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eBay: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner

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What's It Worth?

On eBay, it's not uncommon to see the bidding rocket past what everyone knows is a reasonable price. People sometimes pay more at auction for the same item they could buy in the discount store across town. And sometimes the bids might reach, say, $22, even when the seller notes in the item description that she has similar items available for a fixed price of $17.99 in her eBay store. What's going on? It's simple: the excitement of a timed auction and the thrill of competitive bidding can make bidders lose their heads and pay more than they meant to.

Don't be part of the headless masses. If you do your research and keep calm, you'll avoid overpaying.

Do Your Research

You don't have to jump into the bidding as soon as you discover eBay. To avoid getting yourself into trouble and becoming the winning bidder at $40,800 for a haunted toothpick, take a step back and click around the site while you collect yourself.

Do these basic things to cool out and get more info on an item. Use eBay's comparison-shop feature (Section 3.2.2). Put items on your Watch list to see where their final price lands and get a sense of the going rate. Visit a seller's eBay store (Section 7.3) to check whether the seller offers the same item for a fixed price—and how much. Read the discussion boards (Section 10.1.1) related to the things you want to buy.

Note

If you're concerned that you're going to miss a deal on a unique, never-going-to-be-available-again, ghost-infested item, bear in mind that nearly ...

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