eBay – To Buy or Not to Buy
March 5, 2012
eBay can be a confusing website when you’re looking for bargains. You’ve heard that it’s cheap, but the mish-mash of postage options, auctions, buy-it-now offers and multiple buy deals can make it difficult to know what to buy and what not to buy. I personally use eBay far too much, so this is my guide to the things you should and should not purchase from the almighty God of auction websites.
Worth a Look
It’s definitely worth trying to find bits of technology on eBay. There are a number of different (and safe) traders that sell computer cables, phone chargers, headphones for a ridiculously low sum of money. It also seems to be the marketplace of choice for traders who sell refurbished iPods, computers, phones and
iPads, so it can be worth checking to see if the refurbished option is for you. There are problems with buying technological items on eBay, which can include fake or broken goods, cheap items produced in China, and compatibility issues. A computer repair friend of mine warned that cheap laptop cables should be bought with caution, because when they go they might take the battery with them; a fortune in repair costs.
I have a problem with buying clothes. I buy far too many of them, and this is possibly down to the fact that the newer version of eBay (UK) has a fantastic variety of outlet shops. It’s a lot easier than charity shops, too, if you’re looking for something vintage, as you can customize by shape, colour and brand. Accessories straight from the East are usually cheap and cheerful alternatives to high-street brands.
I’m amazed every time I look. There are new, old, expensive, cheap and a myriad of other options when it comes to musical instruments. A quick search for a cello brings up results for electric cellos as low as £60 and ridiculously expensive antique versions for over £10,000. It’s really worth exploring, particularly if you have a good idea of the price range but aren’t sure about brand. Some of the guitar pedals, amps and string instrument accessories can be a bit steep, so compare these to your local music store.
Things That You Can’t Find Anywhere Else
You know you have a burning desire for a disco ball fish-tank? Or a private island in the Med? You can probably find something close on eBay. It’s worth checking out the Everything Else section when you just need a laugh. It’s probably quite good for collectables, too, with dedicated coin and stamp sections.
Probably Worth Avoiding
CDs, DVDs and Books
eBay used to be a viable alternative to the shops in this regard. However, with the occasionally extreme postage costs of sellers on eBay, it can be worth using Play.com (free postage). Most books aren’t even on eBay (the ones I want to read), so I could recommend abebooks.co.uk or amazon if you really just can’t help yourself. Personally, I think bookshops are the best places on Earth, so I don’t want to replace my browsing pleasure with a website. Sorry, eBay!
Holidays & Travel
I didn’t even know you could buy a holiday from eBay until a few months ago, but when I looked, most of the listings were spam.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Unless you’re into that kind of thing.