Are You An Educated Buyer?

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Are You An Educated Buyer

A Guide to Buying Intelligently on eBay

Be Patient

DO NOT CLICK THAT BUY BUTTON IMMEDIATELY. Yes, I know it can be fun & exciting buying stuff off eBay at really good prices. But you need to make sure you do all the necessary research beforehand. It could save you (& sometimes the seller) a lot of trouble. Check the seller's ratings. 100% good feedback on 10+ items sold (not bought) is definitely a good sign. Make sure you check the amount of "mutual withdrawals" -- a lot of these in proportion to feedbacks generally can indicate trouble. Look through ALL the detail now. Where's the item located (Australia, HK, US -- they mightn't always make this clear even though they should)? How much is postage? Is insurance offered? If so, how much? Is the product actually what you think it is (eBook or physical book; ipod or just how to win one etc)?  Is it actually new or has the packaging being opened despite the "never used, really!"?

Research, Research & Research

Generally speaking, the higher the prices go, the more time you need to dedicate to doing the appropriate research. When you're buying on eBay, you have the luxury of doing your research through many great sites to make sure you're well-informed. It's not like going to a bookshop where you have to skim through the book or just look at the cover to decide that you're going to buy it. You can use Amazon.com where people have actually *read* most of the book & can give very useful opinions. Look at the ratings there too. Generally, be wary of any products that get ratings under 4 stars on Amazon. Especially, if there's been 20+ votes on the book reviews, then it's definitely not a good sign. Amazon.com is a great place to visit for a whole bunch of products you want reviews on (mobiles, TVs, DVDs, CDs, etc) because so many people use it & share their experiences there (make sure you don't base your decision solely on reviews though -- they can be misleading at times). Another is Cnet.com or cnet.com.au for various electronics. A lot of sellers sell products that aren't very good & people have had bad experiences which they usually report on amazon or cnet -- this is why it's important for you to read up. For gaming reviews for all platforms, use gamesspot.com; for any other types of products, just Google it ("[product name] + reviews") -- you'll be surprised at the amount of reviews written for products you'd think noone would care about.

It always amazes me to see people that bid over the RRP. That to me shows carelessness. It takes one minute max to find the RRP. Don't rely on what the sellers say. Find out for yourself. Remember, you're here to get a bargain, right? Once again, just Google(.com.au) the product & voila! Make sure you're looking at the currency & URL. If it's .com, .net, or the like, check to see if it says "$ US". If it doesn't (which happens a lot as you can imagine), look for the address. In most cases, if it doesn't have the -.au at the end, it'll be a US price. If it has -.co.uk, then it will be in pounds unless otherwise stated.

Look at the amount of bids there as well -- it's an easy way to delegate some of your research! If it's ridiculously cheap & with no bids for a product that you'd think people would want, there's likely to be something wrong with it. Your task -- find what's wrong with it. If you can't find anything, then you might have hit a gold mine! Usually, the product's in another country or the product's a bit of a scam.

For those of you thinking of buying a car on eBay (which I did 1.5 yrs ago & have been very happy with it :-), then you've got a lot of work to do if you don't know much about the appropriate prices for the car. The best site to go to is carsales.com.au where you can 'Research Cars' & it shows the original RRP & the current market value (shown in ranges for different KMs) for the specified car.
I'm really quite conservative with these prices. If it says $10,000 - $15,000 for 120,000 - 80,000 KMs, & the car being advertised has done, say, 100,000 KMs, I'd be no willing to pay anything above $10,000. This will be different for most people but if you look around enough, you'll find some really good deals. After you find a car/some cars that you like, be sure to test drive it (make sure you take it through the greatest variety of hills, roads etc possible), check service history, whether there's any debt attached to it, how many owners etc etc Buying a quality second hand car for a good value involves a lot of work, but it can payoff with a profit when you resell it again!

Bidding War

As a seller, I recommend buyers to bid early to get the ball rolling. As a buyer, I recommend to leave the bidding till as late as possible to ensure a lower price and attract less interest. If it's a BMW/Mercedes/HSV/Civic/whatever you like car with no reserve price with bids starting at a dollar, then that's bound to attract a LOT of attention, so hoping for the best here won't be very realistic. On the other hand, sellers who don't fully promote their product properly (whether a lack of information, lack of photos, fairly high starting price -- but still good price etc) are ones to look out for if you want a good bargain.

Happy Bidding!

Richard
ozres.com
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