The little guide to buying on Ebay Answered
Like or not Ebay is now the number one online market place.
Since they do their best to keep it that way a few tips might be of use to someone.
Unlike some other guides this one is not about how to find the best bargain.
It is about showing some things you should be aware of, especially if you are new Ebay.
1. New, unused, refurbished....
These three can literally mean anything if you find them in a listing title.
Unless you read the full description you simply don't know.
Assuming the listing goes along with the title.
New should mean exacty that: Same condition as you would find in any retail store.
Unused can be the same but could also mean it was opened, like to check it or take the pictures.
Refurbished is something to take with caution.
Unless it clearly states Manufacturer refurbished you just don't know if the refurbishing is done to specs.
For a phone it could mean a badly glued screen, a no name battery, non matching serial numbers...
Unless an item is factory sealed you should expect detailed pictures.
In a lot of categories you will only find generic pictures though - buyer beware!
Ebay does have a buyer protection but Ebay does not deal with Manufacturer warranties in any way!
In some countries a seller is legally required to provide a warranty and return statement.
Sadly that is not the case in all countries Ebay serves.
When it comes to brand new devices you might experience problems with your warranty.
As more and more companies go against online selling platforms they do not support they simply exclude them from a warranty.
Let me give you an example for this one:
You see your favourite smartphone at your local retailer for the bargain of just under $1600, while on Ebay you find the exact same model for $1200.
Easy choice? Depends...
If the manufacturer does not support this then only the seller can provide you with some sort or warranty.
The good one claim to do so but don't expcet this from someone only selling a handful of items per year.
In the worst case it could mean your new gadget develops a fault over time that would be fully covered by a manufacturer warranty but you would totally miss out.
The money is gone and you have to fix it at your own cost.
If the item in question is also of value then please check the warraty and return conditions the manufacturer allows before buying.
Especially when it comes to things that somehow could be bundled or used with something else you can get screwed.
The culprit i question is the multi-item-listing.
You might look for a battery pack to keep your phone charged when on long hiking trips.
But the first 50 or so listings are all in the lowest imaginable price range.
The listing title shows what you are looking for, the image does too....
Then you dare to check and it is a listing where you can select multipl items.
The price shown in the search result is only for the lowest crap listed there, like a "waterproof usb plug"....
The actual thing you need is usually overpriced.
You are forced to either ignore suspiciously low priced listings or check them all to compare prices.
5. Postage costs....
A lot of things these days come with free shipping, all good.
If they don't then again: Buyer beware!
Sometimes there are exclusions, like certain post code areas.
Or the free shipping is not for international customers.
If it is clear you have to pay shipping and you buy only a single item then again the case is quite obvious.
Combined shipping however does not always mean single costs!
Check the psotage options for multi items carefully!
Often additionalitems are free if they are small.
But if a seller already charges you a high postage fee than chance are you pay the exact same price again for the second - even if the arrive in a single $2 prepaid envelope.
6. Faked locations....
It seems to be common with Chinese sellers to avoid import taxes by faking a local item a selling address.
In some cases (often after Ebay got too many buyer complaints) they list the real shipping time of 2-3 weeks.
More often however they don't.
Once you have the problem the best option is to open a "item not received" claim 3 days after it was due.
On the due date contact the seller and ask when to expect it.
There is a way to spot these fakes and tax frauds:
If a local seller, with a locally listed item gives you a Chinese Paypal account with an address in China than you got a fraudster.
Problem is that once you committed to buying and can see the sellers account details it is already too late.
To cancel such a transaction you need to do it the official way and if the seller won't agree then don't expect Ebay to accept that you don't want to suppport tax evasion and fraud.
Either way, I report each and every single one seller showing a local item with a local selling addrees but using a Chinese Paypal account.
7. Fraudulent listings and sellers....
Let me give you a slightly overstated example on what I mean:
Seller has only sold a very few items, usually of low value.
Suddenly you spot y nice and this years model laptop at a bargain price.
You check the listing closer and find just 2 or 3 pics.
Further down you read something along the lines "Unwanted gift, comes with car charger only."
If it is this years model then it is still under warranty and no one would lose all the additional hardware like the wall charger.
Again it is up to the buyer to decide....
Ebay does not check where an item comes from or if the seller is the legitimate owner of it.
8. Exclusions to make...
Be it price, auction only, distance and so on.
You can make certain limitation and selections to narrow your search results.
Some make sense and work, like just showing items to auction.
Distance no longer really works as sellers are no longer required to state a town or post(zip) code anymore.
Price is relative too.
If you know the ting you need definately costs between $100 and $130 then the search still won't filer anything out that is a multi item listing and within the price range.
And in some cases it just totally fails.
A very vital exclusion was removed around 2014: by country.
Now all that is left is to limit to all within your home country.
You can't select for example Japan only if you are located in Europe and would like to avoid the rediculous postage costs from the US.
And you could not exclude China either...
All or local is what you can play with.
For the rest that is available: use it whenever it make sense and is possible.
9. You buy it - your problem!
No I don't mean faulty items or wrong ones.
I mean simple things that can happen to anyone distracted, unconcentrated or too full of exitement.
You buy something and think you are the happiest guy in the world until you double check the listing to confirm your luck.
Missed the over $300 in postage ocsts?
Did not see further down that it states "replica" or "scale model"?
Or hints that the massive sized Opal in fact is just a resin with a thin and cheap layer of Opal flakes on a black background?
As said, your problem alone.
I know a lot of people who started having fun on Ebay until they got their gib bargain surprice - one way or the other.
Don't become one of them and read and check listing you might want to buy with great care!
You might have noticed that it is next to impossible to find a seller with a feedback rating below 90%.
The reason is quite simple: The lower your ratings as a seller the further down the search results you appear.
And of course you don't make any business anymore once so low...
But feedback you leave is as important as feedback you get!
So if you spot a deal where the seller has a rating below the magic 99.5% positive rating you should check his feedback.
Quite often it is clear that some angry customer left it.
Most obvious if the seller left a reply stating otherwise.
But in some case you more than one buyer left a negative feedback for the same reason as other buyers - this is where you should be careful.
The reason to actually check the feedback is quite simple: It is heavily manipulated by Ebay.
A seller won't get and negative feedback if he agreed to replace the item in question or if he offers a refund.
Same for simply stating that a negative feedback was not justified.
The later can be anything from the words used to just wanting a clean sleeve.
And if a seller is highly active than business rules and the feedback is corrected by Ebay.
You might have noticed that for some sellers now now new negative feedback show up that would be of any real concern for a potential buyer...
11. Retractions :(
Be it a seller not wanting to sell something that auctioned off below his expectations or a buyer who simply failed to pay attention to the price and all details : A retraction is possible.
If you try a lot of auctions you might have had the "second chance offer".
After you lost an auction you might get notified that the winning bid was retracted and that you are next in line.
In almost all cases your last bid will be accepted but some sellers offer you the item for what the rectracted bid was - so pay attention to details!
Now you might think that if happens so often you could make good use of it.
Like for example participating in several autions to try to win the device one way or the other.
Set some sutomatic bids and go to bed.
If lucky you got one, if too lucky you won all auctions.
Retracting your bid on those you now no longer need is possible but I strongly advise against it!
Firstly you can negative feedback from the seller for it and secondly Ebay will keep you under watch if it happens too often.
An honest mistake and all is fine but ask for a retraction a few times a month and you will have a hard time on Ebay.
In the worst case Ebay can even suspend your account or exclude you from auctions.
So, is it still worth signing up and trying to find a bargain?
IMHO it all depends on WHAT you are looking for.
Someone in a remote area of Brazil will certainly value it differently than someone living downtown L.A. with access to all sorts of shops, retailers and outlets onevery corner.
Same for spare parts, electronic parts or stuff that is made in China anyways.
But times have changed for sure.
What started free for everyone became a paid platform for those who sell.
Later those buying also had to pay extra as still all transactions come with fees on the side of Paypal.
Not much to be fair but still...
And from a platform with a few scammers and frudsters that always got and kept your money we came to something flooded by sellers that should not even be allowed to have a Paypal account.
The buyer protection helps in some way but it can take weeks to get your money back and if it something expensive than this money makes interest for someone else while you don't have to buy what you wanted to buy.
While, in a real shop you just go back and return your item to get your money back - plus you get a real warranty.
Do your homework and be aware of what could go wrong.
If it looks like it could go wrong somewhere than you might want to consider a deffierent option for this item.