What started as an auction site for second-hand goods quickly escalated to include new products at fixed prices. eBay is now an online shopping behemoth with just about anything you can think of available to buy.
Typically, the prices are low since you’re buying from sellers that exclusively deal in e-commerce, so you can get some great deals on eBay. The downside is that you never really know who you’re buying from. So it can be challenging to know if the price is as reasonable as it seems.
Fortunately, there’s an arsenal of tips and tricks available to work out how good the offer is. So the next time you use eBay, make sure you take advantage of them, so that nobody takes advantage of you.
Don’t Just Look at eBay
Just because it’s on eBay, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it cheaper elsewhere. When you find an item you want, it’s always worth doing an online search for the item to see what comes up.
Usually, you will find the item is available across multiple platforms at different price points. If it’s cheaper elsewhere, then you will discover this quickly when you perform the search.
Don’t Forget to Add Postage
Since you’re buying from independent sellers, postage costs are often added to the overall price. If you find that the item you want is available from multiple different sellers, then spend some time comparing the item price plus the postage costs to see who comes out cheapest.
It’s a dirty trick, but many sellers lower the price of the item to make it more attractive than the competition. But, they’ll then over-inflate the postage costs to make up for the discount. Many buyers don’t notice this until it’s too late. Ensure you always check this before you buy.
Find Out How Much Previous Customers Paid
An excellent way to check the average cost for an item (and therefore whether you’re being overcharged or not) is by looking at what previous customers paid. You can do this by performing a search for the item on eBay.
Once the results are displayed, select “show only” from the filter menu on the left-hand side. Click the “completed listings” checkbox, and eBay will present you with a list of results for expired listings. A quick scan of the sold items will show you if you’re being charged an average or over-inflated price.
Haggle and Counter-Offer
The price for “buy it now” items isn’t always fixed. Some sellers are open to offers and will allow the option to make a counter-offer that’s different from the price displayed. You will know this is possible when you see “buy it now or make a best offer” displayed next to the purchase button.
Even if the seller isn’t accepting counter-offers, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Just ensure your offer is not insulting and be friendly about the whole thing. No one is going to accept a lower price from someone rude or aggressive. Ask politely. If they say no, accept their decision and move on. If you’re lucky, however, they may accept, and you’ll get a great deal.
There are not many people who have time to keep checking on the price of a biddable item. Therefore it’s worth knowing that you can bid your maximum amount and unless someone bids higher than that amount, you’ll win the item.
Generally, when a person bids, they only bid incrementally higher than the displayed price. If you’ve already bid your maximum amount, eBay will automatically bid again for you but only by enough to stay in the lead.
For example, an item is going for $10. You bid a maximum amount of $25.
Someone comes along and bids $12. eBay will then automatically bid a higher amount for you – typically a dollar more, so in this example, $13.
Someone else comes and bids $15. eBay will automatically raise your bid, so you stay on top. This will continue until someone bids higher than your maximum amount or the clock runs down, and you win.
Another tip for dealing with biddable items quickly is to only bid in the last few seconds of the auction. Many people who have already bid won’t be watching the live auction, so this is your chance to swoop in and grab it.
Set up Email Alerts
Finally, if you want a specific item and you think the price could be better, you can set up email alerts for the item. Perform a search for the item in eBay, then click “save this search.” When new listings for that item go live, eBay will alert you via email.
eBay can be tricky to master, but you will shop smarter by putting these tips to good use the next time you shop.