Everyone who knows me knows that I love eBay. It is a fact that eBay is full of a lot of junk, fake designer items advertised as real and dishonest buyers and sellers. I have been a victim of dishonest sellers but as you go on, you become smarter and learn how to deal with this: Each time I have been sold a fake or faulty item, I have gotten my money back. It isn’t always easy, it can be quite scary and daunting. So despite all of this, why do I love eBay?
Well it is such a quick and easy way to sell items that I do not want anymore, you can get designer items for cheaper, you can get sold-out items or items from previous seasons and you can get rare, unique items and the best of vintage clothing.
How to Be a Successful Buyer
The golden rule I hear people mention about buying items on eBay is that if it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. I don’t necessarily agree with that. It is true up to an extent e.g you're not going to find a genuine Chanel maxi flap bag on eBay for £300 but I have bought some “too good to be true” items on eBay. Brand new ferragamo pumps for £41 and Brand new Louboutin boots for less than half the price they are on net-a-porter, amongst others, that is too good to be true, isn’t it? You could get a vintage Chanel jacket on eBay for £400 or even less. Some items are on eBay are unbelievable, you just need to be very vigilant, observant, and not let a tempting offer blind you. If for whatever reason, you fall victim to a dishonest eBayer, then you need to know how to do damage control!
1) My very first tip is about bidding: read eBay’s guide to bidding- it explains the bidding process quite well but you never actually know how to do it best until you’ve done it a few times. Never bid on an item days before it ends; it is unnecessary and only increases the cost of the item. I generally enter my maximum bid about 1 minute before the end and then another maximum bid a little higher than the first again about 10 seconds before the end just to secure the item or if I get outbid. However, you need to be glued to your computer and be quick to make sure you do not miss out on the item. If you’re a newbie, I’d advice allowing a little more time. Note that: what you enter as your maximum bid is not always what the item sells at; it could be lower, depending on the second highest bid.
2) Never ever buy items from sellers with very low feedback. I generally will not buy anything from any seller with less than 94% feedback and that is after a lot of scrutiny of their negative feedback. It is better to buy from shops on eBay or Powersellers but you don't need to limit your shopping to them only.
3) If a seller has very high feedback but it is not 100%, still read through their negs. If someone complains that they were sold a fake item, even if it is only one person, do not buy from that seller. Believe it or not, a lot of people are quite happy with buying fake items advertised as real.
4) If it is an expensive item, ask the seller for proof of purchase or proof of authenticity. For a lot of items, the seller may not have proof of purchase especially if it is vintage but watch out for their story as to why they don’t. If they tell a silly story like, "my boyfriend bought me the wrong size from the *whatever* store in Harrods". That should ring an alarm, why are they selling it on eBay, when they could just go to Harrods and exchange for the correct size? Also, a lot of designers have authenticity cards or numbers that come with their items- ask that you see these. Basically just see what they say to get an idea of whether they can be trusted.
5) The people at the PurseForum are incredibly kind, if you join their website and ask in the relevant forum, they will authenticate any eBay item you may want to buy.
6) Do not buy expensive items from new sellers even if they have 100% feedback- look at the feedback, they might not have any feedback as a seller.
7) Be wary of fake pictures of items. Google the item you want to buy, some people get genuine pictures from Google and use them on eBay. If you Google the item and find the same exact picture comes up on ioffer or any such website, the item is most likely fake.
8) Be vigilant- look at the pictures closely. A lot of the time, there are hints indicating they are fake. E.g if you are buying a pair of Louboutins, if “Paris” is right at the bottom of the box and/or there is no white label on any side of the box indicating what size the shoes are, it is most likely fake. There are good fakes out there, be careful.
9) Pay with PayPal- this is the only way to protect yourself and your money on eBay.
10) If you happen to buy a fake item, for whatever reason, do not sit back and cry. Contrary to many opinions, EBay buyer protection can be badass. Send the seller a message asking for a refund, DO NOT send the item back before you get your refund except an eBay staff tells you to do so. If the seller is un-cooperative, open a case on eBay. It might take a day or two to get a response but you will eventually. Follow the instructions given to you by the staff but still be wary. Ultimately, if the seller refuses to give you a refund, eBay will do so, you are protected. But you need to be aware of your rights.
11) Finally, experience is the best teacher- you will learn as you go along. There is so much fashion goodness on eBay and you will discover if you persevere.
How To Be A Successful Seller
I have found this to be pretty easy.
1) Again, don’t sell to people with very low feedback, some people find ways to give you trouble in manners you didn’t even know existed.
2) Start your bids as low as possible to attract more interest but be careful that it is not too low incase the item does not attract a lot of interest. You can set a reserve price so the item doesn’t sell if that price is not reached.
3) Include as much detail about the item as possible in the item title to gain more traffic.
4) Always keep proof of postage and if the item is expensive, insure it at the post office before posting.
5) If you have trouble with a buyer, do not panic. If you have been accused of selling a fake item which you know is genuine, explain your case to ebay and they will sort it out. But make sure you have taken pictures of the item you posted and if possible, arrange a meet with the buyer in a public place for them to return the item and you return their money. However, make sure that what they return to you is the same item you sold them. Again, know your rights.
6) Finally, again, experience is the best teacher. I have sold so much on eBay and never ever had a problem as a seller.
I hope you guys find this useful, if you have any problems, feel free to contact me for advice :).