I have done quite a few Ebay articles so far (as you all can tell I spend quite a bit of time on Ebay), but I wanted to add a couple of extra things that I had thought of as an addendum to purchasing things on Ebay. These are some extra tips and tricks that fit outside of some of the other articles I have done. These can help you score some good deals on Ebay as well!
The Watch List
The watch list is a pretty nice feature that Ebay has and if you have ever been on Ebay you have probably used it. When you look at a listing on Ebay, you can click to put it on your watch list which means that inside of “My Ebay” you can quickly go back and look at the item. Along with this you get alerts by email and by phone (assuming you have the app) that your watched item is about to expire. This is an easy way to keep track of things that you are contemplating like auctions that are far from over or Buy It Now items that you can't decide if you want to buy or not. There are a couple of little tricks that you can use to your benefit:
- The biggest point about your watch list that a lot of people don't pay attention to is keeping your watch list clean. Ebay does not automatically remove listings after they end for several reasons, one of which we will explain below. Basically there are two ways to keep it clean : don't watch an item unless you are actually interested in it and make sure you clear out items that end. You don't know how much this helps. For one, you don't want 100 items in your watch list that have already expired and you can't buy – this just waters it down. The bigger point though is that you can only see a certain amount per page in your “My Ebay” section. If you have items that shouldn't be in your watch list there, you are going to have to spend more time scrolling pages looking through what you want. Also, you will get alerts for these items and if you don't really want them or aren't serious, this is just something else to look at that you don't need to.
- Another nice thing that a lot of people don't notice: If an item on your watch list that has ended is re-listed, you are notified. This is one reason that you should keep items on your watch list that don't sell – you may see them re-listed at a better price! I will sometimes watch these because I can tell no one will ever press that Buy It Now button. The item will end and I will get a notification of re-listing at way less!
- Another thing I do commonly with slightly overpriced items is to check the seller's feedback for sold items. If they haven't sold a lot of Lego's, I assume they are just a more casual fan. So I will message them if an auction ends with no bids and tell them I was interested but wasn't quite sure about the price. I will tell them I would buy it for a little less if they are interested. I have got a couple of good deals this way because they can make a quick sale. Just make sure you have them re-list it. If Ebay catches you making “under the table deals” it's not good.
Auctions with more than one item
This can seem somewhat obvious because most people think bulk=less expensive. This is not always true with Legos, especially if the sets are rare and go together (like Queen Anne's Revenge and The Black Pearl). Most people list these for prices that are above market value of both items because they go together, especially using Buy It Now.
However, in Auction listings, because Ebay encourages lower starting bids, you will see the sets start out very low. Depending on how they are listed and the auction's end time, you may be able to score a really good deal on the items together. An example: I got a Jabba's Palace and Rancor Pit on auction for $120.
Listings with Buy It Now and Auction as a choice
Ebay does something somewhat different with there Buy It Now and Auction listings. Basically the rules are: if someone bids, Buy It Now becomes unavailable immediately. On the outside, this doesn't seem like anything that really matters to the Buyer: If you think it will go less than the Buy It Now price, bid. If not, press the Buy It Now button.
However, there is a trick here. Let's say you find an auction that is a little bit poorly listed. For example, I found an auction a while back for a 7181 UCS X-Wing (the original). The picture was alright, but the listing itself had pretty much no explanation and the item number was not in the listing. The seller had the auction price starting at $60 with a BIN at $150 and free shipping (BP used price for the set is $175).
In this case, I figured $150 is a really good price and I was very tempted to hit BIN. On the other hand, the way this auction was listed, I figured it very well may not even go that high. So I bid. Why? Well let' say I am right and no one really bids on the Auction? I may win it for way less than $150! There is definitely a risk I wont and that goes into the decision, but this is a trick you can use in a lot of situations. If you think the auction may go less than the BIN and you are willing to risk it, bid quick and no one else can steal the item from you.
Search for items with Spelling Mistakes
This is a really simple one – a lot of people have trouble typing or cannot spell some words correctly. If people are lazy with their listings, they are leaving the door open for a smart buyer. Especially if the listing doesn't have the item number in the title. So search for easy spelling mistakes in them. For example “Millenium Falcon”. It's easy to miss that second “n”. An auction found this way could really benefit you. I do this all the time when I am searching for CDs and things of that nature. Because of the item numbers with Legos, it doesn't happen too much, but if you set up a saved search it could really pay off.
These are just some extra tips you can use to grab those great deals out there. Good Luck!
Note: All of the information here are my own opinions and are pulled from my experiences. You may or may not have success with these methods.