January declutter? The 14 best alternatives to eBay

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Published on The Times online, January 20th 2016 – http://blogs.thetimes.co.uk/section/money-central/111611/january-declutter-the-14-best-alternatives-to-ebay/

With Britons spending hundreds of millions of pounds on unloved Christmas presents each year, January is a good time for a declutter. But before you turn to trusty old eBay, where you are hit by a 10 per cent fee on the value of each sale, here are 14 of the best online alternatives for shifting those unwanted festive gifts and clearing some space.

Auctions: eBid, CQOut

eBid and CQOut are two of the UK’s largest auction alternatives challenging eBay.

The first lets you list items for free, no matter the value, and only charges a 3 per cent fee on the final sale. eBid also runs a rewards system where you can earn spendable points for referring new members.

While it is a much smaller marketplace than eBay, with around 2.5 million listings at the time of writing, compared to eBay’s average of 20 million, and the site gets less traffic, there is a greater chance that your item won’t get lost among other sellers, and the cheaper fees are attractive.

CQOut sees similar rates of activity to eBid, having an average of 2 million listings at any time, and also offers lower final sale fees than eBay.

Classifieds: Preloved, Gumtree, Craig’s List, Shpock, Freecycle

If you would rather negotiate and haggle instead of deal with the stress of an auction, there is a plethora of popular, free classified sites you can use.

Gumtree, which is owned by eBay, is perhaps the best known. It is the UK’s largest classifieds site and boasts 16.9 million unique visitors each month, giving you a good chance of finding a buyer. It’s also just had a rebrand for 2016.

Or try the up-and-coming Preloved, which has more than 6 million registered members and lists hundreds of thousands of adverts in over 500 categories. Pets, livestock, wedding dresses: it’s all there. The site also organises items by location, making it more likely you’ll sell to someone nearby.

If you fancy an easy sell from your smartphone, download Shpock, the self-proclaimed “boot sale app for beautiful things”. Launched in the UK in 2014, it has grown in popularity ever since: you just snap a picture of your item, give it a description and price, and you’re away. The app is bright, user-friendly and completely fee-free.

Another free and cheerful option is Craig’s List. The web interface is rather minimalist but it is easy to get started and you can post to your local area.

And if you are feeling really altruistic – or just have an item it’d be tough to sell – you can use Freecycle, where users give away their stuff for free. There are active communities all across the UK.

Niche: Etsy, Auctionata

Selling on a site that caters to a niche can help you find more committed buyers and get a better deal than on eBay.

Take Etsy, for example, a niche marketplace for handmade vintage items, art and supplies. Not your best option if you’re trying to shift clutter, but worth a look if you have a collection of vintage items you want to sell. You can list items for 14p, and you pay a 3-4 per cent fee on the final transaction and payment.

Or if you have got an antique or a high-value collectable, consider using Auctionata. Aimed at the higher end of the market, they offer free valuations and items are sold in weekly online auctions.

Trade-ins: CeX, Music Magpie, Zapper, Mazuma Mobile, Envirofone

There is a smorgasbord of sites, such as CeX, Music Magpie andZapper, willing to pay cash for your old DVDs, CDs and video games if you don’t fancy using eBay.

The service is simple: you scan the barcode to get a price and then post the item. You probably won’t get the same kind of sale price as on eBay, but you lose some of the hassle and transaction fees. It’s also worth comparing offers across sites to get the best deal. Companies like Mazuma Mobile and Envirofone offer a similar service for your old mobile phone.

Happy de-cluttering!

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