10 tips for ebay buyers..

I’m a professional ebay buyer at this stage, having racked up almost 30 purchases. Mostly junk impulse buys i’ll admit, but i also got the odd gem like my casio exilim ex-s600 or my 2gb memory cards… some useful stuff.

Not one dud, not one non-delivery or scam. It’s all about knowing who to trust. Anyway, here’s a few tips i’ve picked up which may be of use if you’re trying to nab a certain product at a good price.

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Check the real life prices..

Before you go near ebay, make sure you know (roughly) the price of the product you want from official retail stores. There are guys on ebay who sell products for MORE than what the shops sell them for. Some people automatically assume ebay is the cheapest for everything but that’s not always the case.

Check the sellers feedback score..

Anything under 97% and i’d be wary. Anything under 20 feedback and i’d be wary. Also check who has left comments and their feedback, as clever scammers will bump their own feedback by opening new accounts and rating themselves.

Postage Costs..

This is a huge mistake most people make.. ALWAYS check the postage costs before you place a bid. In a lot of cases, the postage is dearer than the actual product, so be sure to combine the postage and price of the item before you bid.

If it’s high value, get it insured..

Anything over $100 in value and i’d insist on the seller getting it insured when posting.. even if it costs an extra few quid. If it’s not insured, the seller can pull the old ‘it got lost in the post’ trick and you’re left out of pocket and facing a long email/phone call/legal battle with paypal or the seller.. insurance gives you peace of mind.

See what the product is selling for in other auctions..

New ebayers have a habit of jumping straight in to an offer they think is great. Sit back and see what the product fetches at other auctions, so you’ll know what sort of price you can get things for. A 2 gig memory card at $40 might sound great, but why pay $40, when the average sells for $30? You get my drift..

Bid as late as possible..

Never bid early on an auction. That’s the biggest mistake you can make. Always leave your bid until the last possible moment. I’ve had bidding wars with people placing 3 bids in 30 seconds before the auction closes – clever buyers will never bid early as it encourages other people to bid too and thus it inflates the bidding. If no-one bid until the last minute, we’d all save a fortune 😉

Never bid above the amount you think something is worth..

It’s easy to get drawn in to a bidding war. But never go above what you can afford. There’ll always be other auctions. Patience is key when you’re a buyer on ebay. Good things come to those who wait.

Never leave feedback until the item arrives

Some sellers leave feedback as soon as they ship the product. Don’t feel under pressure to return the favour. Wait until the product arrives and make sure it’s what you expect. The auction only ends when the product arrives in your hands.

Careful of VAT/taxes

Never buy laptops/cameras/phones/bulky electrics from outside the EU or wherever your tax borders are.. I see this all the time on message forums.. you’ll be hit with all sorts of handling charges + VAT + all sorts of other charges. Remember, always buy within the EU or within your borders as you can ship goods around freely – no extra taxes/VAT.

Be prepared to wait..

Most auctions have no set times or dates on when they’ll post the item out and by what means (express, standard etc..) it’s pot luck in most cases. So never expect something you ordered today to be delivered 2 days from now.. if you need the item immediately, don’t buy it on ebay or if you do, insist on it being posted by express mail/next day delivery. Some items i’ve had delivered within 48 hours, others have been a few weeks. I’d always pick the cheapest postage option myself, and most sellers assume you want the cheapest option, but if you need the item ASAP, don’t be afraid to tell them.

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