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The Dark Side of ebay sourcing from Charity shops

ebay charity shops

I knew this was going to be a ‘marmite’ type blog post as soon as I decided to write it.

I know who my audience generally is (people who want to easily earn money from home) and doing a post like this might grate with some of them but I still felt it was important to get out how I feel and it’s that I DO NOT AGREE WITH EBAY RESELLERS BUYING FROM CHARITY SHOPS!

I imagine this will be the reaction for a lot of you….

Just how damaging is eBay sourcing from charity shops?

Now there’s a good chance that this statement will go down like a lead balloon but there’s just something about buying items from charity shops and trying to turn a profit that doesn’t sit well with me.

It reminds me of a time in High School back in Norwich where we were doing what was known as ‘Charities Week’ which was when every year at the school we would do various activities to earn money for the Schools chosen charity and someone did a homemade bakery selling cakes her family had made for her to sell. This lad bought like 10 of the cakes and then sold them again for more money in a different room claiming it was for charity but instead he was keeping all the money and this is EXACTLY how I view eBay resellers buying from charity shops.

The whole thing can be very emotive as well for the person donating their items. I’ve had to use charity shops when someone has died and we’ve taken household goods to a charity shop that we wanted to support (usually connected with the reason they had died) and hope will help people who are in need, helping out eBay sellers isn’t something that comes into that thought process I can promise you!

Look at it from the point of view from someone just wanting to donate their items to charity. There is a reason they have decided to take their items to a charity shop in the first place which is usually around them choosing a charity that matched who they are trying to help.

What would they think if they knew their family items that they were wanting to donate to a charity are actually being used by others to turn a profit on eBay?

People are so passionate about charities that they help and these shops help so many different causes from Oxfam and Barnardos to the British Heart Foundation and The Brain Tumour Charity. There’s no doubt that these are all causes that people feel passionate about which is why they have decided to donate to them to help them out.

Then along comes the eBay reseller.

The Ebayer isn’t bothered about helping the charity in the instance. That’s just a side product of them choosing and buying items that they knew they can turn a profit on. I often wonder what would the person giving to charity think about this.

Would they think well maybe I shouldn’t bother with the charity shop anymore and I should just sell the items myself and then I can give even MORE money to charity which was my original intention which would be a disaster for a charity shop which relies 100% on local people.

Maybe I would feel OK about it if the eBayer seller was giving back to the charity but it’s not about helping the Brain Tumour trust is it. It’s about finding underpriced items in the shop and shoving it up on Instagram a few days later showing how much profit you made from it!

Someone has died, lost their home or given up these family items and here I am showing you how much they COULD have got from it!

There is the view that ‘well the charity shop gets their money so what’s to be upset about’ but I just think there is something slightly seedy about using a charity shop to source your items when charities are set up to help those less fortunate or in dire trouble. They are not there to help eBay resellers make thousands of pounds a year. 

Could eBay sellers not give a certain percentage back to the charity in their eBay sale? It’s easy enough to put in your listing!

There’s plenty of other places that eBay resellers could source their items from Jumble and Car Boot sales to full-blown auctions so it’s not like there aren’t other options out there for them to use.

I just can’t see how in the long run that it can’t have a negative effect on charity shops as either the donators will catch wind of what is going on want to stop donating themselves to earn more money to give to charity or the charity shop themselves catch wind of it and end up upping their prices for everyone since they know the items can sell for a lot more money than they are putting them out for.

Let me know your views below. I’m interested to see if I’m the only person who feels like this about eBay resellers hitting up charity shops to turn a profit from what they are selling.

Why not pin this image for later?

TMS Pinterest Charity Shop

27 thoughts on “The Dark Side of ebay sourcing from Charity shops”

  1. ‘The Ebayer isn’t bothered about helping the charity in the first place.’

    ^ What a load of crap.

    Some people, like me, who do the odd bit of re-selling, go to charity shops specifically to source items AND help charity.

    ‘charity shop themselves catch wind of it and end up upping their prices for everyone’

    You clearly don’t go in charity shops much. The likes of the British Heart Foundation charge a fortune for items. I’m talking £30 for £29 perfume gift sets, and people buy it as they assume the items are a bargain and ‘it is for charity’. They have money to pay staff and managers too.

    If you really feel sorry for the charities you might want to look at just how much money they spend on staff costs and other things.

    1. Relentlessly Purple

      Totally agree with you here. I can almost see his point but if you have given items you no longer need regardless of the reason then you should be pleased it sold and made the charity any money at all, plus if you sign up for gift aid they get extra for your donations too!
      Yes it may make the buyer a little extra cash but lets face it that cash will then be used to buy yet more items from charity shops. A lot of charities pass on so little and BHF are definitely the worst for charging ridiculous prices just to cover their own wages, rather than passing it on to those that need it and paying for much needed research. If you want your items to go to someone in need specifically there are other options such as arranging items to be dropped at local refuges, and mother & baby units etc.

  2. I hadn’t heard of people doing this until last week when someone mentioned a friend of theirs did it. At first I thought good for them and lucky if they gained money but after reading this post I think I have changed my mind. Its more the thought of families donating loved ones items and them then being sold on for money – it doesnt feel right and feels like the charity should be making money, not individuals. I think the jury will be out on this one.

  3. I help in a local charity shop and we get far more stock donated than we can possibly sell. We are pleased that Ebay sellers are happy to take some of it off our hands. However as a charity we also run our own Ebay shop and we send any thing we think will make a decent profit there. We also look at Ebay prices when pricing our own goods. The alternative is sending our unsold stock to book recyclers for 5p a book or textile recyclers for 50p a bag.

  4. Boudicca of Suburbia

    As you suggest, I donate items to a particular charity shop because I feel a personal connection with it. Not only does it not feel good for people to sell on those items for personal profit, but many people shop in charity shops to help make ends meet so it is taking those items out of their reach. So it is not just about raising money for the charity.

  5. I so agree with you! It does leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. People donate stuff to charity… it’s supposed to be all for charity right? Anything for personal gain has nothing to do with charity at all.

    1. Adam | Money Savvy Daddy

      As regards personal gain, look at what some of the top executives of these charities get paid, and that’s just the top ones.

      1. A key thing to consider with regards to executive pay, is that it tends to correlate with the level of responsibility that is required to effectively do the job. Oxfam, for example, runs thousands of programs globally, hundreds of stores, a new goods aspect as well as donated items aspects, it has it’s program. Everything has to be done with a great deal of care and attention, if it isn’t an organisation that big will very quickly fall apart – and as such the impact they have for the cause dissipates.

        Top charity executives are paid inline with the industry (actually slightly under for-profit equivalents), which enables the execs to focus on the job at hand, and to do their job effectively.

    2. Adam | Money Savvy Daddy

      Interest discussion. Marmite like you say 🙂

      I give to local Hospice charity shop. As far as I’m concerned they can price the items at whatever they like. I don’t mind who buys it

      Ebay reselling isn’t easy work. Many of these resellers are doing so for much needed extra cash and working hard for it in their own way.

      People have been sourcing bargains to resell from charity shops, such as vintage clothes, handbags etc especially in well to do areas for absolutely years.

      Where do you draw the line as regards someone being too wealthy to be buying from a charity shop because the goods themselves aren’t going to the neediest buyers?

      Most charities are run as businesses even if the ground level staff are volunteers. Top chief executives of Oxfam earn well over £100k a year. Many other charities pay their top executives a lot more than that.

      My point is, why do you draw the lines on how charity shops should operate from top to bottom?

      As long as money is getting to the right causes.

    3. I really don’t know how I feel about this. One on hand I feel like some items can be left in the shop for years and aren’t bought and these items can be made of use by ebay re sellers. On the other hand I can see what you mean by ebay re sellers benefiting for the product over the charity.

    4. I am in two minds with this, I would rather what I donate goes to charity for that good cause but then again having being in charity shops and worked in one, some stuff just accumulate and never gets sold.

    5. As some who donated to charity shops, I don’t mind. My items are our based to earn the charity shop money but if the ebayer can out the effort in and earn a profit the fair play go them. Win win in my eyes

    6. I haven’t actually ever thought about it before. I donate to charity shops on a regular basis -and I guess if people are buying them and then making the effort to make a profit, then thats fine for me 🙂

    7. I always donate to charity shops and I have to say, I actually don’t mind this. I love that they’re buying from charity shops, so charity shops still get the money. But if someone shops around and finds value in something and then sells it at a profit, in my eyes it’s ok. x

    8. I agree with you – maybe they could donate half the profit they make back to the charity then its a win-win for both.

    9. This is such a coincidence, I was having exactly this conversation with my husband yesterday. I think I would feel way too guilty if I didn’t at least share the profit!

    10. I work in a charity shop in an affluent area. We do get a lot of these re sellers (not necessarily Ebay) . Many of them travel to our area looking for bargains and we don’t mind them at all, they pay the same price as everyone else! Everything is thoroughly researched before it is priced, but we know that it will never fetch as much as does on Ebay (much wider audience/we can’t have stock sitting around for weeks on end), so we take what we think we will get. Aim of our game is get money in the till fast – that’s all that matters to our head office

    11. As someone who has volunteered for 3 different charity shops I have to say that your lack of knowledge about the subject is worrying. I would suggest you try volunteering in a charity shop for yourself to see how difficult it can be to simply raise funds as so much of what is donated has to be recycled because the items simply do not sell in the first place. I’d much rather a loved ones belongings earn money for a charity by selling to anyone than have the item recycled for pittance. Most charities have very clear guides about brands and pricing and often have eBay shops of their own. When something is sold for cheap more often then not it is because it had to be reduced for lack of interest.

      This post really does come across as very condescending. Please educate yourself.

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