Saturday, January 9, 2010

Best eBay tips for newbies – and some great deals

My kids all know that I like eBay, although “like” is a kind of weak word. I’m actually intrigued by it. And so I’ve taken my time to study it – and in the meantime, I’ve come up with some amazingly incredible deals that are available (you’ll see those later in the post)

Here are some of the things you want to know before you start buying on eBay:

Feedback: eBay works like a (very large) community. The feedback means a lot. You want to make sure you’re buying from people who have a very high level of good feedback. Anything less than 98% or so – stay away…

Read the whole auction before you bid. You want to make sure of the following:

  • You’re bidding on the item you want to buy (I saw someone bid $500 once on an iPhone case, because he didn’t read through and was misled by the title of the auction). He subsequently reported the seller for fraud and didn’t pay for the item, but you get the point. Read the description. If the picture includes more than one item, make sure exactly what the auction includes.
  • There are no ‘insurance’ or ‘handling’ charges that aren’t part of the price you’re paying (or, if there are, that you know about them before you start bidding).
  • That the shipping costs you see are actually the ones to the country you want to ship to. eBay still hasn’t really worked out the whole ‘country’ thing and I end up putting mine in multiple times each session. Be really careful, so that you don’t discover after your bid on a pair of 99 cent socks that the shipping is another $14.99…

If you’re not sure about something, contact the seller. If the seller doesn’t get back to you within a day or two, move on.

Silver is not always silver, even if the person’s got good feedback ratings. As for gold – I’d stay local.

If you’re not sure how much you should offer for something and you don’t really have anything to compare it to, go into the user’s feedback. Often you can see exactly what other people paid for the same item you’re about to bid on. Also click the “Buy it Now” only tab above the results. You certainly don’t want to offer more than you could buy it for without an auction…

Most serious sellers have more than one of the same item. If you like something, but the price is too high, put it in your “watch list”. You’ll be able to see when the seller relists the item (which happens often).

jewelry rollIf you want more than one of something, use the word “wholesale” or “lot” in your search. I’m eyeing these silk jewelry rolls… You can get one for ~$4.85 (see the green one) or 5 for $15.98 (see the link below – note that the picture shows 6 & you actually only get 5). These prices are both “buy it now prices”.

silk jewelry rolls 

Some places will combine shipping – that means that if you buy more than one item from the same seller, they’ll cut the shipping prices. Make sure exactly what the combined shipping gives you (like 5% is hardly worth trying to find something else to add, but if the first item is $14 and the second is $4, it might make sense) – and then make sure to pay for the items at the same time and to check that the deduction has been put into the invoice. If it hasn’t, contact the seller before you pay.

OK – and now to some great deals…

uv-checker for cell phonesThis UV Checker tests ultraviolet radiation from your cellphone and changes colors according to the radiation level (or so they claim). It’s 99 cents, including international shipping anywhere in the world. (‘Buy it Now’ price)


This seller sells Oriental art – all signed originals. All of his auctions start at 1 cent & offer free shipping worldwide. A look at the prices toward the end of the sales show that some of the pictures go for prices in the $5-8 range and some higher. None of the auction pictures are mounted.

And how about washcloths? I’m not sure how much they end up going for, but the auctions start at 99 cents for either 3 or 6 washcloths, with free shipping worldwide! They’ve got Barney, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Dora, Hello Kitty, Disney Princesses, Peanuts, Thomas the Tank Engine and more. What kids wouldn’t love ‘em?

Bead Wholesale currently has over 10,000 items for sale on eBay. They’ve got any type of clasp, bead, hook or pendant you’re looking for. And their auctions often start at just 1 cent, with free international shipping. How about 5 cute mother & baby turtle magnets? Or 20 Millefiori glass heart pendants… The beads below, for example, are 4mm glass bicone beads. You get 200 for $2.99, including shipping anywhere in the world (‘Buy it now’ price).

My personal favorite is jewelry, but I’ll leave that for another day. Any great deals you’re looking for? Let me know and I’ll help you find them!


  1. As far as ebay and deals go:

    1. Something that might be worth trying is searching eBay for listings that have main key words misspelled in the title. Sites like (, etc) will search ebay for common misspellings of keywords you enter.

    Most searchers will never see these misspelled listings, reducing the competition and most likely ending price.

    Ebuyersedge also gives you the option of saving your favorite searches, then sending you an email when an item is listed matching one your saved searches, giving you a jump on other potential buyers.

    This works best with 'Buy It Now's, but is also effective with auctions.

    Some people claim to make money by buying misspelled items on ebay and then relisting them for a profit. I'm not sure about it, but it's at least worth a try to see if you can get yourself a deal.

    2. Whenever you send a question to a seller, use the "Ask a question" link that is on a page of another item they're selling that you're not interested in.

    Maybe send the seller an offer to end the auction early. All they can do is say no.

    3. If you bid on an ebay auction, use a sniping service (,, etc.) to avoid bidding wars, and hopefully save some money by not drawing early attention, and not giving manual 'nibbling' snipers a chance to react.

  2. I have satisfy now no problem...