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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

The Costs of Using eBay

You don't have to pay eBay anything to browse through items on their site. You don't have to pay eBay anything to bid on an item. You don't even have to pay eBay anything if you actually buy an item (although you will be paying the seller directly, of course). But if you're listing an item for sale, you gotta pay.

eBay charges two main types of fees:

  • Insertion fees (I prefer to call them listing fees) are what you pay every time you list an item for sale on eBay. These fees are based on the minimum bid or reserve price of the item listed. These fees are nonrefundable.

  • Final value fees (I prefer to call them selling fees, or commissions) are what you pay when an item is actually sold to a buyer. These fees are based on the item's final selling price (the highest bid). If your item doesn't sell, you aren't charged a final value fee.

eBay also charges a variety of fees for different types of listing enhancements. Table 3.1 lists all the fees eBay charges, current as of Fall 2002. (Fees for items listed in the Real Estate/Timeshare and eBay Motors categories are typically higher.)


View eBay's current fee structure at pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html.

Table 3.1 eBay Fees

Type of Fee



Insertion fee

In a regular auction, based on the opening value or minimum bid. In a fixed price auction, based on the Buy It Now price. In a reserve price auction, based on the reserve price of the item. In a Dutch auction, based on the opening value or minimum bid—multiplied by the number of items offered, up to a maximum of $3.30.

Items priced $0–$9.99: $0.30

Items priced $10.00–$24.99: $0.55

Items priced $25.00–$49.99: $1.10

Items priced $50.00–$199.99: $2.20

Items priced $200.00+: $3.30

Final value fee

In regular and successful reserve price auctions, based on the closing (high) bid. In Dutch auctions, based on the lowest successful bid—multiplied by the number of items sold.

For example, if the item sold for $1,500, you'd pay 5.25% of the first $25 ($1.31) plus 2.75% of the next $975 ($26.81) plus 1.5% of the remaining $500 ($7.50), for a total fee of $35.62.

5.25% of the amount of the high bid to $25.00, plus 2.75% of that part of the high bid from $25.01 up to $1,000, plus 1.5% of the remaining amount of the high bid that is greater than $1,000.

Scheduled listings

Schedules your item to be listed at a specific date and time, up to three weeks in advance.


List in two categories

Enables you to list your item in two separate categories.

Double listing and upgrade fees

Reserve price auction

Additional fee for holding a reserve price auction.

Items priced $0–$24.99: $0.50

Items priced $25.00–$199.99: $1.00

Items priced $200+: $2.00

Buy It Now

Fee to use the Buy It Now option.


10-day auction

Additional fee for extending your auction from the normal 7-day to the longer 10-day format.



Boldfaces the title of your item on the listing pages.



Puts a color shading behind your item on the listing pages.



Displays a thumbnail picture of your item in the Gallery section.


Gallery Featured

Randomly displays your Gallery listing at the top of the category, at a larger size.


Featured Plus!

Puts your listing at the top of the listing pages for that category, and also displays your listing (randomly) in the Featured Items section of the related category home page.


Home Page Featured

Puts your listing at the top of the main Listings page and also displays your listing (randomly) in the Featured area on eBay's home page and on the Featured Items section of the related category home page.


There's all manner of fine print associated with these fees. Here are some of the more important points to keep in mind:

  • Insertion fees are nonrefundable.

  • You will not be charged a final value fee if there were no bids on your item or (in a reserve price auction) if there were no bids that met the reserve price—that is, if your item didn't sell.

  • It doesn't matter whether the buyer actually pays you (or how much he or she actually pays); you still owe eBay the full final value fee.

Invoicing on your account occurs once a month for the previous month's activity. You'll get an invoice by e-mail detailing your charges for the month; if you've set up your account for automatic credit card billing (see the next section), your credit card will be charged at that time. (If you prefer to pay by check, now's the time to get out the old checkbook.)

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