40 eBay buying tips
By Jenny | Edited by Steve N Updated 21 Aug 2015
eBay is a mammoth marketplace with millions of goods. Most people just bid, but there's a range of hidden tools and tricks to help you track down uber-bargains.
40 eBay buying tips, including.
- 1 App to find super-cheap local deals
- 2 Use spelling mistayke spotting tools
- 3 Tool to bag no-bid items
- 4 Get alerts on favourite items
- 5 eBay isn't always cheapest
- 6 Check the eBay going rate
- 9 Win auctions with sniping tools
- 20 Find underpriced buy-it-nows
- 38 Profit from lost luggage auctions
- 39 Buy on local Facebook groups
Find super-cheap local bargains
Whether they're offering designer sofas, dishwashers, Wiis or children's books, sellers on eBay often specify items must be collected in person. As this often means fewer bids, there are bargains to be had.
Yet you can't search for "pick up only" on eBay, so we built tools to speedily track and map gems near you.
The results can be powerful, such as this from MoneySaver Jen_Jen1985. "Had been looking for a double buggy - most ended up selling for around Ј40. I found one via the Local Deals Finder and ended up winning it for Ј1.24."
Plus this from Kernow666. "I got a guy’s huge Ј1,000+ Lego Technic collection, which he was forced to sell as he was moving in with his girlfriend, for Ј175."
- On the web. Do it at your desk with the free Local eBay Deals Mapper tool.
- iPhone app. You wanted it, so we built it: the iPhone Local eBay Deals app. Let it pinpoint your location, tell it how far you'll travel and it shows nearby gems.
- Android app. If you haven't already, grab our Android Local eBay Deals app.
Use spelling mistayke spotters
Many people can't spell, so they mistype their eBay entries. This English teacher's nightmare is a bargain hunter's dream. Wrongly-spelled products attract
fewer bids because many people miss them.
A few specialist search sites take advantage of this. They trawl eBay for all possible spelling mistake combinations. These include Fatfingers. Baycrazy. Goofbid and BargainChecker.
Use tools to bag overlooked items
Often sellers start auctions at 99p or less, hoping a bidding war will erupt. Many items go unspotted, staying at this super-low price.
Lastminute Auction hunts for eBay auctions due to finish within an hour, but which still cost Ј1 or less. On a similar note, Baycrazy's Zero Bids tool finds auctions ending soon with no bidders.
Double-check delivery charges, as some sellers try to recoup costs by charging a little extra (though eBay's now set maximum delivery charges for many categories).
Set alerts to track rare items
If you want something very specific or hard to track down, you can 'follow' the search, so eBay sends an email each time a seller lists your desired item.
This is fab if you like buying on eBay, but don't want to spend your life hunched over the site.
Simply type a product in eBay's search bar, such as "Star Wars Lego Millennium Falcon", and click 'follow this search'. Be as specific as possible for the most accurate results. Then, when someone clears out the loft and lists one, an email pops into your inbox.
Don't assume eBay's cheapest
Many people assume that if it's on eBay*. it's automatically cheap, but this isn't always the case. With a few basic checks, it's easy to spot if it's really a bargain.
Use shopbots (shopping robots) that whizz to scores of internet retailers to find the cheapest price. Our MegaShopBot.com tool auto-searches the best of these for each category.
The same rule applies when buying second-hand gear. Check the used marketplace on Amazon* - you may even get it for free on Freecycle or Freegle.
For tips on how to slash the cost of buying anything and everything online, see the Cheap Online Shopping guide.
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