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Tips For Buying on eBay
I have been buying and selling on eBay for many years. While the vast majority of transactions have been wonderful, I have been burned a few times. Sometimes it is my own fault, other times it is the fault of the seller. Either way it is NOT fun to have a transaction go bad. Here are some tips I have come up with to do everything I can to prevent a transaction from going wrong.
- Do your research. Before trying to win an auction on eBay you need to know exactly what you are looking for. Research how much the item is elsewhere (either new or used) and how much the item has sold for on eBay. In order to find out how much an auction ended at you need to have an account with eBay. Log into your account and do an advanced search for the item you want. Check the box that says "Completed Listings" and search. This will show you exactly what the final price was for an item.
- Once you know the going rate you can decide the maximum amount you are willing to pay. This should be a total that includes both the item and the shipping. Maybe you will find the item with free shipping and will be willing to pay a bit more. Or maybe you find the perfect item but the shipping is high. Adjust your bid accordingly. Stick to the amount you have decided and don't get caught up in the auction. This will prevent regrets later.
- When searching for an item on eBay you need to read the fine print very carefully. Read every word of the auctions you are interested in. Pay close attention to the condition of the item, the cost of the shipping, payment methods accepted and the item details. This will prevent you from being surprised when the auction ends or after you receive the item.
- Ask questions before the auction ends. If you have any doubts or questions at all, don't assume anything. Always ask. Most sellers check their email frequently and will get back to you in a timely manner.
- Read the seller's feedback. Don't just go by the feedback score (although it is very helpful) because it doesn't tell you everything. By looking closely at the numbers and the comments you can tell if the seller is honest, timely, deceiving, slow, a poor communicator, and more. I will only bid on auctions from reputable sellers. If someone only has a few feedback, I will typically pass that auction over. I also want a seller to have a very high positive rating.
- Pay for your item right away. If you delay your payment, the shipping will be delayed and can create hard feelings between the buyer and seller. It is also easier for a seller to keep up with things if the payment is made right away.
- Be patient and give the seller time to get the item to you. They don't need you bugging them just two days after the auction ends. If you have read the fine print in the auction carefully you will know when to expect shipping and arrival. I would give it a week unless you paid for overnight delivery.
- If you don't receive your item in a timely manner or you receive the wrong item email the seller. Stick to the facts and be polite. We all make mistakes sometimes. We can't control how the box was handled and that the plates got broken. We can't control something getting lost in the mail. Most good sellers will do everything they can to fix any problems as quickly as possible. If you followed tip #4 then you should be dealing with a good seller.
- Make sure you leave honest feedback when the transaction is over. This will help others have good experiences on eBay as well.