As always, always check feedback. Some of the best sellers don’t have 100% great feedback because of postage issues, genuine mistakes and human error so it is worth reading the feedback to see if there have been problems what they have been. Obviously if they have a shocking feedback score it isn’t even worth investigating, I tend to skip past them entirely.
One of the most common scams I’ve come across is people creating false feedback with new accounts to inflate or create a good feedback score. When checking feedback I always take a look at the length those leaving comments have been using eBay/how many transactions they’ve had or if they’re still active on the site. Whilst newbies aren’t bad, a long list of feedback from different buyers with only 1 or 2 transactions under their belt rings alarm bells in my head.
– Contact the seller
I always send the seller a quick message about the size/exact colour etc. and rarely if ever, buy from an international seller who doesn’t get back to me.
Please, please only pay with Paypal. Please, just…oh please. Whilst not 100% safe (and what is?) at least you have recourse to get your money back and it is far safer than wiring money anywhere.
Once I’ve committed to buy I often leave the site and open Paypal in a new window and log in myself to pay for my items rather than click through from an eBay shop because I’ve had some of them redirect me to external websites without my permission.
Check out the postage costs. Do they drive the item price up over your budget? Also take into account the length of time it may take for your item to arrive from overseas, does that time negate the saving? Will the seller refund the item price (and postage) if it takes over 30 days to arrive? It’s worth checking feedback to see how the seller reacts to an item not arriving.
Pay extra to have the package tracked and ask that the details are emailed to you as soon as possible after the sale has processed.
– Customs & Taxes
Check if the seller is registered as a business because sales from businesses will be liable for tax charges upon entering the country. Ask your seller if you’re likely to incur customs or tax charges. They should be able to tell you how many of their buyers have been hit with customs charges and it’s worth knowing ahead of time because they can be quite hefty. These charges may come up to 3 weeks after the item arrives so it is well worth checking if you’re likely to be hit with them. I believe the threshold above which charges are made by HM Customs is £36.00. If in doubt pay a little bit extra and buy from a UK seller.