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Buying through ebay

Updated on January 10, 2013

Ebay remains one of the best places to buy high quality products at affordable prices. Though you will hear many stories of those who were taken advantage of on Ebay. Such issues can be avoided, many times, by simply following a few steps to safe-guard yourself.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that Ebay is not one of your friends. In other words, they care about nothing more than collecting profit for themselves. The site advertises that they offer 100% buyer protection, which makes some feel as if they can kick back and relax, and if anyone steps out of line Ebay will handle them.

However, this is simply not the case. Paypal and Ebay are both concerned with obtaining profits, but in many cases if a customer complains about the quality of a product or that an item was not received, the companies will begin an investigation. In many cases, they will decide the buyer is due a refund.

Yet, if they are not able to recover your funds from the seller, they'll send an email to you explaining that they cannot help you. Obviously the email will not blatantly say this, but in different words they will reassure they are continuing the investigation; but it is more or less your loss.

Your best option is to use a credit card for making purchases via Ebay, because in the event you have an issue they will offer real buyer protection. Most mistakes are avoidable on Ebay by conducting a little research. For instance, make sure to check the seller's feedback section for any complaints from past customers. You will know if you can trust a seller if he or she has over 100 pieces of feedback and an average 98% rating. Just be sure to check if the feedback is recent and relevant to the product you are purchasing.

The importance of reading the item's description cannot be stressed enough. I will tell you that as a seller, the majority of customer complaints come from people simply not reading the item description. In addition, many will not have any idea of the shipping costs or time of delivery before making a purchase. Just remember to avoid such issues by simply reading the description, and asking the seller questions on anything not covered, or that you don't understand.

As with anything else, communication is the key to success. If you have an issue, you should always contact the seller immediately and inform them. If you don't give the seller the chance to fix the issue, and instead report the issue directly to Ebay, then you have betrayed the seller. Additionally, it is against the policies of Ebay to post negative feedback or open a case that goes against a seller if you have not first contacted the person.

Bear in mind that you get exactly what you pay for! No one is going to sell a real designer handbag on Ebay for a mere 10% of the product's worth. Additionally, you will never find an authentic iPad from Apple on Ebay for $25. If you think you will find these items at prices that cheap, then there is no helping you!

Understand exactly what you are purchasing! Ebay contains a lot of pirated goods. Many people who look on Ebay for designer brands know this, and are okay with it. In fact, some items are identical to the real products. If you wish to purchase a real designer handbag, then don't look on Ebay for less than $100!

Value Tips

It is not suggested that you purchase expensive, high-end electronics and other gadgets from Ebay. In fact, it's a good idea to avoid products such as Notebooks, computers, iPhones, iPads and other expensive items. You will get better buyer protection and value if you buy items like this from Amazon instead.

Don't give into impulse buys! It's very common for items on Ebay to sell for way more than they are actually worth sometimes. For instance, if your favorite NFL team wins the Superbowl, and you are looking for post-win memorabilia the next day, you will more than likely find a ton of auctions where the bids are double, triple or quadruple what they would normally sell for.

Look at the “buy it now” and Ebay store items. When you place a bid for an item, you should look to see if the seller has the items for sale in the form of a “buy it now” or Ebay store listing. It's common that auction bids can reach heights past that of what the same item listed as a “buy it now” item would go for.

Check if the seller has a personal website. Many times sellers will offer exact or similar items for cheaper prices on their own sites. This is mainly because they have fees to pay Ebay. As we explained above, you are protected fully, so long as you use Paypal payments that are backed by a credit card!


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    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      As an eBay seller myself, I thought you did a commendable job of advising buyers while honoring sellers. Thank you for sharing this. Best wishes to you for continued success on eBay as well as on HubPages.