eBay – some people love it, others are wary. We are here to help you find the best deals at the best prices and navigate potential pitfalls, with a list of all the pros and cons of buying on eBay.
Pro: It’s convenient.
eBay is the original one-stop-shop online. You can get everything you need for your house, wardrobe, office, and even your pantry when you shop here, and you can spend very little time if you have a flexible budget. And when you filter your results with “North America only” or “U.S. only,” you’ll feel more confident about placing orders and getting your items within a relatively appropriate timeframe. Don’t forget about vitamins (brand-name only), herbs and spices, and workout stuff, too.
Pro: eBay bucks stack up quickly.
eBay’s most recent addition of the eBay Bucks certificate is a great one for penny pinchers. As you spend, you start saving, and what’s even better is that eBay actually tells you how many points you will earn with each purchase. They accumulate quarterly, and the best part is, they’ve removed the original provision that specified how you could only redeem points after you’ve earned a certain quantity.
Pro: You can score some of the best deals around.
If you’re willing to wait, there’s usually nothing cheaper than eBay. It has tons of items from Asia that are cheap as chips, and you can score items that would cost much more when you pay the markup after it’s been imported. From sheet masks to scissors, nearly everything is a better deal on eBay.
Con: Shipping can be lengthy or costly — but not as bad as it once was.
When you shop on eBay, you will see that shipping from Asia is now separated into additional classes. The economy shipping still takes a month, but the expedited shipping from Asia can surprise you and take less than two weeks. Pay attention, too — sometimes you pay the same for faster shipping.
Con: Sellers are incredibly smart about how they present their goods, and sometimes it’s annoying.
Multi-item listings can appear high up on an eBay list sorted by price because in addition to whatever you’re shopping for, the store also happens to feature an accessory (like a wig cap with a wig, or a pencil with a notebook set). When you sort the results, you’ll see that the prices start at $1.00, but it’s only for the piece that you don’t really care about.
Con: The support is not as robust as Amazon.
You may find that, just like any store, sometimes you don’t like what you bought. However, eBay arbitration is slower than the instantaneous help you’ll get from other sellers. Patience is essential, and don’t expect instantaneous refunds. When you work with the other party, though, you’ll find that eBay representatives are actually very helpful.
Con: Items sometimes look far better than pictured.
Try to find photos of actual items in listings instead of studio shots — for two reasons. The first reason is that you’ll have a better idea about color and style when you see an actual photo taken by a buyer; the other is that you can avoid getting scammed when there’s a photo that looks legitimate online.
Con: You need to be proactive about finding items that fit your description at the best price.
Sometimes it’s hard to find what you’re looking for when you want to save every extra penny. Instead of worrying, get smart and try a bunch of keywords and add them to your watchlist so you don’t lose track of what you’ve purchased. Be smart, track your finds, and dedicate a day or two to scoring the best deals.
With the coupon codes available on eBay, you’re guaranteed to find what you want for less. And now that you’re prepared, you’re ready for steals and deals.