I have been lucky enough to get some wonderful bargains on eBay. The thing that I tell people who are new to the auction site is make sure you know the value of what you're bidding on!
When my daughters were younger, I loved to dress them in very traditional smocked dresses which were definitely out of my price range. However, by researching online the names and prices of clothing brands I knew to be reputable, I was able to decide if an eBay listing was worth going after money-wise.
I also loved to have my girls in long wool church coats in the winter and was able to do so thanks to eBay. I had one beautiful plaid Rothschild wool coat that was older or "vintage" that was in wonderful shape and always inspired positive comments, and I only paid fifteen dollars for it on eBay!
Other things to be aware of are shipping costs, bidding wars (don't get sucked in to one of those!), and the seller's feedback rating. With a little research and planning, I think eBay can be a wonderful way to stretch your budget!
By Kristen from Grand Rapids, MI
I have quit shopping on ebay, because every time I found something I wanted the only payment they would take was paypal, whereas, I used to be able to pay by money order. I just don't want to get involved with other forms of payment, so I go without the item or find it on another site.
When I am snooping out ebay I set an amount plus shipping and I bid. I just forget about it. If I get it, fine. If not, that too is fine. I have trouble keeping up with my flat ware since DH packs his lunch and the spoons and such don't always make it home. I went to ebay, did a site search for cheap stainless flatware and found a box of 25 pounds of mismatched flatware. I got it for 18 bucks plus $8.95 shipping. The person who had it for sale had gone to the trouble of rubber banding all the matching pieces, spoons etc, together. It took quite some time getting the bands off then I spent almost 2 hours at my sink washing all that stuff. I was placing the pieces to drain on a terry towel folded in 4s. I saturated 4 of those. I figure postage included I paid slightly more than a dollar a pound. I have some out for use and I have quite a large stash in a plastic bag in the shipping box on a shelf. I have flatware to do me the rest of my life.
The reason for paypal is easy. It so far is the safest way to go and if you ever give your chge card out on the internet paypal is the only way. I buy everything I buy on internet thru paypal and have no problems. I recommend it. Now as for some of the highly recommended sellers, buyer beware start small and carefully. I too have come across some great buys and then I got stuck with a guy that had an excellent rating on Angel Trumpet plants for over 3 years. Oh but that year he had a problem and was selling his problems you couldn't fix to others and ebay did nothing about it. Just be careful everywhere.
My son who is an astute ebayer told me to wait till the last few seconds of a bid and do it very quickly. I have gotten a few items like that.
Beware of free postage! My daughter bought an exercise machine, which, on arrival was damaged. Seller offered her money back -but-- she must pay return postage. Ebay decided that this was reasonable and closed her claim. It's now rusting in the back of the garage. An expensive mistake. Caveat emptor indeed.
Marg from England.
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