how should I sell my laptop?
December 17, 2006 4:11 PM   Subscribe

How should I sell a used laptop (when I have no eBay reputation)?

I tried a Fujitsu P1510d, but it just doesn't do it for me. A Craigslist posting didn't yield anything. eBay's the obvious choice, but I've never sold anything on eBay. I have a 100% positive reputation as a buyer (of pretty much exclusively low-priced items), but I wouldn't risk paying more than $1000 to someone with that reputation myself.

So I appeal to y'all: are there avenues I'm not thinking of? (I'm in Berkeley if anyone can recommend some specific Bay Area consignment shop.)
posted by Zed_Lopez to Shopping (19 answers total)
Someone might take the chance on buying from you on eBay. I'd never sold anything either when I sold a PDA plus software and accessories for around $700. I did have a 100% feedback on buying as well.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:18 PM on December 17, 2006

Do you have a friend who has a solid selling reputation who could sell it for you? That's what I do for people I know.

Also, you could sell a number of small things on ebay in the next month and build up a good reputation.
posted by visual mechanic at 4:18 PM on December 17, 2006

You could advertise the fact that you're willing to use an escrow service. I bought a trombone for about $700 off of eBay 4 years ago, and was able to (for a small fee, natch) keep the horn for a week-long "trial period", in which I would have been able to send the thing back with no questions asked. This could help assuage the fears of folks who don't want to end up with a f-f-f-fujitsu.
posted by rossination at 4:24 PM on December 17, 2006

Your could conisder selling it used through Amazon.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:27 PM on December 17, 2006

Put it on eBay and accept cash-on-pickup.
posted by cillit bang at 4:33 PM on December 17, 2006

I wouldn't worry about your feedback all that much. You might get 5% less because you have lower feedback, if that.

Like Credit.. no credit is good credit.. People care more about % than count, as long as you have ~20 or more feedback.
posted by SirStan at 4:37 PM on December 17, 2006

Zed, I've found that a straight forward, detailed description along with your reasons for selling and comprehensive photos of the ACTUAL item will do a lot allay people's fears. If you come across a just a normal guy selling a laptop in an honest fashion (as you sound in your AskMefi question) then people will feel very comfortably bidding.

You've got a 100% feedback - even if it's just from buying that still means a lot.

A few tips:

- Make sure you offer free local pickup - the buyer probably won't take advantage of that, but it sounds like such a friendly and reasonable offer that it wins people over.

- A no reserve auction will net you a good amount of attention and you'll certainly get what you want out of the laptop.

I've watched laptops on eBay before and the ones from individual sellers always do well as opposed to the high reserve, buy-it-now eBay stores.
posted by wfrgms at 4:41 PM on December 17, 2006

I think there's a big difference between a zero-feedback seller that uses a bunch of crappy manufacturer pictures and a really bad page layout, and a zero-feedback seller that has good pics, a well-written description, and several points of contact clearly listed. I've had great success with selling on ebay, often times above market price, just by avoiding that crappy discount-venue look and looking honest.

Alternately you could just sell a few cheap items and get your feedback out of zero territory.
posted by stam_broker at 4:57 PM on December 17, 2006

(i.e. and what wfrgms said)
posted by stam_broker at 4:57 PM on December 17, 2006

There are companies that will sell things for you on ebay. There is one in my town but I don't recall the name.
posted by comatose at 5:16 PM on December 17, 2006

wfrgms said..."I've found that a straight forward, detailed description along with your reasons for selling and comprehensive photos of the ACTUAL item will do a lot allay people's fears."

I point out what wfrgms said because I bought a BMW motorcycle on Ebay from someone who had never sold anything on Ebay before. The seller was up front and honest, and replied to all my email questions. I was happy, he was happy in the end.
posted by BillsR100 at 5:52 PM on December 17, 2006

I just asked a similar question -- there was some pro & con discussion of I personally think they sometimes give the best prices for PC laptops (definitely not for Mac laptops). Definitely at least check out their price calculator. If you like their price, then you can use them with no stress/work (they mail you a paid mailer, you mail laptop, they mail check).
posted by lorimer at 6:50 PM on December 17, 2006

There's always ISoldIt.
posted by mendel at 7:39 PM on December 17, 2006

I've bought and sold numerous laptops on eBay, with one bad spot as a buyer, from a buyer with great feedback. My recommendation is to jump in somewhere, and this is as good as any to get started.

Firstly, as a previous poster said, you're going to lose some value due to the chance someone's taking on you. This can be ameliorated with the ID Verify tag - which may be the only way you can sell nowdays - it used to be that with 10 or more feedback, you could sell regardless, I think.

Secondly, you might want to try buying a few things of medium value first - something around $30-$50. This would be helpful if you plan on using eBay at all, and there are some great values on lots of stuff you may use every day. Not to sound like an ad for the site, but I often answer that I got something on eBay when people ask me where I got something funky or odd. This would also allow you to use Google Checkout instead of PayPal. While you can start using Google Checkout at any time, people might be a bit wary as its new and not the de facto standard. (as an aside - I used to be a huge supporter of PayPal, but a few weeks ago they locked down my account for no reason other than I sold 4 PS3 systems, so I'm a bit burnt to recommend them wholeheartedly anymore.)

Lastly, if you don't plan on using eBay much at all after this, you might want to do as another poster stated and find a friend with good feedback to list it for you for 20% of the profits - that's about half what ISoldIt charges, and it keeps you from having to do all the crap of setting it up.

Have fun - I'm a big fan of eBay, but it has it's detractions as well. Email me if you have any other questions.
posted by plaidrabbit at 9:44 PM on December 17, 2006

There's always ISoldIt.

I used to work at an eBay "store", and this was one of our selling points: You might not have the feedback rating, but we have some 2000 positives. Let us sell for you!

Really, though, if you have an account, just go for it. I'll echo what's been said above: Take some pictures that don't look like you stole them off the manufacturer's web site, tell us about the condition, model numbers, etc., and you'll do fine.

On the pictures note: Use a service like PhotoBucket to host images for free, so you don't have to pay eBay's $0.15 stupid tax.
posted by niles at 10:16 PM on December 17, 2006

And now I'm remebering all these other listing tips... If you want any other advice on selling, my email is in my profile.
posted by niles at 10:18 PM on December 17, 2006

Having sold a laptop on eBay myself (with minimal selling feedback... like 2 or 3 small items, and 100% buyer feedback but only of about 10 or 15), I have a few pointers:

1) Obviously, do not entertain offers from people in Nigeria
2) If somebody offers to "have a friend come pick it up, and then they'll Western Union the money to you", politely decline (or ignore them outright).
3) Don't even bother putting a buy it now option, as that's an invite for Nigerian scammers (or asshole kids) to prematurely end your auction.
4) I would be wary of letting zero feedback buyers bid on your stuff. Unless they have a verified account, but even then I would be wary.

Hrmm, I think that's about all I can think of. Just be honest with your description and pictures, and you shouldn't have any trouble finding bidders.
posted by antifuse at 12:54 AM on December 18, 2006

my email is in my profile

Actually, niles, it's not. Mine is, though -- could you please send me mail?

Thanks for your help, everyone. I'll give eBay a try after all. But I'm figuring posting now, when it'd close on Xmas, would be a losing move -- I'll wait till the 26th. (Unless anyone still reading can suggest a compelling reason to do otherwise.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:49 PM on December 18, 2006

Zed, meet Len.
posted by theora55 at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2006

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