Tips for buying on Ebay

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Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    If you really want an item - DON'T BID. You cause a price escalation immediately if someone else is interested in the item. The worst offenders for this is the newbies.

    Decide how much you want to pay for the item and watch it. 60 seconds (slightly longer if you are on dial-up) put on your maximum bid.

    All those people who have been bidding will not have time to work out how much you have put on it and you will get the item a lot cheaper than the traditional way.

    You should not even bid on an item that has no bids on it. If someone else spots it and sees that there is other interest they will automatically up the pricce.

    If you outbid someone they will receive notifcation of this and if they want the item will return and up the price. Even if they don't outbid you your cost will go up as they try to outbid you.

    Try it and see - I have outbid numerous people 30 seconds before the end of an auction. By the time they have refreshed the page to see what the latest bid is - it's all over!!

    You should also remember to refresh the page every few seconds towards the end of an auction so as you don't get caught out by me!!! :D

    Happy bidding
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    In the same vein as the previous reply, let technology do the graft for you.

    I used exactly the same tactics with success, but when an auction ends at an inconvenient time it's - well, inconvenient!

    I discovered a program call AuctionSnipe. I have a 100% success rate using it so far. It's infinitely better than eBay's own proxy bidding as the AuctionSnipe server logs in literally minutes before the auction ends, whereas using eBay proxy bids, as soon as you hit the "whammo" button the bidding war starts.

    I am cautious in the extreme about affiliate programmes, but now that this string is underway, I have signed up as an affiliate - first time in my life! You can download the program and use it on a free trial basis by clicking on this link It is available for PCs and Macs.

    I unashamedly get a commission if you decide to purchase after the free trial. Hey! Isn't this site and Martin's excellent newsletter all about wealth creation?

    Good buying! ;D
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    With no broadband available in our village (despite waging a successful campaign to reach the BT trigger level) I firstly resorted to opening the item I wanted buy twice. One I refreshed on, the other had a bid waiting to be submitted.
    However I have since found auctionstealer:

    With the free sign up you get 12 'snipes' per month with a limit of 3/week. at between 10 and 20 seconds prior to the auction ending. If you want more snipes closer to the end of the auction, there is a fee structure - check their site for details.
    Auctionstealer sends you notifications such as if the bidding has exceded your max, and if/when you win an item. It will not bid to your maximum only to that required to win the auction. Set it up, and sit back, you do not need to be online for the system to work. Great for those must have items finishing when you can't be online.
  • RokksterRokkster Forumite
    12 Posts

    This tip is so important IT BEARS TO BE SHOUTED ...

    So many times I see people paying MORE than they can buy it from well known online stores for!! Recently, for example, I was researching CD changers for my new car. A number of auctions were selling one particular model for a certain price. A few minutes hunting on Google however and I found that it was selling for up to £30 less (!!), from reputable stores - including free P&P!

    Auctions are fun, and it's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment - but do your reseach beforehand before you plunge in feet first.

    Run a price comparison with or Keep a favorites list of the best priced stores as mentioned throughout Martin's site. Check out reviews as well - it might be cheap on Ebay because it's widely considered rubbish!

    Just make sure you know what you are buying.
  • Art_2Art_2 Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    I have bought on Ebay and always been satisfied. I think it is essential to know what you want and how much you are prepared to pay for it and to stop if your maximum is reached.

    Check the status of the items you are bidding on. Are they new or used? You can send the seller an email to ask any questions before bidding. Most sellers are pleased to answer your questions.

    Check the status of the seller. Ebay has a good facility for doing this. Generally you won't have problems with regular sellers as they want to carry on selling on Ebay.

    Only buy items that are from a UK seller.

    Happy bidding.
  • GladGlad Forumite, Ambassador
    18.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I've bought a number of things from Ebay with no problems
    Always check the p&p costs and add this to the most you are willing to pay
    sometimes the p&p can take the cost above what you might be able to buy it elswhere for
    I'm a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Wales, Crafting, Small Biz MoneySaving, In My Home (includes DIY) MoneySaving, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning, and UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards.
    Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Forumite
    680 Posts
    A quick note on the Auction sniping tools, there are dozens of sites and most of them seem to offer a free trial period or X free snipes to start you off. Type in auction sniping into Google and you'll be deluged.

    They can be very useful for grouping items as well. You can assign items to a group within the sniping tool, set a max price then let it do its stuff. It'll keep trying to get you your item until it succeeds (or you run out of things in a group). This can help when there's a lot of the item you want for sale......

    Once you've bought something, patience and trust are the best tools......
  • David_BrentDavid_Brent Forumite
    697 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Saw this tip on another forum, might already be mentioned here? if you're looking for a last minute bargains on ebay type in : +(nr, no reserve) -

    to the search box on ebay, this will bring up everything on ebay which is ending now!
  • JIMJAM_4JIMJAM_4 Forumite
    93 Posts
    might try that David brent
  • gundogundo Forumite
    242 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker

    This tip is so important IT BEARS TO BE SHOUTED ...

    So many times I see people paying MORE than they can


    Totally agree. Watch out in particular for Lidl/Aldi bargains being "recycled" in this way.

    My Ebay experiences have been good and bad. Bought a mobile phone that wasn't as described (it was in terrible condition) and it died after 6 months use. Sigh...

    Selling stuff on there was good but PayPal charge a lot for what they do, also finding packaging etc to pack the items in is a bit of bind.

    Be wary there are some real sharks on Ebay.

    All the best - Art
    Trying hard to be a good moneysaver.
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