Online auction sites are so popular now web sites such as ebay are a household name and most people you speak to have used the site in one way or another. You can use these sites in a variety of ways, from just selling unwanted items you have lying around your home to building a successful business. The great thing about online auction sites is that you can buy and sell near enough anything. But ebay isn't the only site there are quite a few new online auction sites. The newer sites such as ebid and qxl are similar to ebay in many ways but that isn't really a bad thing as ebay has had time to iron out most of the glitches. I have used these other sites and they seem to work perfectly, you can find specialist auction sites for photography, vehicles, etc. . .
I have put together a little guide with tips on buying and selling on auction sites:
Purchasing from online auction sites couldn't be easier, it's become very simple to register and start bidding. When looking to buy an item from a site research the item before jumping into a sale, make sure it's exactly what you want a lot of the time it's hard to return items after purchase. Don't get carried away with the auction decide your top price and stick to it. Remember to always look carefully at the listing, read the description fully also note the postage and returns policy; many people try to make an awful lot of money by adding a large shipping cost. If you have any questions regarding the item for sale don't be afraid to contact the seller.
When you're sure it's the item for you bid, however if you bid too early someone else could top your price, it takes a bit of time to get your timing right but it's half the fun of taking part in a auction. After you've won the item make sure there's contact between the seller and yourself regarding payment and postage, if paying via Paypal the faster you pay the quicker the seller can despatch your item. If you have decided to collect the item in person make sure you're happy with all the details of the transaction before setting off.
If you fancy making some money from your unwanted items at home try an auction as you do advertise your item to a wide community of people, the strangest of things sell on these sites. When selling an item list the item in the correct category, look at similar items to get an idea and don't try to confuse buyers into thinking it's something it's not. Check out their descriptions including what they sold for so you have an idea on what items sell for.
Make sure you describe your item honestly and state any imperfections the items have. It's never a good idea to sell broken or faulty items unless it's fully stated in your description as sometimes you will get come back and complaints. Make your listing attractive with colours and good quality pictures, hazy unfocused shots will put buyers off as they will think your trying to hide something. Your start price entices people into watching your item, so try and keep it as low as possible. Decide how the buyer is going to pay for your item, a lot of sites allow the use of Paypal which is a safe way of transferring money between people on the internet, but you do have to register and pay a small percentage when using this service.
Other ways are personal cheque or postal order but I prefer Paypal as it is quicker. Postage costs are something you have to look closely at when listing an item, remember heavier items are costly and the more expensive items such as electrical goods might be best posted recorded delivery for peace of mind for you and your buyer. Answer all questions fully and truthfully as giving out false information could break auction rules.
When the auction has finished and you've sold your item always try and post the item as soon as possible, post the item as stated in the listing i. e. first class, courier or recorded.
Most sites have some kind of feedback system where you can leave comments regarding your transaction; always try to contact the other party before leaving negative comments as they could resolve any problems straight away. Keeping an eye on the feedback system can tell you weather a buyer or seller is reliable and honest.
Bargains are to be found on these sites just be aware that everyone wants something for nothing. I personally enjoy using online auction sites and think it's a great way to buy and sell things, hopefully you will find the experience just as enjoyable.