Whether or not you know what you want to buy and are searching for it on
Ebay, or if you are browsing and stumble upon a possible deal, you can benefit
from these useful tips for Ebay buying and bidding by Tracy Marks. Tracy
(Ebay user name torreyphilemon) is an Ebay powerseller of books, photography,
videos and dvds; a certified Ebay Education Specialist conducting Ebay trainings
in the Boston area; and an Ebay consultant helping people worldwide learn
how to buy and sell on Ebay.She also has considerable experience selling at
other online auctions, and Amazon Marketplace.
25 Ebay Buying Tips
copyright 2006 by Tracy Marks
Successful Bidding At Ebay
Ebay Trainer, Consultant and Ebay Education Specialist
RESEARCH ITEMS YOU WISH TO BUY
1. Do a specific search of Current Auctions. Click on Advanced Search at the right top of any Ebay page, type in the essential keywords you believe
a seller would use in a title, and choose the category the most likely category
for the item listing. Use the singular rather than the plural. If two words
belong together (e.g. "Elvis Presley", "Native American"), type them in quotation
marks. Your results will be organized by auction ending time; you may sort
them by Ending Date, Price, Distance and Paypal Acceptability. Use the left column to narrow
2. Do a general, less specific search of Current Auctions in Advanced Search.
Not all sellers might use the category which you would choose, or
the words in the title to describe their auction. Try searching all categories,
searching a different but related category, and checking Search Title and Description in case the seller puts important keywords in the auction description
but not the title. Try alternative words for the kinds of items you are seeking,
or misspellings of important title words. Hard-to-find auctions may offer
you the best deals.
3. Try searching in Ebay Stores as well as Ebay Auctions. In the right
column of the Advanced Search page, click on Ebay stores.
4. Search Completed Auctions. On the Advanced Search Completed Items box as you do your search. Your results will help you determine
how often a particular item has been listed in the past month, and the price
at which it has been selling. This information may help you to determine
whether to bid on a particular item, or to wait for a better opportunity.
5. To compare the buying price of a new item or collectible Ebay with
the buying price elsewhere, do a search in a search engine such as Google
or Google's product search Froogle.
BEFORE YOU BID
6.Read the item description carefully. Note the item condition and its
flaws, shipping cost and the return policy if any. The same item with a higher
price and lower shipping cost may be a better deal.
7. If you have any questions about the item, click the Contact Seller
link on the auction page and ask the seller. If sellers don't respond within
24 hours, reconsider bidding on their items.
8. Research the reliability of sellers by clicking on the feedback number
by their names. If possible, check out their negatives. To see all negatives,
use the neutral and negative feedback finder at
Toolhaus. On the seller's feedback page, also check ID History to discover (and perhaps question) if sellers have changed their ID/user names. You can also download
the free Windows-only feedback checker at Hammertap.
9. Be wary of suspicious auctions which may be fraudulent and which Ebay
has not yet discovered and shut down. Be cautious if the offering price is
too low and there is no reserve, if sellers have no feedback or less than
95% positives, if sellers have been inactive at Ebay for the past year or
have changed their user name for suspect reasons, if they don't indicate
shipping charges, if they don't accept paypal or personal checks and insist
on money orders or Western Union, and if they are located in Eastern Europe
or Asia – the location of many Ebay sellers shut down for fraud activities.
10. If you are invested in purchasing an item by auction for which there
are already several bids, you may want to study the bidding history (click
Bidding History on the auction page) to discover if there are persistent
bidders who return frequently to top previous bids. If so, you may want
to study their bidding patterns. On the Advanced Search page, click on
Search Items by Bidderin the left column and check Include Completed Items and
Even if Not the High Bidder. You may discover, for example, that a bidder
only bids at specific times of day.
11. If the auction still has several days to go, or if you are not sure
yet you want to bid, put the item on your My Ebay Watch page. Click
the Watch This Item link at the top of the auction page. Be sure however to remember
to check your Watched Items before the auctions end.
12. If you are not in a rush to buy a particular item, or if you cannot
find what you seek, search for the item in Advanced Search, and from your
results page, click on Add to Favorites at top right. Indicate that you want
Ebay to email you for a specific time period whenever items are listed which
match your search terms.
WHEN YOU BID
13. Know the absolute maximum you are willing to pay and be disciplined
enough to refrain from bidding/buying if the price goes higher.
14. If the item has a Buy it Now option and you really want the item,
you may want to do a Buy it Now if the price is reasonable or if you are
not likely to be available when the auction ends.
15. If the item has a Buy It Now which is higher than you wish to pay,
consider bidding a low amount immediately so that the Buy it Now option disappears
and another bidder is not likely to use it.
16. If you really want an item which as no Buy it Now or no bids, and
you are not available near the auction end time, you may contact the seller
to negotiate an agreement – i.e. if he puts up a Buy it Now for an agreed
upon price you will buy the item immediately. Do not offer or agree to buy
the item apart from Ebay; you could be suspended for doing so.
17. If you can be online at the auction ending time, wait till the last
minute to bid. Don't bid early unless you want to eliminate the Buy it Now
option. Early bids will call attention to the auction and drive up the price.
18. If you are online at the auction ending time, and there are (or you
anticipate) other bidders, open the auction page in two windows so that you can
be prepared to make quick follow up bids. SIGN OUT of Ebay and SIGN IN again;
otherwise Ebay may ask you to sign it right after you bid, delaying your
When bidding from several windows, keep reloading the auction page, noting
the current bid so you can be sure to top it. Know the speed by which your
browser refreshes so you have enough time to make your last bid. If the auction
is a reserve auction and the reserve has not been reached, don't wait till
the last minute to place your bid, otherwise you may lose too much time bidding
and rebidding trying to reach the reserve amount. You may want to start testing
out the reserve in small increments five minutes before the auction end to
see if you reach it.
19. If you cannot be online at the auction ending time, wait as long as
possible to bid on the item (unless trying to eliminate a Buy it Now)and
then bid the highest amount you are willing to pay. You will not have to
pay that amount unless bids reach that price. Hopefully, other bidders will
give up before reaching your maximum.
20. If you cannot be online at auction ending time and winning the auction
is important to you, consider using an Ebay sniper program (for a fee) which
will place a last minute bid for you. First, use the Official Ebay Time link
on the left column of the Site Map to set your computer clock precisely for
Ebay time (as would be in your time zone). You can find sniper programs at
Esnipe.com, Vrane.com, or Auctionsniper.com.
21. If in a bidding war and not willing to put in your maximum bid, place
a bid that is an irregular amount such as $30.03 rather than $30. You may
top the next highest bidder by only a few cents.
22. If not focused on a particular item, but browsing for bargains, search
for bargains at unpopular ending times – holidays, early morning, after 1am
eastern time, during the Superbowl. At one of these times, use the Advanced Search
page, near the bottom, to search for items ending within an hour.
Or from the left column of the Site Map, click on Ending First and search
for items in a particular category ending in the next five hours.
WHEN THE AUCTION HAS ENDED
23. If you are the winning bidder and are not paying immediately by Paypal,
email the seller promptly and indicate when and how you will pay. If paying
by check or money order, be sure to provide your user id, name, email address,
item and item number. Your seller will thank you and will be able to ship
your item promptly without emailing you with questions about your purchase.
24. If the auction ends and you lose, you can search for similar items,
and put your search in Favorites so that Ebay can contact you. You can also
email sellers to ask if they have identical items available, requesting that
they list them soon, with or without Buy it Now.
25. If you miss opportunities to bid on auctions which end with no bids,
ask sellers if they will relist with Buy it Now for the specific amount which
you are willing to pay. Be prepared to negotiate. If sellers plan to list
again without Buy it Now, ask to be contacted when the listing is posted.
FINALLY, be sure to leave feedback when you receive your item, and to contact your seller about any problems before leaving feedback.
HAPPY BIDDING AND BUYING ON EBAY!
copyright 2006 by Tracy Marks
Ebay trainer, consultant and Ebay Education Specialist