There are alternatives to eBay...but most of them are not so good
Many auction sites have come and gone over the years, but most have not had the staying power to be a real contender to eBay. I used to frequent two of these sites in the past -- Overstock Auctions and Yardsellr -- and, not surprisingly, they are now dust in the wind. Although they were decent auction websites, there was just no way to compete with auction powerhouse eBay. I have also tried others over the years, but very few have been memorable enough for me to even take note. However, one auction website has caught my eye recently called Listia.com. They are not trying to compete with eBay (because honestly, who can?); they are just hoping to carve out their own little slice of the auction industry pie.
What is Listia?
Listia is an auction website that uses a credit based system for transactions instead of cash. You earn credits by selling items at auction and referring friends using your referral code. You can also click on the Facebook and Twitter buttons to promote auctions when they present themselves. Use your credits to bid on other auctions, participate in raffles and/or redeem them for gift cards or other items in the Rewards Store. You can purchase credits from Listia, but you are not allowed to later cash them out because they have no value outside of the site.
What are the pros and cons of using Listia?
- The site uses a credit based system instead of cash which makes transactions easier than going through a third party payment system.
- They have a large community of reputable sellers that are selling almost anything you can think of for site credits. Most sellers are very professional and are willing to give additional information on items they sell.
- The website is well-designed and has nice functionality. They have worked out most of the bugs over the last few years and I usually have no issues with it.
- Listia has been around for approximately 3 years and has only been gaining in popularity -- which means it will not be disappearing anytime soon.
- There are ways to verify yourself as a quality seller to show you are not out to scam anyone.
- It is easy to join Listia through FaceBook (although an FB account is not needed to join) and control the content that gets posted to your wall.
- You can ask the sellers many questions before making your decision to bid on anything.
- Listia encourages its sellers to have free shipping and gives them more visibility for doing so.
- You can earn credits by selling items for credits, referring friends or by clicking Facebook and Twitter promotion links that appear at random times while you are looking at items people have listed.
- You can use your credits to bid on auctions, buy items in the rewards store (with free shipping) or participate in raffles.
- You can be part of a great community of buyers and sellers and even come to view some of them as friends.
- I have purchased several items from the Rewards Store in the past and usually had the gift card codes sent with promptness (sometimes within hours) along with the physical items sent within 10 days.
- You must choose the sellers whose auctions you are going to bid on very carefully because just like the other auction sites, there are people who will take advantage of you.
- Although Listia encourages its members to ship everything for free, sellers are allowed to charge shipping if they choose. The problem is Lista has nothing to do with the collection of shipping charges and arrangements must be made between buyer and seller. The most popular payment methods are by Paypal or “hidden” cash. If you send someone cash and your arrangement falls through, it is up to the buyer and seller to once again make arrangements to refund the shipping money.
- If you ever feel you have been scammed, there is a system in place that allows Listia to hear both sides and refund credits if warranted. The problem is they are sometimes swamped with requests and the back and forth process could take several days to resolve.
- According to the terms of service that Listia provides, credits earned have no value outside the site and cannot be converted into cash.
- Some sellers are out to scam people out of their credits and have no actual products or gift cards to sell. (However, if you follow the rules Listia has established, it is far more difficult to be scammed.)
- You are not allowed to edit or change a listing in any way once it has a bid. This could present a problem if you start the bidding at 0 credits and the first bid begins at 1 credit. No changes can be made once you realize you may have messed up.
- If you are finding it difficult to get credits by selling items at auction, you can always purchase them from Listia. Just be aware that credits sold through Listia are very expensive.
- I have had some bad experiences by not getting the amount of credits I presumed my product was going to sell for. As with any auction site, you never know what the final price will be until the auction is over.
- The unofficial value for site credits is 1000 credits = $1.00. This value is generally used because a $1.00 increment of a gift card is equal to 1000 credits in the rewards store. You will find values for the same credits fluctuating wildly with different sellers.
You get a final bid of 800 credits for your graded baseball card that you evaluated at $6.00. In addition to not getting the full credit price you wanted, you still have to cover the shipping cost of the item. Unless clearly stated, the winner must pay for shipping. (The downside to charging for shipping is most people will only seriously look at auctions with free shipping and you will probably get a lower bid)
What is the Member’s Rewards Store?
The Rewards Store has several different sections where items can be purchased by credits and sent with free shipping. The sections are Electronics, Home and Garden, Movies and TV shows, gift cards, sporting goods, toys & hobbies, video games & consoles and finally reward auctions. Items such as ipods and gift cards are added to the rewards store daily and some, such as the gift cards, are very hard to get. Listed below are items featured recently in the Listia Rewards Store.
Recent additions to the Rewards Store:
- LG 32” class LED TV
- Panasonic Viera 32” class TV
- Barnes and Noble Nook HD Tablet
- 7 different iPod Shuffle 2GB MP3 Players
- Several high end ear buds of all brand types
- Digital cameras
- Tablet computers
- Amazon $100.00 gift card
- Amazon $75.00 gift card
- Amazon $50.00 gift card
- Amazon $25.00 gift card
- Nordstrom $50.00 gift card
- Best Buy $50.00 gift card
- Best Buy 25.00 gift card
- Sephora $50.00 gift card
- Starbucks $35.00 gift card
- Tons of games and toys for children
- Sony Playstation Vita
- Xbox 360 250GB game console
- Nintendo Wii game console
- Nintendo 3DS XL
- Tons of video games for all types of gaming systems
- Daily $50.00 and $20.00 Amazon rewards auctions
**The items listed above are only the items listed in the Rewards Store run by Listia. These items do not include the thousands of auction items that members of Listia currently have up for bid.
The meat of the potatoes
I personally like Listia and interacting with the community, but I know it is not going to be for everyone. The credit based system Listia uses might cause many to shy away and not even give it a try. I have also not covered many other pros and cons people have had with Listia. Some people claim it is a scam while others say they love everything about the site. I think the same could be said about almost any website that runs auctions. I have even been on eBay before and easily identified many auctions/scams that Administration did not remove or others with bids that looked suspicious. Listia does have its fair share of scammers as well, but you can usually avoid them (if you follow the rules) and still enjoy your Listia experience.