www.ebay.com can be a great place to shop for many things, including toys. I've recently started shopping for toys at www.ebay.com, so from what I'd like to share what I've learned as an amateur batty bidder to help you get started.
When starting out on www.ebay.com, you'll want to link your account to a Paypal account. Most every transaction you make will be through Paypal, and you can either do instant bank transfers or pay by credit card. I would recommend paying by credit card, as that can add a thin layer of protection if a purchase should go awry.
When shopping on ebay, you have to do a lot of research. For example, let's say you're shopping for a toy. First, you want to know every little thing about the toy. You want to know what the toy looks like, what the box art looks like, when it was issued, what it includes -- everything. When you're shopping on ebay you will be buying loose or sealed items, usually looking at user uploaded photos of the product should they be provided. You need to know exactly what you want so you can match them with the photos and their description.
Now, let's say you've found your item. You want to look at several different things when evaluating the posted product:
*The shipping and handling -- make sure the shipping cost is reasonable for the product. If it's ridiculously high, then it's highly suspicious.
*The photos, if provided. Look at them closely if you're able to zoom in. Check to see if there's any damage to the toy. See if there's anything missing with the toy.
*Read the description of the toy. Read it twice. If they mention any problems with your product, you may want to consider contacting the seller to get specifics. If they mention loose joints on an action figure, ask them which ones. If they mention scratched stickers or paint and you can't see them in the photo, contact them for more information.
Do not be afraid to contact the seller and ask them questions! You're dealing with regular peeps on E-bay and not all of them have a professional portrayal of what they're selling.
*Check the seller's feedback. When people make purchases or sell things, they can be left by feedback from other users. If the person has recent negative feedback or no feedback at all, you should avoid them.
Now, there's a variety of things about bids and buying you should know about. I doubt I'll cover it all, but hopefully I can get the bread and butter out of the way for ya.
There's two common ways to acquire something off of ebay. For one, there is the "buy it now" option, which is straightforward. By clicking on this option you commit to buying the product. It does not pay for it immediately. However, I recommend paying for your purchase, soon.
And then there's the auction dealie. Ebay works by using incremental bidding. What does this mean? Since it isn't a live auction, per say, they conveniently have everyone place a "max bid". In other words, they place the maximum amount they're willing to bid during an auction. It will then place a bid in order to keep you at the top bid, while calculating everyone else's max bids. That is unless the bidding exceeds your max bid.
For example, a "Shiny-Thingy-Ma-Doo" may be bidding at $0.99. You find yourself willing to pay $10.00, so you place that as your maximum bid. The bid then shoots up to $2.00 or what not -- it places a bid on your behalf in an increment to make you the top bidder.
There is some beauty to this. Let's say the auction ends at $2.00 dollars, with you at the top bid. You'll only have to pay $2.00, and not the full $10.00 you placed as your max bid.
When placing your max bid however, here's a tip. Don't make it an even, guessable number. You can lose a bid by a couple of cents! If you are willing to bay $10.00, make it $12.87 or some bizarre number. By adding a few dollars and cents, you increase the chances of winning a bid should no one's max exceed yours. A lame schmo might place $10.00, or a more clever schmo might place $11.90, but by adding those few radical dollars you've topped them all.
Finally, let's talk about how to place a bid. There's the decried method of "sniping", which is manually or automatically placing your max bid in the last few moments of an auction. Sniping is a great, if not rueful method to win an auction.
*It prevents people from increasing their max bid should yours top theirs.
*It prevents a bid war from occurring -- people inflating the price as they bid back and forth over and item.
*Fewer bids on an item means it has less attention. An item with lots of bids on it will attract more attention, which means more bidders and more money.
To learn how to snipe I suggest you scour the interwebs for more guides. It can be done manually or with utilities. As for what utility I use to snipe, I recommend www.myibay.com. They can place bids for you without you having to be present. I've found them to be reliable.
I invite more experienced ebayers to comment. I recommend reading up on more guides if you're new to ebay or toy shopping, just as well. But, I hope that this little guide can help you on your merry way to happy shopping on ebay -- for it's a great auction house indeed.