Buying On eBay – The Insider Scoop To Nabbing That Item!


Buying on eBay is a whole different kettle of fish when you’re a pro.  Sure, there are great deals to be found on high quality products, and some shoppers simply enjoy the challenge of winning an auction.  There are, however plenty of insider tips and tricks to get the edge in an auction – it doesn’t just come down to luck.  The reason you missed that one plum item you were watching so closely?  It was probably snatched up by an eBay pro!  Here is the scoop to improve your chance of winning whilst ensuring you don’t lose out on quality when buying online.

Top tips for successful buying on eBay

If you’re an experienced eBayer, you’re already aware of the rookie ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.  DO, for example, check seller feedback and read the item description carefully.  DON’T forget to factor in shipping and handling costs and check that you’re working in your preferred currency.   But what else can you do to have a successful eBay experience?

The late bidder gets the worm!

One of the best ways to win an auction is to place your bids in the final seconds, ensuring no one has time to outbid you.  Sometimes called ‘sniping’, this process can be done manually by frequently refreshing your browser or watching the auction in a few browser windows simultaneously to keep a close eye on the action.  Alternatively, sniping software is available online and will do the job for you – just be sure to investigate the trustworthiness of the software before you hand over your eBay password.  One positive of the software is that you can set a limit to how much it will bid on your behalf, thus ensuring you don’t get over excited and overspend during a last minute bidding frenzy!

Seller error

eBay is one rare situation where spelling mistakes can be a good thing – for buyers, that is!  Misspelled or poorly expressed item descriptions are less likely to pop up in searches, so fewer people will bid on them. Try searching for your desired items using misspelled words; like ‘boys clohtes’, for example, rather than ‘boys clothes’.   The same goes for auctions which finish at anti-social times.  Fewer bidders means a greater chance of winning!  And, once again, there is software available if you need it to help you negotiate these unconventional searches.

Playing detective

We all know it’s smart to check seller feedback before bidding on an auction, but unfortunately there are ways sellers can manipulate eBay’s feedback tools.  Be wary, for example, if a seller has shifted twenty small items for $1 each and then suddenly begins listing pricey products.  Those twenty easy sales may have boosted their positive responses.  To ensure you’re receiving good quality products, always investigate the model numbers or labels on merchandise – fake designer gear is everywhere!  A genuine seller shouldn’t mind answering questions and providing additional information.

When good auctions go bad

eBay has many buyer protection policies and procedures in place, but it’s not infallible.  If you feel a purchased item is not up to scratch, or it never even arrives, take action as quickly as possible.  Start by touching base with the seller – it could be a genuine mistake – but after that, you can raise a formal complaint with eBay.  You can open a case within the eBay ‘Resolution Centre’ from 10-45 days after payment.  Note that conditions may vary depending on how you have paid for goods;  PayPal, for example, offers its own protection scheme.   You can help protect yourself by using PayPal and other payment methods which help you avoid trading in cash or cheques.  Some credit cards also offer buyer protection schemes and may be a useful way of covering your back when you’re buying on eBay.

Everyone loves to buy quality merchandise for a reasonable price. Keep these tips in mind when you’re buying on eBay to give yourself the best chance at a great deal.

About the Author: Janet Reid is a professional ebay seller and designer of young boys’ clothes and pajamas.  View her products at or at her Valuable Buys ebay store (link to .  Valuable Buys is about affordable matching items for well known designer brands.