Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ebay: The Buying Edition (Part 1)

Have I mentioned a time (or more) that I love ebay?  It has really changed my world to a degree, in the sense of what I am able to access and afford.  How, you ask?  Don’t worry (or do), I’ll tell you.

This edition will focus on why you might want to give ebay a try.  Next time I'll give some specific buying and bidding tips.  Are you excited yet??


1. It’s so easy to shop by name brand if you are looking for something specific.  When I see something I love in store (and usually can’t afford), I almost always check ebay for the same item and almost always find what I saw for much less.  And, for those who don’t like having used things, many, MANY items for sale on ebay are new with tags (NWT in the ebay vernacular).

Example, you ask?  Why certainly.  After a particularly lovely anniversary trip (first two nights in a row ever without the kiddo) to downtown Chicago (including stalking the entire downtown Room & Board store), I was hankering for some Room & Board beauties, knowing full well it wasn’t in my current price range.  After a lovely dinner out, I searched ebay for Room & Board items, and by a beautiful coincidence, a seller in the Chicago area was selling a platform bed by Room & Board (barely used from her vacation home!) for less than one-fourth of the current catalog price.  Hello, best anniversary ever.

2. Prices are awesome.  While you need to do your research on ebay and make sure that you are getting the item you want and that it is the best price of other similar items listed on ebay (don’t bid on the first listing you see), you can almost always find the same item for less.  Doesn’t it make sense?  For one thing, online sellers have less costs than brick and mortar stores, so they can charge less.  For another, sometimes (if you want to) you can get a pre-owned item, so you are paying less than a new item, even though sometimes the “used” items have very little, if any wear (this is where you want to check on your seller’s ratings prior to bidding on a used item).

Example?  My Hunter boots were NWT (new with tags, remember?), but cost almost 1/3 less than comparable boots at Zappos.  My particular seller even accepted returns (many do), so I wasn’t stuck if it didn’t work out.  They arrived in the original box, within just a couple of days from my order.  Just as if I had ordered from a regular retailer online!

3. Bid with confidence!  Those seller ratings are really helpful.  If you check out a seller’s rating prior to bidding, you can see how many people were satisfied, and you can feel confident placing a bid that the item will be as described and shipped quickly.  The few times I wasn’t satisfied, either the seller made it right (full or partial refund), or I hadn’t checked the ratings carefully enough (my early on buying days), and I should have known better.  Or sometimes I make a calculated gamble, based on the price, the item and percentage of good vs. bad ratings.  Usually I win, sometimes I don’t.  You’re always protected by ebay guarantees if it comes to the worst.  If the item absolutely isn’t what was advertised, follow their process and they will refund the item price and shipping cost.  Use those ratings!!

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