Catawiki is an auction website startup based in The Netherlands, and rapidly expanding worldwide. It specializes in rare and collectible objects. There are a lot of reasons for its great success, but it also makes people immediately wonder, is it all too good to be true? Let’s find out!
We personally have had a good experience with Catawiki as both a buyer and a seller. If you have been following us for some time, you may have noticed that we sell our items solely on Catawiki. We’ve ditched Ebay and local classifieds websites.
Want to buy something off Catawiki?
Found an item you like on Catawiki? Just make a bid on it, and if you’re lucky, its yours! All you have to do is pay for it, and it will arrive on your doorstep. That’s how easy buying something on Catawiki is.
After you have paid for it, the seller simply gets your address details, so he knows where to ship the item. In some cases it’s also possible to pick up the items locally, for example, large, very valuable or very fragile items.
We’ve found Catawiki to be very easy to use from a buyers perspective. It’s not as cluttered as Ebay, and doesn’t come with the hassle of making deals through classifieds.
Although some items go for top dollar, you can get really lucky. We’ve recently got a very cool pinball machine for a great price ourselves! 🙂
The seller is obliged to send you the object within 3 business days, so you can be sure to get your item in time.
Furthermore, all auctions start at €1,- and often don’t have a reserve price. There is a 9% buyers fee over the total price, which in our opinion is very reasonable, especially compared to other websites.
In our experience the sellers are very friendly and knowledgeable people.
Our tips for buying something off Catawiki
Inspect the photo’s and description of the item really well. This to avoid disappointment, because a winning bid is binding. If you’re interested in a really expensive object, seeing it in person first might be a good idea. This will usually not be a problem if you contact the seller.
Also, check where the seller is located, and what the shipping cost will be. A good deal might not be so good anymore if you have to pay a lot of shipping.
Want to sell something on Catawiki?
Catawiki is also very user friendly from a sellers perspective. Putting something up for auction is really easy to do. You go through an easy to follow wizard, after which the item is checked and appraised by a qualified auctioneer. There is a minimum requirement on the value of the object. The estimated value of the object should be at least €75 (~$85 at the time of writing), or it will be denied for the auction. It’s an auction website for rare and collectible items after all.
You can make a guess at the value yourself, but be real in your guess. If the item is worth over €200 (~$228 US Dollars at time of writing), then the auctioneer will include an appraisal on the auction page of your item. These estimations are really rough. If your item is worth over €200, you can also set a reserve price. But auctions always start at €1,-. There is no starting bid or buy-it-now price.
There isn’t the hassle of creating a custom ad template like there is on Ebay, where every ad is different. Every auction looks the same.
There’s an auction for every category every week. Because there is a limited amount of items in every auction, you can be sure your item gets the exposure it needs. Catawiki also takes on the off-site promotion, promoting your items on local classifieds websites or Facebook.
This in comparison to Ebay, where we felt our items didn’t get the exposure they needed, resulting in auctions with bad end results. We didn’t know if our auctions were properly visible worldwide when offered on the Dutch version of Ebay, and when using the US version, other issues arose. With Catawiki you can be sure your items get the right exposure, because of the limited amount of items in each weekly auction, and the fact that everyone around the world sees those same items.
This brings us to something that might be a small issue to some. Catawiki automatically assumes that you can ship your items worldwide. Although you can set a shipping price for the most common countries, and a price for worldwide shipping, this might still be a bit problematic in some cases. For example, what if the buyer buys a large item from you, and shipping said large item to the country of the buyer is not possible/feasible?
We’ve not have yet had such issues that affected us negatively, and of course you can contact the buyer, or Catawiki regarding such issues. But it is something to keep in mind.
Another odd thing is, we once had to ship a package to Monaco, which is considered as shipping to France by the postal service. But instead of charging the fee for shipping to France, Catawiki charged the buyer with the worldwide fee, which was twice as high.
Our tips for selling items on Catawiki
Take really good photos of your object. Not only will the buyers know what they’re bidding on, it will also cover you in case something goes wrong during transport for example. Preferably even take a video of the object, and show that it works (if applicable).
In addition to the photo’s, mention any defects in your description as well. Be as detailed as you can, and include dimensions, weight and any applicable specifications. Mention some backstory about the object or the manufacturer (if its obscure). Include where the item is located for local pickup.
Always choose for insured shipping when shipping your items. You have to enter the shipping cost for various locations when creating your auction. Make sure you have this info at hand. Obviously package your items properly, or have a professional packaging service do it for you (like we do).
Contacting the Catawiki customer service
Luckily, we didn’t really have the need to contact the Catawiki customer service regarding important issues. We had some small questions though, which were answered unexpectedly fast and to full satisfaction. You can also contact Catawiki through phone. We had to call them once, and although there was a bit of a waiting time, the customer service was friendly and correct, and resolved our issue.
When we first used Catawiki, we thought the “auctioneer” and the “auctioneer’s estimated price” were just fake gimmicks to increase the amount of bids on an auction. That’s totally untrue however. It’s a real person for every auction category that actually inspects every item offered. You can send the auctioneer a message directly, or when creating your auction, and he will personally send you a response to your questions or remarks.
Catawiki is certainly not a scam, we’ve personally had a very good experience with it as both a buyer and a seller. We highly recommend it! We do fear however, that continues growth of the website might make it less interesting than it is right now. That said, get at it “while it’s hot”.