Selling outside of eBay

So I’ve sold about 12 CDs on eBay up to now. The other day, a bunch of my auctions ended, and a few CDs ended up unsold. I then got an email from someone who wanted to buy one of the unsold ones for the $1 original bid price. I replied telling him that eBay doesn’t allow selling of items unless they are won through an auction. His reply follows:

Thanks, I appreciate your responding quickly and your desire to be a good ebayer. Just to let you know, however, once an item goes through the auction process unsold, two people can always agree to buy and sell an item – it’s called commerce. Ebay may not like it – saying ‘it’s not safe nor protected’ but also because, having put people together, they cannot collect additional fees to relist – but they cannot stop it. We just communicate with each other using our respective emails and can pay via paypal if necessary. There is nothing immoral or illicit about it. I encourage you to broaden your horizons. Good luck with your auctions.

He’s correct that the buying and selling of good is not controlled by eBay. The thing is, his reply is too “rehearsed” for this to have been a one-time offer — sounds to me like he does this all the time. Sure, it’s legal to do this, but it’s against eBay policy, which both of us agreed to when we signed up.

The only difference between him offering me $1 for the CD and him bidding $1 on the auction is that (a) he won’t get outbid if someone else wants it, and (b) I won’t have to pay to relist the item, meaning that eBay will not get compensated for the sale. I guess it could be argued that eBay is getting compensated, since I had to pay to list the item in the first place. But then again, I could also be losing out here — if I relist the item and other people want the it, it could sell for significantly more than the $1 he’s willing to pay me. (One other CD I sold went for over $20.) If he wants it so much, he can bid for it, like everyone else. If he gets it for $1, then good for him. If someone else bids for it, then either he has to pay more, or not get it – either way, I get more for the CD.

I haven’t responded to him, and I’m not sure I will. I’ll just relist the item, like I told him I would, and see if he bids.


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