Friday, November 14, 2008

Why do I love buying on eBay? Let me count the ways.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to my love affair with eBay. At first I was curious, "I wonder how much this item sells for on eBay?" Then it turned into "I wonder what all they sell on eBay." Now it's "Let me check eBay before I check anywhere else." And I'm not kidding!

Thrift stores are great to pop into to see what's there. if you're lucky, you'll find the name brand you like in your size. It's hit or miss. With eBay you can type in the name brand, size and condition and decide how much you want to spend.

Of course you've seen some of the great Coach purses that I have bought, and that is not even touching the surface when it comes to Coach or ANY brand name of purse from no-name vinyl bags to Louis Vuitton - it's ALL there. But that's not all that's there.

Here's a brief list of the things I have recently bought on eBay (including shipping) and an estimate on the savings.

1. 5 Pack refill for my Oral-B toothbrush - $21 at Walmart - $8 eBay
2. Hardback Book - The Zen of Fish - $16 at Borders - $8 eBay
3. Laser Printer Cartridge - $50 Staples - $28 eBay
4. Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum - $600 from their site - $100 on eBay
5. Banana Republic Jeans - $80 at the store - $14 on eBay
6. Set of 10 Magic Treehouse Books - $45 retail - $9 on eBay

The thing I love best about eBay (next to saving money of course) is that it comes straight to my door. I don't have to leave the house to shop for it. It comes to me!

I especially love using eBay for one-of-a-kind birthday and Christmas gifts. I recently bought a brand-new with TAGS, gorgeous, supple leather high-end purse that retailed for about $130 for just $20, including shipping. Talk about a stunning much so I almost didn't give as a gift!

Here are just a few eBay basics if you're thinking of checking it out.

eBay Basics

1. Payment Options. Each seller is different in what kind of payment they will accept. MOST will allow you to use PayPal, a system devised and owned by eBay to handle monetary transactions. It is safe and it also provides you a guarantee if the seller is not trustworthy and an item is not as described or doesn't get to you (to a degree, if a seller has delivery confirmation and can "prove" the item was sent through the post office transactions, it's your lost, but in over 500 transactions I have never had that happen). PayPal will refund your money if you are in the right.

Some sellers only accept checks, money orders and other's bank transfers. I would not advise bank transfers. My preference is PayPal because they have an accountability system that protects the buyer and the seller. It's just safer.

2. Be wise. Check a seller's "feedback" it's the little number and percentage that is shown by their seller name. Find out if the person has a good history of follow through and accurate item descriptions. If someone is selling a Coach purse at a too-good-to-be-true price and has no feedback, be wary. Though PayPal will most likely refund your purchase if it proves to be a bad seller, it takes time and your money is tied up for a week to two weeks.

3. Do your research when buying. How do you know if something is a good price? Click on "Advanced Search" next to the search box and you will be taken to a screen that allows you click "completed listings" which will show you how many and how much that item has sold for in the past few weeks.

4. Buy it Now. This option, a tab in search results, will see what you can buy immediately without having to bid. I use this often if I need something right away or don't think I will get a better deal by bidding. You still can get deals this way, although my best deals have always been by auction.

5. Best Offer. This option allows you to offer a reasonable price for an item, giving the seller the chance to accept or decline.

6. Know your product. Before you buy, make sure you are getting what you're want. If it's a Coach purse, do some research to make sure you are not paying top dollar for a knock-off. eBay does not permit the selling to knock-offs because of copyright infringement but it doesn't stop people from selling them. eBay has a discussion board that will allow you to ask others for their opinion on the authenticity of a bag.

7. Don't get caught up in the bidding process and go overboard. eBay is fun, but it's just like any other type of shopping. It's easy to get caught up in the thrill of the hunt or a good deal. If you plan on bidding on an auction, set a limit. For me, I will wait till the end of an auction before I bid, and if you can't sit, wait and watch for the end, there are actual services that will bid for you.

You are bidding real money so don't bid what you can't afford, and according to eBay policies, your bid is a contract. Of course they will not file a suit on you if you do not pay, but they can suspend your eBay privileges and keep you from bidding at all.

If you haven't tried eBay yet, give it a shot. It's a great way to Shop Savvy!

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