Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to Buy on eBay

Last Christmas 1 in 4 purchases were made online and I predict that figure will rise this year. Hammering through my Christmas present shopping list, the majority of items have been purchased via the internet. It's been a joy to hear the sound of the thud on the welcome mat in my hall to know the postie has delivered all the Christmas cheer I need to spread around my family and friends.

I always find December to be a busy month on eBay and last year sales on Christmas Day and Boxing Day went through the roof - people were busy splashing their Christmas cash. I've done a couple of posts about selling on eBay but this one is about buying on eBay - what to do, what not to do and what to expect:

1. Do you really want the item or only the price.  If you are after a navy blue dress but you are bidding on a sky blue dress just because it is cheap then hold your horses; eBay isn't the only online shop! Sites like ShopStyle are a great way to compare and contrast clothing before you commit to a purchase.

2. Set your spending limit. The eBay auction system encourages panic buying by making you feel time is limited and will run out. As the clock counts down to the end of the auction your heart rate will quicken alarmingly. Panic sets in; you make bid after bid after bid and before you know it you've gone over your budget by £40 not to mention postage and packaging. Before you place your starting bid write down what you are willing to pay for the item on a post-it note and stick it to your computer screen. This will keep you focused when the bidding gets out of hand. Another option is to bid once with your final bid and then stay away from the computer screen - if your price is right then you'll win the auction without really having to participate.

3. Be prepared to walk away. You'd be surprised how often things come back around again on eBay. If the bidding goes crazy stick to your budget then set up an email alert for the item you want. Give it a few weeks and your item will pop up again from another seller and probably at a cheaper price. I was after a leopard H&M Coat and it has popped up 4 times from 4 different sellers this year alone.

4. Read, read, read. Some eBay sellers (mostly using the mobile app) keep their descriptions brief. I like a lengthy text detailing size measurements, when and where to wear the item in question. Read all the information that the seller gives at least twice before you bid or ask questions. Check their postage and packaging charges meet your expectations, check the sizing, the colour and enlarge any photos which show defects. If what you want to know isn't there then contact the seller, don't jump the gun.

5. Pay straight away. You've won the bid! It's yours! Congratulations! You can't walk out of a shop without paying for something so don't irritate your seller by withholding payment. Set up the automatic payment option on your account and settle your debts immediately. The sooner you pay, the sooner you receive your item.

And on a final note, shop wisely and safely: keep your transactions inside eBay. At this time of year there is a bigger risk of your parcel getting lost due to the high volumes being posted. If you have agreed to a transaction outside of eBay you will have no re-course if you don't receive your item. You have been warned!

Shop happy!

Til next time...x

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