Important things to consider when buying on Ebay

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  • Before you purchase anything electrical from overseas, ensure that it is compatible with your countries power supply.  For example, most electrical goods that plug in purchased from the USA will not work in Australia.
  • Look at the starting price AND the postage price, prior to bidding.  It is true that many try to minimise their eBay listing fees by starting auctions at a low price, and make the difference up in their postage costs.  This is not unethical, especially if they have listed the postage prices upfront (this means they are not trying to trick you). 
  • Several times sellers may not have listed a postage price, as if they are selling worldwide, they do not want to be out of pocket for postage to unexpected destinies.  Therefore, make sure you ask the question about postage to your area prior to bidding.
  • Check out the seller's payment options before you bid.  It can be frustrating to a seller to have to wait for a money order, when they have specified in their listing that they only accept paypal.
  • If a seller states that they only accept paypal from international buyers, this is often because of the paypal fees.  Therefore, if you offer to add on $1 (for example), most sellers will accept your payment by paypal even if you are in the same country.
  • If you really, really, really want something, but won't be home to monitor an auction - decide what is the maximum amount you would pay for an item (including postage) and put a maximum bid in before you leave.  Often you will be surprised that you have won an auction, at far less than your maximum bid.
  • If you are watching an item - watch it.  Don't watch it, and then forget about it.  Often you will miss out on a bargain simply because you forgot about it.
  • If you have a problem with an item that you have purchased, email the seller immediately and explain the problem.  Most sellers' are happy to do whatever they can to resolve the problem.  Don't be hasty to leave negative feedback, because most times this will mean that you also receive a negative feedback, whether you deserve it or not.  Trying to come to a mutually happy resolution is always the best practice, and results in a win-win situation.  Even if you were not happy with the item, but the seller has resolved your problem - leave positive feedback - many people are on eBay trying to form a life for themselves where they can work from home.  Leaving negative feedback unfairly can affect this, and can seem a little hard sometimes.
  • Another word of advice is to consider all things when choosing your seller.  A seller may have a low feedback percentage, but they may have only sold 2 things and received an unfair negative feedback.  On the other hand, someone may have a very high rating and percentage - but may be selling 1000 things per day, so the negative feedback can get a little overlooked.
  • Make sure you read the whole listing, including the sellers terms and conditions regarding payment options and postage costs.
  • Most importantly, do not bid on something that you cannot afford.  If you do not honour the transaction, the seller will probably list you as an Non Paying Buyer in order to recover their final value fees from ebay.  This will result in you receiving a "strike", and possibly negative feedback.
  • Do not allow your children to bid on eBay unsupervised.  In my short selling career, I have had two buyers claim that their children bid on items and that they could not afford them.  As with anything on the Internet, especially legally binding contracts, parental supervision is a MUST.
  • Above all, keep it friendly.  You wouldn't walk into a store and negotiate a selling price, you simply wouldn't buy it.  You wouldn't walk into a store and abuse the staff there, so why do it via email on eBay?  You wouldn't refuse to pay for something and then expect to leave the store with it, so don't do it on eBay.  If you set out to keep negotiations and communications friendly, the odds are highly in your favour that you will have a pleasant experience on ebay.
  • If you have only ever bought items on eBay, and would like to sell items also but lack confidence or time - consider contacting a Trading Partner in your area.  There are many around (I'm one) who are only too happy to do the work for you for a small commission, and happily will send you a cheque at the end of every month.


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