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eBay Buying Tips

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet
 
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Q:
I like to buy things on eBay sometimes, but I never seem to win any auctions. Do you have any tips you can give me that might help me with my eBay purchases? Please help!

A:
That’s an excellent question! I know a lot of you are eBay users and being one myself, I know how frustrating it can be to see an item you really want taken away from you because someone else outbid you. I also know that some of the bidding options, etc. on eBay’s Web site can be a little confusing, which makes it even harder to win an auction. Well, all of that frustration and confusion is going to end today, because I’ve got some great tips that should really help you out the next time you want to buy something on eBay. And hey, you can even use these tips on WorldStart’s auction site here. Let’s get started!

It’s no surprise that we all like eBay so much. I mean, they offer a little bit of everything, from clothes to cars to electronic devices to sports memorabilia to boats and everything in between. Unfortunately though, a lot of eBay shoppers are obsessed with winning auctions, which can make it pretty difficult for a new user to win anything. Plus, when you’re caught in the last moments of an auction, you may feel pressured to spend more money than you originally planned on. That’s when these following tips can really come in handy!

First of all, it’s a good idea to research an auction before you bid on it. When you first go to eBay’s Web site (www.ebay.com), click on the Advanced Search link located next to the main searching area. This will help you decide on a fair bidding price before you do anything outrageous. Just fill in all of the criteria for what you want to search for, but before you hit the Search button, make sure the “Completed listings only” box is checkmarked. That way, you will be able to see some past bids on similar items and you can then go from there to set a decent bid on the item you want. This will also help you avoid bidding wars.

Once you have a bid in mind that you’re comfortable with, you can set it and then walk away. For instance, if you research an item and find that $50 is a good bid for it, you can go right in and place that, no questions asked. You can then leave that bid in place, only adjusting it if someone overbids you. If that happens, you will receive a notification e-mail that your bid has been exceeded and you can then go in and change it. Now, what’s even better about eBay is that even though you place that $50 bid, there’s always a starting bid of something much lower, say $20. If that particular auction stays at $20 the whole time, you will only have to pay that amount, even though you placed a higher bid in the beginning. This method is a good way to stay out of bidding wars. Just set your price and walk away. If you don’t win, chances are, someone else will be selling the same thing on down the road. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the heat of bidding!

It’s also a good idea to bid for an item that has very few bidders. When there aren’t a lot of other bidders, you can usually get away with a very low bid. That’s especially true if the auction ends in the middle of the night or on a holiday, because most people aren’t around their computers during those times. You can use the Advanced Search link to help you with that as well. You may also want to look into using an automated sniping tool that will place your bid for you in the final seconds of an auction. It also keeps you hidden so that other people won’t even know you’re interested in an item. A good one we’ve come across is eSnipe.

You should also pay close attention to the person selling an item. You should check out their ratings and comments from other users before doing business with them. If a seller is new or if they’ve had trouble with other buyers in the past, you may want to look at other sellers who have more experience or a better reputation on eBay. If you deal with a bad seller, you could run into problems with late shipping, poor service or even no shipment at all. No one wants to deal with that kind of stuff, now do we?!

Now, if you don’t like the idea of bidding, eBay also offers a Buy It Now option for a lot of their auctions. If you’re happy with the price an item is set at, just hit the Buy It Now link and you’ll be able to purchase it on the spot. That takes the stress out of bidding and it ensures that you’ll always get the item you want. One more thing: it’s a good idea to consider buying your eBay items locally. That can really save you on shipping costs or it’s possible that you can go and pick up the item on your own, which means no shipping costs at all!

All in all, if you do your research on an eBay item you want to buy, you’ll be much better off. If you take the time to look at all the important parts, such as locality, customer service, prices, etc., you’ll be all set. A little research can take you a long way when it comes to eBay shopping. Give it a whirl on your next big purchase!

~ Erin

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