There’s a lot of equipment you don’t need to have for long. And in some cases, the answer is to rent that equipment, but only a small subset of stuff is available for rental, especially at a good price.
So one alternative is what I would call a “ReBay” — buy something used, typically via eBay, and then after done with it, sell it there again. In an efficient market, this costs only the depreciation on the unit, along with shipping and transaction fees. Unlike a rental, there is little time cost other than depreciation.
For some items, like DVDs and Books and the like we see companies that cater specially to this sort of activity, like Peerflix and Bookmooch and the like. But it seems that eBay could profit well from encouraging these sorts of markets (while vendors of new equipment might fear it eats into their sales.)
Here are some things eBay could do to encourage the ReBay.
- By default, arrange so that all listings include a licence to re-use the text and original photographs used in a listing for resale on eBay. While sellers could turn this off, most listings could now be reusable from a copyright basis.
- Allow the option to easily re-list an item you’ve won on eBay, including starting from the original text and photos as above. If you add new text and photos, you must allow your buyer to use them as well.
- ReBays would be marked however, and generally text would be added to the listing to indicate any special wear and tear since the prior listing. In general an anonymised history of the rebaying should be available to the buyer, as well as the feedback history of the seller’s purchase.
- ReBayers would keep the packaging in which they got products. As such, unless they declare a problem with the packaging, they would be expected to charge true shipping (as eBay calculates) plus a very modest handling fee. No crazy inflated shipping or flat rate shipping.
- Since some of these things go against the seller’s interests (but are in the buyer’s) it may be wise for eBay to offer reduced auction fees and paypal fees on a reBay. After all, they’re making the fees many times on such items, and the paypal money will often be paypal balance funded.
- Generally you want people who are close, but for ReBaying you may also prefer to pass on to those outside your state to avoid having to collect sales tax.
- Because ReBayers will be actually using their items, they will have a good idea of their condition. They should be required to rate it. No need for “as-is” or disclaimers of not knowing what if it works.
This could also be done inside something like Craigslist. Craigslist is more popular for local items (which is good because shipping cost is now very low or “free”) though it does not have auctions or other such functionality. Nor is it as efficient a market.