How To: Buy Items on eBay

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by Springthing, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    By no means an I an expert on the subject, but thought I'd type up a little How To about how to go about purchasing automotive parts from eBay. There are too many variants to list, too many different ways to shop, and opinions differ from person to person. This is a write-up based on MY PERSONAL experience on eBay and in no means guarantees that things will work out 100% for you! My intent with this post is simply to help those that have shied away from eBay because of all the horror stories they've heard. A little bit of common sense goes a long way. Let's get started! (BTW- this is a LONG post, I hope it reads ok!)


    Let me first say I think it is a GREAT idea to have a dedicated bank account for online purchases, including eBay. I'm not totally paranoid but like the extra bit of feeling of security.

    I set up a checking account at my bank that I use primarily for online purchases. When I am ready to make a purchase, it's as simple as calling the bank and doing the automated transfer from one of my other accounts to the checking account I will be using. IF anything ever happens, someone gets into my eBay or PayPal account, I want to be sure they have no chance of cleaning me out, and have no access to my main money account.

    I also use this account as my 'toy' money. If you are the type to have a budget, this is a great place to put money set aside for your truck projects or what ever you treat yourself to.


    The first thing you'll need, of course, is an eBay account. I'll assume you already have one so I'll make this section brief in case anyone doesn't know what is involved. When registering with eBay you will be asked all the basic information as well as some more in depth questions. Banking information is asked for, if memory serves me correctly? It seems to be a bit of a pain in the rear but while you are registering just think that anyone that's wanting to register to screw people out of their hard earned cash have to go through the same process, so it's a good deterrent, imo.


    Totally optional, but it makes things so much easier. An, again, if I'm not mistaken, eBay is about to do away with cash and/or personal check transactions. PayPal is actually OWNED by eBay so yes, there is a little bit of a bias there. Rest assured, if you have a dedicated bank account for your online purchasing you will sleep better at night whatever you do!

    PayPal also has you go through a whole big registering hoop and ask for your banking information. They'll actually verify your banking information by sending you money! Ok, so it's only a few pennies, but they have you check your bank account and then enter the amount of money they put into your account.

    Once you have tied your account to PayPal you will be able to make instant transfer from that account VIA PayPal so no one ever really sees your credit card number. You can also do checks through PayPal but, as with paper checks, payments are not immediate.


    If you know exactly what you are looking for, great! If not, have no fear.. most reputable sellers on eBay that have an actually business are great at supplying you with the information you need. It is in their best interest to make sure you receive the right part, in good condition, and that you are happy with the transaction. Good transactions make for good feedback, and good feedback make for even better business.

    This How-To will be much simpler to understand if we go ahead and make a simulated search and purchase of an item.

    For sake of this write-up, let's buy an A/C compressor for my 1999 Chevy Suburban.

    There is no way that this item is in any other section other than eBay Motors. eBay Motors is a dedicated section of eBay for anything and everything automotive, boating, atv, go carting, airplane.. etc etc.

    So we go to eBay Motors, and then the parts section.



    We then have to think of what to search for to bring up the items we want to look at and get as many choices as we can. Here is a search for the full name of the part I want:


    We only get three matches! Yikes...

    We'll try again with the very basic keywords:


    10 items found. Not too bad... That's a good start.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  2. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Here is what we are presented with:


    There's a low price there - that first one needs to be look at for sure!

    Clicking on the first item, for $109 Buy It Now, we get a glimpse at the seller straight off:


    100% feedback rating, which is very good, but he's not been here very long, looking at the date he registered. But the price is great and the feedback is good, and the shipping is low enough so we move on to the item description:


    Unfortunately, even with a warranty, there is no brand name and the part is USED! Would be alright if I wouldn't mind a gamble, but I want a good compressor that will be new and won't give me any problems.

    So we go back and click on another:


    Item #2's seller looks great! 100% feedback, well established (lots of feedback points - 1,433) and he's been registered for a long time.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  3. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    So now we look at the item, and then read the description:


    New part, part brand, and warranty! The description reads well and includes a chart of what the part will fit - my Suburban is confirmed as one of the vehicles that this part will fit:


    I would keep this as an option of who I would buy from, definately. The price is right, the seller looks good and reliable, and the part is the right one.

    I was trying to find a 'bad' seller, but couldn't within the compressor search choices. So I did another search for something and I'd like to show you what you can come across in way of 'unfair' feedback:


    This seller, above, seems to not have too great a rating. 98% or so I always look at the feedback comments to see if I can see what is going on. In this case, in the past year 5117 comment were left by ppl who were happy with the transactions, 54 were neutral, and 59 left negative feedback. Scrolling down we can see what the comments are, and even look at the items. Here is the first negative comment I came across along with the seller's comment back:


    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  4. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    This last buyer was NOT happy with what he received. Here is the description of the item he bid on and won:

    So the description seems straight forward enough. NOT tested, sold AS IS, no warranty, and bid accordingly. He got what he paid for. His negative feedback is unwarranted - he took a chance and it doesn't turn out in his favour. Maybe he should have just not bought the untested used cheap item.

    The first neutral comment I came across was:


    Ok, fair enough, another one that didn't like what he got. He does offer that, like most all the positive comments, shipping times are good. Here is HIS item description:

    Not the most shining of descriptions. Again, he bid, won, and got what he paid for. He was unhappy about his gamble and left neutral feedback. So if you are ok with used items that may or may not work, then this seller is great! I, myself, would pass.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  5. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    So we've found a part, looked at feedbacks, and selected a seller.

    We will most likely have a good transaction with this seller, he seems to care about his feedback and most likely has good quality products - if I choose I can now even look up the brand name and do a little research on it.

    Looking at sites like Napa, this compressor is about $400 - $600 new. Not a bad score on eBay to get the same item for $180.00, shipped. There is a good chance, had we looked around a little more we could have knocked off a few dollars, but let's not be greedy. We saved from between $220 - $420.

    I'm sure I'll be adding more and/or editing in the next day or two. I've been at this post for a long time already and it's time I stand up and let the blood flow back to my legs for a bit!
  6. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    You definitely don't want to buy anything from sellers who say,"looks great etc BUT IT MIGHT NOT WORK AND IF IT DOESN'T I WON'T GIVE YOU YOUR MONEY BACK.YOU ARE S.O.L. IF YOU DEAL WITH ME"

    They hook you with the 'looks great, but I can't test it" line. This implies that it is probably good, but maybe not.

    This way they can sell useless junk and with luck- if they are a big seller- they can even get the richly deserved negative feedback removed,

    Never buy crap like this. There will always be a part that the seller will stand behind.

    PS Besides, I always have a sneaking suspicion that they know the part is junk but sell it anyway.
  7. dwill3015

    dwill3015 Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Nice write-up, I have been a successful Ebayer for several years and you pretty much covered the "Do's and Dont's" for not getting scammed. Ebay for dummies! LOL.
  8. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Tried to make it easy to follow but I think it's a little confusing. I hope it helps a few more ppl feel a little confident about eBaying.
  9. 2loud

    2loud Rockstar 100 Posts

    GREAT "how to" but dont dont ever forget "you cant serv them all" what il meen is that even a GREAT seller that stands behind hes product(s) will sometimes get a lower feedback score then 100 % . . i will say it´s unusuall that a loong time seller with lots of years on ebay and thousends of sells still got hes 100% feedback score , as we all know theres some strange humans you never can get satisfied "what soo ever" and theres feedback wont even be fair
    ( I.E dident like the coulor of the paper he wraped the box in) and gives negative or neutral feedback that ruins the score of the seller and he misses hes top of the line score (100%) Unfair

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