With millions of auctions running at any hour of the day, there is no doubt good deals abound on eBay. From flea treatments for your dog, to a mini-van for hauling your family around, the selection runs the gambit. With everything under the sun for sale, the only thing an auction surfer needs to know is whether or not to actually put in a bid.
Recently I was auction surfing for a new 20.1 inch flatscreen LCD monitor. Like anyone else working from home, my equipment costs fall on my shoulders, and I must undergo a delicate balancing act between, do I really need it, and can I get a good deal. Having already perused a few dozen price and spec comparison websites, I had a good idea of which model I wanted and the average price I could expect to pay. A simple search for 20 inch LCD monitor brought up a few hundred to choose from. Prices ranged from absurdly high, to â€śyou know itâ€™s a scamâ€ť low. There were however, dozens of monitors priced at reasonable, yet believable prices. Too good to be true?
The model I had focused in one was from Dell. It had gotten good reviews, and the discount from dozens of eBay sellers was tempting enough to almost make me click the â€śbuy it nowâ€ť button. The shipping was indicated as â€ścalculate,â€ť so I clicked it and input my zip code. Almost $100 to ship an LCD monitor. High? Seemed that way, but Iâ€™ve never had one shipped, and anything is possible.
Hopping over to Dellâ€™s site, I pulled up the same monitor. The price was much better on eBay, but the shipping from Dell was free. After some basic math, the cheap eBay price with shipping turned out to actually be one of the worse deals on that particular LCD I could get. Checking around, I soon found the stock photos and specs the sellers on eBay were using in their auctions, and putting two and two together, I figured out what they were doing.
The eBay sellers were using a rudimentary low price tactic. They mark down the price, and count on the buyer not checking the shipping until the auction has been purchased. Even with the high shipping, a buyer may still equate the price paid for the monitor as being a good deal, and just assume the shipping price from everyone is in the same ballpark.
What the eBay sellers were actually doing, was acting as their own dropshippers. They created an auction using Dellâ€™s stock photoâ€™s, claimed they had the items in stock, and used terms like â€śspecial purchase,â€ť or â€ślargest seller on eBay.â€ť In actuality, they were selling the LCD to buyers, and then purchasing one from Dell after they had received the buyers payment. They then have Dell send it to the buyers address, and pocket the massive markup in shipping; in this case, $75.
The same tactic was used for desktop systems, laptops, flatscreen TVs, and several other items I looked at. While the â€śbuy it nowâ€ť price was substantially lower than anyone else was offering, the price plus shipping actually exceeded the final cost of everyone out there.
In this case, a little homework and price checking saved me $75. Unfortunately, after looking at the various sellers completed auction results (see my previous article for how to do this), I found there were a lot of people who had not bothered to check. Hopefully, after reading this article, you wonâ€™t fall into their ranks.
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About The Author:
Chris Yarbrough writes for Ebay Guides, a free resource site with hundreds of articles and guides. You can view his guides at http://www.ebay-guides.com
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