So I know most of my posts are DIY oriented but I’ve come to realize, I’m kind of an Ebay expert shopper. (No big deal or anything) But as such, I also have come to realize that Ebay can be the best and worst place to shop depending on how you use it. So, as self appointed Ebay Expert Shopper I thought I would provide some tips on how to save money, avoid scams, and get what you want out of your products.
ALWAYS check the feedback of a seller before buying anything from them. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid sellers whose number of negative feedback accounts for 25% or more of their total feedback. Anything less than that, then you can generally attribute negative feedback to a frustrated buyer who was the rare victim of the occasional fluke in a seller’s normal operations.
When possible, opt for items that have a real life photo instead of a product photo that you would see in a catalog. One reason this is important is that it allows you to obviously inspect the product prior to purchasing it, whereas with a stock photo you will only see the product at its prime. Which, lets be honest, is not the norm with Ebay items. Another reason is that sellers who take the time to photograph their own products are generally more invested in the product they are selling and take pride in its quality. So in summary, if the items photo is a stock photo be prepared for a poor quality item.
Don’t write off an item just because it sounds too good to be true. It’s Ebay, “too good to be true” happens. The reason that so many products will sell on Ebay for dirt cheap prices is that a large portion of sellers on Ebay are wholesale sellers or mass produce their products to such an extreme that they sell the overstock on Ebay. If a product is selling for $1 it may be terrible quality, BUT there is a good chance it will be just fine. I’ve bought multiple rings and bracelets off Ebay for $1 or less and have never had problems. Trust your instinct.
This one is specific to cell phones you’ll find on Ebay. I was recently in the market myself to buy a cell phone and perused Ebay for one. BE CAREFUL. Ebay is wonderful, but is also a hotspot for sellers to sell off stolen cell phones. For those of you that don’t know, stolen cell phones CANNOT be reactivated. A way to avoid such cell phones is to look in the description and see if you see the words “GOOD ESN” or “BAD ESN”. A bad ESN indicates the phone will not be able to be activated ever again as it was reported stolen or something of that nature. Unless you’re looking for cell phone parts, do not buy these. Warehouse sellers of cell phones are always guilty of accidentally selling stolen phones. So again, beware. Check the feedback, if others report the phone having a bad ESN you need to be prepared for yours to also be.
Avoid sellers with return policies that will charge you or will simply refuse to accept returns. It is simply too often a way for sellers to make easy money. Sell you a terrible product, refuse to accept a return. You’re stuck with a piece of junk and they’ve made a quick buck.
Contact the seller with questions about the product prior to purchase. Seriously, make up questions if you have none. Contacting the seller ensures that they are actually open to contacting you. There is nothing worse than purchasing a product, being dissatisfied, and then being stuck with it because the seller won’t respond to you. Establish contact ahead of time.
Never, ever, ever, place a bid before you absolutely have to. I don’t know why its so hard for people to realize, but the more you bid the more the price goes up. If you bid 3 days before the end time, many other people will outbid you numerous times before it sells thus raising the price more than it needs to. Inevitably, the price will go up as someone else is going to be bound to bid. But a way for you to keep the costs down is to wait till LITERALLY about the last 10 seconds before placing a bid. I usually bid about 10 seconds before an auction ends and almost always win auctions as a result.
Watch lists are your best friends. Put multiple versions of an item on watch lists and watch the item to see which retains the lowest price. Then bid, at the last second!
Download the Ebay app on your phone. It sounds silly, but downloading the app will enable you to be so much more successful. It will remind you ahead of time when an auction is closing so you can get yourself prepared to make a final bid without having to run to a computer or miss an auction because you weren’t at the computer.
Beware of the “Ebay Buyer Protection”. Honestly, that entire thing is a way for Ebay to cover its butt against angry customers who don’t get what they want or get scammed. But in all honesty, there is not much that Ebay can do for you if you get scammed or can’t get in touch with a seller. The only things Ebay can do for you is disable their account and get you in touch with Police in your area or their area. Aside from that, there is nothing they can do. Don’t be expecting full refunds from Ebay themselves if things go awry, it won’t happen. Its between you and the seller. NOT Ebay.