How to eBay

Shopping on eBay can save you a fortune over the holiday season. But how do you get started, stay safe and, most importantly, win the items you want? Find out how with Rachel’s guide to eBay.

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Shopping on eBay can save you a fortune over the holiday season. But how do you get started, stay safe and, most importantly, win the items you want?

What is eBay?
eBay is essentially the world’s biggest garage sale. It is a website which allows you to buy or sell new or second-hand goods. Some of the items will have a fixed price, others will go to an auction with a specified end time. You can look at photos of the items, and for bigger acquisitions such as vehicles and collectables the seller will often allow you to look at the item in person, as long as you make an appointment.

What can I buy?
If it exists, it’s probably for sale on eBay. You can purchase electronics, such as computers or cameras, bed linen, furniture, clothing, toys, alcohol, building materials, pin-ball machines, war memorabilia… the list goes on. There have been some very unusual sales over the last ten years, including a toasted cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary’s face on it, which sold for $28,000, the right to name a mother’s firstborn, which was bought by a casino for $15,500 and an exorcised ghost in a jar (price unknown). The short answer is you can buy almost anything.

I’m inspired. How do I buy it?
Would new pillow cases make your life complete? Perhaps you need a pair of gumboots, or diamond earrings for an anniversary. Whatever it is you are looking for, the purchasing process on eBay is always the same. There are three forms an item sale can take:

  1. Buy it now
    Buy it now means that an item has a fixed, non-negotiable price, and you can choose to pay that (plus postage) or not.
  2. Best offer
    Best offer items will have a Buy it now price, but as long as nobody decides to pay it you can make an offer to the seller, and possibly get the item for a cheaper price.
  3. Auction
    Auctions may or may not have a reserve, but either way you will be bidding on the item until the allocated end time.

Once you have used the ‘buy it now’ function, negotiated a ‘best offer’ with the seller or won the bidding you need to pay for your item. You can either proceed directly to the checkout or if you don’t want to pay directly after agreeing to buy the item, or if you close the page by accident, you will be emailed an invoice which will contain a link to ‘pay for your item’. Either way you can proceed through the checkout at your leisure.

Click NEXT to find out how the secret to winning auctions

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