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How to Buy Online with Credit Cards or Paypal on Ebay or other Online Sellers

December 24th 2005

How to Buy Online with Credit Cards or Paypal on Ebay or other Online Sellers

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Ebay is a great resource for buying tools, toys, kitchenware and very hard to find items.  On a recent cooking talk show a caller asked the host where she could buy a hard to find appliance.  The host said eBay of course.  She told the caller that the regular brick and mortar stores did not stock it, but eBay would have a dozen of them for sale.

Many people have concerns about buying on eBay.  Some purchasers are afraid of buying anything online.  For the most part the fears are not warranted.  There are some things you need to be watchful of before you agree to buy an item.

You will need to sign up with eBay before you can actually buy anything.  It is free to sign up.  Just go to eBay.com and pick a user name and password.  You can use eBay’s search function without signing up.  It operates just like a regular search-engine search, except it searches eBay for the products.

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For example, if you are looking for an electric generator all you need to do is type in electric generator in the eBay search box.  You may not get all generators displayed in the list because some vendors may call their generator a “gas generator” as opposed to an “electric generator”.  The smarter sellers will include both words in their description, thus getting more viewers of their products. 

You can also search for items by category.  For instance the generator may be under the Business & Industrial > Industrial Supply, Supply, MRO > Air Compressors and Generators > Generators category.  You could also find generators under the Home and Garden > Tools > Generators, Home use category.  Some vendors will list their generator in both categories, thus exposing their items to more people and possibly fetching a higher price.  The listings will cost the vendor twice as much, but it is my experience that this extra cost is worth it.

Now that you did your search you have hundreds of generators (or whatever widget you are looking for) to choose from.  How do you pick a good one from a good seller?  The first thing you will want to decide on is which model you want.  Once you decide you can narrow your search.  For instance, search for 4400 Watt Generators.

Price is not always the deciding factor.  Some vendors may be selling used Generators.  Or maybe they have some store returns they are unloading.  Always read the complete description.  Always look at their feedback rating.  If the feedback rating is private, the seller may have something to hide.  Usually the higher the feedback rating the better.  High positive feedback numbers can sometimes be better than a high positive feedback percentage.  For instance, a seller may have a 100% positive feedback rating but has only 10 feedbacks total.   To me, I would not be as confident of this seller as I would be of one that has 21,000 positive feedbacks but a lower rating of 99.4%.  Every large volume power seller will have some negatives. 

Check the feedback and see what the feedbacks were for.  For instance the guy with 10 feedbacks may have bought 10 items on eBay but does not have a clue about how to package and ship the items.  Heavy items are much more likely to get damaged than light ones.  Packing can be important too.  Also, if a person is not a professional seller they may not be as interested in providing an honest sale, as compared to a seller that is in the business for the long haul. 

Most buyers nowadays prefer to just buy the item they want rather than get into a bidding war it.  If the product is a commodity and not a rare antique, most sellers will offer a buy it now price or a fixed price.  This means you can just buy the item outright.  Your bid will commit you to the purchase on a fixed price item. 

You will need to sign up before you bid.  But before you bid, you will want to check out the completed items.  After you search for the generator (or whatever it is you want) there will be a check box on the left side of the screen that will, if checked, display the recently sold generators.  Just check the box and click the show items button below.  I believe you need to sign up for this feature, but it is a great tool to compare what is being sold now to what the items actually go for (if you are not using the buy it now or fixed price options).


Compare shipping costs.  Some sellers will reverse the shipping costs for a couple reasons.  For instance, the item may cost the seller 40 dollars and 10 dollars to ship it.  Instead of selling the item for $60 the seller may list it for only 10 dollars.  But the shipping cost may be $60!  This gives those sellers an advantage because when people are comparing prices the shipping costs are not displayed on the main search list.  It would appear at first glance that their item is cheaper than the rest; that is until you consider the shipping cost.

Some items cost more to ship than their actual value.  For instance we have sold hundreds of wheat and corn grain grinders.  They are very heavy but only cost us about $10.  We sell them for around $17.  The shipping on it is $20.  Many buyers think we are pulling a fast one. 

It may make sense to raise the cost of the item $5 and lower the shipping $5.  Ultimately the cost to the buyer would be the same.  But is that fair?  What if the buyer wants to return the item for a refund?  Guess what, shipping is non-refundable.  The buyer would lose an extra $5.

One last comment.  Before you buy on eBay check out other online vendors.  Ebay is not always the lowest price, especially on “brand new – never opened” name brand products.  Just make a quick Google or Froogle search before you click that Buy it Now button.


By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM