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8 Tips to Become a Savvy eBay Buyer

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Stephanie MialkiGuest Blogger
June 09, 2016 · 3.7k Views

Source: Crains New York

eBay is a huge marketplace, full of amazing deals and steals, that has been attracting savvy shoppers for several decades now. Although you may already be familiar with how eBay works, it’s much more than just watching an auction and trying to be the highest bidder. From guidance on security and safety to advice on auctions and searches, here is a list of the best tricks to being a savvy eBay buyer. After all, you can never have too much advice on how to get the most for your hard-earned money!


1. View the seller feedback.

Source: photovideo4less on eBay

Every eBay seller has a feedback rating, which you can use to get a feel for how trustworthy he or she is. Use this to your advantage and do your homework before buying! What is the seller’s return policy? How are their reviews - especially the negatives and neutrals? Are there any warning signs such as “Private Auctions” or “Short Auctions”? Just keep in mind, while taking more of a risk buying from someone with a lower rating, this may also get you a better deal while many buyers will shy away from sellers with lower ratings.

2. Research the item you’re interested in.

This includes researching the listing, as well as the value of the item overall. In regards to the listing: Does the item have any flaws? Is there a warranty? Are there any special notes in the description? Be sure to read carefully! It’s also important to do your research about the value of the item in general. Find out what others have already paid for the same thing. To do this right on eBay, use the advanced search option to view ‘sold listings’. You can also conduct a general Google search to find out what the item is worth. This will help you determine what your maximum bid should be and will prevent you from overpaying.

3. Take advantage of the ‘Buy It Now’ option.

Source: photovideo4less on eBay

After you’ve done all your research and you know that the item you’re interested in IS actually worth the money, consider using eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ feature. This allows you to purchase the item instantly at a set price (set by the seller) so that no one else can come up behind you and outbid you at the last minute. You may not get as good of a deal as you would have if you waited it out, but at least you got what you wanted!

4. Master your search techniques.

Learning how to search eBay is key to being a savvy eBay shopper. There are several things you can do here. First, try putting a parenthesis around keywords in order to get more results. Conversely, if you are getting too many results, try putting a minus sign in front of a certain word in order to exclude those results. Additionally, keep in mind that not everyone on the Internet is a great typer or even speaks English! Therefore, we can’t always expect everything to be worded or spelled correctly. Rather than missing out on many quality products, try searching for the item you’re looking for in a commonly misspelled way, or even search for commonly misspelled words related to the item you’re looking for.

5. Check out the daily deals.

Source: eBay

eBay also features a ‘Daily Deals’ section on their website, in which you can find several highly discounted items each day. While the items here are limited, it’s a good idea to at least check it out to see if anything you need is being featured that day. It’s worth a shot!

6. Use off-numbers when placing bids.

What do we mean by off-numbers? Increase your bid by just a few cents or so. For example, enter a bid $37.24 instead of just $37.00. Using off-numbers like this increases your chances of having the highest bid and winning the auction, as most people only think to enter round numbers when entering their own bids.

7. Swoop in at the last minute.

Source: Merchant One

Instead of going the traditional route in terms of bidding, try stepping in within the last 15 seconds of the auction and sniping the item right out from everyone else! There are even sites that will do this for you automatically, like Gixen and Goofbid. These sites will automatically place a bid for you in the last few seconds of the auction, leaving no time for others to counterbid. Shady? Yes. Sneaky? Yes. Smart? Double yes.

8. Never do private deals and always pay via PayPal.

If a seller suggests you make a purchase outside of eBay in order to get a better deal, walk away. Once you take your exchange outside of eBay, you lose any protection you may have had with eBay, and with all of the scammers out there, this type of insurance is very important to have. As another safety precaution, never send checks or money orders and never transfer money with services like Western Union or MoneyGram, as these payments cannot be traced in cases of fraud. Always pay via PayPal, so that you’re covered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee and scammers can’t run away with your cash before providing you with your product.


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Stephanie Mialki is a mommy of two under two, a fitness enthusiast, and a digital marketing guru. She spends all of her spare time….oh wait, what spare time? She has a passion for business building and has successfully assisted more than 20 entrepreneurs start their own companies.

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