How To Find Better eBay Buys

I recently found a pair of boots in one in one my favorite catalogues, but they cost $69. I decided to be patient and see if I could find the boots cheaper on eBay. So I did a search for Skechers Wraparound boots and waited: Nothing. A few days passed and I began to grow impatient. In the meantime, I saw that the boots had been marked down to $59. I wanted those boots, but decided to hold out for a better buy.

It took about three weeks, but the boots were finally listed on eBay from an eBay seller that I had saved in my favorites. I bought them for $14.99 + $8 shipping for a total of $22.99. I was extremely satisfied with my purchase. The boots were a return and were like new – no flaws (although my boots had no flaws, some items may have been returned due to a flaw, so I read each listing carefully and ask the seller questions). Many times if there is a flaw, it is minor and unnoticeable.

Over the years, I have learned a lot of little things that help me make better buys on eBay. I buy my kids' school clothes and summer wear; I have found good buys on concert tickets and have even bought coupons for a free night at a hotel.

  1. Find Connected Sellers: Find sellers who are somehow connected with a warehouse that supplies items to your favorite stores. These sellers have access to returned items, overstock items, out of season items, etc. This won’t be printed in black and white on their item description or on their store page, but it is fairly easy to figure out. Just take a look at the other things they are selling. If they have several items from the same store and in different sizes, chances are they have the connection. Many times these sellers are called drop shippers.
  2. Saved Searches: After you put in a search criteria such as “Skecher Wraparound Boots” and hit "Enter," there will be a link called “Save this search” near the top of the page. Click the link and you can set up a search for this item and can easily go to your "My eBay page" and click on favorite searches. There you will find links to all your favorite searches. You can even set up email notifications," so that when there are new listings matching your criteria, you will receive an email letting you know.
  3. Favorite Sellers: I have found sellers that I really like and who list brands I like, so I save them in my favorites. If you want to save a seller in your favorites, go to an item that seller is selling and under the “Meet the seller,” there is an “Add to Favorite Sellers” link, click the link and the seller will be listed in your favorites in your My eBay.
  4. Exact Words: Use exact words of the item you like when conducting a search: Skechers Wraparound Boot; Born Shoe Bishop, and so on.
  5. Advanced Search: Next to the search button, there is a link called "Advanced Search." I use this when I want to narrow my search. For instance, my son wears size 10 slim jeans, so I will open the advanced search and put in a search for Gap Jeans boys 10, and I exclude words like husky. I don’t always put in the word slim, because some sellers don’t put slim in their listing; rather they put 10 s. I just want to narrow my listings down and cut out husky.
  6. Sort: After I have completed my search, I sort my listings by Time: Ending soonest (this drop-down option is found at the top right-hand side of the search results). Sometimes you can find items with no bids and ending soon – this is where you can get some good buys.
  7. Shipping Prices: First of all, understand that most sellers are not trying to make a killing on shipping. Having sold on eBay, I know firsthand that shipping can get expensive; BUT do watch for those sellers who will list a $30 item for $9.99 and add $20 shipping.
  8. Combined Shipping: Buy from sellers who will combine shipping and then buy more than one item from the seller to save on shipping. I found a name brand velour pant and jacket set for half the original retail price and a pair of matching name brand sneakers for half the original retail price – both from the same seller. I bought them and the seller combined shipping to save me about $5.
  9. Be Patient: If you don’t find your item right away, and if you don’t have to have the item immediately, then be patient. Save your search, set up to receive email notifications and continue searching eBay using different search criteria for the item.
  10. Related Searches: After you put your search criteria in and hit "enter," there is an area at the top of the page that says Related Searches: There you will find links to other items that are close to what you put in your search criteria, including commonly misspelled words.
  11. Research the Item: Be sure you are getting a bargain. Many buyers make the mistake of believing that because it is on eBay, it is cheaper. This is not always the case. Research the item you are considering at other stores, check shipping prices, return policies and warranties to see if you really are getting a better deal on eBay.
  12. Research the Seller: I always look at the Meet Seller section, found on the top, right-hand side of the listing. This is where I can see how many feedbacks the seller has received and the seller’s feedback score. I can even read the seller’s feedback comments. A seller might have a 95% feedback score, but has received 3500 feedbacks. That to me is still pretty good. On the other hand, a seller with a 95% feedback score who has had only 128 feedbacks, is not so good. I will always look at the comments and see what some of the negatives one were and then decide if I feel comfortable with the seller.
  13. Read Carefully: Read the item’s description very carefully: This is where the seller should list everything you need to know about the item, payment and shipping. It is important to notice that some sellers do not accept anything but PayPal payments which means to purchase their item, you must pay using PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account and do not want to get one, it is best to stick with listings that will accept money orders or cashier’s checks.


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