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Advice for an eBay n00b?

RobbRobb Member Posts: 144
edited August 2011 in Buying & Selling Topics
I have never used eBay before. But I am now interested in picking up a couple childhood Lego sets that I have found on eBay. The prices seem MUCH better than bricklink, probably because the condition is not as good, but since I am buying the sets to play with my son, excellent condition (and a box) is not something I care about.

Any advice for a first-time eBay buyer? I think I know enough to stay away from obvious scams, but I have never done the bidding thing before, and I also want to make sure that I receive what is advertised.

I would appreciate any tips.

Comments

  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,346
    edited August 2011
    @Robb,

    You can start by checking out the old thread below; if you have further questions after digesting the info within there are a number of eBay buying veterans on here who can probably help.

    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/323/quick-guide-to-buying-lego-from-online-auction-sites
  • jb15jb15 Member Posts: 53
    Yeah, I've sold tons of stuff if you have any questions.
  • RobbRobb Member Posts: 144
    Doh, sorry. I should have done a search in the archives first. Thanks.
  • legoDadlegoDad Member Posts: 529
    @Robb, I've been a regular shopper and occasional seller on eBay. Contact if ya' need info. I first off look at seller feedback and of course check ALL prices listed for whatever set you're trying to get for the best price. There's a wide range on items from real cheap to utterly outrageous.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,031
    Robb, great suggestion from other members above. I would also like to add my post on shopping on eBay: http://thebrickblogger.com/2011/03/shopping-for-lego-on-ebay/

    I cover everything from registration to finding items, to the pros and cons of fixed price versus auction listings and feedback.

    All in all eBay is a great place to shop for LEGO, and if you use it together with the Bricklink Price Guide, you will do extremely well in finding bargains!
  • gtg905sgtg905s Member Posts: 29
    When shopping, feedback is one of your best friends.
    Always check their feedback and past items sold.

    eBay is simple, Just look at all the details. If the seller doesn't provide many details, won't respond to questions or can't answer your question then just move on and find the next listing/auction. If you have to worry about what you are buying then it isn't worth buying. There will always be another auction ;-)

    Bid snipping is not liked by many, but a valid tactic.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    Sniping is like check raising in poker.,,,it's effective and fun, but there are always those that would prefer you declare your intentions.
  • achillespdxachillespdx Member Posts: 106
    ^I don't understand why eBay hasn't put a stop to sniping altogether. All it would take is to extend the auction close time by say 10 minutes any time a bid is placed within the last 10 minutes or so. Problem solved.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,346
    ^ I don't understand why people think that eBay SHOULD put a stop to sniping; it's a perfectly legitimate tactic, prevents people from bidding more than they can afford, and it's a mystery to me why anyone should object to it.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,479
    ^ I don't understand why people think that eBay SHOULD put a stop to sniping; it's a perfectly legitimate tactic, prevents people from bidding more than they can afford, and it's a mystery to me why anyone should object to it.
    I have had conflicting opinions on sniping.. as a seller obviously I do not mind, and as a bidder, it is kind of annoying.. Although I agree with @achillespdx that extending an auction 10 minutes is a novel way to stop it, but it also means an auction could go on forever..

  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    It's an aution gentelmen! It happens all the time at a live auctions. Bargan hunters wait until the bidding is about over and jump in if they think it's a bargan. It has been done that way for centuries.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,447
    I am a sniper and that's the only way I will bid. A long time ago I used to end up paying a huge price for something because I was bidding against someone who would pay ANYTHING to get what they wanted. To avoid that I started learning how to snipe and have done it ever since. I have also had a shill used against me several times and sniping avoids this. Ofcourse if someone is willing to pay more than me that is fair game and that's the only way I will lose.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    I'm also in the sniping is fine camp, although I don't like automatic sniping tools I think that's cheating a bit.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,447
    ^ I have never used one. How do they work?
  • achillespdxachillespdx Member Posts: 106
    It's an aution gentelmen! It happens all the time at a live auctions. Bargan hunters wait until the bidding is about over and jump in if they think it's a bargan. It has been done that way for centuries.
    Right, but other bidders still get a chance to up the bid with the whole "going once, going twice...". Sniping doesn't allow for that.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited August 2011
    Sniping is much truer to the ethic of putting in a bid for what you're prepared to pay than standard bidding, which can easily drive you over what you can afford, so morally you could say its better for the buyer than standard bidding.

    Just like any 'game' there are those who work out how to play to win, and those who don't. I don't shop any other way, and set about 30-100 snipes a month. If eBay banned sniping tools, I'd stop using eBay, because it'd become too time consuming.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    @achillespdx That is true but at a live aution you also have the opportunity to read the other bidders. ie hesitation, nervousness, ect. which you don't have at an online auction. I believe sniping kind of replaces that. IMO

    @Si_Dorking_Surrey_UK Isn't ebays auto bib basicly a sniping tool?
  • AlHazredAlHazred Member Posts: 14
    I use sniping tools entirely because I realized I needed to rein in my bidding. I was getting way too focused on winning items I really wanted, and would lose sight of my budget cap. With an auto-sniper, I can act with reserve.

    Not to mention, sometimes I think better of bidding on an auction. Maybe I bid on a book, then later had a friend mention they could give me a copy. Or maybe I reread the seller's feedback and decided they looked shady. Either way, if I've already bid I'm committed, but if I set up an auto-sniper, then I can always cancel it.
  • mnbvcmnbvc Member Posts: 136
    I used to use an autosniper on eBay years ago, when I used to buy lots of goods - but now I tend to find that the cost of paying for an autosniper was offsetting the amount that I was actually winning by, so it was counter productive.

    It means that I accept that if a set is due to finish during the day in the week, I won't bid (and won't win) because it's inevitable that someone will bid against me in the last few seconds. Manually sniping is also pretty stressful - especially when a page times out!

    ...I have tried to bid "properly" but all that happens is that either you get outbid, or someone ramps the price that you pay up, trying to find out what your maximum is. If you throw in your bid at the last second, you tend to pay a little less. (Although you can become attached to the auction, having watched it for so long and bid more than you originally intended to - which is where the autosniper is much more economically valid!)
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,479
    edited August 2011
    Sniping also can be a tactic to be used against possible shillers (people who raise the price with either no intention of paying and/or to find a maximum bid) This is one of the primary reasons why I have sniped.

    The other option I postulated to friends is that you build eBay auctions so you have had to bid on it once before an hour of the auction ends if you want to bid any further past the hour. So at least you have a set number of bidders that can snipe at the auction. It helps sellers because it would also increase the price of the item. This does prevent someone who may have just saw the auction as it was near ending and cannot bid on it because of this type of rule though.

    I do try to bid on an auction once before the auction gets to 30 minutes before, it gives someone a fighting chance (doesn't mean I will not snipe but at least I make an effort to show I am interested in the item)
  • LegogeekLegogeek Orange County, CaliforniaMember Posts: 711
    ^ I don't understand why people think that eBay SHOULD put a stop to sniping; it's a perfectly legitimate tactic, prevents people from bidding more than they can afford, and it's a mystery to me why anyone should object to it.
    I have had conflicting opinions on sniping.. as a seller obviously I do not mind, and as a bidder, it is kind of annoying.. Although I agree with @achillespdx that extending an auction 10 minutes is a novel way to stop it, but it also means an auction could go on forever..

    I don't know... the method of extending an auction seems to work on Yahoo Auctions Japan, and they don't go on forever. Maybe it's a cultural thing. Personally I'm not in favor of snipping, but to each his own. I haven't used eBay in a long time, but I eventually came to the point where I'd put in an early bid to advertise my presence. This was in case friends were going to bid; kind of an unwritten pact between a small group of like minded collectors that when someone we knew was bidding, we wouldn't bid against each other. Then I'd put a bid in close to the end, with my high bid and let nature take it's course. I hated it when a snipper with deep pockets would strike, but that's life & I learned to live with it & move on to the next auction...

  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,380
    While snipping is part and parcel of bidding I would say some advice with eBay is to tread lightly, at least until you find your auction feet, check out people’s feedback and previous items sold etc. It is highly unlikely that you will find too many bargains out there with the buy it now options (well in my experience) so be wary of very cheap auctions etc., I think there is another thread on here about one such scam as sadly it seems the number of these sorts of examples seem to be growing. Oh and always read the descriptions, not just the headers (been caught out there a few times, fine print, got to love it...)
  • RobbRobb Member Posts: 144
    I just wanted to say thanks to all who provided their experiences and advice in this thread. I applied your advice to my first bidding experience, and I am pleased that I won the bid without getting into a price war.

    I'm not sure I'll use eBay in the future, since I was only doing this to get ahold of a vintage set from my childhood, but it was an exciting/stressful experience (I think I got too caught up in the worry about sniping which never happened).
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