If you’re on the hunt for a bargain, then your first port of call will undoubtedly be the online auction giant eBay. Founded in 1995, this selling and buying platform has grown year on year and looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Whether you’re an eBay novice, or have used the site many times, there’s sure to be some tips that can help you bag a bargain next time you’re looking to bid on an item. Here are my top picks:
Take advantage of others poor spelling to grab yourself a deal. Often sellers will list something incorrectly and receive no bids as the item won’t appear in keyword searches. There are specialist sites that help to analyse listings and find spelling mistake combinations. Bargainchecker, Goofbid and Fatfingers can all help with this, along with other websites. You can also try changing your search manually to see what you can spot; often it’s easy to guess what mistakes a seller might make.
If you don’t want to sit at your computer constantly pressing your refresh button, there are websites which can place a bid on your behalf right at the last second to make sure you win the item. This is useful if the item is scheduled to end late at night, or when you’re at work and can’t access the internet. If you register to use this service then it’s wise to bear in mind that you will handing over your eBay password to them, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you don’t use the same password for any other accounts.
If you are looking for a rare item, it may be a while before someone places a relevant listing. You can save a search as a favourite, and this means that when someone lists this item, eBay will send you an email to notify you. This is a great tool if you don’t mind sitting it out in order to pounce at the right moment.
It’s important to get to grips with eBay pricing increments as this will help to increase winning bids. When you enter your maximum bid for an item, make sure you don’t choose a whole amount such as £10.00, put in a slightly higher bid of say £10.20. Most buyers will enter a whole number, so the difference of just 20p could scoop you a bargain.
As well as spelling mistakes, sellers will often list their items improperly by failing to describe it accurately. A good tip for scooping a wrongly listed item is to search for your keyword in the description section as well as the title. Some sellers can’t be bothered to spend the time writing good descriptions, so if you have specialist knowledge on what you’re looking for you may be able to spot something that others will miss.
Even if you’re outbid on an item, don’t assume the opportunity has gone. Sometimes buyers change their minds and back out of the sale, leaving sellers with a chance to offer the item to the next bid given. If you really want the item, it’s worth sending a polite email once the auction has closed to let them know that if the sale falls through you’d be happy to agree a price for a buy-it-now listing.
Don’t assume that everything listed on eBay is a bargain, some items will be more expensive than the average market price, so it really is worth carrying out a bit of research before bidding. If you know the market, you can find a multitude of different products at bargain prices which is great for families feeling the pinch. Products such as refurbished freezers, sofas and clothing can be grabbed at a great price, saving you valuable pennies and supporting re-use.