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Buyer tips

Whether you're new to eBay or are an experienced shopper, these tips can help you bid and buy safely and wisely.

Do your research

Learn all you can about the item. Read the item description carefully. Make sure you understand details about shipping and payment options. Don't make assumptions about details that aren't included in the description.
Find answers to your questions. If you have any questions or are unsure about the listing, click the Ask a question link in the listing. Common questions include "Do you accept returns?" and "How will you ship the item?" If you've already bid on an item and are having a problem communicating with a seller through email, you can request the seller's contact information.
Check the seller's Feedback. From the listing, click the number in parentheses next to the seller's user ID. You'll see what other buyers have to say about doing business with the seller.
Research the item's value. Look at similar completed listings by searching completed listings. You can also visit online stores that sell similar items to help determine what the item is worth.
Make sure the item is legal and allowed. If you have any doubts as to whether the item you're interested in is allowed, check our policies on prohibited and restricted items.

Consider your buying options

Determine the maximum amount that you're willing to pay for the item. Take into consideration what the item is worth to you, how difficult it will be for you to find another one, and how soon you need it. Then determine the highest price that you're willing to pay.
Understand what entering a maximum bid means. Our automatic bidding system means you can enter your maximum bid once and the system will automatically increase your bid only as much as is needed for you to stay the highest bidder without going over your maximum bid.
Make every bid a serious one. Don't bid on multiple similar items from different sellers if you only want one. You could be the winning bidder in more than one auction, and you'd be obligated to purchase any items you won.
Consider Buy It Now. Does the listing you're interested in have a Buy It Now option? If so, consider whether you are willing to pay the Buy It Now price in order to guarantee that you get the item without having to wait for an auction to end.
Consider Best Offer. If the seller offers the Best Offer feature, come up with a price that you believe would be the best price for both you and the seller and make an offer for that amount. In some categories, you and the seller can counteroffer each other until you come to a price you both agree on.

Plan ahead

Ensure your contact information and email address is up-to-date. Check your personal information to make sure it is correct. Also, check that any spam blocking software that you have installed does not prevent a seller from communicating with you.
Start early if you plan to buy with Best Offer. The way to win with Best Offer is to start early in the listing so you can allow for time for the seller to respond.
Plan for alternate computer access. If you have computer or connection problems, or need to be away from your computer, you can monitor your bids or other account activity by signing in to My eBay from any computer with Internet access. 

Contact Customer Service

If you have an additional question about this subject, email us at Customer Service.
If you would like to ask a question on another subject, please use the Contact Us page.

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