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How to Sell Sweepstakes Prizes on eBay

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Image of an eBay sign.

Ebay can be a good way to turn your unwanted prizes into money.

Image © Sean Gallup / Getty Images
No matter how carefully you try to enter sweepstakes for prizes you want to win, it's inevitable that you'll occasionally win prizes that you just can't use. Or perhaps you wanted that iPod or game console so much, you won more than one, or the cash is just more appealing. Whatever your reason, eBay is a great way to turn unwanted prizes into cash. Here are some tips for using eBay to sell sweepstakes prizes.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 30 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Set Up an eBay Account

    Getting an account at eBay is free and easy. Aron Hsiao, About.com's Guide to eBay, has a Step by Step Guide to Opening an eBay Account that walks you through the process. Aron's site contains a wealth of information about selling on eBay, and it's definitely worth browsing if you want to become a successful buyer.
  2. Photograph Your Prize

    If you want the best chances of selling your prize and getting a good price for it, you'll want to let prospective buyers see what they're getting for their money with a photograph. About.com's Guide to Cameras has an in-depth tutorial about How to Take Product Pictures for Selling on eBay that can help you take truly professional pictures of your prizes. If you're looking for some more basic instructions, check out About.com's Guide to Photography's article, How To Photograph Crafts For Online Selling and Blogging.

  3. Write a Description of Your Prize

    Writing a personable, accurate description of your prize that shows its benefits to the buyer can make a big difference in its selling price. Apryl Duncan, About.com's former Guide to Advertising, has some written an article about How to Write a Sales Letter. While an eBay listing isn't quite the same thing, many of those tips apply to writing an eBay description, too.

  4. Pick a Starting Price for Your Prize

    If you pick a starting price that's too high, you'll discourage people from bidding. In his article on Ebay Selling Tips, Aron Hsaio recommends starting bids at $1.

    Aron writes: "you'll receive more bids in the end if you begin your listing at $1.00, and you'll ultimately save on listing fees as well." If you're worried that your item will sell too cheaply, you can set a reserve price (the minimum bid you'll accept to sell). You can also set a "Buy It Now" price, which lets anyone end the auction if they're willing to pay the price you set.

  5. Fill Out Ebay's Selling Form

    Once you have your prize ready to sell, you need to fill out the information on eBay. Aron Hsaio shares step-by-step tips on How to Use Ebay's Seller Form. Ebay also offers a helpful Seller Checklist that can help you ensure you have all your bases covered.

  6. Wait for the Auction to End

    Most eBay auctions get the most bids at the very end of the auction, so don't start to panic if it takes a while for your first bid to come in. In the meantime, you can watch who's bid on your item and who is watching the auction. Be sure to check your eBay messages frequently, in case any prospective buyers have questions you can answer.
  7. Ship Your Prize As Soon as Possible

    Ebay buyers expect to receive their items promptly. Get the best ratings possible by wasting no time; ship your prize to its new owner as soon as their payment has been verified. It's smart to box the prize before the auction ends, so you can just add a label and send it off.

    Be sure that your item is well-wrapped so that it doesn't get damaged in transit. It's also a good idea to use a shipping method that confirms that you sent the prize, so that you have proof that it was mailed if it's lost in the mail.

Tips:

  1. Don't write that you won the product in your eBay description. Some people think that if you didn't pay for it, you'll be willing to let you go for a song, and will try to lowball you.
  2. Don't expect to get the full retail value of your prize. You might get lucky, but oftentimes people are looking for bargains on eBay.

What You Need

  • An unwanted prize to sell
  • An eBay account
  • A digital camera, or a regular camera and a scanner
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