I recently sold a used DVD on Amazon.com and learned quickly how corporate greed, in the form of selling fees, can quickly erode the profits of small businesses and consumers looking to sell used items.
I sold the DVD for $2.99, plus Amazon’s mandatory $2.98 shipping credit. I thought to myself “Wow, I’m getting $5.97 for a DVD I never intend to watch again? That’s great!”
Then reality hit. The message telling me the DVD had sold informed me that Amazon would deduct an “Amazon commission” of $2.24 from my earnings. Keep in mind that’s almost 75% of the $2.99 sale price.
When it came time to ship the DVD, I did everything I could to minimize costs. I used a manila envelope we had laying around, so that cost us nothing. Thank goodness I didn’t have to buy a bubble mailer; those cost from one to two dollars apiece at any of the office supplies stores.
From past experiences selling online, I knew that I absolutely had to purchase delivery confirmation on the package. If you sell online and aren’t doing this, you need to know that anyone can claim they never received their merchandise and you’ll have to reimburse them for it. Delivery confirmation is a must.
The lowest priced postage for this size package turned out to be first class mail. The total cost of shipping ended up being $2.70 for first class postage with delivery confirmation. Since the shipping supplies can be written off, the profit for this transaction ended up being $1.03.
Oh, but I forgot about the gas needed to get to the post office. With gas costing $3.20 per gallon right now, and having used about half a gallon to get to the post office and back, that means I spent $1.60 on gas and a total of $6.74 to sell the DVD.
In the end, I lost money on this transaction and I encourage others to learn from my mistake. If you’re considering selling used items on Amazon.com, make sure you thoroughly understand the Amazon selling fees before listing your merchandise.