AUCTION website eBay is a treasure trove and you can often bag a bargain – but now we can reveal tips and tricks to help you save even more money.
From how to haggle to snapping up cut-price products because the listing has been misspelled, these are the tried and tested methods of making your hard-earned cash go further.
Online marketplace eBay is a global phenomenon, with 179million users across the world and 25million in the UK.
There are around 1.2billion listings of products for sale on the website – and it can feel a little overwhelming.
But fear not, because there are some clever tricks you can use to find diamonds in the rough on the auction website.
These include outlet stores selling cheaper items from your favourite brands, and bagging a local bargain.
1. Find secret deals pages
Not many people know that eBay has deals pages which list all the items it has for sale that are under £5, and under £10.
They’re divided into different categories, such as women’s tops, men’s sunglasses, and phone cases so you can find exactly what you want.
2. Look out for typos
If you know exactly what you want to buy on eBay, then it might be worth typing in a misspelling of the brand name you’re searching for.
You can often snag great deals this way, for example, by searching for an “ipone” not an “iPhone”.
You don’t even have to hunt for typos yourself.
Often there’s less competition for these items because no-one else can find them by searching the normal way.
3. Use tools to find zero-bid items
Sellers often list items at 99p in the hope a bidding war will start.
But as there are so many products listed on eBay, some slip under the net and don’t attract any bids.
That means you can snap up a great bargain if you spot an auction ending soon, according to MoneySavingExpert.com.
4. Check for cashback deals
If you’re shopping on eBay, you should check cashback websites to see if you can get some of your money back.
It’s not much but these offers can improve so it’s worth checking the sites before shopping.
5. Pick up a local bargain
Having an item delivered is super convenient but it often comes with pricey charges on eBay.
But if you’re willing to pick up items in person, you could bag a bargain in your local area.
From shoes to new furniture, often prices are cheaper because sellers just want rid of their clutter.
Unfortunately you can’t search for collection-only items on eBay yet.
But MoneySavingExpert has a free online tool that will find local deals for you.
6. Check if an item’s cheaper on eBay
The auction website’s app has a fun (and free) tool that can check if an item is cheaper on eBay.
First, find an item in the real world that you want to buy.
Then download the app and tap the search bar, before clicking on the camera symbol.
Take a picture of the product and then the app will search eBay for similar items that are often much cheaper.
It probably won’t find identical items but if you’re not fussed about specific brands, then it could be useful.
It works better for items such as clothes and accessories than specific branded items such as an iPhone, according to MoneySavingExpert.com.
7. Set up alerts
It’s tempting to bid on the first item you see when you know what you want to buy.
But if you have a little patience, the same item might be listed again in future at a lower price.
You don’t need to check the website everyday, though.
You can set up alerts for the items you want by searching for a product and then pressing “save this search” under the search bar.
8. Make a bid at the last second
Have you ever lost out to another eBay bidder at the last second?
You’ve been sniped – but now you can learn how to do it too and bag a bargain.
There are free online tools that make bids for you right at the very last second, giving other bidders no time to fight back.
9. Haggle on ‘make offer’ listings
Some listings on eBay come with a “make offer” button.
Use these to your advantage by trying to haggle with the buyer.
You’ll have more success if you make sensible offers, and it goes without saying that you should be polite as possible.
Which? magazine has a guide to haggling to help you maximise your chances.
10. It’s not always cheapest
The website is a great place to search for bargains but don’t always assume it’s cheapest because it’s on eBay.
Some people trying to flog their stuff don’t use the platform because of seller fees.
It’s always worth shopping around to make sure you really are getting the best deal.
11. Shop at outlet stores
Not many people know that eBay hosts outlet stores for many popular high street brands.
This is where retailers sell discontinued, refurbished and clearance items, often at very reduced prices.
Tesco, Debenhams, Boohoo, Very, Argos and Littlewoods are among the retailers that are represented on the auction website.
Shoppers can often save up to 80 per cent.
How to find the cheapest deals
FOLLOW our tips and tricks to cut the costs of your shopping:
- Find the cheapest online prices: Google Shopping is a good tool for finding the cheapest price – it searches a wide range of retailers of various sizes
- Abandon online shopping baskets: Don’t go straight to check-out after putting the items in your basket – it may tease retailers into giving you discount codes
- Ask a site to negotiate a fee for you: If you’re struggling to find a deal, Flubit is a free site that aims to negotiate discounts for you
- Sign up to retailers’ newsletters for big discounts: It sometimes means a percentage discount code, or a straight discount off your first shop
- Check when stores discount groceries: Check with your local store when they discount food items that are about to expire – this is the perfect time to nab bargains
You can also pick up refurbished gadgets at a great discount on the auction website.
You could make serious money by selling on eBay – especially if you have old toys that could be worth up to £1,200.
Coins also sell well on the platform, with a rare £1 coin selling for £5,000 on eBay recently.
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