|Forum topic by Tennessee||posted 11-21-2014 07:45 PM||636 views||0 times favorited||4 replies|
11-21-2014 07:45 PM
I’ve spent the last couple weeks buying things on eBay. I returned to film photography, and it turned out to be a treasure trove of excellent used cameras and all associated equipment.
But I have learned over the years a few things about bidding on eBay plus how it looks in 2014, and I thought I would pass them along for those who would like to bid but feel they might not get a good deal, or lose all the time.
First of all, you should set up a Paypal account, at least as a buyer. It is easier, and you have the Paypal money back guarantee to fall back on. I belong to Paypal as a buyer only for two simple reasons: The money back thing, and when I do get a refund, it goes into my Paypal account, which is simpler and easier for all involved.
So how do you go about bidding to win without breaking the bank. How did I score a wonderful like new Olympus OM-10 camera with nice lens and bag + strap in mint condition for a measly $4.99 plus $10 shipping?
Here are my tactics. I am sure others can add to these, but this is my policy, and I have scored multiple items for less than their worth with this process.
First, you have to find the item you are looking for. Do this with as generic search as possible. You might find more than one brand and more than one item for sure you might like to bid on.
Second, focus in on just a few items, no more than three or four. I limit myself to three, since my system often finds me buying all three! I’m not rich, so I have to watch my budget, just like everyone else.
First things first…look over all the pictures. Most use the magnification square on the shown picture, but if you left click on the magnified square, the picture will fill your screen and you get a better view. Arrows come up to allow you to scroll through to the next picture. Look the item over carefully and come to some initial conclusions on the condition of the item. Decide if you want to proceed.
Second, you want to read the listing that the buyer has typed in. Read all of it, and concentrate on what the seller does NOT say. Is it working? Is it complete? Does the seller offer returns? Do they offer any information on where they got it? Do they mention that missing widget you saw in the pictures? All this is important and actually more important than what they DO say. Remember, they are trying to explain it as beautifully as possible. Used stuff has problems. If they seem to not address something you saw in a picture, you can always ask a question at the bottom of the listing. Most buyers will respond if they want to sell the item. If not, or the answer if vague, don’t bid. “I don’t know anything about table saws” is NOT an acceptable answer.
So now, you’ve looked things over carefully, and read all the info presented. So far, it all seems OK.
Now comes the hard part…What is the maximum you, in your mind, would be willing to pay, including shipping. Remember that some sellers will jack up shipping to try and help offset low sales prices. Add it ALL together.
So, if you see a hand plane that has a shipping cost of $12.95, remember to add that into the most you would be able to spend.
Next thing is to look at the starting price, or the current price. Ignore Buy It Now pricing. Ignore bids where it says Reserve Not Met. Reserves are nothing more than a way for the seller to hedge their bets and make sure they get what they want for the item. Some will even test the waters with an item, putting in a ridiculously high reserve price so they can find out what the market will bear without actually selling the item. Just keep on going and don’t bother bidding Reserve Not Met items.
So, now you want to make your first major decision – How much in total would you be willing to pay for this item, including shipping? Let’s go back to our hand plane. Forget all the numbers on the right hand side. What would you pay?
Let’s say you would pay $45 dollars for this hand plane. Allowing a shipping charge of say, $12.95, that means you absolutely should not pay more than $32.05 for this plane, and the shipping will bring it to $45. Now, you can be a little flexible, maybe one or two dollars either way, but this is a fairly hard wall you should never breach. This is your first secret to success.
Remember, they almost never made one of anything. Hard to find this hand plane? Well, just keep looking if it is out of your budget. You lived without it until now, you can wait a while longer until another comes along.
Tricks on bidding:
Let’s first look at the bidding. Any bids? If there is none, this is a good sign, especially if the item has been up there for a few days and is closing in on ending. If there are bids, you have to analyze those before you put in a bid at all.
If there are bids, click on the bids and look this over. In the upper right hand corner, you will see Show Automatic Bids, unless there is only one bid. Click on this, and the hidden bids will show from others trying to buy the same item. If the automatic bids go right up to the max number currently listed, it is a good possibility that someone has beat you to this and may have a bid that will kick in when you put in your bid. You can try to add your maximum bid that you decided on as an Automatic Bid, but if it says you were outbid right there, stop and move on. You would have to go higher than you planned, and you don’t know how much higher. Leave it go…
Automatic Bids as your friend…
You want to put in a bid of $32.99. Why? Because people feel that you may be at a hard Automatic Bid of $32.00, and they will put in a bid that takes them to $32.95 and your Automatic Bid will hit at $32.99. This is especially frustrating to those who wait until the last second to put in that last bid, only to have their bid beaten by your Automatic Bid of four cents higher.
What exactly is an Automatic Bid, and how do they work?
So if only two people bid, and the other person only bids two three times, your automatic bid will keep kicking in, and it frustrates others away.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the wins I’ve gotten for way less than I thought I would. This all seems like common sense, but when did you ever see common sense at any auction?
-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com