BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Look for Red Flags to Avoid Being Scammed on eBay

Looking for red flags

eBay Red FlagsWhenever I want to purchase something through eBay, I first run through steps in my head to try to identify red flags. If I see too many red flags or sometimes even one, I will not hesitate to move on to the next seller. I don't know who originally said it but I found it to be true more than once: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Doing research and using common sense

First thing I always check is seller feedback. If I don't see 100% positive feedback, I'll look at negative comments to see what unhappy buyers have to say. Sometimes seller responds to negative comments and I'll be able to get a feel of the type of person this seller is. For instance, if I see seller calling buyers names I might move on to the next seller. On the other hand, even if I see lower feedback score but I see that seller explains negative comments and those answers make sense, I might still consider this seller.

I also like to see what other items the seller is currently selling and also what they sold in the past. This can give me clues if the seller is legit. For example, if I see that seller was selling some kind of cheap items in the past and suddenly started selling some expensive items that would raise a red flag for me. On the other hand if the seller lists similar items as in the past and received positive feedback for those items, I'm probably not going to get scammed.

See my Research eBay Seller blog post for more in depth explanation on how to check feedback and research seller.

While looking at seller's other items for sale, I also like to look at pictures to make sure all of them look similar especially if the item I'm considering is expensive. If I see totally different pictures from one listing to the next (with different setup, background) that could be an indication that the seller stole the pictures and actually does not have those items.

Transactions outside of eBay

Be very careful if you get contacted by a seller asking you to complete the transaction outside of eBay. I learned this one the hard way in 2003 when I was scammed on eBay in exactly this way. Although I think now it's a lot harder for seller to contact you, keep this in mind.


To avoid being scammed on eBay, make sure you do some research before you purchase. Use common sense and remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Check out my other blog posts for more eBay buying tips. If you're looking for good deals, try my eBay software for buyers called Buyer Auction Manager. It will help you save money and find bargains.

Research eBay Seller Before You Purchase

Check seller feedback

Before I purchase anything on eBay, I always check seller feedback to make sure they have good reputation. Checking feedback is easy. You just click on their feedback score and it will take you to their eBay Feedback Profile. On that page, you can see what people have to say about their past transactions with this seller.

If I see any negative comments, I like to read what people had to say about them To filter out positive feedback scores and only see negative, you can click on the number next to Negative and that will display only negative comments. After reading those comments, I make a decision to continue further research or move on to another seller.

Check recent eBay selling history

Sometimes, I want to know what the seller sold in the past, especially if I'm interested in an expensive item. eBay allows you to see recent selling history for a given seller. There are multiple way to get to that screen. One of them is to go to advanced search page and choose items by seller:

You would just enter seller User Id, check "Show completed listings only" checkbox and hit Search. This will show you all eBay auctions and Buy It Now items that this seller sold in the past 15 days. If the seller was selling some cheap items in the past and suddenly listed some expensive item, that usually raises a red flag for me. I would think twice or ask seller some questions before committing to buy.


Before purchasing anything on eBay, do some research on the seller to make sure they're reputable. First thing you should do is check their feedback score. If feedback looks good you might also want to see what they sold in the past.

If you liked this post, check out my other blog posts for more eBay buying tips. I also invite you to try the eBay buyer software that I created. It will help you find good deals and save you money.


Using eBay Best Offers To Your Advantage

What is eBay Best Offer

Best offer is an eBay feature that allows you as a buyer to negotiate the price of the item. It allows you to get the item you want at the price you're willing to pay, assuming that the seller accepts your price.

Why use eBay Best Offer

If a seller listed an item as Buy It Now and added best offer option, this means that they are willing to accept less for the item than Buy It Now price. If you find an item that's priced close to what you want to pay and it has best offer, you might be able to get a good price. Just make sure you've researched completed eBay listings so you know what this item is selling for on eBay.

Also, when you submit your offer, seller can come back and give you counter-offer which should be lower than Buy It Now price.

Best Offers can save you money

I've had some success with best offers. Several months ago, I was able to get an item for $1320 where seller was asking $1450. I was very happy with this deal. After doing my research on completed listings, I found that similar items were selling for $1400 - $1450. I also noticed that this seller just made a lot of money selling something else by searching for completed listings by seller. I figured that he'll be happy with the other sale and he might sell me this item even if he has to take a loss just to get rid of it. I was right and he accepted my offer.

I also had a lot of best offers declined. I learned that if you offer unreasonably low price, seller is just going to decline. If you submit reasonable price, even if seller does not accept, they might send you counter-offer. If that happens, you can decide to accept it, submit another counter-offer or just move on to the next item.

Unreasonably high Buy It Now prices

Some eBay sellers set Buy It Now price that's way above market value and add second chance offer. I usually don't waste my time with those listings as those sellers try to be slick and will not give you good deal.

Final thoughts

I don't specifically look for best offers but when I search for something on eBay and I see a decent Buy It Now price with best offer option, I'll look at it to see if it's worth pursuing.

Best offer is just another tool you can use to find good deals.

If you're interested in other way to save money, take a look at eBay software that I've created called Buyer Auction Manager. It's for eBay buyers and it will help you find good deals and save you money.


Research Completed Listings Before You Buy on eBay

Completed Listings Search Option

Before I purchase anything on eBay, I first search for completed listings to see what the item I'm interested in sold for in the past. This is a free service provided by eBay and in my opinion very powerful research tool for any buyer. This can also be used to do research before selling but let's stick to buying in this post.

How to Search for Completed Listings

To use this feature, you need to be logged into eBay. Once you're logged in, find search box and next to Search you'll find Advanced link.  If you click on Advanced you'll be taken to Advanced Search page. It will look similar to this:

Let's say that I'm looking for Canon Digital Rebel T3i camera. I would type it in keyword box and check Completed listings checkbox as shown in the above screenshot. Once you do that, press Search and eBay will show you all items that match your search criteria and ended in the last two weeks Here is an example of search results that I got for my search phrase:

Prices for items that actually sold are shown in green and the ones that did not sell are in red. By default eBay sorts items by end date (most recently ended listings are on top). If you'd like, you can also sort by price or distance from you. There are a lot of other filters you can apply on the left side such as category, condition, price range. You can explore those by yourself.

Be an Educated Buyer and Know the Price

By looking through ended listings, you can figure out what to expect to pay for the item and you can also see the price range from low to high. This way you're an educated buyer and you will not overpay by getting caught up in the bidding war.

Now You Are Ready to Search and Buy

Once you know the price range, you can start searching for your item. Just remember to search for both auctions and Buy It Now items as you never know where you find good deal. If you'd like, you can try eBay software that I created called Buyer Auction Manager. It will help you find great deals and save you money.

Final Thoughts

Before you buy anything on eBay, do your research by using completed listings search. This will give you a good idea of the price.

eBay doesn't always have the best prices. Seller fees are high those days and you as a buyer end up paying those fees because sellers pass them over to you. Make sure you check other places. I usually use Google and Amazon search just to make sure I'm not paying too much on eBay and often choose other places to purchase my items.


Sniping on eBay and How to Properly Use It

Sniping Definition

eBay Sniper ImageeBay sniping is simply placing your bid on auction seconds before it ends. I believe sniping, if used properly, can help you win more auctions and help you save money.

How to Snipe on eBay

You don't need anything special to snipe on eBay. All you need to do is wait until the auction you're interested in is about to end and place your bid manually through eBay. Anybody can do this and a lot of people do, believing that they have a better chance of winning the auction.

If you do not want to be at the computer when the auction ends, you can use eBay sniper software to snipe for you. Sniping has become popular so there are numerous companies offering sniping services. Some offer software that you install on your computer. Others offer internet sniping services.

Sniping Program that You Install

The biggest advantage of using sniping software is that you do not need to save your eBay credentials on some server. Your credentials are stored on your local computer. Other advantages include having more control over your bidding. If you change your mind, you can cancel your bid close to the time when your snipe is scheduled.

Disadvantages include the need for your computer to be turned on and sniping software running when it's time to place your bid. Also, if you have power outage or you lose internet connection, your snipe will not be placed.

Web Sniping Services

The biggest advantage of using web based sniping service is that you don't need to have your computer turned on and you're not dependent on your internet connection.

Disadvantages include the need to store your eBay credentials on sniping server. This means that your user name and password is stored in some database where it can potentially be used without your knowledge. You also have less control over when you can cancel your snipe.

Sniping Software or Web Based Service

There is no right answer to this question. This depends on your preferences. Some people prefer using software, others prefer using website. I've used both. I've used web sniping service for many years and I've been using my software called Buyer Auction Manager ever since I added Sniper module. My computer is turned on almost all the time anyways and my internet connection is reliable so it works well for me.

Why Snipe on eBay

Placing your bid on eBay auction in the final seconds allows you to avoid bidding wars. It prevents others from increasing their bid if you outbid them because there is not enough time. If used properly sniping can help you save money and win more auctions.

How to "Properly" Use Sniping

Placing your eBay snipe one second before the auction ends is not the way to go. If you do this, you'll lose auctions that you could have won. Best way is to place your bid when there is not enough time for somebody who's bidding through eBay to increase their bid, but early enough so your bid is placed before other snipers.

I've lost more than one auction even though my bid was higher than the person who won. How come? eBay uses proxy bidding so your bid needs not only be higher than the highest bidder but also it needs to be higher by bid increment. This means that if maximum bid of the highest bidder is $1100 and that's the current bid, for your bid to be accepted, it needs to be $25 higher ($1125 in above example).

I usually set snipe buffer between 5 -7 seconds and it's worked well for me.

Not Every Auction Should be Sniped

When you use eBay sniping software or web sniping service, there is always a chance that your snipe will not get placed. If there is an item that you need to have and cannot afford to lose, just place your maximum bid through eBay.

Also, if the seller lists an auction at market price and there is not much interest, you might as well place your bid directly through eBay.

Finally, if current bid is close to what you're willing to pay (one or two bid increments from your maximum price) you have a better chance of winning that auction by placing your bid early.


Sniping, if used properly, can help you win more eBay auctions and save money. Snipe at a time when regular user does not have enough time to increase their bid but early enough so your bid is placed before other snipers.

If you'd like to try sniping for yourself, check out my eBay Sniper Program. It comes with 30-day no obligation trial.