Retailer’s Anger Reveals How You Can Make Money on eBay

August 14, 2007

What would you do with 25 of the exact same purse? A recent USA Today story tells of a woman named Triss Budoff who bought that many purses at Target for about $1000 and has already made $750 profit by selling 10 of them on eBay.  Now that’s a nice take and she still has 15 of them left!

Making Retailers Angry
One problem Budoff and other part-time entrepreneurs like her face is that retailers are starting to crack down on this product arbitrage.  According to the article sales of clothing and accessories has seen a 73% growth on eBay over the past two years with handbags and jewelry being the most damaging to stores.  High price retailers such as Coach (overpriced purses) and Gymboree (overpriced baby clothes) are looking for ways to stop people from selling their goods online because of what they claim to be potential damage to their brand.

The Coach spokesperson complained that “Unauthorized distributors lack the proper commitment to the Coach product” while Gymboree’s director of public relations and advertising argues, “We need to protect our image. We can’t ensure a product’s quality on eBay, and we don’t want people to think we’re selling things on eBay.”

Retailers Fight Back
One step some companies are taking is to limit the quantity a customer can buy of one particular item.  Purchasing 25 of the same thing is usually a red flag someone plans on reselling the product.  Coach is even contacting eBay sellers and threatening to ban them from Coach stores if they keep selling on eBay.

Scrolling through the 58 comments that readers left on the story, it doesn’t sound like many people have much sympathy for the companies, whom they assume are making huge profits on the enormous price markups in their stores. 

You Can Make Money Too!
Although this article is about a “crackdown” by retailers, I see it as a sign of opportunity for individuals.  I engage in similar practices myself with different products and agree that it can be quite lucrative.  I’m not going to stop doing it simply because a few big companies are unhappy. 

Of course there are simple ways around product limits by retailers. Just checkout several times, going through a different line each time.  Or you could bring a friend or family member along and have them buy some as well.  You may get some strange looks when you roll up with 10 of the same thing in your cart but with profits like Budoff is making, who cares!

Of course if you’ve never sold on eBay before I wouldn’t just go out and buy 25 purses for a good price.  If you’re unfamiliar with the product and how it sells you could get stuck with them all or have to sell them for a loss.  I’d start with one or two and once you get the hang of it then swing for the fences!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to Retailer’s Anger Reveals How You Can Make Money on eBay

  • Jim

    I got a email from so called “marketing dept” they said waht i was doing requied licence from them etc….u know same old bullshit…

  • MoneyNing

    Wow this is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too lazy. I guess I should spend more time doing than thinking!

    I should read your procrastination article again 🙂

  • Angie Hartford

    I like the way you’re taking this article and applying it to ways to better make money, instead of cowering in fear. Woohoo!


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