I have a few watch lists so that I do not miss items which I am looking for. Sometimes they are mis-described, and hard to find. These are the ones I like to find, as I presume that, if I have a hard job finding them, others will too, so there may be few bidders. I always have my maximum bid price in my head, but do not always enter it early in the bidding as eBay prefers.
I always check the seller's history, and look at some feedback. What I would like to see eBay implement is a method of just finding the neutral or negative feedbacks. Positive feedback really does not interest me. It's the negative ones I want to see.
I seldom bid the first day an ittem comes up. I prefer to see other bidders. Then I look at the bidders' recent purchases, and try to determine if they are keen collectors of that particular item, or collect a range of, say, potteries. If they collect a range, rather than a particular type, I presume, sometimes incorrectly, they will not bid when the item reaches higher prices.
I always check postage rates. If the item is the same as one I already have I check what I paid for the previous one and what the actual postage was. I check the payment method, as it is sometimes difficult for me to pay for things bought in the UK although I keep a UK cheque account open in case seller does not accept Paypal. I check where the item can be posted to. If the seller does not post to Australia, only the UK, I can send it to a UK address where my relative accumulates purchases and sends them to me at a later date. When a purchase arrives I always compare the actual postage with the postage paid. Sometimes the seller has actually lost money, but other times the seller has charged what I consider a large price for packaging. I know it takes time and materials to pack, so allow for it in my estimates, but have been known to put a neutral feedback if I think the packaging charge is too high. Most are fairly reasonble and are open to negotiation at this point.. I always check the item when received against the description and contact the seller if there is a discrepancy. It has only happened a few times.
At times I have purchased electronic items for very small amounts because no one else bids. I can find out how the sales were going for this particular item by checking completed listings - a very good guide to values. If I only pay a few dollars, or even a few cents, for something I do not expect too much. Up till now I have always been pleasantly surprised.
In summary, eBay is a wonderful buying aid. It is one which you can learn by experience. We all make mistakes. The five important things you need to do are: know what you are bidding for; check seller's feedback; check other buyers feedback to see what kind of collector they are;always check and compare postage charged and actual; always enter feedback when goods arrive as this helps other purchasers. All common sense, really. Much the same as you would do at a retail store.
Tips on buyingon eBay
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3 June 2006
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