7 Tips for Buying on EBay ...

I am completely obsessed with eBay, and have been for more than ten years. There has never been an item I’ve searched for, from rare books to bedding to cute shoes to fine jewelry, that I haven’t been able to find on eBay for a deal. But with millions of things for sale or auction every day, it can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re a new user. Here are 7 tips for buying on eBay.

1. Know What You Want

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While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing a little window-shopping on eBay, it’s a lot easier to find something if you know what it is you’re looking for. Be as specific as you want for fewer results (“Free People Skirt XS”) or as broad, for more results (“Free People”). Sort your search results using certain criteria (price or location or time posted) and get to clicking!

2. Read the Description Carefully

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I once almost bid on an EMPTY jar of my favorite French moisturizer… good thing I read the item description carefully! The item description will tell you most of the info about the item you’re interested in, like sizing, condition, and brand name. Read them carefully, and if you have questions, ask the seller BEFORE you bid.

3. Check Feedback

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Before I bid on anything, I always check the seller’s feedback rating to see what other recent buyers have to say about their honesty, shipping time, and so on. If they have a lot of negative scores, especially recently, be wary, and try to find the same item from another, more reputable seller.

4. Don’t Get Roped into a Bidding War… Unless You Want to!

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Before you bid, always have an upper limit or maximum price you’d like to pay (including shipping costs). Don’t get caught in a bidding war and end up paying more for the item than you wanted to, or than it’s worth, just because you caught an adrenaline rush… that is, unless you LIKE the adrenaline rush, and really want the item!

5. Check Back, or Send Alerts

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eBay offers several features that will help you stay in the lead as the winning bidder, like text alerts on your cell phone or in your email. Use them to stay informed and stay ahead, so that new handbag will be yours!

6. Pay via PayPal

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PayPal is the preferred method of payment on eBay, and most sellers accept it. It’s safe and secure and easy to use… link to your checking or savings account and/or charge card to pay without sharing any of that information with the seller. PayPal also has a dispute resolution feature, so it’s no wonder it’s the best way to pay on eBay!

7. Leave Feedback

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Once you’ve found the item you want, clarified that it’s the right size and all, bid on it, won the auction, and paid for it, the seller will ship it, and you’ll receive it. Once it arrives, if there are any problems, contact the seller… and once the transaction is complete, leave appropriate feedback for the seller. Be fair, and once you’ve left feedback, expect the seller to leave feedback for you, too!

Once you’ve read through these tips, you’ll be an eBay expert, and you’re ready to bid! It’s so much fun, but it can be addictive… you’ll see exactly what I mean! Or maybe you’re already a veteran eBayer… if so, do you have any other tips for buying on eBay? Please share!

Top Photo Credit: *midtownsky*

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