Buying clothing on ebay can be a great way to get what you want at a bargain price. There are, however, some key points to remember to avoid disappointment. Even if you are thinking of clearing out your own closets you should keep these things in mind.
Measurements - Probably the most important piece of information to pay attention to. You don’t want to fall in love with a garment only to find that it doesn’t fit you once it arrives. On shirts, for instance, there should be a chest or bust measurement. Normally this is taken with the garment laying flat. In order to get the full measurement around the chest you have to double this measurement. The waist measurement in skirts, pants, etc. can be taken in two different ways. It can be taken like the chest measurement with the garment laying flat or it can be the full circumference of the wait. Be sure to note which method each seller uses. With all measurements it is a good idea to measure your current clothes in the same manor as stated in the listing and comparing the two – giving you a good idea of the size and fit of the item you are about to bid on. If there is no measurements listed it is a good idea to ask the seller – be specific with what measurements you would like to have. If you are not sure on the method used for taking the measurements given in a listing be sure to ask the seller this as well. Most buyers are VERY happy to answer questions. It makes for a happy sale if the buyer is well informed.
Condition – It is important to know the condition of the item you are buying. Is it new? Does it have any flaws, faults or damage? All these things GREATLY affect what it is worth. Frequently used abbreviations are:
BNWT – Brand New With Tags
NWT – New With Tags
BNWOT – Brand New Without Tags
BNIB – Brand New In Box
BNWOB – Brand New Without Box
Any flaws or excessive wear should be listed. If in doubt it is always a good idea to drop the seller a courteous message asking any questions you might have. A reliable seller never minds answering questions.
Shipping – every seller has different shipping policies. It is a good idea to read the policy of each seller before bidding. You don’t want to bid on an item at a low price and get surprised with an unexpected high shipping cost. At the same time you want to be on the lookout for shipping bargains (eg. Discounts for buying more than one item from the same seller). It is a good idea to always add the shipping price to the sale price so you know the full price you will have to pay if you win the item. If there is no shipping price listed – drop a note to the seller asking for a price. Be sure to include your postcode so they can give you an accurate quote on the shipping. As mentioned above a lot of sellers offer a discount on postage if you buy multiple items from them. They can save you a lot on postage.
Returns – It is good to check to see if your seller has a return policy. More and more sellers are starting to offering a returns service. It gives potential buyers more piece of mind in buying from them. Be sure to read all the fine print on each sellers returns policy. They may have strict guidelines under which they will accept returns. For instance most do not cover the cost of shipping.
Feedback – Be sure to check out the feedback of any potential seller you are looking to do business with. Check out what their overall number is to begin with. The higher this number, the more positive feedback they have received. Next check out the percentage of positive feedback they have. This gives you an idea of how much negative feedback if any a seller has. With the new detailed seller ratings you now are able to see how happy past customers were with this seller description of items, communication, postage time, and the cost of postage. The higher the ratings in all sections the more reliable the seller is and the more likely you are to have a good outcome. Be sure to leave feedback for any transactions you have. It is important so that everyone knows what potential sellers/buyers are like to deal with.
Contact – Make contact with the seller as soon as you can after the end of an auction if you are the winner. Even if you just drop a note saying when you expect to make payment. No one likes to be left hanging as to when they are going to get paid. You can also ask for confirmation that they receive your payment and confirmation of when they post it. Most sellers are happy to provide this. It may seem complicated to begin with shopping on ebay, but you will quickly get the hang of how it all works. Soon you will be snapping up bargains, but beware it can become habit forming!