Sell an Unwanted Camera

Not every camera is collectible: indeed many are garbage. Searching eBay for your model, and then looking at the completed listings will give you an immediate picture of whether your camera is trash or treasure. If it’s trash, take it to a charity shop. If it’s desirable, press on.

Try to find out how the thing should work, and check that it does. Instruction manuals for most cameras are available on the Internet for free. eBay listings frequently make statements along the lines of, “I can’t test it because I don’t have a film”. You don’t need a film. Make a visual inspection for damage; check that levers, buttons and dials all move. If the camera requires batteries, buy and install some: they are very inexpensive. A camera that works will always sell for more than one that doesn’t, and if you cannot confirm that a camera works, it may not sell at all (unless it’s something special).

Describe the camera to the best of your ability. List any faults, and specifically state what you have checked, and what does or does not work. Flag-up anything you are unsure about. Don’t include loads of copied technical information about the camera: it’s patronizing. The chances are that anyone looking at your camera will already have some knowledge, and if they don’t, they a likely to be capable of finding more information.

Take good photographs from all angles.

A good description (in pictures and words) will gain the confidence of a buyer. Your text needs to show that you have described the item honestly and completely. Omitting details can look like you have something to hide. Don’t use words like rare or mint unless you are completely confident they are appropriate. You’ll look like an idiot if you describe something as rare when it isn’t, and your credibility will be shot. In any event, just because something is rare does not necessarily make it valuable or desirable.

Take the effort to spell check your description, and write in full sentences, not text speak. If you don’t bother with this step, then you are likely to look like a dumb seller, and most people try to avoid dealing with idiots.

Set a fair postage charge. Camera collectors know what an item costs to post, and if your charges are unreasonable, they will bid elsewhere (there are some 17,000 options in any week).

Be clear about returns. Remember that if the buyer wishes to return the item because it does not match the description, they have a legal right to do so. Rejected goods remain the seller’s property, and it’s your responsibility to pay for their return: you cannot expect a buyer to pay for your mistakes. Your listing will create confidence if it says returns are acceptable if the item is not as described.

eBay is the place to hunt-out a good deal, and one of the most critical aspects of successful selling is setting the right starting price. More research is required. Search eBay for your model, and look at the sold listings. This will inform you what buyers are actually willing to pay. Never look at the items listed for sale: they may not achieve their asking prices. If you opt for buy-it-now, set the price just below what others have achieved. This will encourage buyers to act quickly for fear of missing a bargain. If you prefer to take bids, set the start price as low as you can stomach. The whole point of an auction is that there has to be more than one person interested, and if your start price is low enough, you will spark competition. Some profit is always better than no profit at all. Don’t use a hidden reserve: it just annoying.

The time at which your listing ends is important. Not everyone has Internet access while at work, so don’t exclude bidders by listing items at unsocial hours: early morning, late at night, or during the working day.

Now you may decide that all this effort just isn’t worth the bother. You could be correct, but if your camera is desirable and valuable, then not taking the effort can waste whole lot more time. If the item doesn’t sell, or ends up being returned, then whatever effort you’ve put into selling will have been wasted. More than that, the venture can leave you out of pocket (refunding return postage costs), and blemish your seller rating through negative feedback.