Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Ebayers - Must read 2

Step 3: Bidding tips to bag a bargain
Once you’ve spotted listing you like, it’s time to bid right and close the deal.

  • Snipe your way to a bargain
    Spotted something you want to buy? The last thing you should ever do is bid on it! Bid early and competing buyers will bid back, forcing the price upwards. Instead, sneakily win auctions by swooping in and delivering a killer bid about 10 seconds before, leaving no time for others to fight back.

    Sniping websites automatically bid on your behalf. Here, you simply sign up, enter an eBay* item number and the highest price you’re willing to pay (this also stops you getting carried away in the heat of a last minute bidding war). has a free auction sniper, or alternatively, the more reliable charges roughly 35 cents (17p) per auction won.
    A big warning! You need to give these sites your eBay password for them to work, which is a serious security concern. While feedback has generally been good from MoneySavers, there's little protection from eBay if things ever do go wrong, as you have willingly given your password to a third party. If you do sign up, never use the name password for eBay as you do for other accounts like banks or email.
  • Manipulate eBay ‘best offers’
    Some sellers specify that they’ll consider ‘best offers’. This is where you propose a figure, then they mull it over and tell you if it’s a goer. Yet, because sellers often sell the same item repeatedly, especially electricals, there’s a loophole to see which prices they’ve already accepted, and lower your best offer accordingly.
    To do this, click on “advanced search”, tell it what you want, and check the show only “best offers” box. Once you’ve found a product which accepts best offers, click to view the sellers other items, on the top right hand side of the page. On the next page, click “completed items”, to see all the items that seller has already sold. Look at the items that say best offer by it, and, bingo: you can see the lowest price they’ve accepted.
  • Arrange your own postage
    Some sellers try to supplement their income by charging excessive delivery rates. If this happens, ask if you can arrange your own postage. Then have a courier pick up the item and deliver it to your house. For a full guide to this and finding a mega-cheap courier, read the Cheap Parcel Delivery article.

Step 4: Scam busting tips
In it’s essence, eBay’s a simple marketplace and it takes only limited responsibility for what goes on there. This means that, while it's easy to snap up a scorcher, it's just as easy to get burnt.
If you’re new to eBay, it’s a good idea to learn the ropes by making a couple of small purchases, such as books or CDs, before graduating to more costly items. The following should help you avoid common cons.
  • Check you're bidding on the item itself.
    While scare con stories of ebay are abound, with a bit of common sense, it’s fairly easy to stay safe. Most sellers are decent types, who want to protect their feedback scores. If you’re new to eBay and want to check whether an item’s legit, why not post it on the eBay board, where experts will tell you whether it looks kosher.
    Sometimes it seems you're bidding for an object on eBay*, when all that's actually up for grabs is a link to a site selling it. E.g. it only takes a few minutes after logging onto eBay to find a link to a £200 laptop sale, where inspection of the small print reveals it's actually selling a link to a discount laptop site.
    Always read the whole description in detail before bidding. Often the catch is hidden in the tiny text at the end – an attempt to protect the seller from any comeback.
  • Know your rights.
    Use the 'Buy It Now' button, rather than a standard auction, to buy from a UK based trader on eBay, and you've all the same statutory rights as buying from a shop (see the Consumer Rights article). A trader is someone who makes some or all of their living from regularly selling goods. Technically it's up to the courts to decide but it's usually pretty obvious.
    Buy from a private individual and the law says “let the buyer beware”. Providing your purchase arrives ‘as described' there's little legal comeback (assuming you can trace them anyway) and the standard seven day internet cooling-off period usually doesn't apply to auction purchases.
  • Take feedback with dose of skepticism.
    eBay sellers have a ‘feedback' rating which acts as a useful guide to whether they've dealt fairly in the past. As a guideline, look for a seller with over 98% positive feedback, and a high feedback score of at least 30. Never buy an expensive item from a seller with zero feedback, as it means they’ve never sold before.
    Remember that feedback is useful but not infallible. One thing to watch for is traders flogging a few tiny things for 10p each to build their feedback, and suddenly listing 15 mobile phones at £200 a pop.
    Normally, viewing a sellers’ negative feedback means trawling through reams of comments, but a handy tool lets you view it instantly. Just in a seller name into negative feedback checker Toolhaus, and it’ll expose all the negative/neutral comments.

eBay is not the only site
While eBay is hugely dominant, there are alternatives which can yield decent bargains.
  • Free Classified Ads
    Perhaps the fasted growing trend is for offloading gear on a free classified site, the power-puncher of these is Gumtree* which divides the UK into different towns. It sells anything from bikes to beds and doesn't charge either the buyer or the seller (except for job ads).
    Interestingly Gumtree is owned by eBay, it was bought in May 2005, probably as eBay started to identify it as competition. Thankfully it hasn't impacted its free community-based operations.
  • Other Auction Sites
    While eBay is massively dominant ebid* is also a sizeable auction site. Its advantage is it charges sellers less than eBay, which means some prefer it. So if you're searching for something specific, it's worth adding it to your search. A useful website, is a shopbot for online auctions. Search for an item and it trawls the four big auction sites for you.
  • Amazon & Play
    Amazon* and now Play* have second hand marketplaces, for most of the products they sell new, and these can actually hold a candle to eBay's size. Do a normal search for something on the site, and if there's a second hand version available, it's listed. It primarily operates as a fixed price rather than an auction, making it an easy alternative.

Get it for free!

It’s even possible to bagsy stuff for free. There are several environmentally friendly and cheap alternative to auctions sites, where users give away items they no longer want. The idea's that folks ‘recycle' goods they'd otherwise have thrown out; some of the stuff is junk, some are top notch goods from generous people. For a step-by-step guide on give-away websites, including Freecycle and others, showing how to use them best, read the Freecycle guide.
Credits: Moneysavingexperts

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