Despite the fact that many years have gone by since eBay rose to the top as a platform for online shopping, many of the new eBay shoppers are still struggling with the same mistakes that troubled the previous generations of newbie eBuyers.
eBay has a unique format and the rules may not be the same as other websites, leaving more room for error. These are some common mistakes that are made by new eBuyers and an ideal approach to avoid them.
1. Buying the First Item From Search Results
For quite a while now, the search system for eBay has been customized to show the seller(s) or item(s) that eBay might want you to buy, as opposed to those that might offer the greatest assortment of choices or those that may have the best prices. Most of the time it’s sellers that do the most business with their products are the ones you’re seeing, which, sometimes, is a good thing. However, don’t ignore the fact that there might be other sellers out there who can meet your criteria and also save you money.
Can be avoided by sorting the search results by price or using the advanced search options after clicking on the “Search” button.
2. Bidding on the Lowest-Priced Auction Item
On eBay, there are a large number of items whose “current cost” is just in pennies as opposed to its real value. This situation doesn’t end. These items are actually up for auction, and while they may be priced low, for now, they won’t be by the time the auction ends. A lot of newbies invest a lot of time trying to get items off eBay for a couple of dollars and then get disappointed and give up thinking eBay is deceptive or they end up getting outbid, which is usually always.
Can be avoided bybuying items that don’t require bidding / or bidding the amount you think the item is worth.
3. Buying without Checking Seller’s Feedback
The feedback system on eBay is more critical for shopping safety than the rating systems of the seller. The sellers on eBay offer a much more extensive assortment of products and are liable to considerably more lax controls than other websites like Amazon. Buying an item from a seller with a bad feedback is a recipe for disaster.
Can be avoided by checking seller’s feedback before making a purchase or placing a bid.
4. Overbid for an Item / Getting Caught in Bidding Wars
The proxy bidding system by eBay and the anonymity of bidding on eBay can be a source of a bad case of auction brain in some new eBay shoppers, making them bid more money on an item than they normally would while they are caught up in the moment. Don’t do that. Don’t think that since eBay is just an auction on the website, you can just withdraw your winning bid or you are not obliged to honor it. If you win the auction, you are required to complete the transaction.
Can be avoided by placing a limit on your purchase price before bidding on any item.
5. Failing to Read Descriptions Thoroughly
eBay consists of different descriptions for different items (i.e. every iPhone sold on eBay will have a unique description.), not like other websites like Amazon, which uses the same description if the item is similar. Sellers have the permission to sell modified, broken or incomplete items on eBay. So if you don’t want any surprises, always remember to read the description of the item carefully.
Can be avoided by thoroughly and carefully going through the description of the item up for auction before making a bid.
6. Paying By E-Check or Instant Bank Transfer
Almost every payment that you make on eBay is through PayPal, but most of the shoppers on eBay don’t know that there are several different ways to pay and the default way of payment can be much less safe when compared to others. The method PayPal encourages you to use is instant funds transfer, but if the deal goes badly and the buyer protection of eBay does not cover you, you will not consider yourself to be very lucky.
Can be avoided by using credit cards with PayPal.
7. Ignoring Shipping Costs
The change in the policy of eBay is more annoying now than it was before as the shipping charges are continuing to go up. Many new buyers fail to check the shipping charges before making a bid on an item and then end up feeling cheated. Similarly, many new eBay buyers fail to go through the handling times and shipping times as specified by the seller.
Can be avoided by going through the description of the item carefully and understanding the shipping costs, estimated time, and shipping method according to your location.
8. Avoiding Overseas Seller(s) or Item(s)
The biggest perk of this era is that you can buy any item on eBay – even in small quantities – from anywhere in the world. Still, there are many buyers who don’t do business with sellers who are overseas. Buyers avoid overseas sellers and buy the same item from local retailers by paying more money.
Can be avoided by giving the international sellers the benefit of the doubt based on their feedback.
9. Handling Disputes or Dissatisfaction Poorly
Every buyer on eBay will probably have a negative experience at buying an item (sooner or later) and many people handle their first bad experience in a way that doesn’t help them become satisfied. The feedback system of eBay is always useful, but it should not be the first corner you turn to after receiving a deal that didn’t meet your expectations. The objective here is not to make the other person look bad, but to receive the item you paid for. A few methods involve contacting eBay. If none of those methods work, don’t forget to leave feedback for the sellers so that future buyers can learn from your mistakes.
Can be avoided by getting in touch with the seller, then using eBay’s dispute system to file a dispute. Always leave feedback.
10. Falling Prey to eBay Scams
Sadly, eBay is not free from the shackles of these despicable activities. There are sellers on eBay selling expensive ticket items that don’t exist, usually ask for large amounts over wire transfer and are likely linked to organized crimes.
Can be avoided by remembering the basics: never click on the links in the emails and always pay through credit cards. Never make payments via wire transfers.
If you have made some of these mistakes, remember that everyone here was once a newbie too and you learn by your mistakes. Make sure you make no more of these mistakes and try your best to never make them. Make your experience of shopping with eBay a positive one.