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Ebay - or, why my bank manager hates me
Member Name: IsabelleRees
Date: 17/07/01, updated on 17/07/01 (43 review reads)
Advantages: Large amount of items for sale, Many users will be able to see your items for sale, Anything you could ever want is available
Disadvantages: Addictive, Bidding wars destroy your common sense, Too many items for easy browsing
I have been using Ebay for almost a year now, during which time I've spent *far* too much money. Fortunately, I've also managed to sell an awful lot of things that were no longer of any use to me, so hopefully I've made more money than I've spent.
Ebay is the premier online auction site, and there are *lots* of items for sale there. There is a separate website for the UK, www.ebay.co.uk, as well as various other European subdivisions, and the main site, www.ebay.com. This means that, instead of just being able to search through the items on the UK site, you can do a search for items that are available to the UK. For instance, a seller in the US can choose to only sell his item to bidders from within the US, or he can state on the auction listing that he is willing to ship the item internationally. Of course, this means that it is more difficult to arrange payment, and that the shipping fees will be higher, so it is always best for the prospective buyer to get in touch with the seller before bidding and check what options are available to them.
Browsing through the categories can be time consuming, as there can be several hundred items in each category. However, there is a very useful search function, which allows you to search for keywords in the title, or in the description, of an auction listing. You can also search through completed auctions, which helps to get an idea of the general price you should expect to pay. Once registered with Ebay, you can also set up a watch list of items that you are interested in. However, this only lets you list up to 20 items, so can be rather frustrating if you have a lot of items to look at.
Bidding on an item is relatively straightforward. Once logged in, you can enter the maximum price that you are prepared to pay, and Ebay's Proxy Bidding will automatically bid for you up to this price. I highly recommend using Proxy Bidding, as it can be very easy to get involved in a bidding war
and end up paying far more than you intended to. With proxy bidding, you just wait until the auction is over to see whether you have won or not. Of course, this can have its disadvantages too, as you may find that you have only been outbid by a very small amount, but all round it is much safer to bid this way for those of us with very little willpower!
Selling is also quite easy - choose what category to list your item in, write a comprehensive description and then choose your payment and postage options. On the next page you will find out how much it will cost to list your item. The listing fee will range from 15p to £2, depending on the starting price of the auction. You will also be charged a Final Value Fee, based on the price your item sells at (between 5% and 1.25% depending on the final price.)
Of course, the reason that so many people choose to use Ebay is its feedback ratings. This is where every buyer or seller gets to rate the transaction - as a general rule, avoid dealing with anyone with a negative feedback rating, as they have had some bad transactions. This means that you can check to see if a seller is reliable before placing a bid, and can therefore feel safer about bidding.
All in all, Ebay is an excellent way to buy and sell items, particularly if you are interested in buying items from abroad. The sheer amount of items listed means that you are likely to find something that you're interested in. In fact, you're likely to find too *many* items that you're interested in! Happy Ebaying.