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Ebay Buying Advice - you asked for it

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In fact, you can abbreviate further, stripping out the crap between /itm/ and the item number.  Thus:


--- Quote from: fohat.digs on Sun, 24 November 2013, 18:02:04 ---My first real experience with ebay was about 10 years ago when I needed money and sold off much of my vinyl record collection, mostly jazz and rock from the 1960s and 70s, much of it original and rare. I had a general idea of what things were worth, but ran everything as an auction. I sold about 50-75 LPs per week for about 3 months and made some pretty good money ($14K gross @ $10K net). It was a monumental amount of work and practically a full–time job.

At first I sold lots (“5 John Coltrane LPs on Impulse”) but quickly realized that lots are never worth as much as individual pieces. Taking ebay’s advice and starting at $0.99 was sometimes OK, but after getting burned a few times I realized that you are an idiot unless you start your bid at the lowest amount that you would be satisfied with accepting. A person buying a $50 record does not care whether the starting bid was $1 or $20.

“Buy It Now” is something that I seldom used, in the early days, after getting burned when I did not realize that BIN evaporates when any valid bid comes in (including at 1 second before closing). It only makes sense if BIN is close to starting price, which defeats the purpose, and ebay charges you for that service, also. “Reserve” is just plain stupid, for everyone, and I almost never bid when I see a reserve on something. I quickly learned not to use it myself, because ebay charges you to use that service, too, of course.

I also learned how profoundly prejudiced ebay is in favor of buyers and against sellers. They understand that supply will always be there to fulfill demand, so all effort must be used to entice demanders. Before you challenge that concept, consider, that if there was a demand for 1,000 IBM SSKs at $1,000 each, the supply would materialize quickly.

Demand is not people “wanting” something, demand is people “wanting to pay” for something. Big difference.

After selling almost 1,000 vintage records, I gained a very good understanding of what they might be worth. With that knowledge, today, if I could do it all over again, I would have sold 90% of them at fixed prices. But to sell at fixed price, successfully, you have to really know what your items are worth.

Ebay encourages sellers to sell everything by auction, lowest possible starting bid, shortest possible duration. For that, their fees are the lowest. Why? Because that is where a buyer has the best chance of getting a bargain.

Ebay does not want sellers to make money, ebay wants buyers to get bargains so they come back.

Never forget that fact. Ebay is a reluctant partner with sellers, but an enthusiastic champion for buyers.

Frankly, I “think as” a seller even when I am buying. My best chance of getting a deal as a buyer is by clever maneuvering. My best chance of making money as a seller is by preventing clever maneuvering.

These days, I know the value (quite well) of 95% of what I sell, and use that to my advantage. That is why I use the “reverse auction” procedure of starting at a very high fixed price and dropping incrementally until it sells. For this, ebay taps me for its highest possible fee structure, but I can accept that.

However, I believe that it is worth paying ebay any fee, because it is my window to the world. If they can connect me the person, somewhere, who will pay top dollar, then I consider their 10%-15% tribute well worth it, even if I still complain sometimes.

When I do put something up for auction, I start it on Thursday and run for 10 days, across 2 weekends, to ensure a good audience. A standard auction is 7 days, and ebay encourages (and by “encourage” I mean charges the lowest fees) shorter auctions of 1-3-5 days which is completely silly.

My advice to buyers is generally pretty simple:

The more hurry you are in, the more you will pay. The less hurry you are in, the less you pay.
The more demanding (“new in box”, "clean", “complete”, “tested”, “working”) you are, the more you pay.

Do not begrudge a seller his shipping costs. Shipping is becoming more expensive by the day. Ferrying a keyboard from the US across an ocean costs $78, and domestic shipping costs $12-$17 no matter what. This is the buyer’s responsibility, not the seller’s. A really frugal buyer might look into container shipping, etc, but most will not.

If there is something that you really want, decide how much it is worth to you now, tonight. Fix that number in your mind, and adjust it later if necessary. Do not let go of it. If you can buy the item at that price, be happy. If you can buy the item at a lower price, be happier. If the item sells at a price above yours, ignore it.

The definition of a good business deal is: when both parties are satisfied with the outcome. If something is worth $50 to you and a seller is willing to sell it for $50, everybody wins.

However – and I want to emphasize this strongly – shipping is not part of the price.
It is part of the cost to the buyer.

If your budget is $50 and shipping is $20, then do not complain if you do not buy an item at $32 + shipping.

Buyer and seller alike are only concerned with the money that is left in their pocket "after the dust settles” and the seller is the one who pays all the fees and intangibles, and does all the work.

HE  PAYS  ebay 10%  and  HE  PAYS  Paypal  3%  and  he spends 10+ minutes carefully packaging the item,  another 10+ minutes driving to the Post Office (each way) and  HE  PAYS  the Post Office "many" dollars in postage, all while the buyer sits lamely on his doorstep waiting for somebody to place the item into his sweaty hands.

If you see something at a “Buy It Now” price that seems fair and within your budget, just  BUY IT NOW !

If you are mildly interested in something, but only at a bargain price, here is the best way to pursue it:

Put the item on your ebay watch list. Consider odd listings, wrong categories, and goofy mis–spellings.

Use Auction Sniper or some other similar service. They cost pennies (and even then only when successful) and can easily save you tens of dollars, or more.

When you see something that is within your realm of possibility, put in a snipe at your maximum comfortable number (factoring in shipping and handling) and then just forget about it. I have gotten some of my best deals while in bed asleep with the computer turned off.

Put in a “low–ball” snipe every time and one day you may get lucky.

--- End quote ---
Thanks for your valuable tips I will sure follow your instruction.


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