5 unusual tips for buying and selling on eBayAuction website turns 15 this Saturday

21 August 2014

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It's been almost 15 years since eBay launched in the UK. 

Ebay.co.uk was sent live on 23 August 1999, and billions of items have been sold through the website since.

For many consumers, it's the automatic choice for buying and selling unwanted items. Some have even been able to make a living trading goods on the website.  

Whether you're buying or selling, there's definitely some skill involved in getting true value out of an eBay auction.

A lot of experts recommend using bidding software to post last-minute bids for you, while sellers are often advised to take advantage of certain buzzwords to attract more bidders.     

Here, we present five more unusual tips to help you get a great deal on an eBay auction.   

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1. Sell items at the weekend

Statistics suggest that eBay is at its busiest on Sundays, so maximise exposure to your items by setting auctions to end on this day. 

The website often runs 'free listing' weekends, where sellers can list items without paying an insertion fee, too. These are great for those who regularly exceed their allowance of 20 free listings a month. 

2. Watch out for typos

You can often grab a bargain by hunting down items with spelling errors in the title. 

While competition for laptops is likely to be fierce, there will be far less people searching for 'lapotps', so the bidding is likely to be less intense. 

Buyers can use websites such as fatfingers.co.uk to track down typos, while sellers should always run their listings through a spell-checker.

3. Be aware of new rules on refunds

Since June 2014, online purchases have been bound by Consumer Contracts Regulations

These new directives, which replace the Distance Selling Regulations and Doorstep Selling Regulations, allow buyers to return an item up to 14 days after they received it.

Under these regulations, sellers can withhold a refund if you haven't returned the goods or provided proof of postage. They can also deduct money from a refund if a product appears to have been used.

Find out more: I've got a problem with something I bought on eBay - know your rights

4. Get your expensive items online soon 

Last week, eBay increased a range of its selling fees. 

Sellers will now have to pay £1 to add a subtitle, 50p to add a 'buy it now' option and £2.50 to add 'gallery plus' images to items. The cost of setting a reserve on your item has risen to 4% of the sale price, and you'll now have to pay 30p to add a custom design to your auction. 

But if you're planning on auctioning off a valuable item, it's worth putting it up for sale as soon as possible. 

From 2 September 2014, the cap on eBay's 10% sales cut will rise from £75 to £250, so items selling for £750 or more will be subjected to bigger fees.   

5. Consider alternatives to eBay

There are plenty of good websites which consumers use to sell second-hand items at a fixed price. 

Gumtree.com and preloved.co.uk are amongst the most popular, but specialist websites such as etsy.com, netmums.com or fivesquids.co.uk could also appeal. 

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