Buying a game on eBay

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Whether you're a harcore gamer who plays everything to hit the market, or someone who just plays one or two games every now and then, eBay is the pefect place to meet all you're gaming needs.  This guide will help you on what to look for when buying a game.

There are a few main things to consider when buying a game to ensure you get the best deal:  the condition of the game, the reputation of the seller, what is included in the auction, and the postage cost.

Obviously, the most important thing to consider is the condition of the game you're bidding on.  Is it damaged at all?  If so, how bad is the damage?  Has the game been tested?  Auctions are typically pretty good about telling you about the condition, but if you happen to come across one of the few that doesn't, just ask.  The "ask a seller a questions" link, illustrated below, allows you to send the seller an e-mail, which they usually respond to in a timely manner.  If you're not sure about the condition and you don't get a response from the seller, don't buy from them.  There are seemingly countless sellers you can buy from, so don't limit yourself to one if you're not absolutely sure you know what you're buying.

It's also a very good idea to know as much about the seller's history on eBay as you can.  For this, just click on the sellers user-id (as illustrated above).  This will bring up a screen like the one below.  This tells you how many members left a positive feedback score, how many left a nuetral, and how many left negative, and what the perecentage of positive to negative is.  You'll have to make your own decisions on who you're willing to buy from...I generally just look at the past few months from the seller to see how many problems buyers have had with them.  If they've had more than one or two, I usually try to find another seller to buy from.

Next, you'll want to read what is included in the auction.  Occasionally you will come across games that don't include the instruction manuals, maps, or the original cases.  If this kind of thing doesn't bother you, more power to you, as the auctions will usually end a lot cheaper than ones that do included everything.  If you are someone who has to have everything like myself, be sure and check the listing for such details. 

Postage cost should be a major factor in your decision as well.  Since it is actually quite cheap to ship a game, especially through Royal Mail, you shouldn't be expected to pay an arm and a leg for it.  Generally, you should look for games that ship for around £2-£2.50p.  This amount pretty much covers the actual postage cost, the eBay listing fees, and the Pay-Pal seller fee ( if you pay through Pay-Pal, which I recommend).  If you happen to see a really good price with a higher postage rate, you might look into it, just be sure to keep the postage in mind as you bid.

Before you go bidding on any games, it's a good idea to do some research...check out what it sells for at your local game shops, or a different online shops.  You might try looking on sites such as gamefly, gamespot, or any others you might find.  Obviously, you're not going to want to pay more than any of the prices on these sites.  Also, watch the way you sort your search results on eBay.  I usually sort mine for the ones ending in the next 2-3 days.  You can use the option shown here to sort by price, ending time, or any of a wide variety of options.  This will be at the left side of your screen during a search.  By sorting by ending soonest, you get a better idea of what the ending price will actually be.

Lastly, when to bid...the best way to win an auction at the lowest price is to bid during the last 45 seconds or so of the auction.  If you won't be available at that time, just place your maximum bid as late as possible and hope for the best.  If you can, just wait until there is less than a minute left.  Be careful with this tactic, however, or you may get caught up in the excitement and pay more than you intended to.  Just make sure you set your absolute max and don't go over that amount.  Don't get caught up in the moment.  If you lose, no big deal, there are plenty of other auctions you can go bid on.  Just be a little patient, and soon you will come across a really good deal.  Thanks for reading, and I hope my guide helped you out.

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