Up next in How to Buy & Sell Things Online (20 videos)
Learn how to wheel and deal on eBay and other sites with the tips in these Howcast videos.
You Will Need
- A computer with internet access
Register and browse
Create an account. Browse the categories to familiarize yourself with the site, especially if you don’t have a specific item in mind.
Search for specific items
If you know what you want, start searching by using broad terms and synonyms to yield the most results. Add quotes around your search terms or qualifiers, such as a specific color or size, to narrow the field. You can also post on the 'Want It Now' page, where sellers can see what you’re looking for and contact you if they have it.
Check out the post
Carefully read the item’s description and make sure it matches the posted photo. Factor in shipping and insurance costs, which can increase the price considerably. Ask the seller any questions before the auction closes.
Research your item
Comparison shop online and offline. Auctioned items often don’t come with warranties or customer service, and a seller might offer a higher starting bid than the item’s cost elsewhere.
Research the seller
Read the feedback from buyers. If the seller has received a lot of negative comments, stay away. The more successful transactions a seller as completed, the more confidence you should have in them.
Place your bid
Type in your bid. eBay will notify you if another buyer outbids you, so you can rebid. You can also use eBay’s automatic bidding service, which allows you to enter the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Your bid automatically increases against others until your max is reached; eBay will email you if someone outbids your maximum.
Log on at the end
Bidding usually picks up significantly toward the end of the auction. 'Sniping' is the term for the flurry of last-second bids, which usually happen within the last 30 seconds of an auction, leaving other bidders no time to counterbid. Start monitoring your auction a few minutes before it ends, even if you are using automatic bidding.
Prepare to snipe
There’s no rule against it, so if you want to ensure you win your auction, try sniping. Open the auction page in two browser windows, side by side. Type your maximum bid in the window on the left and click 'place bid,' but don’t confirm your bid on the next page. Switch to the window on the right.
Refresh the page in the window on the right every few seconds to see changes to the current price and the time left. When there are 15 seconds remaining, switch to the left window. Click 'confirm bid.' Reload the auction page to make sure your bid was accepted. If you do it right, nobody will even know you bid until the auction is already over.
Pay for your item
Once you’ve won an item, always pay using a reliable, traceable service. Do not deal with sellers who demand cash only.
Inspect your item
When you receive your item, inspect it carefully. Contact the seller through eBay’s resolution center to resolve any issues. If it’s good to go, it’s time to make your friends jealous of your new toy!