BAM eBay Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

An Update on eBay Bucks and How You Can Benefit

An Update on eBay Bucks and How You Can Benefit

A few years back, this blog shared some information about the eBay Bucks program.  We thought it was time to update our look at the program and see what, if anything, has changed, and how you might benefit.  

One thing to keep in mind is that although the typical eBay Bucks "money back" rate is 2%, eBay sometimes runs promotions where you can earn more than that. For example, just this past June, eBay ran a promotion where you could earn three times the normal amount in eBay bucks, or 6% instead of 2% on qualifying purchases. 

But let's run down the basics of eBay Bucks and some of the changes over the past several years.

What are eBay Bucks? 

The eBay Bucks Rewards Program is designed to reward eBay members for purchasing items on www.ebay.com, according to eBay. You need to join, if you have not already, and then, after each calendar quarter, you can rack up eBay Bucks based on your qualifying purchases (there are some restrictions; see below). 

You can earn money back based on a base rate which is currently 2%. (Please see below for how that can change with promotions, etc.).

How do you join?

You can join by enrolling here, "or simply by responding to an invitation email that eBay may send from time to time."

If you earn $5.00 or more in eBay Bucks during that calendar quarter, you receive a reward equal to the amount of your eBay Bucks in the form of an eBay Bucks Certificate. You can use this Certificate to buy more things on eBay.

The program is free, so there is no downside to joining.

Changes Made to the Program

The following changes were made about January 1, 2014, to the eBay Bucks Rewards Program:

- If you do not earn $5.00 or more in a calendar quarter, then your eBay Bucks balance does not transfer to the next earn period and is forfeited. 

- If you don't earn $5.00 in a calendar quarter, you cannot transfer your balance to another eBay Bucks member. eBay Bucks are non-transferable. 

Canada

The eBay Bucks Rewards Program in Canada was discontinued around March, 2013.

Rewards Outside the US

- Are there any rewards programs for eBay users not in the United States?

If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, you may be eligible to earn rewards through Nectar, says eBay. 

Who can participate?

You can participate in the eBay Bucks program if, according to eBay:

 -  You have a US address tied to an eBay account and the account is in good standing (no holds or suspensions)

 -  You have an eBay account registered on eBay.com
 -  You have a valid PayPal account or have successfully signed up for a valid PayPal account and such account is in good standing

Only one (1) eBay account per person can be enrolled in the eBay Bucks Rewards Program.

How do you earn with eBay Bucks?

You earn rewards with eBay Bucks simply by being enrolled in the program, and then shopping on eBay.  Not all purchases qualify; see the restrictions here: http://pages.ebay.com/rewards/terms.html, and some below:

To qualify, purchases must meet the following requirements:

-  Paid for with PayPal (Payment needs to be made on eBay's checkout system. Payments made directly via PayPal to a seller's account aren't eligible.)

-  Made after you enroll in the eBay Bucks Rewards Program (can be a winning bid or Buy it Now). (That one's a no-brainer).

-  Bought on the US eBay site (www.eBay.com). "Some third-party automated bidding applications (sniping tools) are actually placing their bids on international sites as opposed to bidding on the US site directly. Purchases completed by these applications do not qualify to earn eBay Bucks."

-  Purchases made in these categories do not qualify ("among other restrictions"):

-  eBay Motors (including Parts & Accessories)

-  Classifieds

-  Real Estate

-  Gift Cards & Coupons, but only for eBay Gift Cards within that category

-  Coins & Paper Money, but only for Bullion within that category

-  Business & Industrial 

But you can still use eBay Bucks to purchase items in those categories.

How Much can you Earn with eBay Bucks?

- The base percentage rate is currently 2%. However, the base percentage can chage: "eBay reserves the right to change the base earn percentage up or down. 

From time to time, "eBay may offer special promotions that would provide members with extra eBay Bucks or an additional earn percentage in addition to the base earn percentage for qualifying purchases during the promotion period. If your purchase qualifies for multiple promotions, you will automatically earn credit for the highest value promotional offer."

- How is the base earn amount determined for a qualifying purchase?

The base earn amount is calculated by taking the [item price] x [quantity selected] x [earn percentage]. Any additional fees such as shipping, handling, and taxes are excluded from this calculation; eBay Bucks are earned solely on the item price.

- Are all aspects of your qualifying purchase included in the calculation?

No, eBay Bucks are earned solely on the item price. Any other fees (including, but not limited to, shipping, handling, and taxes) are not included in the calculation of the earn amount.

Can the base earn percentage change?

eBay "reserves the right to change the base earn percentage up or down. From time to time, eBay may offer special promotions that would provide members with extra eBay Bucks or an additional earn percentage in addition to the base earn percentage for qualifying purchases during the promotion period. If your purchase qualifies for multiple promotions, you will automatically earn credit for the highest value promotional offer."

Are there any limitations on how many eBay Bucks you can earn?

Yes, according to eBay:
"You can earn up to $100 in eBay Bucks on any single eBay purchase. This means that if the eBay Bucks earn percentage is 2% and the purchase price (excluding tax, shipping fees) is in excess of $5,000, you would be restricted from earning any more eBay Bucks for that purchase beyond the $100 eBay Bucks purchase earn limit.

and:

"You can earn up to $500 in eBay Bucks for all qualifying purchases during a given calendar quarter. This means that if the eBay Bucks earn percentage is 2% and the total value of qualifying purchases exceeds $25,000 during a given calendar quarter, you would be restricted from accumulating any more eBay Bucks beyond the $500 eBay Bucks quarterly earn limit."

When do you get the eBay Bucks posted to your account?

They are posted after you purchase and pay for your item(s) with PayPal. Note: If you make a purchase during one calendar quarter but don't pay for it with PayPal until the next calendar quarter, the eBay Bucks will be added to your account during the quarter when you pay for the item(s).

How can  you check you eBay Bucks balance?

Go to My eBay, and then click "eBay Bucks" under the "Buy" heading in the left-hand menu bar.

For more information on eBay Bucks, go to the FAQ, here:  http://pages.ebay.com/rewards/faq.html?&_trkparms=%26clkid%3D6800449814580359911

So, as you can see, eBay Bucks are free money...don't leave it on the table, especially during those triple-points promotions!


Is It Safe To Buy From eBay?

I have often been asked: is it safe to buy on eBay? My answer is always Yes! providing you take a few easy precautions.

Check the Feedback

When you are looking for an item on eBay, the first thing you always want to check is the feedback. If the feedback is lousy, and that means in the 80 percentile range, consider avoiding that seller no matter how much you want to get that item. This becomes doubly true if you read the feedback and many people have written about the items quality, poor shipping and even payment issues. Stay away from these sellers at all cost.

Making Payments

A lot of people get tripped up when making a payment on eBay. The best way to do that is with an electronic payment service like PayPal. There is no muss, no fuss, you simple transfer the payment directly from an electronic payment service directly to the auction seller. These transactions are recorded, and they will give you powerful evidence if the item is not received or the person says that you've never sent a payment.

Checks and Money Orders

Sending a certified check or a money order is not as good. Although they can be tracked to the person who cashed them, it will take time. The worst part is that someone can intercept your check from the mail, change a few things about it, and cash it for themselves. Does this happen often? No, but it does happen, and it can lead you into weeks or months of problems when you are trying to prove where it went, and to whom.

The worst thing to do is to send cash for an item that has been won. Cash is untraceable, and even if the seller gets the cash, they can say they didn't, and no one will know otherwise.

The Honesty Of eBay

In most cases, asking yourself, is it safe to buy from eBay is a no-brainer. eBay, as a whole, is very honestly run and people who sell there want you to have no trouble bidding and winning. They want the transaction to go smoothly and as effortlessly as possible. Just remember that you will always maximize your safety by using an electronic payment service and by always dealing with reputable people. Just by doing those two things, it will be safe to buy on eBay nearly 100% of the time. And buying right with safety in mind is another reason why BAM's got your back!

Learn The Ropes, Then Bid To Win on eBay

Bid on smaller items to learn

learn the ropesIf 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!

When Bidding to Win, Temper Your Emotions for the Best eBay Deals

Temper your emotions for best deals on eBay

temper your emotionsThere are going to be times when you find something you really want on eBay, where the excitement becomes so overwhelming that you'll throw caution to the wind and bid to the sky. If you were the seller of that item, you'll hope that everything you sell garners that same type of emotional excitement.

However, in almost every case where you allow your emotions to get the best of you, you'll pay more, and in some cases much more, than the item may even be worth. To get the best deal possible on eBay, make sure you keep your emotions in check.

There is always another item to bid on

Virtually every item that is listed on an eBay auction will be listed again by someone else. That means there will be other opportunities to bid on an exact same or a similar item. Get an idea about how much your item sells for by looking in the “completed” auctions tab. This will give you a baseline figure about how much that item is usually selling for.

Once you know that price, temper your emotions and set your own price that you won't over bid. For example, let's say your favorite Beanie Baby usually sells for around $20 dollars. Use that figure as the highest figure you'll bid, then add on $2.00 in case someone punches in $20.00 ahead of you. This means that the absolute maximum you'll bid for that particular Beanie Bay is $22.00. No matter what, don't bid more than this, even if you are sniping at the end. If you lose it this time, try again next time. You will eventually get it at your price, or less, if you stick to this strategy.

Avoid bidding wars

Consider the alternative. If you let your emotions run wild, you may end up in a bidding war with someone else who is doing the same thing. Yes, you could eventually win the item, but the cost might be so high that it may not be worth it. And then, like so many bidders before you after winning, you'll be asking yourself, “Why did I bid so high?”

So remember, find out how much the item sold for, set the highest price that you want to bid on that item, and don't waver from your set price no matter what. To help you keep within your limits, you can use sniping software so you don't have enough time to increase your bid. If you lose the item this time, down the line you'll find it listed again, and then there is always that chance you'll get it for far less than even you could have imagined.

Different Spellings + Slang Terms = BIG eBay Savings

Different spellings and slang terms

Sometimes items are listed using the vernacular of the specific area where they are being sold from, they are listed under a slang name or are listed under a popular term instead of using the formal name. In those cases, if you can learn the different spelling or the slang term, you'll have the potential to win an item with a lower bid.

For example, if someone lists an item as a Mountain Bike instead of a Mountain Bicycle, you will need two different searches to find both of them. Most people use the common name of “Bike” when speaking, but the correct term of “Bicycle” is used by manufacturers. You may find the exact same bicycle listed from two different sellers, with one listed under the heading of “bicycle,” and one listed as a “bike.” If the majority of the people are searching for a bicycle, you will have a far better chance of having a winning lower bid if you are searching for a bike.

Some items have more than one spelling

Consider that any item with the color “gray” in the title may also be found with the optional spelling of “grey.” They are both listed correctly and spelled right, but some people might only search for a “gray” item and not punch the word “grey” into the eBay search engine. If you don't punch in the right word, you may be missing out on a bargain.

Another example is a juicer. However, the correct name is a juice machine or a juice extractor. But, they are also known as a juicing machines too. These are four separate, and legitimate, names for one item, and all of them must be searched to get the best deal. If you search only one or two, you may be missing out big-time.

Both the terms “lamp” and “light” are interchangeable. A table lamp can just as well be listed as a table light, or a swag lamp can be listed as a swag light. For any lamp that you may be looking for, also look for it using the word light in place of lamp.

Find different spellings using search engine

An easy way to find different spellings, meanings and slang terms for a specific item is to type the name of the item in question, followed by the word synonym. As an example, type in “lamp synonym” into a search engine, and a host of sites will come up with different terms for the word “lamp.” You can then search each of these alternate words on eBay, and never miss out on the opportunity to win an item with a lower bid.

By using different spellings and slang terms when searching on eBay, you maximize your chances of finding an item that few others are searching for, and that gives you a chance at winning that item with a lower bid. And remember, no matter what you bid on at eBay, BAM's got your back!