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6 Tips and Tricks for Buying on eBay

Bidding on eBay auctions can be fun. It is more fun when you win, especially if you get an item that you really want at a bargain price. When it comes to bidding on eBay auctions, there are some strategies that you can use. These help you have that extra edge needed to win over others who are hunting for bargains as well.

Here are our six of our best sneaky tips to find the treasures on eBay at bargain basement prices:

1. Free Shipping on eBay? Here is how…

If you have ever tried searching for eBay free shipping coupons, you probably figured out there are no working coupons at all. eBay doesn’t sell or ship anything so they can’t give out free shipping coupons. There is the only one way how to get free shipping on eBay, just follow these few simple steps:

  • 1. Go to homepage
  • 2. Search for your desired thing or product
  • 3. Filter your search results (located in the left column) to show only sellers who offer free shipping (check screenshot below)
Screenshot from – random search results

2. Taking Advantage of Spelling Mistakes

When sellers put a listing on eBay, they may make a spelling error. They may misspell the name of the product, manufacturer, and/or the brand. People who search for that item, who use the properly spelled word, may not see it appear in the search results. The fewer people that see the item offered for sale, the less likely it is to get a good bid for its auction.

Let’s say, for example, that the seller has a pair of nearly new Air Jordan Nike shoes that are very rare and valuable. If the seller lists them as “tennis shoes” and says that they are Ari Jordan Nicks, these shoes will not show up in a regular eBay search for either “Air Jordan” or “Nike.” They are likely to be overlooked by others so they might not receive any auction bids. However, if you are clever enough to search for “Ari Jordan,” you will find them.

You do not have to know all the possible misspellings because there are software tools available that scan eBay for misspellings. You can use any of these free web-based search tools to do all the searches work for you.

The choices for finding misspellings on eBay include:

  • Fatfingers: Searches for misspellings on your choice of any of the 15 eBay sites.
  • BargainChecker: Searches for misspellings on your choice of any of 13 eBay sites.
  • Baycrazy: Searches for misspellings on your choice of five eBay sites for the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany.
  • Goofbid: Searches for misspellings only on eBay UK.

These websites offer other search tools that also can help find bargains. Other tools search for local sales that have item-pickup only for a shipping choice, expiring auctions, and late-night auction expiration times.

3. Seller’s History Snooping

Some eBay sellers advertise that they will consider a “best offer” on an item. Here is a tip on how to better guess what a particular seller will accept as a best-offer price.

  1. Do a search on eBay after selecting “advanced options” and choosing only to show items with a best-offer bid allowed.
  2. For each item of interest, which is at auction for a best-offer bid, copy the eBay user’s name and then use Goofbid’s Best Offer History tool to enter the name and search for the seller’s history of accepting best offers.
  3. By looking at the seller’s history, and making some simple calculations, you can deduce the approximate discount from the listing price on past offer(s) that the seller accepted.
  4. Once you know the potentially acceptable discount, you can make your offer accordingly.

4. Sniping

Sniping is a method of entering a winning bid at the very last moment when an auction is just about to close. This is a way to win an item without giving any other parties time to respond to your increased bid.

eBay has an automatic-bidding feature. Sniping only works if your maximum automatic bid is higher than any other maximum bid. When sniping, you should always use the maximum bid you would be willing to pay. If you are watching the auction, you will see right away if this bid is a winner or if an automatic bid beats your offer.

Sniping can be done by hand or by using a free tool like Gixen that does the work without you having to watch an auction.

Security Note: Having a sniping system like Gixen place eBay bids for you means you must reveal your eBay account information and password. If you wish to do this, set up a separate eBay account for these purchases. Do not use it for anything else. Also, do not use the password you reveal to Gixen on any other system.

5. Exploiting a Seller’s Product Description Errors

Many times a seller will put inaccurate information in the item’s description. If something is obviously wrong, such as the name of the product does not match the photo, the item may not get any bids.

You can clarify the details with the seller by asking for more information. Do not use the item’s listing page link to ask a question because everyone else can see this question and response from the seller. Instead, contact the seller directly through eBay using the seller’s user name. Describe the item, give the item number, and ask the seller to clarify the details.

If the bidding has already started, the seller cannot make any major changes to the listing. If the starting price is low, you can place a low bid to lock the item information in this way and then the seller cannot make a big change. For example, only you will know that the listing for a “decorated metal egg” is really a valuable Fabergé egg. If the seller did not describe the item well in the listing, it may be selling for cheap.

6. Bid in Odd Amounts of Small Increments

When choosing your maximum bid for an item, be sure to use an odd amount of dollars and cents. For example, instead of bidding $20.00, bid $20.13. In this way, you will beat all other bids for $20.00 and even beat those clever enough to bid a few extra cents, like $20.01, $20.02, and $20.09.

Some people are reluctant to bid an amount that contains 13 cents due to this number supposedly bringing bad luck. That is why you should always add $0.13 to any round-dollar bid. This will increase your chance of winning auctions.

BONUS TIP: Find Cheap Buy-It-Now Just-Listed Bargains

Another feature of eBay is the ability of a seller to accept a buy-it-now price. Usually, this amount is higher than the actual auction results will be but not always. If you are a savvy buyer who really knows what items are worth, you should scan the newest listings to find one that has a buy-it-now price, which is a bargain. This allows you to snatch up a bargain item before others get a chance to find it.

Search through the eBay listings by using an advanced search for items with a buy-it-now price and then sort by the newest listings to look for a potentially good deal.

We hope you learned something new and are excited about finding bargains on eBay by using these clever, sneaky strategies. Good luck hunting for your next eBay treasure!

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