If items have no odors, the seller will come right out and tell you. Especially beware of sellers who don't answer the question at all. Be sure to save the email. Unfortunately, some sellers are dishonest. You can use the email to file a complaint under "item misrepresented". Happy shopping!
By perfume and powder from Chesapeake, VA
If you are selling items, always give a detailed description of your item, charge fair shipping and answer all questions sent to you before the auction ends. Take good quality pictures of your item and start at a low opening bid with no reserve.
Have fun, and happy bidding.
By Bobbie G. from Rockwall, TX
Watch the end of the sale. I just heard from an antique dealer that sometimes the bids go way up at the end. Also, check on currency and shipping rates to factor in the cost. Somehow, I got on an Australian part of the site and I realized they were quoting shipping costs in Aussie dollars! So put things on your watch lists and pay attention to the details! (I just purchased a really good deal on an instrument, so I am hooked.)
By Pam from Los Angeles
I am a seller on ebay and what Pam stated is true. If you really want something, don't just bid and walk away. Put it on your watch list and only bid on it in the last few minutes. Most of my items sell in the last 10 minutes of the auction. Also, I know how annoying it is to loose the auction by a penny, and it happens all the time. If you want it, watch it until the very end, even if it does end at midnight. Its well worth time time spent to make sure someone doesn't out bid you by a little bit at the last moment. Also, if there is a question about currency or shipping, make sure you ask before bidding, that way you know exactly what you are bidding on and how much you really are bidding!. Enjoy & Good luck!
I found that if I allow only a certain $ amount that I am willing to spend, know what the item is worth in the stores. I do not over spend, my rule is not to go over 1/2 the store price plus shipping.
Also, a lot of sellers have muilt-items of the same or site stores with more of the same item. I do a search for other sellers who may have the same items for sale.
I find a few items with different ending dates, place them on my watch list. This way I can follow the bidding on a few items all at one time without having to search each time.
When it comes to books, movies, music, etc, I also use half.Com.
I can place the item on my wish list alone with the price I am willing to pay, I have gotten books for $.50 + Shipping.
I try to keep myself in check so i don't over spend.
Been doing the ebay auctions for years myself. Always check the feedback of the person you are thinking of bidding from and make sure they don't have lots of negative feedback. I scroll through the feedback if they just have one or two negative feedbacks and read them and decide from that whether or not to give them a shot. In 8 years I've only been outright skunked twice and was under $20 on each transaction. One seller got me mixed up with someone else's stuff and switched our items in the mail. Never took care of it. Also I almost never bid until the last 40 or less seconds, by putting a bid in there that I think is worth paying even with shipping. I have won more times than not and I never even bid on the dollar, add on 2 or 3 pennies. I learned that the hard way after I lost out by a penny or a nickel. Too many novice bidders put in bid after bid on the item just jacking the item up! Making the seller richer and you poorer.
Just use common sense and you can come out a winner always. Just don't get caught in the ebay fever. And beware I have noticed what I believe is shill bidding. Its explained on the ebay sight I'm pretty certain. Think its like the seller has a network of contacts who bid repeatedly just to jack the price up for some other person to get hung with a higher price trying to outbid the shyster. Hard to explain but thats my brief explanation on it. Always pay promptly when bidding, and leave feedback. The sellers will appreciate you greatly. Good luck.
I am also an eBay-er and know how frustrating it is to lose or win by seconds at the end of an auction. This is commonly know as "sniping" and though it is not forbidden, it is frowned on by the eBay Community. Yes, watch the auction closely, be prepared for the ending time (no matter how late or early), but don't be one of those people that swoops in during the last 10 seconds of an auction and bids high to win. It's just not sporting.
Usually anything on ebay (unless very rare) will be up for bids again by another seller. So only bid what you are willing to spend, if you are outbid then just chalk it up to someone else was willing to spend more!
Also, if shipping costs are not spelled out in the listing, email up front to ask. I really don't like surprises and there are some sellers that really gouge on shipping! Also beware of the sellers who have a very low opening bid with a very high shipping cost. They do it on purpose so they pay less fees to ebay. Ebay takes a percent of the final value so what they are doing is "fee avoidance" and is frowned on by ebay.
I have been buying and selling on ebay since 2/98 and in almost every case the transactions have gone off without a hitch!
Pay your sellers promptly and you'll earn plenty of postive feedback to establish your good bidding reputation!
I will watch an item I am interested in until almost the end of auction. Often other bidders will get into a bidding war on items which is why I hold off bidding until the last possible moment. If it's a bulky item for pick-up I will have already worked out the maximum amount I'm prepared to pay and enter my bid within the last minute or less. If it's a postage item I work out the maximum I'd be prepared to pay taking into account the postage cost and bid accordingly (again in the last minute). You have to 'bid smart' if you don't want to keep getting outbid, that's why it's wise to watch an item. If the bids get too high you can simply delete it from your 'watch' list and search for a similar item. It's your money after all and why pay more than you have to just to outbid someone else. Also (as other posters have mentioned) be aware of sellers who charge very high postage on 'seemingly' cheap items. Read the whole ad before bidding! Be careful and sensible and don't get caught up in the bidding wars, after all you really want a bargain!