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Smart Tips For Buying On Ebay

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

I think that most of Worldstart’s users would agree that Ebay is an excellent resource for increasing your stuff. They have some great deals, and most of the sellers out there are reliable people just looking to make an honest dime.


But now I have a little cautionary fairy tale for you. DON’T let it happen to you.

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Randal who got a great deal on an older Dell Latitude D610 laptop. It cost him $50, but required a little work that he or his friends could do themselves. One of the problems with it was a completely dead battery, so Randal went to Ebay to find a battery. He found a six-cell Dell battery for his laptop for $29.99, with “free” shipping. On the Dell website, this battery costs $135.99! What a great deal, Randal thought, and ordered the battery.

When it took almost two weeks for the battery to arrive, Randal realized that it had come not from the US, but from Hong Kong. He also realized, from inspecting the battery that it was not Dell OEM, but some third-party manufacturer that didn’t even list a company name on the battery.

When he hooked the battery up, the battery charge indicator began to rapidly flash red and green. He researched this on the internet and discovered that it more than likely meant a bad battery. After several tries, he was able to get the battery to charge, but only got AT MOST 20 minutes of life from the battery.

When he contacted the seller to find out about returning/exchanging the battery, he realized that HE would be responsible for shipping and handling… to Hong Kong… which would be $25. Suddenly this “cheap” battery didn’t seem so cheap.

So he decided to bite the bullet and keep the 20 minute battery for the time being.

So how could Randal have avoided this trouble? Well, there are several things that you can look for on an E-bay listing page.


One is the image of the battery itself. This is clearly NOT a Dell OEM battery.


Probably the best resource is the seller feedback window. (Note – the screenshot here is NOT the buyer that I purchased the original battery from.) This seller has a rating of over 162,000. He has a feedback rating of 99.4% positive feedback. No, it’s not 100%, but I know from personal experience as an Ebay “power seller” that you can’t please everyone all the time. It also includes some of the most common feedback from buyers.


Under the “other item info” window, you’ll find the location of the item (where it’s shipping from), as well as how many total items the seller has sold.

Another good resource is the “returns” tab. If the item has free shipping and you will be responsible for paying the return shipping, it would be a good idea to contact the seller and find out how much that will be.

Finally, Randal found a Dell OEM battery on Amazon for about half the cost of a battery from the Dell website. And Randal and his new battery lived happily ever after.

Randal Schaffer

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