eBay Goes Permanently Fee Free On Pre-Loved Clothing From Private Sellers In UK

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Starting April 8, private sellers in the UK will no longer pay final value or regulatory fees on sales of pre-owned clothing as eBay continues strategy shift back to core consumer-seller roots.

As long as sellers stay within their allocation of 1,000 free listings every month, they also won't be charged a listing insertion fee, but other fees may apply if optional upgrades are added or an item is sold to an overseas buyer.

It’s now free to sell pre-owned clothes! | eBay.co.uk
The easy way to pocket more from your pieces.

How does free selling for pre-owned clothes work?
Selling pre-owned clothes on ebay.co.uk is now free for UK based private sellers, which means you’ll no longer have to pay transaction fees (final value fee and regulatory operating fee) when these items sell.

For clothes listings, private sellers will only incur fees for any of the following:

  • Optional listing upgrades
  • Sending items internationally
  • Using Promoted Listings to place advertisements

All items listed in clothing categories on ebay.co.uk by UK private (non-business) sellers are eligible for free selling, excluding categories such as accessories, hats, footwear, watches, bags and jewellery.

Free selling applies to all sales of pre-owned clothing from 8 April, 2024, including items that were listed on ebay.co.uk before 8 April, 2024 that haven’t yet sold.

Interestingly, eBay is not limiting this policy by condition. Both new or used condition qualify, as eBay defines pre-owned clothes as "items you no longer want or need in a variety of conditions, for example an outfit that no longer fits, an unwanted gift, or vintage fashion that needs a new home. These items can be new or used. Selling clothing for free on eBay is a great way to make some extra cash."

If you sell an item of pre-owned clothing and the delivery address entered at checkout is outside the UK, you won’t be charged transaction fees, however you’ll still be charged an international fee. Items listed on other eBay marketplaces, like the main US .com site or ebay.fr, will still be subject to selling fees as defined for those marketplaces.

Best of all - the FAQ specifically says this is a permanent change and also gets rid of the recently introduced Regulatory Fee on these transactions as well.

Is this a temporary change?
The removal of transaction fees (final value fees and regulatory operating fees) for private sales of pre-owned clothing isn’t temporary, meaning sellers will continue to enjoy the benefits of selling their pre-owned clothes for free.

eBay had previously tested fee-free selling for private UK sellers across all categories with a limited time offer as part of their plans to boost consumer to consumer (C2C) and small business (SMB) sales on the platform in what they are calling the "fix the fundamental aspect of UK Win back plan."

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When CEO Jamie Iannone took the helm in 2020, his initial "tech-led reimagination" strategy specifically called out the need to capitalize on eBay's robust C2C platform, seeing consumer to consumer selling as the foundation of the company's success.

"I am honored to rejoin eBay as its next Chief Executive Officer," said Mr. Iannone. "In my previous experience with the Company, I developed a deep appreciation for what makes eBay so special.

eBay 's success has always been rooted in its robust C2C platform. I believe the Company has tremendous opportunities to capitalize on this foundation, innovate for the future and grow its ecosystem.

He took those sentiments even further in an interview with CNBC in July 2020, saying getting back to individual consumer selling and becoming the "seller platform of choice" were among his top priorities for the company, along with focusing on key core vertical categories for growth.

I'm not satisfied with where we are and I see enormous upside potential in really getting back and focused on the customer experience...

...First building compelling experiences in key verticals that are really core to eBay and also getting back to our consumer selling that's individual selling which is really important to the platform.

Second is being the seller platform of choice,especially around non-new in season. We've got a 500 billion dollar opportunity in the core of what eBay is great at in non-new in season and being the seller platform of choice there is a huge opportunity.

Unfortunately, consumer selling and being the seller platform of choice quickly faded to the background as Iannone has pursued a very narrow focused vertical, "high value, enthusiast buyer" strategy - leaving many of the non-new in season, one of a kind, vintage, antiques and other collectibles C2C sellers that were the "foundational roots of eBay's success" feeling excluded and abandoned.

Amidst mass layoffs in January 2024 and cost cutting pressures new open job positions showed eBay may be seeking fresh ideas and new strategies, with a possible pivot back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

That shift was bolstered even more when Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay departed the company in January, leaving questions about eBay's future strategy up in the air.

Iannone also heavily "leaned in" on C2C success in Germany during the Q4 2023 earnings call and other recent investor conferences, while carefully threading the needle to make it seem like this was all part of their vertical focus strategy all along rather than the sudden strategy pivot it appears to be.

Jamie and CFO Steve Priest told investors they are forecasting a return to GMV growth by Q3 or Q4 2024 and all signs point to this C2C and SMB pivot being crucial for eBay to pull off those projections.

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eBay has been surveying buyers about C2C initiatives with a possible revival of the "eBay It Forward" campaign briefly tested in early 2021 featuring a wide range of items such as kitchen appliances, outdoor equipment, home goods and more with a theme of "Sell What Didn't Work Out To Make Room For What Does."

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And in another sign that the narrow vertical focus strategy may be on its way out, or at least expanding to include more of the broader seller base, eBay shut down dedicated social media accounts for sneakers and watches this week, directing users back to the main eBay channels for support and announcements going forward.

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Meanwhile, competitors Depop and Mercari have announced their own no selling fee initiatives to try to win over C2C sellers but while they have both shifted some, if not all, of the fee burden directly to buyers, notably, eBay's initiatives so far have not included instituting buyer fees.

Mercari in particular has angered both buyers (with fees tacked on at checkout) and sellers (with a $2.00 fee for ACH withdrawals) and eBay has clearly taken note - subtly pointing out there are no selling or buying fees and no need to request a withdrawal that may incur additional fees.

By limiting the fee breaks to private sellers in the clothing categories, eBay can more easily absorb the loss of some selling fees without having to risk upsetting buyers by shifting the fee burden.

Foregoing listing and commission fees may seem surprising, but eBay is desperate to reverse the now 7 quarter long trend of having less active buyers than in 2018 and may be willing to burn cash in order to try to stop the hemorrhaging to show a return to growth in buyer number and GMV by the end of the year.

Those consumer sellers may also choose to opt in to the growing plethora of eBay's Promoted Listings cost per click and cost per sale advertising schemes, especially in saturated categories like clothing, which will certainly help take the sting out of the loss of other fees as ads continue to be a major source of revenue growth for eBay.

And even if these sellers don't opt in to Promoted Listings, existing business sellers are likely to see their ad spend creep up as they compete for visibility with more consumer sellers flooding the category.

So far seller sentiment in the eBay UK community is mixed with the primary concern being that eBay still has a big problem with sellers who should be classified as businesses skirting the rules to remain "private" sellers instead, leaving legitimate business sellers in this category at a disadvantage.

FREE for Private Sellers to Sell Pre-Loved Clothing Items on .co.uk as of Today! *08/04
Hi folks, As from today, it’s now FREE for private sellers to sell any pre-loved clothing item listed from today or those pre-loved clothing items already listed which sell from today (8th April) will not be charged any basic listing fee’s or FVF’s. Optional extras fee’s still apply. Obvious items…

Excellent... The amount of people using PERSONAL accounts for BUSINESS operations is outrageous and this is just going to give them a further boost whilst hitting people like myself who are wanting to sell pre-loved clothes as a legitimate business.

No Fees for selling Clothing?
So Ebay has abolished all fees for selling clothing on a private account. Now more than ever surely the clamping down of businesses operating from private accounts has to increase? I feel so sorry for those in this niche who trade legitimately as businesses who are competing with “private” selle…

So Ebay has abolished all fees for selling clothing on a private account.

Now more than ever surely the clamping down of businesses operating from private accounts has to increase?

I feel so sorry for those in this niche who trade legitimately as businesses who are competing with "private" sellers who just got handed a massive chunk of money.

It's not unusual for eBay to test initiatives in smaller markets, so while this initiative is only in the UK at this time, it will not be surprising if something similar comes to the US later this year - in fact, the eBay careers page has also recently had an ad for a Director US C2C Selling and another for a Product Manager who will "be responsible for the Native listings experience for C2C sellers."

Besides the fee structure, what would you recommend the eBay should focus on to win back consumer to consumer and small business sellers to the platform? Let us know in the comments below!

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!