EBay Increases Selling Fees For Watches

eBay UK is increasing its selling fees for luxury watches, but remains one of the most competitive platforms in the world, according to traders.

Fees will rise by 1% on March 2 to cover some of the cost of a dedicated customer service team for the watch category, and eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee, which protects buyers and sellers for sales of watches priced at over £1,500.

“We have made substantial investments in our watches category that have really benefitted sellers, including our Authenticity Guarantee, and our dedicated customer service team,” says Keith Metcalfe, UK head of luxury for eBay.

“Even accounting for the March increase, our fees remain competitive versus other marketplaces in this category, so we’re confident that sellers will still come to us to list their watches,” he adds.

eBay has a tiered system of fees for watches.

From March 2, sellers will charged 12.9% for the first £500 of any watch sold (up from 11,9%).

The fee drops to 3% (up from 2%) for the portion of the total amount above £500.

So, for a £2,000 watch, the first £500 would generate a fee of £64.50 (at £500 x 12.9%), but for the remaining £1,500 the fee would only be an additional £45 (£1,500 x 3%).

What expert watch traders particularly appreciate is that higher the value of the sale, the lower the percentage fee becomes, so the fee for a £10,000 watch sale would only be £349.50, or 3.5%.

Comparing fees with other platforms is complicated because there are a number of ways buyers and sellers are charged.

Chrono24 normally charges commission of 6.5%, but has ways of lowering the total cost for the largest dealers.

For an individual selling a £10,000 watch, the standard 6.5% fee would be £650, almost double the eBay commission for the same piece.

But Chrono24 says that, while every watch sale is charged a commission fee, if a business sells hundreds of watches or just select collector’s pieces then it will adjust packages to fit specific needs.

“We calculate this fee for each individual watch according to various criteria, such as its brand, price, and condition,” Chrono24 says.

Online auction platform Watchcollecting.com charges the winning bidder 6% of the sale price for every watch.

Fees at traditional auction houses like Bonhams, Sotheby’s Christie’s and Phillips are incredibly complex, and opaque. They charge buyers’ fees, but on a scale so that the higher the hammer price, the lower the buyer’s premium. These fees can be over 25% for less expensive items, if you consider £10,000 inexpensive, and can be half that for big ticket items selling in the millions of pounds. There are also ‘negotiable’ fees for consigning and selling.

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