Guide on How to Buy on eBay

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eBay started in 1995 in San Jose, California. This is when computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar, and his wife decided to trade collectible goods online using the World Wide Web. Calling on his software experience, Pierre designed and launched a website, 'Auctionweb', where traders could meet to sell their goods to other collectors, all within an environment of professional trust. has grown into the largest and most successful online business model in history. Today in 2017, tens of millions of people converge daily at and to buy and sell millions of dollars in new and used merchandise. From simple products like old Monopoly games and used Elvis records, to wholesale electronics and digital cameras, all the way up to exotic motor vehicles, high-end artwork, and expensive real estate, eBay has become the global trading platform for the every person.

Certainly, no system is perfect. eBay has its fair share of frustrations. Here are the negative aspects of eBay that you may experience:

The slowness of delivery: this is the most common dispute between eBayers. While most eBay buyers do ship products within days of the purchase, some eBayers wait weeks to receive their products in the mail.

Surcharges for sellers can add up if you are a regular seller. Particularly if you are a very serious seller who wants to make eBay your full-time income, eBay surcharges will start to feel like franchising fees for a restaurant.

Misrepresented products: Some amateur sellers will do a poor job accurately describing their products online, and will disappoint some buyers when the product is finally delivered.

Misrepresented products: Some amateur sellers will do a poor job accurately describing their products online, and will disappoint some buyers when the pQuality control can be very amateurish, depending on the seller: By the very nature of the flea market format, most anybody can sell on eBay. Some amateur sellers are plagued by poor quality control, packing, and shipping: they will ship broken products, the wrong products, or the wrong size of product.

The eBay business model is magnificently simple: provide a safe and motivating online marketplace where anyone can gather to trade products with confidence. Charge people a small fee to sell their wares, make it very easy to transact money in confidence and enforce safety and trust for everyone.

Gratefully, the good elements far outweigh the bad at eBay. eBay works well because it motivates its sellers to treat their customers with honesty and integrity. The great majority of eBay sellers provide honest and reliable service, and you will know who those people are by their high public feedback.

Because eBay is such a large, sprawling website with features for buyers and sellers, individuals and businesses, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to begin.

If all you want to do is buy something great you've seen on eBay, you can follow these steps to make it happen.

Beginner's Guide to Buying on eBay

If you haven't already, join eBay now, since you have to be a member in order to buy. Make sure you read the rules carefully about what's expected.

There's a certain etiquette to doing business on eBay, which relies heavily on feedback between buyers and sellers.

Getting Started: Be Smart

Also be aware that as a newbie to eBay, you're a little bit of a target for potential scammers or identity thieves. Be suspicious of any emails purporting to be from eBay looking for password information or the like.

Search and Browse for Items​

Once you've joined and have a specific type of purchase in mind, either visit eBay's front page and type a few related keywords into the search box or browse through the listings by category to shop for the item you have in mind.

Next, find a few of these items in your search or browse results, and click on the ones you're interested in to evaluate the data in the listings. After you've found a likely candidate, double check the price, seller quality, shipping information, terms, and most importantly, description to make sure that the item is the one you want.

Place Your Bid or Buy It Now

When you're ready to bid or buy, either place your bid or "Buy It Now." If you bid on an auction rather than purchasing with Buy It Now, watch your bid in My eBay to ensure that you win.

There are ways to help boost your chances of winning, such as so-called auction sniping sites.

Once you're more experienced at eBay, they're worth checking out if you envision participating in a lot of auctions. If you're planning to be more of a buyer than a bidder, you may not need sniping sites.

You've Made the Deal. Now What?

After you've won an auction you're bidding on, close the deal by making your payment via PayPal or whatever other means you've agreed to by bidding on the item.

Be careful with payment options, and beware of conducting any business outside eBay with sellers; some may approach you after an auction or sale via email with "deals." If you conduct business with a seller outside of eBay, you have none of the purchase protections eBay offers, and it can be much harder to protect against a deal going awry or getting ripped off.

Once you've received your item and are satisfied with it, leave feedback giving your opinion of the transaction. This is a key feature of eBay, and can be a good way to determine whether or not you want to do business with someone. If their account is relatively new, or they have a low rating from other buyers, tread carefully with any deals you enter into.

If necessary, resolve any disputes that you have with the seller. Hopefully, of course, this last step is never needed.

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