How to make the most of your money on eBay
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30 June 2006
This is a brief guide for any one starting off on eBay providing useful tips on how to bid effectively, knowing what your buying and who your buying it from and how to get the most for your money and complete your purchase safely.
I live in a small country town a long way from any major shopping centres and have found eBay to be a safe and invaluable online shopping centre allowing me to buy almost anything I need at reasonable prices and saving me many hundreds of kilometres in travel. Since I began using eBay I have spent over $3000 in online purchases, and have been able to fulfil both my personal and my business consumer needs. I have purchased everything from DVDs, car parts, and games to microscopes and laboratory equipment and have learnt that with patience, research, and careful bidding I have been able to buy what ever I want from the comfort of my home for price less then I would pay in the city. This guide covers the insight I have learnt from my experience.
Know what you’re looking for and who you’re dealing with.
First of all I believe it is important to know a bit about what you are looking for before you make any commitments to purchase an item, because there are so many items on eBay that you need to know your getting the best item at the right price, so I recommend carrying out some research first. Personally I decide how I will carryout my research based on how much the item is likely to cost and how essential it is that I get it right. For example if I was buying a DVD I would first search for the DVD on eBay and compare the prices of a good selection of the title I am after, checking Buy it Now prices always gives me a good idea of the maximum I should expect to pay for the item. If the item you are after is something more valuable where the quality of the item really counts then it is worth doing further research. For example I recently purchase a microscope online, before making any commitments I searched for items on eBay worldwide, then I searched for microscopes from other online store, I also checked prices from retail outlets in the city, lastly after choosing a number of sellers who had reasonably priced items of good quality I was interested in, I checked the customer feedback which is located on every item page, from which one seller had outstanding feedback, prompting me to choose them and I have been very happy with my purchase.
Buying in Bulk
If you can get multiple items you are after from the one seller you can save yourself a lot of money and some times it is even worth paying a little more for an item if you can save yourself more in postage which you would have spent elsewhere buy buying the item separately for a cheaper price.
If you are bidding on an item of which there are many for sale patience can be a virtue. Bid on the item at the price you are prepared to pay but if you don’t win the item then look to other similar items and continue bidding until you win the item you are after for the price you want to pay.
Bidding is an art form and it all depends on how much time you are prepared to spend on bidding as to how effective your bidding will be. Points to consider are: how many people are interested in the item; how many similar items are for sale; when does bidding for the item end; can you be online when the auction is near an end.
There is more to bidding effectively then placing a bid you are happy with. You should first check all listings of suitable items and get an idea of the price they are going for, if an item is popular then the bidding is likely to be fiercer, however bidding too high too early can put you out of the game quickly. You can check the bidding history of an item to judge how much interest there is in the item. Many buyers have learnt that if you have the patience, it can be better to hide your interest until the last 15 minutes, this can lull other buyers into a false sense of security meaning they may bid lower and by bidding late you may be able to outbid them before they have the chance to place a higher bid. However this means you must be prepared to be online when the bidding closes, sometimes this is difficult due to other commitments, which brings me to the next point of the importance of when the auction does end. The end time of auctions can be critical, for example an auction ending during the day on a weekend is more likely to be closely watched then one ending during the working hours on a weekday, similarly some long weekends such as Easter can sometimes be poorly watched giving buyers the chance to pick up a cheap deal. You will learn as you go a long, but in general if an auction ends during peak times for internet usage more people will be on eBay then off peak times.
Avoiding Unpaid Strikes
If you are finding you are having trouble paying within in the required period always contact the seller and inform them of your problem or ask for more time to pay. Most sellers are happy to wait if you pay them the courtesy of letting them know what’s going on. If a seller doesn’t here anything from you they will naturally assume the worst and act.
Buying safely on eBay
While I have found eBay to be a safe market place I have been subject to fraudulent sellers who have managed to contact me directly through my registered email account, and so I wish to pass on a few tips for others to avoid falling prey to fraudulent emails.
1. Never trust a seller who you have not previously done business with, who requests payment via Western Union Wire Transfer.
2. Never take up a second chance offer that has not come through you’re My Messages when you log in to My EBay. All legitimate second chance offers will go directly through My EBay, if you receive an offer directly to your email account do not accept it, even if it is addressed from eBay, these things can be faked.
3. If you receive any email that goes direct to your email account and asks you to contact the seller in the case of a dispute, then don’t trust it eBay oversees all disputes and if it asks you to contact the seller direct it is a fraud.
4. Your shipping address will be sent through eBay if a seller asks you direct for your shipping address which is registered in eBay then this is also cause for concern.
If you recieve what you believe to be a fake eBay email forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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