A Beginner’s Guide to Buying on eBay

The world of eBay started off as a virtual flea market for swapping collectibles and has since turned into one of the greatest titans of the online market. Finding deals used to be common, but now require a little more effort. Below are just a few tips and tricks used by seasoned eBay buyers.

– Decide your maximum bid. Figure out the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item you are in search of and do not bid higher. Also wait until the final moments to place your bid. Placing a bid early is more likely to drive the price up thus making your chances of winning an item slimmer.

– Check completed auctions for similar items. This will give you an idea what the fair market price has been for the items on which you are bidding. Knowing this can give you a good idea about what price to bid.

– Be creative when searching. Since eBay is an international business, bear in mind that the names and descriptions of items may be different in other locations. Researching different search terms will help you in finding auctions that may not otherwise be found by everyone else. Also, searching for misspelled brand names can yield an extremely good deal.

– Make use of the Best Offer feature. Instead of purchasing an item at full price, most sellers now have a Best Offer link. Many sellers mark up items more than they need to in order to make a profit. In other instances, an item may have been up for sale for months and is collecting dust. Don’t be afraid to make an offer, as many will be accepted without paying full price.

– Beware of fraud in the marketplace. With millions of buyers and sellers also comes e-crime. Beware of high end knockoffs being sold by the hundreds for low prices. A rule of thumb is: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of sellers with private feedback, as there is often a reason to keep that information hidden. I’m not suggesting that everyone with private feedback is a bad dealer, but it is something to question. Protect yourself by paying with Paypal. You will be covered under their buyer protection program, and will almost always be eligible to return an item for a refund if it is not as advertised.

– Take advantage of cash back offers. FatWallet offers eBay coupons and cash back on purchases, and this is stackable with eBay’s bonus bucks. Between the two offers, you can see some savings. For further deals, you can use a rewards credit card through Paypal and maximize those rewards as well.

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