Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Smart Shopping on eBay

eBay is without question the most well-known online auction website. It is so popular that there are books dedicated to smart shopping and selling on the site. Of course, one reason that eBay is so successful is that it is extremely easy to use for anyone who wants to buy or sell online. Even us “dummies” can easily navigate the site and find what we want, and most of the time, the results work out very well.

Because the products for sale at eBay are listed by eBay members and businesses, you can often find some amazing deals on the site. On the other hand, just like you would expect if you shopped at local used items markets, there is a lot of junk out there, too. Therefore, you should develop some smart shopping habits when you shop on eBay so that you always bring home the hidden treasure and leave the junk out there for someone else to buy.  Here are some smart shopping tips:

  • You don’t have to register to browse.  Unlike a lot of deal sites these days, eBay doesn’t require pre-registration just to see what’s for sale.  That makes it easy to see if what you are looking for is really for sale.  You will have to register for an account to make a purchase. 
  • You can search for “Auctions” or “Buy it Now.” A lot of times auctions seem like the better deal because the price doesn’t jump until the last few minutes.  If you don’t want to chance it, look for items markeed “Buy it Now” and you can purchase it at a fixed price. 
  • Read the fine print.  Many auctions (especially electronics) have a list of features that are pre-loaded by eBay.  While this is helpful, the really important info is the description written by the seller.  Scroll down below the “Detailed Item Info” to find out specifics on the actual item you’ll be buying.  It should tell you if there are any defects or problems to be aware of before purchasing. 
  • Use to ensure you are paying fair market value.  We’ve calculated the average selling price for thousands of items on eBay, so before you buy, search our site to make sure that you don’t overpay.
  • Research the seller.  If you are spending a pretty penny on a luxury watch or iPad 2, you want to make sure you are buying from a reputable seller.  Studying their seller feedback is the best way to ensure this.

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