Sell your unwanted Xmas presents online

Got a naff woolly jumper or some dodgy socks you don't want? John Fitzsimons reviews the best sites to flog them onto somebody who actually wants them!

The highlight of Christmas for me is actually Boxing Day, as that's the day all of my extended family get together to share presents.

And the reason it's always such a laugh is that my Nan is absolutely barking when it comes to buying Christmas presents. Many years ago she bought my father a plastic toy mobile phone as his present - two years ago my uncle got a single oven glove.

It's thanks to people like my Nan that online auction sites really started up - a place to flog your unwanted Christmas presents to people that might actually appreciate them.

But which is the best one?

The giant - eBay

Let's start with the site we have all heard of: eBay. Chances are, if you have ever felt the need to flog something online, this will be your first port of call.

And that's understandable - not only is it free to register with the site, it has an average of more than 14 million auctions going on at any one time. So if you want to reach a load of people with whatever it is you're selling, it's well worth a go.

If whatever you're selling is priced at less than 99p then you won't be charged a seller's fee, but anything above that level and you will have to fork out. Fees from private sellers (as opposed to people with their own eBay shop) start at 15p, and can go all the way up to £1.30.

You'll also have to hand over 10% of the winning bid to eBay, while if you want additional features to help your item sell, like photos or scheduling exactly when your product will be available for bids (up to three weeks in advance) then that will cost you as well.

You should also be aware you will need to accept payment via Paypal which has a less than spotless reputation.

In other words, selling on eBay has some big negatives, and the fees can soon start to rack up - though you are reaching a hell of a lot of people.

So what are the alternatives?

The challenger - eBid

The site making a play for eBay's crown is the imaginatively titled eBid.

With an average of one million auctions taking place at any time on eBid, it is much smaller than eBay, but that is still a healthy level of activity. Your items are also arguably less likely to disappear amidst other people's auctions as well.

However, it's the fee side where eBid really looks like an attractive alternative.

First of all, it's absolutely free to list your item, no matter how much it is being auctioned for. It then only costs you 3% of what you receive from your buyer (unless you want your item to be one of the 'featured' deals, which will set you back an additional £1).

It also offers different forms of auctions, which sound pretty intriguing, like a Dutch auction. This comes in particularly handy if you are selling a number of identical items, and is also great for buyers - all buyers pay the lowest successful bid price. There's a good explanation of how it works on the eBid FAQ section.

I really like the eBid offering, and should Nan choose to bless me with the single oven glove this year, it's probably where I'll try to flog it.

But if you're trying to get rid of unwanted gifts, you aren't solely limited to auction sites.

Shipping out your presents on Amazon

I've only ever sold books on Amazon, but the process was exceptionally smooth.

Sellers can list items on the Amazon Marketplace website, and do not pay a penny to do so, which is a bonus.

However you will face a referral fee of 17.25% on the price of any items you manage to sell, as well as a variable shipping fee depending on what you are selling and where it is being shipped to.

Going for Gumtree

Another option you might want to consider is Gumtree.

It is an online classified website, which covers around 60 different cities worldwide.

It doesn't cost you anything to list an item, though you don't pay online - chances are you will need to meet with the buyer and perform the exchange in person. Gumtree has a Stay Safe guide on its website full of tips on how to do this as smoothly as possible.

Freecycle works in a similar way and if you want to you can charge people for the items.

While it's good if you want to get rid of an old settee or fridge, personally I wouldn't opt to use Gumtree for selling my unwanted Xmas presents. I'd much prefer to list it on an auction site than have to meet up with a random stranger to hand over a ropey looking pair of socks.

Car boot

If you can't find a new home for your gifts, you could always recycle them for the next time you need to get a present or give them to charity. A car boot sale is another option if you've got a lot of unwanted gifts.


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