One of the biggest sellers on online auctions are clothes, yet not everyone lands the quality they expect or end up paying over the odds.
To get best results try these top tips based on several years of (expensive) experience, otherwise you may be better off to shop for new and used clothes down your local high street.
1. Bidding is set low maybe from a LOW 0.01 to attract starting bids, but bid ONLY for items that you NEED otherwise you may land a purchase that is useless for your needs.
2. Check the details of the item on offer so you UNDERSTAND what it is, and how it is described. You will have no come back if the item you buy is as was described and YOU failed to read the details.
3. Know your limit, it's easy to get carried away and bid over the odds for an item which can be bought cheaper direct from a retail store OR from another seller on the same site.
4. Ask questions if you are unsure but like the item and want to bid, most decent sellers will reply within 24hrs so enabling you decide to bid or not.
5. Watch reputation, new sellers may have 0 rating but this does not means they and their offers are poor quality, new sellers are joining auction sites daily and getting a rating takes time. A lot of sellers come on board with just a few items and never trade enough to get a high rating. High rated sellers are usually businesses who sell online for a living.
6. Look at pictures carefully, sometimes pics are NOT of the item as such but what that item looks like, perhaps taken from another web site or catalog. Ideally item should have several pics from different angles. Colors may not be true to life and be lighter or darker when you receive them.
7. Watch for fakes - especially new items being passed of as designer when they have been made in their thousands in some far east sweat shop for cents. High positive ratings from the seller may confirm there have been few complaints from buyers thus increasing confidence in the sellers wares.
8. Check sizes - even the same sizes may vary with makes, but watch for a vast difference in buying from the USA or UK, if in any doubt ask for clarification or consultant a size conversion site. If a bargain does not fit it has been a waste of your time and money. Buy a size bigger which can be taken in, but too small has nothing to let out.
9. Check if high rated sellers have a shop or store or a separate web site which often has a wider range of other goods or choices. Often the auction listings offer an attractive price to trawl in new regular buyers for their shop or web site, where goods may be more expensive.
10. Watch for goods which are offered as BUY NOW as well as auction and in fact there are many items “in stock" so listings are renewed more or less permanently. The auction concept of bidding fails to have any value and the seller is just selling goods at a regular fixed price. Any bids often fail to reach a reserve which is often equal to or greater than the BUY NOW price, so buys can ONLY buy at the BUY NOW value.
Buying on line has its risk, but, for new goods especially from sellers with a good reputation and a lot of offers on the site you can in the main shop with confidence. Buying used goods can be risky as quality may not match your expectations, and if you paid over the odds you can end up with an expensive mistake. You can always relist the item as a seller and hope someone will be attracted to bid as you did.
Maurice S Clarke is founder of the wearable goods auction and trading web site http://www.bidwear.net and lives in Rugby, UK. This article may be freely republished provided it remains intact.