Tips for Buying Furniture on eBay
Things to keep in mind before and as you shop for major pieces
Whether you’re outfitting a home or a business, it can often be tempting to buy furniture on eBay because of the cost savings and broad selection involved. There are, however, a number of things that you should keep in mind both before you make the decision to buy and as you shop.
Before You Decide to Buy on eBay
Before you decide to buy on eBay, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of buying furnture-type items on eBay, since buying furniture on eBay is not at all like buying consumer electronics, clothing, or other types of common household or business goods on eBay.
* Shipping will be expensive. Furniture items can be amongst the most expensive items to ship on eBay, and at the same time furniture items—particularly used or handcrafted items—often fare very badly during shipment, gaining new creaks and craks, scratches and dents.
* Photos can be misleading. Photos on eBay, in part due to their often very small size, can often make very large items appear to be in nicer condition than they actually are. Surrounding environments, too, can have a major impact on the way a furniture item looks—something that looks great in the environment shown in the photo may look completely different in the area you’ve selected for it.
* Returns are extremely difficult. For returns on many furniture items, you will be spending a great deal of money on shipping back to the seller and perhaps even having to cope with the headaches of return freight shipment.
With these things said, it’s also true that there are items and prices to be had on eBay that can be had nowhere else, meaning that sometimes in the final analysis its worth the headaches, extra expense, and potential risk to buy furniture on eBay.
Choosing and Buying Tips
Though buying furniture on eBay is in most cases going to be a more involved transaction than most other types of eBay transactions, there are nonetheless things that you can do to make the sale proceed more smoothly and to ensure that you are satisfied in the end.
* Know all of the relevant dimensions and numbers on your end. It’s important not only to know the length, width, and height of the space you’re trying to fill but also the amount of weight that can be sustained by the spot where a given furniture item will go and the size of the largest doorway available to you, since the furniture item will have to enter somehow or other.
* Bid only with all information in hand. Whether this comes from the listing itself or from the communication with the seller, be sure not only that you have multiple photos of the piece from multiple angles in hand, but that you also have information on condition, materials, workmanship, origin, dimensions and weight, and history. If you can’t get each and every one of these, think twice about placing a bid, since you are likely either to run into trouble or to be disappointed.
* Consider buying local-only. If you’re unsure about whether or not you want to have to deal with the difficulties and costs that arise as a result of shipping furniture items, consider using eBay’s advanced search tool (or the narrow your search tool on the left-hand side of any search results page) to find items that are near you, so that you can pick them up in person, rather than having to ship them over long distances through third party carriers.
* Be prepared for the shipping cost. Make careful note of the shipping costs involved and if none are stated, be sure to communicate with your seller beforehand so that you’re aware of what they are. Costs for shipping furniture can quickly run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds, particularly with insurance, which is generally essential, since furniture is easily damaged in shipment.
* Think about using paypal for payment. If the item is very expensive and/or will take a long time to ship or arrive because of the shipment method(s) involved, consider using paypal to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the transaction.
* Make arrangements and be ready for the item’s arrival. Because of the sizable nature of most furniture items, shipment and delivery are likely to be somewhat involved. Prepare your area beforehand to minimize the number of obstacles present as the item is wheeled in and make arrangements in advance to be there as this occurs so that you can direct the action.
* Make immediate and careful inspection in the presence of the shipper. Don’t let the delivery person leave until you have carefully inspected the item and compared any damage or flaws that you found against the list provided by your seller. If damage has occurred in shipment as the result of handling by the shipper, your ability to make a claim depends on your notifying the deliveryperson at the time of delivery that damage has occured—usually accompanied by one or several forms that you will need to fill out in order to make a claim.
Though these tips don’t guarantee that you’ll have a good experience buying furniture on eBay, ignoring one or many of them is likely to ensure that you’ll have a bad experience. The most important thing for you to keep in mind as you buy furniture on eBay is that it is up to you in a complex transaction of this sort to be diligent and to ensure that you are satisfied and protected at every step along the way.