eBay Discontinues the Used Cologne & Perfume Category


Used, sample-sized and discontinued perfumes, used to be a major (and highly profitable) category on eBay.   That ended today.

The change was “instant,” giving sellers no time to plan or reduce inventory.  One seller I exchanged email with said, “she is awaiting shipment on a large purchase  she just made from another eBay seller.” The shipment contains over 20 bottles of famous name brand perfumes she will now be stuck with.

So, what do sellers do now?  It turns out all is not lost (for a while at least).

eBay also did something strange.  When the listing change hit,  all existing listings — no matter what condition was stated, the listing condition was  either blanked out or changed to “New with Box.”  So, if you have any listings it is important you do two things:  First, go into your listings and change the condition.  Secondly, you can move your items to a different category.  That is the <<Vanity, Perfume, and Shaving<< subcategory of Collectibles. Used items are still allowed there (for the time being at least). However, it remains to be seen if someone searches the term “used perfume,” if the listing will be served up in the new subcategory.

Why did eBay do this?

Well, over the past few months, major scent companies have approached eBay with complaints.  And, when a major company approaches eBay, they get attention with no regard given to small sellers.  The brand name perfume companies have their largest distributors set up eBay accounts as a way to block other sellers.  When you list a discontinued or used perfume, they file an Intellectual Property Complaint, thereby blocking the small to medium seller by telling eBay that the seller is not an authorized reseller.

This is not over.  In the long run, I believe eBay will eventually block sellers in the collectibles subcategory and kill this market altogether.  So my advice is to aggressively clear out your inventory and move on to something else.

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