Thrifting On eBay

August 29, 2019

eBay Thrifting Tips


I love thrifting in person but it's not for everyone. Charity shops in the UK are often cramped, overstuffed, and not always the most pleasant of places to be. It's not easy finding what you need and takes time that not everyone has. If hunting in person isn't your thing, don't overlook thrifting online. Online marketplaces are a treasure trove of great deals and quality finds.

While there are several places you could shop for second-hand goods including Depop, Vestiaire, Vinted, and even Etsy; I've had the best luck with eBay both in terms of the items available and the price they sell for. Bidding for items, rather than haggling, opens up the potential for some great purchases at really low prices.

eBay is full of gems but finding what you want and winning it for a good price can feel like an impossible battle if you've not got to grips with using it. I'm sharing what I've learned from several years of thrifting on eBay, hopefully this post will help you to score the best bargains and more money from your unwanted stuff.



eBay Shopping Tips


Filter by auction only. This filters out traders and highlights private sellers with second-hand items. You'll have a better chance of grabbing a bargain if you look for individuals selling their unwanted items rather than business listings.

Save searches and set alerts. If you're looking for clothes from a certain brand or a specific item, you can save searches which will alert you when sellers list these items. Search for the item you're looking for ('Dr Martens Size 4'), next to the search total, you'll see 'Save this search' which enable notifications when a new listing becomes available.

Bookmark sellers. If you find sellers who regularly lists items you're after, bookmark their page and check in every week to see if they have what you're looking for. Charity shops often have official eBay accounts where they list clothing, homewares, and furniture.

Search for misspelled keywords. A lot of sellers misspell keywords or leave important details out of an item's title and description. Search for generic terms ('linen top', 'black trainers') and misspelt words and that's where you'll find bargains.

Use the 'sort by' feature. Find what's new, ending soon, or newly listed by using the search filters. Use the filters to find local listings, new/used items, and more refinements. It helps narrow down what you're looking for and focus in on more relevant auction listings.

Always read the description. This will ensure the item you're bidding on is what you think it is; don't just rely on the photographs and auction title. If you're unsure, clarify details with the seller.

Beware fakes. If you want to purchase popular or highly sort after big name brands and products, do your research and learn how to spot fakes. If a price seems too good to be true it probably is.

Make 'Buy It Now' offers to sellers. Haggling really does pay off. You're more likely to tempt the seller if the auction ends soon and there's no bids. It doesn't hurt to make an offer just be realistic with your offer and don't be surprised if it's declined.

Set your price limit. Don't get sucked into a bidding war; know your maximum price and stick to it. Think about how much you're willing to pay for an item and remember to include postage costs in your calculations.

Keep track of auctions. Save auction items to your watchlist and (if you have notifications on) you'll receive alerts on new bids so you won't miss being outbid or the end of the auction.

Check feedback. If you're considering bidding on a high ticket item, check the seller's feedback. Avoid any sellers who have zero, low, or more negative than positive feedback.

Don't bid in round numbers. A few pence can make the difference between winning and losing an auction. Always add a few pence onto the bid you enter (£2.23 not £2) because eBay always gives the winning bid to the highest bidder, even if there's only 2p between them.

Be a sniper. You can either use a sniping tool to do the work for you or be there when the auction ends. Aim to place your final, maximum bid at the very last second, quite literally.

Pay by PayPal. You'll be covered by eBay's Money Back Guarantee scheme and if an item is faulty, counterfeit or non-existent, you'll be far more likely to receive a refund. Just don't use PayPal to pay via a credit card.

Know your rights. You have the same statutory rights when you buy from an eBay trader as you do when you buy from a shop. With private sellers, items must be 'fairly described' otherwise you bid at your own risk. eBay offers a Money Back Guarantee and a resolution center should you run into problems.

Sell to fund purchases. You might think dropping your unwanted stuff off at a charity shop is a good deed; when 70-90% of donations are exported the better solution is to try to put your items in the hands of the people who want them - and earn yourself some money in the process.



eBay Thrifting Tips

eBay Selling Tips


Consider each item. Some things aren't worth the effort of selling them. Photographing, writing descriptions, listing items, dealing with bidders, wrapping and posting orders; all this takes time, money, and energy. If an item isn't in good condition, is missing parts, has significant use or damage, or would sell less than postage costs, it's not worth selling.

Selling costs money. eBay takes a percentage of the final selling price, then PayPal takes a cut, and if you start trading, you might need to pay tax. Be aware of seller fees and use a final fee calculator to make sure selling your unwanted goods is worth your time.

Look up similar items before listing. Searching for similar items to the ones you plan to sell will help you to write better titles and descriptions, and highlight details other sellers forgot that you should include. Look at any questions bidders have asked and include these details in your own listings.

Use the right keywords. Make sure to be specific about what you're selling and spell everything correctly. Add 'authentic' to items such as perfume and trainers, include sizes in the titles, and describe your item accurately.

Describe your items in detail. Try to give as much information as possible. Include specifics such as the brand name, condition, size, material, dimensions, style, and colour. Be honest and you won't have any problems with unhappy bidders.

Think in seasons. Don't list winter coats in summer or sandals in winter. Hang onto items you want to sell but aren't yet seasonally appropriate. You're unlikely to get a good price for these items and waiting a few months could earn you a lot more money.

Use quality photographs. Good photographs are essential. Use a plain background and photograph your items from as many angles as you can. Get close-ups of detailing or model numbers, and any flaws or damage.

Start bids low. Auctions that start at 99p are enticing while ones that start at £10 are not. Lowering your starting point will entice more potential bidders. If you're worried about an item selling for too cheap, you can set a reserve price or offer a 'Buy It Now'.

Price postage correctly. High postage costs put buyers off but free delivery can leave you out of pocket. Use the Royal Mail price finder to estimate postage costs for your items and price accordingly.

Timing is everything. Seven day auctions that end on a Sunday between 8-11pm tend to perform best. Avoid weekdays, early mornings or afternoons. If you can't end your auction on a Sunday, your next best options are Monday, Saturday, or Friday.

Send to the address provided. Only ever send items to the buyer's address provided by eBay or PayPal. If you don't, you won't be covered by eBay's Seller Protection.

Track items. Always send sold items via a tracked delivery service, it doesn't have to be a courier; Royal Mail's Signed For service is affordable and reliable. This covers you for eBay's seller protection, and proves your item was delivered.

Build your reputation. Buying and selling regularly will earn you feedback, just make sure you play by the rules, are a prompt buyer, and reliable seller.

Mistakes happen. Packages get lost, buyer's complain, seller's slip up. The more you buy and sell on eBay, the more chances there are of encountering minor (and major) issues. Treat people the way you'd want to be treated and try to resolve issues amicably.




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