11 ways to boost eBay's 'Sell for £1 max' promos

There are four little words every eBayer wants to land in their inbox: 'Sell for £1 max'. The e-commerce giant can be a seller's paradise, but it typically takes 10% of the final price, including postage – yet the coveted 'Sell for £1 max' promo can slash what you pay. 

Roughly every fortnight, eBay* caps fees at £1 for many sellers, and it's happening this weekend. The promos usually run for two to four days and savings can be huge, as David told us on Facebook:

By listing on a 'Sell for £1 max' weekend, I saved fees of £124 on a £1,250 camera.

Of course, you can flog items for free via Facebook Marketplace and its local selling groups – read our Facebook Selling guide for a how-to. However, if you prefer eBay, and want to pay as little in fees as possible, read on.

The £1 promo sounds simple enough – but people often get caught out by the finer rules. So here are the 11 key need-to-knows to keep as much of your profit as possible. Also see our full eBay Selling guide for more ways to get the cash rolling in.

The tips below are based on the fees for private sellers, rather than business sellers. Also, while we've based these tips on previous terms and eBay's feedback, do read the promo terms each time as they can vary by user.

The 'Sell for £1 max' promo can slash hefty eBay seller fees

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A common question is 'aren't eBay listings free anyway?' Unfortunately, the answer's no. It's free to put items up for sale (well, for the first 1,000 listings, but that isn't an issue for most folk). Yet you pay a 'final value fee' if it sells – 10% of the sale price including, slightly annoyingly, the postage charge.

The 'Sell for £1 max' promos cap the final fee at a quid for invited users, usually for a max of 100 listings (it excludes items listed in the cars, vehicles and property categories).

As an example, sell a Lego Star Wars Death Star for £300 and you'd normally pay £30 in fees. With the promo, you'd pay just £1.

There's a promo this weekend

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There's a ‘sell for £1 max’ promo this weekend for many users, running from Friday 13 to 11.59pm Monday 16 November. 

Sadly, not every promo's open to everyone – they're targeted at certain users. To check if you're eligible, click the link and log on to eBay - it should say 'activate offer'.

Judging by replies from our Facebook users when we posted a £1 promo two months ago, about 70% of users are invited each time. However, it could be more, as some might not have checked their eBay account for a different, personalised offer. (See how to check if it's hidden in your eBay account.)

When we asked eBay how it decides who's eligible, it unsurprisingly wouldn't share specifics, saying: "This is up to eBay's discretion".

You must actively accept the offer or you won't get it

A short but crucial tip – always hit the 'activate now' button on the promo invitation page to be eligible. It's easy to forget this, but if you don't click, you'll pay full whack.

No invite? Check your eBay account's hidden promos

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If you spot an invitation link in the forum and it turns out you're not eligible, don't despair. You may have a similar promo tucked away in the hidden goldmine of eBay's sellers' promo section.

Log on to eBay, then go to 'My eBay', 'Selling' and scroll down to 'Selling Promotions' at the bottom. Many times, I've been ineligible for a promo link I saw on the forum, but a valid £1 promo's cropped up in there instead.

Importantly, double-check closer to the weekend. I've often been invited on Friday, when others were invited to the party on Thursday.

Another place to look is your eBay message inbox (click 'My eBay' on the top right, then 'Messages', then filter by 'From eBay').

Sell on your partner's account

Still not invited? If you have a trusted partner and they're offered the deal, you could list a few things on their account instead.

Prioritise high-end items

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If you've a lot to sell, list your pricier wares first over promo weekends. For example, if you sold a ring for £200, you'd usually pay £20 in final value fees (more if you posted). With this offer, you'd pay £1.

If you sold a bobble hat for £3 with £3 postage, you'd pay 60p. That said, you won't lose out by selling cheaper items, as it's a maximum of £1, not a flat £1.

Occasionally, instead of a 'max £1 fee', eBay runs a promo for a flat percentage instead, eg, 'Enjoy 2% selling fees'. This is a great time to cut lower-value items' fees. For example, sell some sandals for £5 and you'd normally pay 50p (more if you posted them). Here, you'd pay 5p.

Draft a bunch of listings now and set them to go live over the promo

It's not when you create your listing that counts, it's when it goes live. To be included in the promo, listings need to start in the time period specified on the invite. (This time that means from 00.01am this Friday 13 to 11.59pm Monday 16 November.)

Handily, eBay lets you create your listings and set them to go live at a future time for free, so you can create heaps in advance. To schedule a listing, select the 'Schedule to start on' option on the listings page.

Don't forget you still need to click to activate the promo before that listing starts.

'Buy-it-now' listings must sell within the first 30 days to count...

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All eBay items with fixed 'buy-it-now' prices now stay up until they sell (or you cancel the auction). Yet they need to sell within the first 30 days to benefit from the 'Sell for £1 max' promo.

Thus if you're accepting 'best offers' on an item, it's better to accept a few quid less just before the 30 days are up to avoid a 10% final value fee. For example, you'd normally pay £5 in fees on a £50 coat, so it could be better to accept £47 before the deadline and only pay £1 in fees.

… but don't try to game this

You might ask: "Can't I just cancel all my 'buy-it-nows', then relist them to get the promo?" However, when we asked eBay if people could cancel and relist everything just to get the offer, it said: "We consider this abuse, and we'd discourage users from doing it. If a user breaches our policies we do have to take enforcement action, which can be in the form of a warning, suspension or ban".

While eBay didn't say this, I would guess systematically cancelling buy-it-nows and relisting during £1 weekends might result in fewer promo invites.

List as much gear as possible – you can usually perfect descriptions later

Another common question is: "If you edit a listing after it's gone live, does the £1 promo still work?" People often want to list as many things as possible before the deadline, and hone photos and descriptions later. When we asked eBay, it said editing was fine, even after the promo period's ended - and we couldn't see any terms excluded edited items in this week's promo.

That said, in the past some promos have included in the terms that you can't edit items, so double-check your specific offer.

Don't tick the 'automatically relist' box

When you list an auction (either inside or outside a promo period), you can tick a box telling eBay to 'automatically relist if it doesn't sell'. However, items that have been automatically relisted don't qualify for cheap-fee offers (they do if they sell within the first auction period).

eBay told us: "Manual relists are included in the promos. The user needs to manually relist within the promo period". To do this, go to 'Selling', 'Sold', find the relevant closed auction, then hit the 'Relist' button.