Tuesday, August 22, 2006

eBay can be your crowning achievement

Ebay is fantastic! Finding, watching, bidding and winning an online auction can be exhilerating. And scoring a great deal on a product is what brings most people to ebay. Something can be said for experience, though, and without it ebay can feel pretty intimidating and clumsy. So here are a few basic tips to maximize your ebay enjoyment:

~ Don't bid. At least not yet. Any bidding done before the waning seconds of an auction just drives up the price. If you spot an item you are interested in, just click "Watch this item" and you can easily consolidate your favorite auctions in your My eBay summary. About the only instance I can imagine placing an early bid on an item is when you find an item you really are hoping to win, and it has a low starting bid and a Buy It Now price, with no reserve. Placing the minimum bid, then, removes the Buy It Now option for other ebayers and ensures you have a fair auction until the end.

~ Bid smart. Take a moment to really evaluate how much you are willing to pay for the item - and stick to it! That will save you from getting caught up in the moment, bidding too high just to "win" the auction and then experiencing buyer's remorse. Also, don't forget to take shipping and insurance charges into consideration when you calculate your bid. For example, if you don't want to spend more than $100 for the new widget and the seller is charging $12 for shipping, make sure you stick to $88 as your bid. And since you are placing your bid in the last seconds of the auction, go ahead and place that maximum bid that you are comfortable with. Ebay is smart, if it only takes $74 to win the widget, you will win the item for $74 even though you put in your $88 bid.

~ Questioning the authenticity of the item or trustworthiness of the seller? Check their feedback and current auctions. A seller with a decent number of feedback (100+) and a high percentage of positive feedback (98%+) has demonstrated the ability to be a good ebayer. By reviewing a sellers feedback, you can also see what other items they have sold in the past few months. Also, check the sellers current offerings up for auction. If they are selling fakes, then most of their other auctions are likely fakes and may be easier to spot.

~ Pay quickly. It can only help expedite your shipping. Some sellers are lightening quick shippers, but most items seem to take a good 7-10 days to arrive - and it's that anticipation of your item to arrive in the mail that can try anyone's patience.

~ Feedback. Go ahead and leave feedback first. Most sellers wait until the buyers leave them feedback before returning the favor.

So go out there, have fun, ebay safely and enjoy the thrill of winning an auction for a great price.

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