Thursday, February 24, 2011

eBay = iBuy

Remember when you had to drive to a store if you wanted to buy something - not anymore - all you need is a power source and a computer -  the world's market place is at your fingertips!

Like anything technological, I learned about eBay from my kids. Colin was the first to start buying. He quickly taught us how to buy and sell and we have purchased so many things - children's books, clothes, ping pong paddles and computers. Yes, one of Colin's 1st purchases was a MAC computer - we were a little nervous about it - would it work, would it arrive, etc. But it was all that it promised to be.

Here are a few things that we have learned over the years:

1. Never give out your bank information - Colin was selling a computer and someone from Nigeria quickly bought it but wanted to send Colin the money directly to his bank account - NO WAY! Then he wanted Colin to send the computer and he would send the money - NO WAY! Use the safeguards eBay has set up - Paypal is safe and reliable.

2. If you have a problem and contact eBay, do not close out the dispute until it is resolved! Dylan bought a violin and when it arrived, the strings wouldn't tighten - he sent it back and they said they never received it!! When I filed a complaint with eBay, the company finally contacted me and said if we closed the dispute, they would send us the money - Big Mistake, I closed the dispute, never received the money and when I tried to reopen it, eBay said you can only open it once. Lesson learned!!

3. Don't get caught up in the bidding - it can be exciting but as my friend Mike will tell you - $200 is quite different than $2,000! Decide before hand how much you are willing to spend and stick to it.

4. Check the shipping price - some sellers will offer a low price but super high shipping. Books are famous for this. Megan always looks for sellers that offer free shipping.

5. You can make good money on eBay - Colin bought a turntable for $200 - we have encouraged our kids to make wise money choices and weren't too happy with this one - is "scratching" really a hobby?? He played with it for a couple of months and then turned around and sold it for $500 - OK, I guess he knew what he was doing. When our kids need some money, they will sell something on eBay to makes some quick cash.

6. You'd be surprised what sells! I had bought some tennis rackets at the thrift shop and a friend told us that they were worth some money - so I gave them to Colin to sell - he took pictures, set a price and within a week he had made $300 on 2 well used rackets - I kept saying are you sure they know what kind of shape they are in? And yes, the people were very happy with their purchases.

7. It's a good idea to check eBay before heading out to the store. Colin really wanted a bike when he moved to Florida. He researched bikes at a local store, but then "shopped" on eBay and Craigslist and ended up finding just what he wanted. It's a great option to check and compare the prices - be sure to include shipping in your comparison.

8. You do pay a percentage when you sell something, so figure that into your price. And know what it will cost you to ship. Ryan sold his snowboard and under estimated the shipping cost. We contacted the buyer to see if he would chip in more for shipping - he agreed - thankfully! The flat rate boxes from the post office are a good way to ship heavy items.

9. If you have questions, contact the seller - most are more than happy to answer your questions and most people we have bought and sold from are very honest.

10. Craigslist or eBay - for big items or things you want to see and smell before purchasing, I would use Craigslist, but if you want to widen your search to the entire world - check out eBay - It's a great option that makes cents!


  1. Great advice Mary, I use e-bay but did not know some of the tips you posted. Thanks!
    Denise H.

  2. we just got a mattress, box spring and bed frame on Freecycle...for free...just had to pick it up :) Have you checked that out yet???

  3. I'm picking up a play yard for the baby today that I found on Craig's List. Hoping the transaction goes well! First time I've done this - though I have bought and sold on eBay for years! Thanks!

  4. I've seen people pay higher prices for something used on Ebay than they could have bought brand new! Plus, they pay for shipping and handling. People do get caught up in the high of bidding.

    Great places to also check out and compare prices: Amazon (LOVE IT!) and When I want to buy something, I first check out the retail cost. Then I do comparative shopping among these 3 places. It's amazing how much you can save!

  5. You know I like to smell everything first!HaHa Guess who?


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