I registered on e-Bay more than ten years ago. Rarely have I had a problem. There were a couple of times where I bought something that had a great price, only to find out that the seller never actually had the item to sell!
A number of years ago, I bid and won the complete DVD set of "Star Trek Deep Space," and waited and waited for to arrive. I received a message from another buyer on e-Bay that had ordered something from the same seller, warning me that this person didn't have the merchandise to ship. I had better open up a dispute and get my money back.
I gave the seller a chance to respond to my questions, but they never answered. That's a sure sign of a problem. I opened a dispute with e-Bay, including all my correspondence with the seller and I had my money back within a week.
Just yesterday, I sold a phone case for a $1 more than I paid for it. In a previous column, I mentioned how my daughter, Michelle, had broken her phone and was hoping to get a new iPhone 6S. Well, I bought the case in anticipation of that phone arriving, which it didn't.
I put the phone up for sale and it sold on the last day of bidding. Then I receive a message from the buyer asking if he can have a month to pay for it. Huh? When you buy on e-Bay, the idea is to pay immediately. I told the buyer I'm not a bank and he has no idea what he's doing.
I relisted the phone. I hope it will sell. I hope I won't lose any money.
When you're looking for a particular item on e-Bay, you have to do your homework. You must know the regular retail price. You must know to recognize a sale price is. Then search until you find that item at the price you hope to pay.
I'll always look at the "Buy it now" or "Best Offer" listings first. When it comes to making a best offer, I'll generally start at half the asking price and take it from there. I'm not concerned if the seller feels insulted by the offered price. This is someone I've never met and probably won't ever meet. I'll be aggressive with a best offer.
Most of the time, the seller will accept my offer, which tells me the item was overpriced to start. Sometimes, they'll come back with a counter offer that is only a dollar or two lower than the asking price. This tells me that they have no clue what they're doing, the item is overpriced and they don't know how to negotiate.
I'll make one more counter offer and tell them in note that this is my last and final offer. Unless they come back with a note of their own and better offer, I'll pass on it.
My most recent purchases have been parts for my HO cars. I will scour the listings until I find the car or part(s) I want, and then buy it. If it's an auction, I'll be the sniper, waiting until the last minute to swoop in and buy it at the best possible price. I've won many auctions that way.
When I sold a food processor, I miscalculated the shipping cost and barely broke even on that transaction. I undercharged the buyer for shipping and under-priced the item to sell. That was not one of my favourite moments.
Right now, I'm watching some slot cars that are prices at 99 cents each. I'm hoping that I'll get lucky and get them for around $5 a piece. Wish me luck!
Do your homework when you use e-Bay. Don't get into a bidding war that you may not want to win. Happy selling on e-Bay; good luck buying and bidding on e-Bay!
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.