Any fashion fans out there will know this scenario well; you’ve seen your dream jacket/skirt/dress/handbag in a shop, and for some reason (which can never be explained) you decided not to buy it. This happens to me often, and I can never really make sense of why my brain does it to me. That is where eBay comes in – type in the shop name and a description of the item and (sometimes, if you’re lucky) it pops up to greet you. Cue the bidding war, followed by either an indescribable rush of happiness at winning or bitter jealousy when you lose.
There are also times when you just fancy a bit of an online shop, something off the beaten track – there are so many deals out there, but how do you find them? What’s to stop you getting ripped off? The reason for writing this blog post is that I’m currently in the midst of a bidding war (16 minutes and 22 seconds to go!) and wanted to share some of my top tips on how to shop smartly on eBay.
- Read the description properly. It sound so simple, but the more intelligent of those trying to fleece you will include the tiniest reference to an imperfection or deviance from the photograph in the description. Check the dimensions of things against a measuring tape or ruler if provided – it could help avoid a nasty shock upon delivery.
- Note where the product was originally from, and the RRP. No one wants to end up paying over the original price of an item, especially if its has been used. Also, if it looks gorgeous on the photo but is actually from Primark, don’t spend silly money for it, because it probably won’t be worth it.
- ASK! The whole point in the function of being able to ask the seller a question is that any unclear queries are answered. It’s better to find out that the ‘small tear’ is actually 4 inches long rather than half a centimetre before you buy.
- Make sure you know your country’s customs charges if you’re buying from abroad – I once had to pay almost £15 customs charges for a £15 Abbey Dawn item coming from the USA. I wasn’t impressed!
- Automatically believe you’ve got a bargain. If you find a vintage Vivienne Westwood skirt for £10, it’s seriously not going to be real. Either that, or the bidding will go into the £££ in the final few minutes.
- Buy from sellers who have received reviews saying that their goods are counterfeit. The chances are that those giving the negative reviews will be the few who have sussed them out, and those giving positive will have been ripped off. I’ve learnt this from experience!
- Take vague size descriptions – contact the seller and ask them for proper measurements. The description ‘should fit sizes 8-12’ is the least helpful thing in the world, and could be the distinction between the piece looking good or crap on.
- Accept poor-quality photographs of an item of clothing you’re bidding on. Bad lighting in photos can distort colours and shapes – contact the seller for better photos or just say no. It’s just not worth the hassle!
I hope this has been a helpful mini-guide. My item has just ended – I didn’t win, but there’s a million other items out there. Happy eBaying, and grab some bargains!