FS Auctions
CQ Auctions


There is a wealth of auction sites that could relieve you of unwanted Christmas presents, if youíre brave (or mercenary) enough to flog Aunty Ednaís tasteless offerings.

First, choose your user ID carefully ó Donutbrain21 is unlikely to inspire confidence in a potential buyer. Next, donít underestimate the importance of including a photograph: it will increase your chances of achieving a good price.

Asking a low price will attract more bidders, and therefore increase your chances of making a good profit. Buyers who are unsure about an item should e-mail the seller before the sale. And remember, auctions are legally binding.


Price: Ebay has no price restrictions. A Vietnam War souvenir lighter, £8; a 1975 VW Beetle, £1,000.

Time: Auctions can last from three to ten days.

Fee to place an item:  60p for items worth between £15 and £29.99; £1.25 for items over £30. Make yours a feature with eye-catching bold letters for an additional charge.

Description: With more than five million auctions live at any time, Ebay is the largest and most comprehensive online auction site. Browsing is free but to start bidding or selling you have to register for a password and ID. Pay by credit card, cheque or postal order.

To sell: Submit a description of your item and, if possible, a digital photograph. Setting a reserve price is optional.

To buy: Before you bid you are advised to check a sellers reputation by clicking on his Feedback record. Then type in the maximum you are prepared to pay for the item, which is kept secret from other bidders. The highest bidder is notified by e-mail at the end of the auction and the buyer and seller must contact each other to complete the transaction within three working days.

Added extras: The site incorporates fraud protection for buyers on items up to £120.

The catch: The seller will almost invariably expect the buyer to pay for postage and packing on top of the winning bid.


Price: Gucci sunglasses, £22; Nokia 8310 mobile phone, £49.

Time: Auctions can last from 24 hours to ten days.

Fee to place an item: 30p per listing, plus 30p per auction where the reserve price is higher than the starting price. If the auction ends successfully this fee will be refunded.

Description: QXL claims to be the safest and easiest auction site in Europe, although with its complicated instructions not to mention a tricky star-rating system for sellers this is a moot point. You need to register your credit card details before you can buy or sell.

To sell: Submit a description and photograph, if possible. Setting starting and reserve prices is mandatory. You can choose to be notified via text message when your item is sold.

To buy: You can check out the highest bids before you join an auction and there is a Buy Now option if you want to buy an item immediately rather than bid against other members.

Added extras: The site offers insurance up to £750 according to the sellers star-rating.

The catch: Again, buyers need to check if delivery charges are included in the price.


Price: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera, £250; Sony Vaio computer, £950.

Time: Auctions can last from 24 hours to ten days.

Fee to place an item: For items below £500, the price per listing is 4 per cent of the total value. For items above £500, the price is 1 per cent of total value.

Description: FS Auctions is Freeserves online auction site. With everything from diet pills to Encyclopaedia Britannica, it is similar to a car boot sale. Browsing is easy and the huge range of items means its easy to pick up a bargain. With most items, buyers dont have to part with credit card details until a bid is accepted.

To sell: After submitting a description and optional photograph, you can choose to sell your item for a fixed price or open it to bidders. You can also opt for a Quick Sale, whereby the item is sold to the first bidder who meets your threshold price. Setting a reserve price is optional.

To buy: Clicking on an item brings up the opening bid and current highest bid. Winning bidders are notified by e-mail, but must then visit the site to collect the sellers details.

Added extras: The site runs special auctions that are exclusive to registered members.

The catch: Reserve prices are not disclosed to bidders. The site offers no insurance on sales.


Price: 9ct gold opal & ruby ring, £47; BT Paragon Digital Ansaphone, £25.

Time: Auctions can last from one day to three weeks.

Fee to place an item: Sellers must pay a 1 registration fee; afterwards, selling is free. You can make your item a feature on the site for an additional 2 per auction.

Description: With an attractive design and short-scrolling pages, CQ Auctions is the most user-friendly site we found.

To sell: If you are selling coins, stamps or books, the site has minimum quality requirements, otherwise, submit a description and optional photograph.

To buy: Check the sellers user rating before bidding. Then enter the minimum bid for that item, or the maximum you are prepared to spend, which is kept secret from other bidders. If you are outbid, you will be notified by e-mail.

Added extras: You can opt to buy through the SecurePay system, whereby the site acts as a third party on sales taking delivery of goods and checking quality before payment for an additional 10 per cent of the sale value.

The catch: If you opt out of SecurePay, the site offers no insurance, instead, rogue traders have their membership revoked.

Copyright 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd. This service is provided on Times Newspapers' standard terms and conditions. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material from The Times, visit the Syndication website.
January 04, 2002
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