Blind Bargains

Ebay Tips and Tricks

Ebay can be a fun and rewarding place to buy and sell all sorts of merchandise. But like any store, garage sale, or auction house, there are things to keep in mind when using the site. Below are a few tips to help you on your Ebay journey.

Examine the Item Carefully. When bidding on any auction, read the description carefully. Make sure the item will do what you expect before making a bid. Each auction page has a link to ask the seller a question. Be sure to clarify any misunderstandings before you bid. Once you place a bid, it is a binding contract if you win.

Also, just because an item shows up on one of our search pages, it doesn't mean that the item is accessible. For instance, many people refer to talking clocks as toys that will say a few choice phrases when a button is pressed. If you are actually looking for an item that will tell you the time, you obviously wouldn't want one of these clocks. Make sure that the item will speak the functions that you need to use. That being said, there is a wide variety of items on Ebay that are completely accessible, and we will make every effort to limit searches on this site to these items.

Remember the Total Price. When comparing similar items, be sure to compare the total price including shipping and handling charges. These are normally listed below the item description. An item that lists for one dolloar plus $8.95 shipping is exactly the same to you as another similar item that sells for $8.95 with one dollar shipping. Some sellers will combine shipping for multiple items, but you should ask about this before you bid.

Look for Similar Items. Some sellers will list multiple auctions of the same item. This is especially common with smaller gadgets like talking clocks or calculators. Don't go crazy bidding on one item without checking the other auction listings that are available. There may be another listing for the same item that you can buy for a lower price.

Research your Seller. Seasoned users of Ebay know the importance of good feedback. Next to a seller's user ID, you will see a number. This represents their feedback score. Perhaps the more important number is the percentage of positive feedback that is shown next to this seller. Most reputable sellers will have scores in the high nineties or a 100 percent positive feedback record. If you are unsure of a seller's integrity and want to know more, click on the feedback score to read some of the comments left by others.

Use a Sensible Payment Method. Paying either by Paypal or using a credit card is the safest way to purchase your auction items. Both normally offer some form of buyer protection against lost or damaged merchandise. Consult the terms of your credit card or Paypal account to see how this applies to you. If a seller insists on a mailed payment, money orders are probably the safest, though you should be sure to keep your copy of the money order. Never pay using Western Union or other confusing payment schemes.

Follow Up. Most sellers expect to hear from you within three days of the close of the auction. Consult the auction or any Emails from the seller to learn how they would like to be paid. Many sellers use the Ebay checkouts ystem while others have their own systems of accepting credit cards. Most will provide a tracking number for your shipment, though you may have to ask. Be sure to leave feedback for your seller. You can use My Ebay to track your current and recent auctions and to leave feedback.

If you have any tips to add, please send them along.

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