Guest Author - Kim O´Shea
Buying online can be confusing, expensive and even unsafe. There are lots of ways you can minimise your risks and reduce costs. Online Auctions can be a great way of saving you money and with a little knowledge and by following a few simple rules, your experience can be fun, economical and safe.
The First Rule is to know what you want. Search for that specific item and don’t be sidetracked by other listings no matter how attractive they look. The seller’s job is to make you want their goods, so keep the item you really want in mind.
The Second Rule is to know how much you are willing to pay for the item. Check out local store prices, online store prices, ask friends, the more information you have the less likely you will be to overspend. If the item you are searching for is a one off, check your bank balance and find out how much you can comfortably afford.
Always take the shipping charges into consideration. If you are not sure of the charges, send an email to the seller with your shipping address and ask him to quote you a firm price.
The Third Rule is to know your seller. This is not as difficult as it sounds. EBay and other Online Auction sites usually have a ratings system. This allows you to check if the sellers’ previous transactions have progressed smoothly. Some negative feedback doesn’t mean that there will be a problem but use common sense. A person with a feedback score of 151 with 1 negative comment is a much safer bet than someone with a feedback score of 10 with 5 neutral comments.
Check out the seller’s other items and if they have an online store visit this as well. Take note of any contact details on the site and read the terms and conditions.
If the seller has an About Me page you can read through this. You can even email the seller with a query about postage or some other small detail and see how he responds. Finding out about the seller can help save you time and money by reducing the risk of having to resolve problems.
The Fourth Rule is when you place your bid use the proxy system. Bid the highest amount you are willing to pay and then leave it at that. Don’t be tempted to bid again if you are outbid. Unless the item is rare you will no doubt come across a similar item quite soon and can try again. If you are lucky, you will win the item at a lower price than you expected.
Follow these simple rules and enjoy!