Review: eBay Instant Sale

by Drew Carls

I’ve been an eBay user for at least 13 years now.  Until recently, I listed items I wanted to sell through eBay’s auction. In the early days I had success selling items for a good return.  Now my items seem to get lost in the shuffle that is the eBay vastness.

My solution?
eBay Instant Sale. I just sold my iPad 2 to eBay through Instant Sale and my iPhone4 before that.  The process is quite simple.

Head over to the site and locate the item you wish to sell.  After you complete a condition form, they will make you an offer - it’s contingent upon them receiving the item and reviewing its condition.  The offer is usually below market value if you were to sell it yourself but I don’t really mind. The time I save for a guaranteed sale is worth the difference to me (and you don’t pay listing fees or need to worry about shipping it to a buyer).  If you accept the offer, a shipping label is provided.  Go to the nearest FedEx drop-off and you’re almost home free.  eBay will notify you when they’ve received notice your item has shipped, received it at their warehouse and the result.  I mailed my iPad2 off Friday afternoon and received a PayPal notice that cash was in my account by Monday morning.

Tip about Pricing
It is important to note that Instant Sale offers can drop sharply within days of a new product launch.  For example, I sold my iPad2 to them the first day the iPad3 came out.  A few days later the Instant Sale offers are almost $100 lower.  Why?  Probably because they have purchased enough to supply the market or they know everyone is trying to unload their iPad2s.  If you wait days after a new product launch to sell the previous version, I would consider looking at eBay auctions.

Who else is in this marketplace?
Looks like Amazon is taking a similar approach with electronics but you receive a gift card instead of cash.  Best Buy is also stepping into the game.  I bought my iPad3 from them.  If you buy your item from Best Buy, you can purchase into a guaranteed buy-back program.  I think it was $50 to enroll – I was able to get them down to $25.  Within one year, if I return the item to them, they will pay me 40 percent of the iPad3 price through a Best Buy gift card.  After that it goes down 10 percent every six months.  If Best Buy’s program pays more than eBay’s, I will probably sell my iPad3 back to Best Buy and apply that amount to the iPad “4”.

What’s your experience with electronics buy-back programs?  Worth it?