Thursday, August 19, 2004

Bidding On Ebay? Don't Get Ripped Off!

How To Become An Ebay Power Bidder
By Mario Giordani
Excerpt From Upcoming E-Book

The two most important things about bidding on Ebay are:

a) Avoid Getting ripped off!
b) Avoid Paying more than you should!

The difference between smart buyers
and average buyers is information!

Every day a lot of people purchase overpriced items on Ebay due to lack of information. For example, how would you like to pay $100 for a widget that you could have gotten for $10 or even free?

Most Ebay information available is directed towards helping sellers make a profit instead of showing buyers how to save money, yet without bidders, Ebay would be useless.

Ebay is just too big to focus on everything that can be sold there but as a general rule, if you’re just buying “generic” products, you may first want to verify the best price for the products being offered at the auction. Good places to start are or and if you are buying computer parts, I suggest you also check prices with a company called The idea here is to “verify” prices before you bid on anything. Sometimes what seems to be a good deal may actually be pretty close or even more than average retail prices. While price is important, take into consideration things such as manufacturers’ warranties, refunds and returns, options that you may not get with an Ebay auction.

Ebay also offers you a completed auction search option where you can determine what a particular type of product has been selling for or simply look at the seller’s recently sold items to see what other bidders have paid for them.

Before you do any bidding, consider the seller’s feedback both as a buyer and as a seller. Draw the line somewhere as to how many feedback counts you will require to feel comfortable with doing business with a particular seller I personally draw the line at 20. If a seller has less than 20 seller side positive feedbacks in the last 6 months, I just pass. But that’s just me. You need to use your own criteria on this. If the seller has been buying a lot of $1 items to gather positive feedback and then turns around and tries to sell something for $300, I get suspicious. The idea is to look for “stability” and a good track record, after all you are sending money to someone you’ve never met before.

Buying an expensive item? Minimize your risks. You can always spend a little money and learn more about a seller’s background at

Another suggestion is to type in the seller’s name or business name into Google to see what comes up. This is particularly useful outside Ebay also. For example, if you get an email offer that sounds interesting, you can do a search under +scam +offer and see what comes up. Long time ago, I received an email offer stating I had just won $2.5 Million dollars, wow. Nice. Obviously I deemed this offer to be a scam so I just typed in the companies name into the Google search bar and voila, there were “fraud” alerts everywhere!

In the event that you’ve been ripped off so to speak, you can take advantage of Ebay’s $200 (-$25 deductible) fraud insurance. Check with Ebay for more details. The following are other resources you can use, keeping in mind that they may or may not do something about your case:


I have a lot more information about bidding on Ebay on my upcoming e-book but for now, let’s just use turnkey web sites, for illustration and look at some rules to help you avoid being taken by an unscrupulous Ebay seller.

Be skeptical of auctions that have Private ID bids. What does Ebay say about “Private ID” auctions? When I read Ebay’s policy I interpreted it as a method to protect the privacy of bidders. It reads:

“Please don't make your auction private unless you have a specific reason, such as potential embarrassment for bidders and the buyer.”

Ask yourself:

“What could be “embarrassing” about this auction I am bidding on?”

I believe that in cases where a buyer is bidding on adult items, for example, he or she may want to remain anonymous. Another reason for a private ID auction could be the sale of a physical business where the seller wants to keep things confidential.

But when an auction is for a non-adult web site or an e-book, etc., it’s hard to imagine why all bidders should be privy to the seller only because of “potential embarrassment” as stated on Ebay’s Private ID policy.

It’s easy to see instances where Private ID auctions can be abused. For example, someone could easily have 1) multiple
Ebay accounts or 2) have bidding friends. If a person has another account on Ebay they can bid, conceivably, on their
own auctions. This is called ‘shill bidding’ and Ebay has a policy against this type of unethical practice. However, if a different account bids on an item that happens to belong to the seller, they can artificially drive prices up thus making you think you are competing against another live bidder somewhere in the system.

Power Buyers Tip: Bid late and one time Only! Don’t get into bidding wars. Find out first if the item you want may be found elsewhere and cheaper, is fairly priced or if it is listed by another seller. If it’s not a must-have, move on.

The Private ID option, can be unethically used to fool unsuspecting bidders into thinking other people are actually bidding on the item you want. When the auction is over, you will have no bid history to evaluate who you were bidding against. Even if you didn’t bid at all, you won’t be able to contact the winning bidder to see if he is satisfied with his purchase.

The majority of people, especially people who are new to Ebay, usually have no idea this could happen. I see these types of auctions on Ebay every week.

Whether the fake bidder pays for the item or not, it is between him and the seller, who sometimes happens to be the same person! Ebay prohibits interaction between one or more accounts belonging to the same seller as far as bidding is concerned to avoid the possibility of shill bidding.

About the author: Mario Giordani has been marketing online since 1993. He's a web site designer and Internet marketing consultant. He manages over 40 websites that include a variety of affiliate programs. He resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. He can be contacted at


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