Usually when looking for a computer on eBay, besides the price, the first thing everyone thinks about is performance. What type of processor does it have? How much memory? What kind of motherboard is it equipped with? Does it come with accessories? Although this is all fine and good, when you want to bid and win a computer on eBay, the reality is that the first thing to look at is the feedback.
Yes, looking at feedback is an important thing to do on anything you choose to bid on, but when looking for a computer, feedback is the MOST important thing to look at.
Why? Well, even though we think of computers as being rugged and tough, especially the modern laptops that are available, they are still made of sensitive electronic parts. These parts, no matter how hardy they are made, do not like to be roughed up, jostled, thrown or banged around. Countless amounts of laptops have died because they fell off a desk and dropped on the floor.
You may now be asking what this has to do with feedback? OK, consider this. Feedback also means packaging. Lousy packaging means lousy feedback. An item, no matter what it is that the seller has sold, will garner a neutral or negative feedback response from a buyer if it has been packaged badly. If a person can't adequately package a regular item safely, do you really want to trust them with a computer? Beware the person listing a computer for bid that has bad feedback or comments about inadequate packaging.
On the other side of the coin, a person with impeccable feedback that specializes in selling computers is the safest bet. You may win the comp with a slightly higher bid, but the peace of mind knowing the computer will show up at your door packaged well, which means in working condition, may be the best deal you could ever get when placing a successful bid.
So think feedback first when bidding on a computer off of eBay, because if the packaging is not worth its weight in terrabytes, then the RAM, ROM and megahertz you paid for, will mean nothing when it gets to your front door. And as always, no matter what you bid on at eBay, BAM's got your back!
Bid on smaller items to learn
If you are either new to eBay or you are having trouble winning items you are bidding on, consider first learning the ropes and then using that knowledge to bid and win.
Learn about bidding and winning by bidding on small inexpensive items just to get the feel of it. You can adapt the way you bid by winning these items, because the habits you form here will carry over when you are going for more meaningful or more expensive items. This is the time to try and perfect any sniping program you are using. If you make mistakes here, you can correct them now before you bid on more valuable items. Plus, winning smaller item boosts your positive feedback, and that's always a good thing.
Try bidding in the final seconds
Practice putting in bids at the last second and see how fast your computer reacts. There may be a lag time between when a bid is entered and when it actually shows up on eBay. This knowledge will be extremely valuable when waiting for the last few seconds to make a bid. If you know, for example, that once you press the “Bid” button that it takes 5 seconds before it registers on the site, you will know that your final bid must be placed a minimum of 5 seconds---at the very least---before the auction ends.
Learn about shipping and handling
Understand how to use any shipping calculator that is placed on the site, and inquire about handling charges. You may think that you have just won a valuable item for a great price, but if you don't calculate the shipping charges and find out about the handling charges, you may be in for a rude surprise. Many people bump shipping charges up and will also add in handling charges for one reason or another. You may end up paying more for shipping and handling than the item is worth. Learn how to apply shipping and handling charges to smaller purchases, and ask questions if you are unsure. See this blog post for more information about shipping, handling and taxes: Know total price of eBay item before you bid.
Practice and save
Using these principles will get you the best deals for the money, and by understanding how the whole eBay experience works, you'll always win an item and pay for it with the best price possible.
Start out small, learn the ropes and then bid to win, because as always, no matter what you bid on at eBay, BAM's got your back!
Know your out of pocket cost
Before you bid on eBay you should know the total cost of the item you're interested in. Bid price or Buy It Now price is only part of that cost. There is also shipping cost and sometimes tax. Whenever I purchase anything over the internet using eBay or another website, I always add shipping cost and tax when calculating my cost of an item.
Shipping and handling fee abuse on eBay
When shopping on eBay, sometimes you'll see low bid price but high shipping cost. In some circumstances high shipping fee is justified for large or heavy items that cost a lot to ship, for expensive items that need to be insured or when shipping internationally.
There are some sellers who intentionally set shipping and handling fee high as a strategy to get you to buy an item. If you think you found a good deal and purchase an item without looking for shipping cost, you might learn that it wasn't such a good deal after all because you have to pay outrageous shipping fee.
This practice was more common in the past where sellers used it as a way to avoid paying eBay final value fees. Seller would charge low price for an item and high price for shipping and handling. For example seller would list their item for $0.99 and charge $14.99 shipping and handling fee even though it would cost them a few dollars to ship the item. This way they would get almost $16 for an item but pay eBay fee on $1.
Although eBay now charges final value fee on entire amount (including shipping fee) so it makes no sense to jack up shipping cost, there are sellers who do this so their price looks lower than competition. As far as I'm concerned it's a bad practice because it can easily alienate your customers and I usually do not buy from sellers who do this.
Remember to always know the total price of the item you're considering to purchase on eBay. This includes auction price or Buy It Now price, shipping and handling fee and tax if applicable. Looking only on the price of an item can sometimes be misleading.
To get more eBay buying tips, see my other blog posts. Also, check out my eBay buyer software.