Buying Tips
8 min read

30 eBay Buying Tips, Tricks & Tools to Hunt for Hidden Bargains

Check out the latest eBay buying tips and tricks to find the hottest deals and bargains.
Written by
Nella Cheng
Published on
June 25, 2024

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Before online shopping was the norm, there was the original ecommerce King: EBay. But just because eBay was around before all the other high-experience shopping sites exploded onto the scene, doesn’t mean it’s lost its luster. In fact, eBay currently has over 1 billion listings in its marketplace on an average day, and it boasts tons of buyer tools to ensure you find the best bargain for whatever it is you’re looking for. Check out our top 30 Ebay buying tips and tricks below.

1.) First Thing’s First. Download the Ebay app on your phone! There are so many cool tricks and options you can explore through this app when shopping!


2.) Shop Around…On Ebay! One of the best things about Ebay that has absolutely not changed over the course of its 23-year run, is that it’s a goldmine for competitive selling. See something you love? There’s a 99% chance someone else is selling that same item, if not something super similar — and maybe even at lower cost.

3.) If You Can’t Hold It In Your Hands, Don’t Buy! Do NOT even entertain the option to buy intellectual property. Ebay has a pretty strict policy against these types of things, but there’s always a loophole, and Ebay police can’t be everywhere at once. Be smart and opt out of the idea of an intangible purchase from the start.

4.) Use That Magic Word: BUNDLE. Interested in more than one item from a seller’s store? Reach out to them to see if they will entertain a discount or free shipping if you bundle multiple products. It never hurts to ask, and 9 times out of 10, the seller will agree.

5.) Take Advantage Of Time. Note the countdown of auctions your watching and jump on the ones that end late at night. Foregoing even just half an hour of sleep can gain you a real win.

6.) Start Small. New to the Ebay, or ecommerce game all together? Ease in with both Buy It Now and auctions to see what works for you, and what fits your online shopping needs best.

7.) Download The Ebates Extension. This is a must for EXTRA eBay savings. By downloading the Ebates extension to your internet browser, you’ll earn cashback every time you shop on eBay.

8.) Modern Feedback Is Not What It Used To Be. We live in an era of reviews that can be bought (another loophole in the eBay policing system) and faked. That to say, take every review with a grain of salt, learn to pick out the ones that are probably legitimate, and always be cautious when considering purchasing an item from a seller that has no reviews at all.

9.) Read, Read, Read. Read it all: the bold title, the fine print, every letter of the description. Scamming isn’t a rare concept, so make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you bid. While this seems obvious, it’s not always. Some dishonest buyers can be very clever.

10.) eBay Is Not Just Auctions. Sure, two decades ago, eBay’s prime selling allure was that it was the mecca of auction buying. But that’s long in the past. eBay offers so much more, including Buy It Now and even Subscriptions. You can save a ton of money when considering these other options, especially Buy It Now.

11.) Understand Your Rights. Before you buy anything online, even from a site as reputable as eBay, read up on how eBay will fix an issue if one arises. What if your package arrives broken, or never at all, and the seller refuses to remedy the situation? Make sure eBay has your back if the buyer will not. There are too many horror stories on internet buying that went awry for you to not be 100% self-preserving when you purchase something.

12.) Pay Safe. Whether you opt for ultra-safe PayPal, or you have a credit card or bank of your own that guarantees safe transactions, choose wisely when it comes to your payment method.

13.) Don’t Be A Jerk. If negative feedback on a seller is warranted, don’t hold back for the sake of niceties. But do make sure it is warranted. Mistakes happen, and especially if the seller attempts to correct a mistake, you should take that in consideration. Because in the end, sellers can look at your review history as well, and it can be detrimental to your own profile if you review unfairly or poorly frequently.

14.) On The Go Refresh. Use that eBay app you downloaded to keep constant track of your item bids to ensure you don’t lose out.

15.) Barcode The Best eBay Price. Speaking of that awesome eBay app, use it as your very own barcode scanner to scan any barcode, anywhere. Once you scan, watch as the item appears from all sorts of sellers at all sorts of prices on eBay. It’s never been more convenient to price check for the best deal.


16.) Find Your Inner Grammar Police. Spelling and grammar mistakes — especially in the title of an item for sale, is a buyer death sentence. For them, selling traffic drops tremendously to almost nothing at all when it comes to any simply grammatical error. But for you as a seller, this is gold because without demand being high, you’ll get the best price. You can even download an online type of spellchecker like “Goofbid” or “Fatfingers” to help you with your mistake perusing on the site.

17.) Create Alerts. One of the simplest tools that eBay offers to shoppers is also the best one. Anything you type in that eBay search bar can be saved to an alert, so that any time it becomes available, you get a notification and you can immediately get on it! We are not always in the mood to be face in our phone or computer for hours on end going through the massive eBay marketplace, so this saves you that time and bluescreen headache when you have something particular in mind that you’re shopping for.

18.) Don’t Forget Local! eBay actually has a section that pertains to your own local area. Items that are only available for pickup in person, which means prices are an amazing bargain usually since they are sans shipping.

19.) It Never Hurts To Negotiate. The worst a seller can say is no to an offer you propose, so why not go for it? Look for listings specifically that don’t have bidders, or that are Buy It Now offers.

20.) Free Shipping Items Are Awesome…Sometimes. The best and easiest eBay deals can come in the form of free shipping. Most of the time, this is a sign of a motivated and experienced seller, and that’s someone you always want to have in a purchasing transaction. However, remember that there are going to be scamming sellers sometimes, and you need to have your facts straight before you automatically assume that “Free Shipping” is a great advantage to you. Check shipping rates, delivery times, and carriers to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.

21.) Automatic Bidding For The Win. When you know the maximum you’ll pay for something, let eBay’s option for automatic bidding do the work for you. Input your maximum bid plus a few cents (just in case someone bids an identical amount to your maximum amount), and kick back. This also helps to alleviate your risk of overbidding for something in the end of the auction if you’re not sitting there watching it the entire time.

22.) Create A Watch List. A watch list is like bidding without the commitment. It allows you to watch an item you’re interested in without making any sort of bid or purchase on it at all. Create a list with alerts and again, you’re letting the wonderful tools of eBay do all the hard work for you.

23.) NEVER Go Outside Of eBay. It’s tempting to avoid the “middle man” that is eBay completely, but this is definitely more of an advantage for a seller than you. And it’s the dumbest thing you can do on your part. Going outside of eBay’s protections to make a private transaction with a complete stranger is the foundation of all those horror stories of purchases gone awry mentioned earlier. Just don’t do it.

24.) Don’t Write Off International Buying. You will find some of the best deals on eBay when you include international sellers in your search. Sure, you might have to wait an extra few days to receive your item, but you can find some truly remarkable, one-of-a-kind treasures if you open your trajectory to the rest of the world.

25.) …But Don’t Forget The Little Hidden Fees. If you do buy internationally, definitely do your checks and balances. Sometimes a lot of little fees like customs taxes are hidden in the big picture that actually cost you what initially might look like a great deal.

26.) Safety In Person. Just as you would for any other in-person transaction, if you are buying something from the local eBay seller list, make sure you’re safe. Meet somewhere public, bring someone with you, and always trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

27.) Use The Magic Bidding Number. Believe it or not, there is a tried and true magic time to bid on an item that almost guarantees an auction win. Come in on a hot item 15 seconds before auction end to minimize a counter bid, and to score your dream purchase.

28.) Never Lose Your Head. There are over 175 million users on eBay, and you’d be amazed at the high percentage of those buyers that are not in the know about the basics. They see a product that supposedly THE product to start a bidding war over, and they throw their wits to the wind, overpaying on something that in all actuality might have no value in the end. Never give into that high you get when bidding in an auction, and always know the true worth of what you’re going after.

29.) Skim Through The “Sold” Section. We’ve already mentioned that you should shop around on all the offerings for a single item on eBay. But an extra trick is to see what said item already sold for recently. This can help you pick out fair deals, and in turn make fair offers to sellers.


30.) Sell To Pay. Of course, one of the best ways to save is to double dip. Sell your own goods on eBay to offset the costs of the things you love to buy!

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