Understand that EBAY can be an addiction is the same genre as gambling.  The key to gambling is knowing how much you are absolutely willing to lose then walk away. (Take it from a person who lives in Nevada).  The same strategy goes for EBAY.  The only difference is that on EBAY, they have one of a kind items you can’t find down at the local Wal-Mart.  Sometimes EBAY has that perfect Part for a 1968 Jaguar.  Still, you need to know how much is too much.

THE .99 cent opening Bid

Let’s start with the .99 cent opening bid.  This is one of the greatest auctions but you need to exercise patience.  Fools will come in and bid 5.00 on an item that you feel is worth 45.00.  Now if everybody plays the game right, nobody will bid until the last minute of the auction.  This is when you need to know how much you’re willing to pay.  If the someone else has bid and driven the price from .99 to 5.00, then you know he or she has bid 5.01 or more.  So in the last minute (Or last 11 seconds) you bid 45.00 hoping the other bidders only bid 25.01 and you get it for 26.01. (By the way, never lose a bid over a penny.  Always bid XX.01  or what ever your lucky number is.  Many will bid 25.01 so bid XX.02  you get the Idea.  Now if two bidders have bid the price up to around 40.00 at the close of the auction.  You have to decide how much you really want this and are willing to pay for it.

*NOTE: It’s very easy to let your ego allow you to spend way too much for the 45.00 Jaguar floor mat.  If one bidder has the attitude that nobody is going to out bid him and bids 100.00 for the 45.00 part, (Thinking that he doesn’t care if someone bids 50.00) and you bid 100.01 for the same 45.00 part.  You just bought yourself a floor mat for 100.00.  Congratulations.

On the other hand if this is the only one you’ve seen ever on EBAY, and all of the numbers check out, feel free to be a little more liberal with your bid at 11 seconds left.

How much am I willing to pay? 

I advise people never to bid on something unless they have a track record of what they sell for.  NOT WHAT PEOPLE ARE ASKING.  You hear that all the time on Pawn Stars: “Well I’ve seen them on line for 250.00″.  But did it sell for that price?  Probably not. (You don’t know how many times I see people asking 279.00 for something I just paid 89.00 for.  I laugh and say they’re F’n crazy)

I recently used my knowledge of what things sell for to wait out a seller.  He had an Item that I knew was rare, but he was asking about 50.00 too much for it.  (Or that I was willing to pay).  I PM’d  him and said, I’m willing to go 130.00 plus 10.00 shipping.  He was asking 179.95 plus 20 shipping.  I knew that if one of these came up for .99 cents, the bidding would get to about 100.00 and the real collectors that knew how rare it was, would put in there final bid at 130 – 140.  I use to sell these items and I knew what they went for (not counting the stupid people) I told myself that as a rule they would go for 120.00 but being since it was rare, I would go as high as 140 out the door.  So I waited as he kept relisting this Item.  I felt that a serious collector might have bout this when he finally lowered the price to 130 plus 20 shipping.  150 was still 10 more than I wanted to pay.  So after he relisted it the 6th or 7th time; I sent him another offer of 140 out the door.  By now, he’s lost a considerable amount of money by relisting it.  He was eager to relist it at 130 plus 10 shipping.  He was happy, I was happy and hopefully it will arrive in one piece.

On Items that frequently are listed, you need to see what the final sell price is and never exceed it.  I said to the seller of the Item above that if I paid him his price, someone wood list one for .99 cents and the bidders would take it up to what I wanted to pay.  But do your home work and see what the item is selling for before you bid or BUY IT NOW.


The opening bid or buy it now price is the number most people look at.  But there are other numbers that are even more important.

1. Shipping.  Some scumbags will give you a low buy it now price and hope you don’t look at the insane shipping and handling price.  If the shipping is way out of line, you don’t want to do business with that seller.  Also, if you don’t look at the cost of shipping until check out, you may find that the 45.00 floor mats are going to cost you 90.00 when you throw in the 45.00 shipping.  All of a sudden, Napa parts doesn’t look so bad.

2. Area Code.  What I really mean is location.  China has developed a bad reputations for sending you the wrong size, then putting the responsibility on you to send it back.  The only problems I’ve had as a buyer on EBAY have been from mainland China.  If the seller looks like they are from China but have an L.A. or Toronto address, it’s really important that you check the next number. (BTW, I’ve had good luck with western Europe. (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and the U.K.) But even when buying from overseas, I don’t buy expensive items.

3. Seller’s Feedback Score.  This is a very important number.  No matter how sweet the deal looks, if the seller has less than 98.5 positive feedback, READ HIS NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.  I use to sell and got tagged with a negative from a scammer that EBAY sided with.  Which is why I no longer sell on EBAY.  So again, it depends on how bad you need the item.  If the seller was left a negative feedback and the buyer said: “Seller is Jerk, avoid at all cost”, you can ignore those 90% of the time.  Those are usually answered by the seller with something like : “Buyer can send the item back if not happy”.  The more immature the buyer sounds, the more I will trust the seller.  What I do look for are Immature comments from the seller.  Things like: “Buyer is a jerk and I’ve blocked him”.  Or: “Buyer is a loser that can’t read English”.  When the seller is unprofessional in their comments and try to make you think the buyer is psychotic, it’s usually the seller you need to look out for.  I’ve actually paid more for something because the seller’s comments were unprofessional and immature.

4. Doesn’t take Paypal.  I don’t think Paypal is the greatest institution in the world, but if you’re going to play on EBAY, you’re playing Russian Roulette if you do a transaction without going through a 3rd party that will refund your money.  That’s the only thing they’re really good for.  Plus, it’s much harder to rip off your I.D. by going through Paypal.  Sure they may get the Credit card or account number linked to Paypal, but if you’re smart, you won’t keep much money in that account.


Check out this Weird Al Video called “EBAY:

You have no Idea how true this Weird Al video is.

One last bit of advice.  Feel free to talk to the seller before you buy.  Ask a lot of questions.  AND if you how much an Item sells for, and they RARELY COME UP FOR AUCTION.  If the opening bid is .99 cents and you know they sell for over $200.00, Tell the sell right away that you’ll give him or her $200.00 if they take it down and do a special private Buy it now Auction for you.  It works almost every time.  Sure one may come up down the road a few bucks cheaper, but if you know in your heart it’s worth $200.00, give it to them.  I bought my favorite piece to my collection that way.  I’ve seen them for 199.00 and I think an opening price of 149,00 but in the end, it could have been 300.00.  I would also say that if you are a collector of anything, if you watch the sell prices, you’ll see that EBAY is just like the stock market or Real Estate.  If you collect Franklin Mint plates, you’ll see how certain plates hold their value while others drop or climb.

Know what they sell for and Know what you’re willing to pay.  That’s the Key.

(And avoid bad sellers at all costs)


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