It is very kind of you to share your experiences, some more in point form! I think with these twelve points, it really should get people to start off on eBay.Originally posted by Ian
Buying on eBay.
Firstly before you start drooling over prices on eBay and making purchases you should do the following.
1) Research the products you are interested in buying. Find out about the product as much as you can and know the prices both new and used, both in your country of residence and also in the USA. Recommended benchmark websites for US purchases are Adorama and B&H.
2) Factor in shipping costs, the cost of a money order, paypal or bidpay fees if paying by credit card, import duties and taxes where applicable. Also convert the price to your local currency.
3) Pay attention to what is said in the item listing, in particular the methods and required time frame for payment and where the item can be shipped to. Most of the items on eBay are based in the USA and the sellers won't ship outside the USA.
4) Email the seller with any questions as soon as possible. I've known sellers not respond for 3-4 days. Be courteous and keep the email short.
5) Be aware of the eBay rules regarding bidding, if you win an auction you are Legally required to purchase it as you have entered a valid and legally binding contract. Failure to complete a purchase will earn you a negative feedback rating and can result in your removal from eBay.
6) When bidding on an item, set a maximum bid and stick to it. Don't get trapped by 'auction fever' or you may find yourself paying a lot for something you don't need.
7) Above all, eBay is an auction house, so all items are 'caveat emptor', that is 'let the buyer beware' there are no gurantees and if you buy a lemon you own the lemon and have no legal recourse in most cases.
8) Real bargains are becoming harder to find on eBay, this is in part due to the fact that more people are using the system and also people have unrealistic expectations. I've seen bidders pay more than the new price on items more times than I'd care to remember.
9) Check feedback of the seller before bidding. There are quite a few scam artists on eBay so be aware you may get taken for a ride.
10) Patience is a key to eBay, pass up any items you aren't 100% sure about and remember that another example of an item will usually be available in a short time frame unless the item really is rare.
11) Read between the lines, many of the sellers are very good at writing great ads that are designed to sell items for the maximum profit.
12) In many cases the real bidding only happens in the last 10-15 minutes so prices can jump very quickly. I've seen a Vivitar enlarger jump from 10 to 290 USD in the last 60 seconds of an auction.
That should be enough to get people started on eBay, after all I'm not going to give away all my secrets now am I