions. Being listed on this page will help your customers find you.

eBay makes it very clear that whether you fulfill the requirements for listing in the Trading Assistant Directory or not, being a Trading Assistant is a privilege. If eBay receives complaints about your services, they have the right to remove you from the Trading Assistant Directory. Following are eBay's requirements:

  • Listings: You must have sold at least ten items in the previous three months.

  • Feedback rating: You must maintain a minimum rating of 100 or higher, with a minimum of 98 percent positive comments.

  • Activity: You must have continued to sell at least ten items in the previous three months and maintain ten sales per each three-month period.

  • Follow Terms. eBay offers a style guide that outlines the use of the eBay brand. eBay takes the use of its name and graphics seriously, so if you intend to become a Trading Assistant, you must respect the privilege.

You may notice on the directory-search screen that there's an option to search for buySAFE-bonded sellers. This is a real selling point when it comes to doing business with strangers. A seller who's bonded is basically backed by insurance.

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As a Trading Assistant, you acquire merchandise and sell it on eBay on consignment. You are also responsible for the following:

  • Consulting with consignors about their items. Know the details that might affect how you sell what you're selling. Get the goods on the goods before you post.

  • Researching the value of the item. Many non-eBay users may have unreasonable expectations of the price their items will sell for. It's your duty to check this out beforehand and explain the realities to them.

  • Coordinating the listing. Take digital photos and write a complete and accurate description of the item.

  • Keeping a close accounting of fees and money collection. Whether you use hard copy or software, be diligent and consistent.

Becoming a Trading Assistant does not make you an employee of eBay. Make sure you refer to yourself as an independent business.

When you sign up as a Trading Assistant, you have to fill out a form describing your business to prospective customers. Think through the things you want to say before posting them. Your information here works like an ad for you. Following are the items to put on your Trading Assistant Profile page:

  • Personal information: This includes your eBay user ID, your real name and address, and the languages spoken. Your personal information appears in the listing, such as the one from a professional Trading Assistant, borntodeal.

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  • Category specialty: If you specialize in a particular category, be sure to mention it. You may indicate eBay home page categories.

  • Service description: In this area you can say as little or as much as you like about your eBay experience and the services you provide. Remember that the more you communicate in advance, the more successful you'll be.

    Here is a sample service description:

    "I've been active on the site since 1996 and am an eBay PowerSeller. I specialize in selling all types of eBay items and am particularly familiar with the fashion category. I can handle large numbers of listings. Please contact me so that we can discuss your particular needs and time availability."
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  • Policy description: Ensure that consignees understand your policies. A sample description follows:

    "I will list your items for two listing cycles, spread up to 30 days. If items do not sell, they will be returned to you. Items must be in my possession to be submitted to eBay unless contractual arrangements are made in advance. I handle all correspondence and shipping. A consignment contract is required. I also do independent consulting specializing in Internet auctions and their application to your business."
  • Fee description: This is where you need to do some research. Search your ZIP code on the Trading Assistants Directory page and see what other fees are being charged in your area. After you have an idea of what you want to charge, you can put that information here.

Take a look at the description. There's no question about how this seller handles his business after you read this text. See if you can come up with text that will sell your services without being overbearing.

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You can provide incentives for higher-value items by charging lower commissions. Also, charging a higher percentage and including fees allows an easier fee discussion with the client.

Many Trading Assistants also quote transaction fees for listing with a reserve price.

When you've decided everything you need to list, click the Trading Assistant Requirements and Sign-up link on the Trading Assistant home page. Fill out the forms and, just like magic, you've become a Trading Assistant.

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