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How to Choose the Right UK Online Auction Site

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Once upon a time that room was a place of sunlight and seating but now it’s kept locked. Lurking inside is a lifetime of your old junk which you've never managed to sell, donate, recycle or bin. Everyone has that space or room in the house – whether it’s the spare bedroom, the basement or attic. Well, now you can have your home back and make some money in one stroke, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to do it. Likewise, if you'd like to make some money from your own creative creations, an online auction site may be the perfect way to showcase your work and earn a little money (or a lot!).


What are online auction sites?

Online auction websites are bigger than ever, with new ones popping up each year. These sites allow you to place an advert for an item you wish to sell, and then people from around the world can place a bid to win it. Some mighty silly things have been sold in the past, including a single crème cracker, so don’t worry about whether or not anyone would want it, there’s an item out there for everybody. 

You can take this a step further, even using these website to set up your own business. Perhaps you import and stock art supplies, or DVDs, or you’re looking to set up a new company which provides hair care products? Whatever your ambition, you can do this from home, many of these sites even allowing you to create an e-store where all your stock can be viewed and purchased. 

We’ve visited the best auction sites that allow you to buy and sell in the UK, and we’ve made up our minds on which ones we think offer you the best opportunities to make some cash or find a bargain. To do this we’ve assessed each website on a number of criteria and produced a written summary. We go through the pros and cons of each, highlighting the sort of person or product which might benefit from using one site over another.

Whilst some auction sites focus on brand new high tech products, others are more suited to handycrafts and artistic pieces. So, whatever you’re looking for, take a look at a few of our reviews to help you decide where to head. But hold on! Before you get rampaging into the auction halls, you may wish to know a little more about the sorts of things we’ve considered when giving our verdict on each website. So put down that sales hammer for a moment and read on; this guide ought to help you get a better idea of what you should look out for:


Market reach

When it comes to auctions, a full auction hall is far better than an empty one. You want people to bid against each other to raise the price on an item you’re selling. Consider the kind of person who might use each site, and whether the traffic through the website means you’re likely to sell an item. We’ve discussed this idea in most of the Editor’s Verdicts, hoping to help you to find the appropriate customer.


Selling features

If you’re new to selling items online, then you may not yet fully appreciate the need for a range of selling features. As you sell more and more items online, you’ll want to control things a little more, whether it’s being able to set your minimum sales price, offer the opportunity to buy a product immediately (without bidding) or choosing your postage prices and options.

For anyone who is looking to sell many of the same item (let’s imagine you have 100 party hats to shift), you’ll want to find an auction site that lets you sell bulk items in a store. Setting up your own e-store can allow you to make further sales with similar products (party poppers for example) to customers who are looking for a deal. 


Buying features

Some of the sites we’ve reviewed are geared towards buying goods rather than selling them. Consider how many options you have though, such as whether you can view videos or just photos. Are there reviews of sellers and their products? How can you pay for your goods? We consider all of these things but if there’s something in particular that you require (such as needing your items quickly) then you’ll want to find a website that offers that particular feature.


Security and protection

When buying and selling online, chances are you’ll need to use a credit card or other payment system to exchange money for products. All of the sites we’ve reviewed offer a variety of payment methods to choose from, but we also consider the experiences of previous customers, particularly if they’ve had issues in getting a refund or tracing a package.

The best sites offer the opportunity for buyers to review sellers so you know you’re buying from a legitimate source, and they won’t charge you until everything has been securely processed. If in doubt, check their FAQ.


Value for money

Whilst some websites allow you to list items for sale for free, others will charge a fee. Most sites take a cut of your profits after sales, which can vary considerably, particularly if you’re selling something a bit more expensive. Check our list of costs, as well as the site’s specific details on fees, to get a clear picture of how much money you’ll make and how much they’ll take.


The Bottom Line

That’s all we need to say for now. Welcome to the exciting world of online auctioning, where rubbing your nose won’t mean you’ve accidentally purchased a speedboat, and you can make substantial money or brilliant savings from a newly de-cluttered spare room / treasure trove. Good luck, we’re SOLD!