How to bag a bargain on Ebay

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This is a short guide on how to bag a bargain on Ebay using some simple techniques:

1. Look for misspelled listings....

This is an easy way to bag a bargain.  Lets say I am looking for Playstation 2 games, I would normally enter "Playstation" into the ebay search window and browse the listings.  What if the seller has made a typo in their listing title then they wouldn't show up in the search, and more importantly will recieve a lot less viewings than properly spelt titles.  If you can find these then there is a good chance you will win them for a lot less money.  Using the "Playstation" example, this is the results for some sample searches I have just done:

"Playstation":  49,120 listings    "Platstation": 16 listings    "Plastation": 8 listings    "Playstaton": 17 listings

Try it for yourself or better still seach google for "misspelled ebay" and you will find many free websites that will do the searches for you.  Just make sure you don't give them your ebay details - just use the ones which do a search for you within ebay.

2. Add a few more pence to your bid....

Most bidders pick a rounded amount when they make their bid so for a few extra pence you may just bag the item.  Consider an item you want that is currently at £12 and you are happy to pay £20 for it.  There is a good chance the other buyer has already bid a round £20, so if you bid £20 too then you will be outbid and have to bid £21 to stay in the race.  When making your first bid, consider this and bid £20.03 for example, if the other buyer has bid £20 then you will be the winning bidder for just a few pence more.

One word to the wise though, this is becoming a common practice so it may be worth bidding £20.06 to also beat the clever bidders who have bid a few pence more already ;-)

3. Search for new "Buy It Now" items

This is a great tip to bag a bargain but don't hang around.  Search for the item you want then filter the search to only show Buy It Now items and sort the list into "Time: Newly Listed" order.  This is where you will spot items that have been listed far too cheaply and bag them before anyone else does.  Be aware though that others are also looking for bargains so make your mind up quickly and hit that button !

4. Make a silly offer

If you spot an item which has the "Make An Offer" option then have a punt with a low offer - nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.  Most of the time you will be rejected but you knever know - the buyer may be looking for a quick sale.  Just remember that if the seller accepts the offer then the deal is done and you have to complete it and the seller has 48 hours to get back to you so don't go off bidding on another until you get an answer from the seller.

5. Throw in a speculative opening bid

Regularly I have started auctions very low and only had one bidder - it happens !  Therefore the buyer has bagged a bargain and probably just placed a chance bid on my items.  This sort of bidding can be quite good fun, particularly when you are not looking for anything in particular.  For example have a look through the thousands of DVD's for sale on Ebay and sort them into "price + p&p lowest first" - then simply browse through them and there will be loads starting for less than £1 - many starting for just 1p.  With so many such listings there is a chance you could win it for a very small amount.   

A few words of warning here - firstly you need to look at the total cost as many sellers start their listings off at 1p but inflate the postage costs in order to avoid Ebay fees.  Also this technique can become addictive and very soon your whole evening has vanished and you have a house full of things you didn't want that are annoying your other half ;-)

6. Sniping

Most of the bidding in auctions is done in the dying minutes as buyers hope to bag the bargain and don't have to wait days to see if they have won...... so if you can't beat them, join them !  Look at items you want in the closing minutes and place your bid.  Keep longer auctions in your watch list until they are nearly finished before bidding.   More savvy buyers are using third party sniping products which literally place the bid in the last few seconds giving other buyers no chance to respond before the auction ends.  Its not against ebay's policy, its all part of bidding and winning.

7. Missed an Item

We've all missed an item on ebay where we had been outbid by a small amount in the last few seconds.  There is nothing lost in emailing the seller to see if they have another to sell you or to remind them you will buy the item if the winning bidder fails to pay.  Just make sure you complete any such transaction through ebay to remain protected - the seller can send you a second chance offer very easily.

8. Browse "Other" Categories

Ebay claim that listings made in "other" categories recieve less bids so why not take advantage of this.  Consider the category Computing > Other Computing - its full of computer based items, many of which would do much better if they had been listed in the appropriate categories.  If you spot something you want then there is a chance you will bag a bargain.

Hopefully some of these tips have been useful and I will continue to update this guide when I discover any more.


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