Tips for Buying on Ebay

As promised, here's my few tips and tricks for buying on Ebay.
And let me tell you, I've gotten some fantastic deals and I've also gotten some awful duds.

Many of my friends complain that they don't shop on Ebay because "I can't try it on or return it, I'm stuck with it! What if I don't like it?"

The way I look at it is that if I'm buying five blouses, blazers, tops, whatever, each for about $10, probably four of them will work out and one of them won't.
But mathematically, it just means I paid $50 for four usable pieces, so only $13 for each usable piece (give or take). Still much cheaper than buying at retail, so it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Anyway, on to shopping!

Finding Your Item

Make sure your search term isn't too specific. Type in a word or two (such as a brand and size) and narrow down results using the categories on the left hand side.

Think outside the box when it comes to search terms. Try using similar phrases (such as "denim" and "jeans") and also try misspelling the word to find auctions where the seller made a mistake in the listing.

If you have a favorite brand that you always buy from, start there. Or do you have a designer brand that you wish you could own, but it's too expensive? Try typing them in and see what's out there.

Also make sure to take advantage of the advanced search feature. It allows you to narrow down the search results by how soon the auction is ending, location of the seller, and a bunch of other requirements.

Advanced search also allows you to save your favorite searches and have any new results e-mailed to you on a daily basis. This feature is a god-send, because really, the way to get the best deals is to check in daily. But who has time for that?

Buyer Beware

Just a few things to keep your buying experience pleasant and prevent duds from showing up on your doorstep:

Check measurements. Sizes vary even within a brand, so always check the measurements of the garment to make sure that it fits.

Check seller's ratings. I'm a little hesitant to go below a 99% positive rating, although I'm bidding right now with a seller who has a 96% rating (A Philip Lim skirt! For $11!) because I took a look into her feedback and since she's only sold to 12 people, one negative feedback for slow shipping brought her down to a 96%. So use your judgement.

Check shipping charges. A great deal may not be so great after all of the shipping charges. So make sure to include that in the price so you aren't surprised at the end of the auction.

If there's ever an issue with the item you receive, the seller you are buying from, ect. ect. head right on over to the Ebay conflict resolution center. Ebay is a very buyer-oriented experience, so they will probably resolve the issue in your favor.

And if you ever have any questions at all, message the seller. Most of them are more than happy to provide additional information or pictures.


There are really two ways to deal with bidding. Go the cheap route or the necessities route.

If you're cheap (like moi) definitely snipe auctions.
I know it's a bit low and I know it's a cheap shot. But man,  does it work.
Just hold off bidding until the last few minutes of an auction, then bid your highest amount. It doesn't give the other bidders a time to raise their bid and it keeps the auction low.
Also, there are people out there that you can pay to snipe an auction for you. Not sure if it's worth the price, but they're out there.

However, if you don't have the time or it's something that's necessary in your life, just start off bidding the highest amount you are willing to pay, plus a dollar or two to protect against snipers. Then, sit back and let the Internet gods decide.

Be a Good Buyer

Just a few ways you can help keep the Ebay community running smoothly.

Realize that the sellers are people too. Sometimes they make mistakes.
Also realize that you are buying used clothing (unless otherwise stated). Don't expect for it to have that "brand-new from the store" clothes smell or look.
Always pay what you bid on. There's nothing more frustrating than having to put in a "have not received payment" case. If you are having trouble paying, just message the seller. Communication is key.
If you had an unpleasant experience and are about to leave negative feedback, talk to the seller. See if you can resolve the issue.
Also, read the description, the whole description. Nobody likes surprises.

Anyway, that's my basic beginner's guide to buying from Ebay. Are there any tips that I'm missing?

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