How to: buy gifts on eBay

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

CHRIST­MAS shop­ping is hard. Even when you have com­pleted cun­ning spy work to dis­cover a gift for your tar­get, you must find a store, a carpark, bat­tle crowds, find the prod­uct, com­pare its price with other stores, and gen­er­ally wear your­self out. The al­ter­na­tive is to do your Christ­mas shop­ping on­line or, bet­ter yet, buy gifts at a sig­nif­i­cant dis­count on eBay.com.au. Some eBay items have never been used and are in per­fect gift-giv­ing con­di­tion. There are pit­falls to this method of Yule­tide pur­chas­ing, how­ever, as out­lined in our tips be­low.

SHOP AROUND

Don’t bid on the first good-look­ing item to come your way. In­ves­ti­gate the go­ing rate for your de­sired item thor­oughly, adding sev­eral to your eBay Watch list be­fore bid­ding. eBay prices can be sig­nif­i­cantly be­low store prices.

BE­WARE FAKES

If it looks too good to be true, it could be. Com­pare the eBay seller’s pho­to­graphs to of­fi­cial pho­to­graphs of the prod­uct you want. Are there sub­tle dif­fer­ences? If the pho­tos are blurry or in­con­clu­sive, request more im­ages from the seller. Good eBay traders will help you.

BE­WARE BAD SELL­ERS

Read the seller’s eBay feed­back closely, in­ves­ti­gat­ing neu­tral or neg­a­tive feed­back. It’s also worth not­ing what other items this per­son sells reg­u­larly to get a feel for whether they are gen­uine. Ask­ing a sim­ple ques­tion by email, and judg­ing the speed of the re­sponse, can also be a good barom­e­ter.

PAY SE­CURELY

eBay’s Aus­tralian site re­quires sell­ers to ac­cept pay­ment through PayPal. While this at­tracts ex­tra fees for sell­ers, PayPal buy­ers are pro­tected by in­surance, of­fer­ing re­funds of up to $3000 in spe­cific cir­cum­stances.

SNIPE IT

Auc­tion snip­ing is the act of wait­ing un­til the last few sec­onds of the auc­tion to add your bid. This can be a risky strat­egy, though it is made easy with auc­tion snip­ing soft­ware or on­line ser­vices such as auc­tion­sniper.com. Users should take care to make sure they are shar­ing their eBay pass­word with a rep­utable firm.

JEN­NIFER DUD­LEY-NI­CHOL­SON

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