How can I easily sell this Rolex?
March 26, 2008 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have experience selling expensive items on eBay?

I've been asked to sell my (filthy rich, trust fund baby) friend's mother's Rolex watch on eBay. Yes, it's real, and yes, they have everything that came with the watch, certificate of authenticity, etc. The watch has rarely been worn and is in immaculate condition. Has anyone sold anything similar? Or have any tips for me? I'd like to make them the most amount of money for the watch and pay the least amount possible in eBay fees. Do you suggest PayPal or cashier's checks or something else? Escrow? I have the equipment to take solid pictures, a scanner for the documents, and a good eBay seller rating. Is there another way to sell a super expensive watch? Thanks for your help!
posted by whiskey point to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Do not use PayPal.
posted by Dec One at 7:48 AM on March 26, 2008

Ebay just changed their fee structure which means that you're paying 5cent less to list an item but now paying twice what you use to pay in final value fees.

Basically (from my experience) if you sell a comic for 1700, ebay is going to eat 100 of that. And then paypal is going to eat another 3%. If you're willing to take a large hit on the final price and pay a lot of money in fees, then use Ebay. I would recommend that you don't use Ebay for such a sell. Instead use a rolex forum (like mentioned above), use a trusted escrow service and only accept a money order or something similar. You'll maximize your money then.
posted by Stynxno at 7:57 AM on March 26, 2008

I agree with b2tr0t. Also, Rolex has been known to send sue-happy letters to people who they think might have a "fake." You'd better be doubly sure that it's the real thing.
posted by cass at 7:58 AM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: I can't speak to watches but I have sold expensive electronic items on ebay without a loss. Since I've sold expensive items in categories that are attractive to fraudsters I've run into a couple of scam attempts. Thankfully unsuccessful attempts.

There are some things I would recommend doing:

--for anything of substantial value use registered mail
--record and take pictures of serial numbers before shipping an item
--have proof of where you originally obtained the item
--link your PayPal account to a bank account with $0 balance, and use a bank where you
have no other accounts
--if you suspect return fraud, open the package at the post office in the presence of a police
--insure items at full value
--don't sell to members with 0 or negative feedback
--sell only within the US

I only take PayPal and have found that the fees are worth it considering the increased prices and overall speed and convenience of the service, but you do open yourself up to possible significantly-not-as-described claims. I worry more about a bogus SNAD claim than the fees.
posted by aerotive at 8:24 AM on March 26, 2008

On eBay I've sold one item for over $3000 and several others for around $2000 each (plus quite a few items for between $500 and $1500). I've never had a problem.

The $3000+ item was paid for by USPS Money Orders, and all of the rest were paid for via PayPal.

I tend to be pretty blatant and heavy handed in my listing descriptions when it comes to laying out my terms and conditions of sale. These always indicate, among other things, that I will only ship items in a manner which affords me PayPal Seller Protection.

I have never been burned on any of my eBay auctions, but I realize there's a first time for everything, so I'm very, very careful.
posted by imjustsaying at 9:25 AM on March 26, 2008

On eBay I've sold several items for $100-$1500 and a number of items in the mid hundreds.

I think it is important to seem reputable- an ebay feedback history is important. If you don't have a feedback history which makes you seem like a reasonable chance, you shouldn't sell a Rolex on eBay.

Also, I assume there are *lots* of fakes. Considering offering to accept payment via escrow with the final payment to be received after they receive the non-fake Rolex and are assured of its authenticity, or something similar.
posted by arnicae at 9:39 AM on March 26, 2008

Sorry, that should have been $1000-$1500
posted by arnicae at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2008

Best answer: Rolex fan and current owner of a gold GMT Master II (model 16713), I've sold two with eBay's help but not via eBay.

I live in London (I realise Fargo is a little different) and from researching dealers on eBay found one each time that was interested in the specific model of Rolex that I had to sell, and would do a face to face, cash only transaction.

For each deal I first had the watch serviced by Rolex immediately before sale. I tend to upgrade Rolexes about once every five years or so, and the service, while pricey, yields me not only a certificate documenting proper operation and recent servicing of the watch, but also a totally like new condition. Its uncanny how good they look after factory servicing. I also had complete original packing material - box, receipt, even the hologram.

We did the deal in a public place - a Cafe in Central London each time - and actually had a nice cuppa & chat about Rolexes while finalising the deal. These transactions were in the £2K then £4K sterling range; as folks upthread mention, far too much money to lose sight of the merchandise without being shown the money.

The dealers were happy with arrangement and although I was leaving money on the table so was I ('Cause those dealers were making a profit you see).

Zero credit risk and minimal operational risk, and immediate payment; well worth the price.
posted by Mutant at 10:39 AM on March 26, 2008

To second everyone above who says be careful using eBay, I'd like to add that my ex husband left some things of significant value in my home when we split. I sold some projector lamps ($600 worth) to a person and IN MY AUCTION I stated that I had no idea if they worked, but if they didn't, I would refund the price MINUS shipping costs. Well, three that I sold didn't work and I refunded the guy his money minus the shipping, as stated.

He filed a complaint with Paypal saying they were significantly different than advertised because they didn't work. I told Paypal that the terms of the auction as stated required me to refund the amount MINUS shipping; they disagreed and I was forced to pay the full refund amount. Minus shipping and fees, I paid $70 to find out the lamps weren't good. This was not a good deal for me.

So, just understand, even if you make EXPLICIT statements in your auction to protect yourself, you might still have problems.

Also, if you ship this item via Fedex, HAVE THE PERSON AT FEDEX PACK IT FOR YOU and get insurance for the full amount. If you pack it yourself, certain items will not be covered via insurance during the shipping process. I didn't know that until it was too late and something broke and it ended up not being covered, which sucked massively (never again will I ship something to Australia).

You would do better to spend the money on an ad in the local paper or checking to see which jewelry stores in your area might sell it on commission for you instead; it never hurts to try Craigslist either.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:43 AM on March 26, 2008

I've sold items on ebay for as high as $2,000, however they were items that I have a level of expertise regarding and felt very confident describing and marketing.

I would be scared to sell something like a Rolex watch. The ebay luxury goods market is kind of depressed right now, with items ending for lower prices than ever before.

It's also really tricky trying to sell expensive stuff for other people on ebay. People have high expectations of what their item sells for and when the item only brings in, say 45% of that price or doesn't sell at all, there tends to be some disappointment. I know this from experience.

If you do end up listing the watch on ebay and it sells, you will have a hefty ebay and paypal fee to pay. You'll probably want to come up with a basic ratio of how much money you will get from the sale in order to pay the fees.
posted by pluckysparrow at 6:40 PM on March 26, 2008

I sold a car on ebay last year. I got very close to blue book retail. Whereas Carmax offered a third of that. Lots of pictures and overly accurate descriptions, with very specific instructions as to payments that would be accepted. Went beautifully- I got a great price, and the buyers got a great deal too. But that's easier because I didn't have to ship the car or wait for payment or anything like that. Auction ended, they showed up with a cashiers check and I handed them the keys and title.
posted by gjc at 8:56 PM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not excited for this. I'm going to have a talk with my friend's mother and tell her about the fees and complications we could expect, and I think she'll change her mind. I'd hate to get burned for something of my own and of little value, but getting ripped off with a good friend's mother's watch would be terrible. I believe there is only one Rolex dealer in town, and if it's the store I'm thinking of I have a connection there. I think the best way will be a face to face deal, thanks to the advice I've been given here. I really appreciate all the other eBay tips, they'll definitely be put to good use.
posted by whiskey point at 12:31 PM on March 27, 2008

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