Don't Be Ripped Off! Read My Quickie Guide!

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Don't you wish there was a quick guide to avoid getting ripped off on eBay? Well now there is! Read on and arm yourself with a few handy hints for those moments when your heart threatens to overtake your head...

Do your research before bidding or making a binding offer.
Do a 'completed items' search to get a feel for prices. If something's way too cheap there's always a reason. Ask the seller a question, well before the end of the listing, to get a feel for things. Openness, prompt replies and a friendly demeanour count for a lot. If you're still unsure why not ask on the Community Boards here, or on a specialist web forum relating to the item for sale?

Research the seller and use the 'Advanced Search' facility.
Make the effort to go through a seller's feedback - it's the very essence of eBay remember. Check whether they've sold similar/similarly-priced items. Obviously, selling a used car is a whole new ball game to selling a beanie doll. Check what the seller has bought and sold recently using the Advanced Search facility - it might give you a clue as to whether they're a trader, or whether they're selling something they've only recently just bought - why?

Be clued up about postage.
A lot of grumbles are over P&P. Sellers are allowed to add a reasonable amount to actual postage costs to cover for packing and materials. Some offer cheap goods and expensive P&P. It's your choice as to whether the TOTAL amount is acceptable, so if you don't like their methods don't bid, or if it's still an overall good deal just accept it. Do watch for people being vague about shipping, especially internationally, as insurance and weight really can add up - always agree on these things before placing that final bid.

If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck!
eBay has levelled the field so everything has its known market price range. The only real bargains out there are when an item is innocently under described (including poor/no pictures) or misdescribed, a listing ends at a unpopular time, or a seller has chequered feedback. Something that looks too good to be true ALWAYS IS!
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