QXL.com proclaims that it has hosted “UK auctions since 1997.” The site actually has a much wider reach. It is a pan-European auction community serving ten countries with sites in several languages. QXL's stated mission is “to provide the essential e-marketplace for buyers and sellers across Europe.” Only users with a European shipping address and credit card information can register to buy and sell. The QXL sites are as follows:
If a buyer and a seller have difficulty understanding each other's language, QXL will help translate.
Like Yahoo!, Overstock, and many others, QXL provides auction venues and leaves the interactions and transactions mostly to the buyers and sellers. QXL collects fees when an item is listed for sale and when it is sold. To get a quick overview of what is on the QXL site, click on the Helpdesk tab on the main screen. This will take you to the QXL Customer Service Help Center page.
Registration supposedly takes “less than a minute,” and it really does — at least on the first registration page. To start the process, click on the Register button on the QXL site.
The promised “less than a minute” can stretch into several minutes on the second registration page. Here, you are required to enter some personal information and an e-mail address and also create a password and an alias to use on the QXL auction sites. Once you are registered, other users will be able to click on your alias to find out some information about you.
QXL advertises that it “verifies” each seller. How does the verification process work? According to QXL: “We dispatch a special letter with an activation code, which must be entered within 30 days. If the activation code is not entered within this period, the selling account is closed. To become a seller on QXL.com the activation code must be requested and entered.” Sellers pay listing fees that vary by auction price, and if an item sells, QXL deducts a “success fee” from money paid to the seller. The costs to sell are specified on the site's How much does it cost? page.
Free Buyer Insurance
The site's free buyer insurance is subject to some restrictions that may sound a bit odd at first: “Any member that has overall positive ratings, who transacts with a seller that has eleven or more positive ratings and has four or more stars at the time of transaction, is covered by the QXL guarantee.”
Fortunately, an illustration provides a helpful translation on the QXL Buyer guarantee page:
QXL's insurance covers individual items that had winning bids of between £50 and £100 and are (a) not delivered or are (b) substantially different from what was described in the listing. Multiple items from the same auction, with winning bids between £50 per item up to a maximum of £1,000 in total, also are covered. The insurance does not cover damage caused during shipping, QXL points out.
Cross-Cultural Sales Restrictions
Because it operates in several different countries, QXL faces more restrictions than most online auction sites encounter. The following types of items cannot be sold on QXL:
Items that may infringe on local laws
Items that are subject to surveillance
Items that have to be approved for sale in each country
For more detailed listings of the banned items, contact QXL and its auction sites in other countries.