Originally Posted by Joe Perez
Keeping the banstick in check for the moment, just on the off chance that the OP is trying to make a joke.
What perplexes me is the feedback received by the seller. Sure, there are a few negatives that expose him as a fraud, but the vast majority of the feedbacks are positive. The couple that I reviewed are from users who all have a past history and have been around for a while, so the seller didn't just create a bunch of fake users to buy his own auctions and leave himself feedback.
In the past, sellers tended to exact revenge upon buyers who left them negative feedback, however eBay changed the feedback rules a while ago so that sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers. Obviously this creates some potential problems with deadbeats, but it basically solved the issue of permitting buyers to properly criticize scam artists. It's just shocking how many people have left positive feedback, along with comments which either espouse the benefits of the device, or at the very least compliment the seller on prompt shipping.
A total of 5,230 positive feedbacks in the last 12 months. Assume that each one of those was from somebody who paid for a device such as this and did not return it or demand a refund, so that is 100 per week sold.
Presently, all 1,799 of the seller's listings are for such a device, all in the $4.00 to $6.49 range, with $3.00 shipping. There appears to be a 4:1 ratio of the $6.49 devices to the $4.00 devices, so let's say each device that sells does so for an average of $5.87.
He's using a 7 day listing, a BuyItNow, and no other eBay premium features. We'll assume he's using TurboLister Free, and that his current count of 1,799 devices is a good per-week average. Assume that the 1,699 devices per week that don't sell are are relisted using the one-time-per-auction free relist. So he's paying for, on average, 950 listings per week.
His listing fee per unit is going to be 40 cents- 35 cents basic insertion, plus 5 cents BuyItNow. So with all the above assumptions, that's $380 per week, or $19,760 per year in listing fees.
So, we've assumed that he's actually selling 100 devices per week. One first-class stamp is 43 cents, and we'll assume that his cost on the actual parts, the envelope, the printed matter, etc., is 32 cents, which makes his total cost a convenient 75 cents per unit. An item sold via BuyItNow in the price range we're looking at will incur a Final Value Fee of $1. Since he's a Power Seller, we'll assume the maximum 20% deduction of Final Value fees, and figure them at 80 cents per item. So, for every item sold, we have a $5.87+$3.00 = $8.87 collection, less 75 cents in costs and 80 cents Final Value fee, for a net of $7.32 per item, or a total net of $38,064 per year.
Deduct his listing fees, and you've got an income of $18,034 per year. I assume he's a US citizen and paying federal income tax, and if that's his sole source of income then he's into Uncle Sam for $2,313, so he's clearing $15,721 per year.
Is it worth it? Guess it depends on how he values his time. If this is some kid in high school who owns a good label printer and has lots of free time on his hands, then I guess it's a pretty good racket. Beats minimum wage, I suppose. Actually, given that I'm going back to school in a month and will be without a job for a while, it's kinda tempting. I wonder if I could pay some undergrad $1 or $2 per unit to handle the actual putting of the parts into an envelope and taking them to the Post Office part...
: Oops, I forgot to account for the Final Value fees. I've corrected the above calculations to reflect this.