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16 ways to save money shopping on Ebay

Try these money-saving tips next time you buy online

Online retailer Ebay has launched a new ‘Under £10’ section for shoppers on the hunt for a quick and easy bargain. But that’s only one of many ways to save money when buying online. 

The new Ebay hub brings together items available for £10 or less that are brand new and offer free delivery. You can browse clothes, gadgets, accessories, shoes, make up, video games and more without the distraction of more expensive items.

Which? looks at savvy tips and tricks that can save you a fortune on the popular online marketplace.

1. Cash-in on typos

Ebay listings that contain spelling mistakes won’t appear in relevant searches – for example, if the seller accidentally lists an ‘ipone’ instead of an ‘iPhone’.

This means they are likely to attract fewer bids and there’s less competition from other buyers on the hunt for the same products.

Websites such as Fatfingers, BargainChecker and Bay Crazy can help you cash-in on these typos by allowing you to trawl through listings with mis-spellings.

2. Check for cashback

When shopping on Ebay, you should check if you can use a cashback service. These websites will repay you a percentage of your spending if you buy a product on Ebay using their tracked links.

Right now, TopCashback is offering 5% cashback (up to £50 per transaction) and Quidco is offering 1% cashback (up to £50 per basket).

3. Make a savvy maximum bid

It’s easy to get carried away on Ebay when bidding in auctions.

One way to make sure you don’t pay over the odds is to look at what similar items have sold for in the past.

You can find out this information by doing an advanced search and selecting sold listings.

This will give you an idea of what others might be willing to pay and help you come up with a reasonably competitive maximum bid.

4. Trawl auctions ending soon

You can save time and money by searching for Ebay auctions that are ending soon and have few bids.

BayCrazy has an Ending Now feature, which rounds up listings ending in the next few minutes, while Lastminute Auction collates bargain listings that have an hour or less to go.

5. Pick up a local bargain

When an item is listed as ‘collection only’, a limited amount of people might be willing to buy it. This gives you a better chance of getting a good deal if you live nearby or are willing to make the trip.

To find these hidden bargains, you just need to filter your search to include ‘collection only’ items using the advanced search function.

6. Set up alerts

If you’re on the hunt for something rare or hard to find at a low price, it’s worth setting up an alert to get notified the next time the item is listed on Ebay.

To do this, you just need to do a search for your item and select ‘save this search’.

Then it’s a case of waiting for someone to post the perfect item and jumping on the opportunity.

7. Make a last-second bid

Most Ebay users tend to lose out on auctions in the final moments.

But sniping websites allow you to place a bid in the last few seconds before the end of an auction, leaving no time for other buyers to fight back.

Goofbid and Gixen offer a free sniping tool. For more on how they work, check out the video below.

8. Exploit anti-social auction end times

Seeking out listings that end in the dead of the night or in the wee hours of the morning could help you get a better price.

Bay Crazy has a Night Time Bargain tool to help you find these listings and place a bid without having to stay up yourself. Combined with sniping tools, you could have a good chance of winning.

9. Up your max bid by a penny

Most people go for round numbers when placing a bid on Ebay.

So it might be worth going a few pence over your maximum bid to out-manoeuvre the competition in the final moments of an auction.

Making a bid for £50.01 instead of £50 could nudge you ahead of another buyer in the running for your item.

10. Search ‘buy it now’ bargains

Sellers that are looking for a quick and easy sale might include a ‘buy it now’ option.

If you don’t want to risk losing out on an item through an auction, this could be a great way to get something you want at a price you can afford.

These items will have a fixed price. You can find them by filtering your results to ‘buy it now’.

11. Haggle on ‘make offer’ listings

Some listings come with a ‘make offer’ option that could help you drive the price down.

Take a look at our haggling guide for tips on making an offer they can’t refuse.

To find the listings for a specific search, go to advanced search and select ‘best offer’.

12. Search beyond the UK

Don’t limit your search to the UK when on the hunt for a bargain – check Ebay’s international listings as well.

To find these auctions, you just need to tweak your advanced search settings to show items located in another country or go direct to the international site.

13. Don’t give up when you lose

If you lose out on an auction, don’t lose hope.

You can message the seller through Ebay to let them know that you are still willing to buy the item if the winner fails to pay.

The seller just needs to create a second chance offer to send you.

14. Check delivery costs

When making a bid, make sure you factor in delivery costs, as these will be billed on top of your maximum bid.

Delivery can be a lot higher if you are buying an item from overseas and could push you well over what you’re comfortable paying.

15. Get the Ebay app

Get the Ebay app to keep track of your bids, watched items and message sellers on-the-go.

The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

16. Don’t assume Ebay is cheapest

Ebay can be a great place to find a bargain but don’t assume it’s the cheapest place for what you are looking for.

Make sure you shop around to see if you can get a better price elsewhere.

Websites like PriceSpy can help you find the cheapest prices online . Remember to also check out Ebay alternatives, such as eBid, Preloved, Shpock and Gumtree.

Know your Ebay rights

When you make a purchase from an Ebay business seller, you have the same rights as you would if you bought it in a shop.

This means the goods should be as described, fit for purpose and of a satisfactory quality for new and second-hand items.

But when you make a purchase from a private seller, there is less protection if things go wrong.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, goods bought from a private seller just need to be as described (which is covered under the Ebay Money Bank Guarantee) and the seller must have the right to sell it.

If you need to complain, use our step-by-step guide: How to complain if something you bought on Ebay is faulty.

 

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