eBay is the world's biggest e-commerce marketplace - which makes it bloody hard to find the very best deals. For every bona fide bargain there are a handful of so-so deals and ripoffs cluttering the website. Here are some tips to land yourself a better buy.
Unlike most e-stores, eBay does not set its own prices. Consequently, you can often find the same product being sold at wildly different prices depending on the seller. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to find the best prices if you not what you're doing.
Here are some tips you can employ to reduce the chances of getting burnt by unscrupulous sellers.
Do your homework
This should go without saying, but if you see a product being sold for a massive discount, do some online research before hitting the purchase button. How much are other eBay sellers charging for the same product? What's the 'street price' in brick-and-mortar retailers? Are other online merchants providing similar deals? In short, don't believe a listed discount until it's been independently verified.
Use aggregation sites and deals forums
To ensure an online deal is legit, don't go straight to the source - instead, trawl deals sites for the item or product type you're looking for. These sites are carefully moderated and only post deals that are worth knowing about. Worthy sites you should bookmark include Static Ice, Oz Bargain, IsThereAnyDeal.com and Lifehacker's own Deals page.
Consider the deal on its own merits
Artificially inflating the 'before' price on a discounted product is a gross thing to do. But that doesn't mean you aren't getting a good deal. For example, the aforementioned Galaxy Note 9 deal worked out to around $170 off the RRP. While that's well below the advertised saving of $324, it remains a significant discount. Sometimes, a deal is still worth getting even when the sale is misleading.
Use a price comparison tool
Price comparison widgets, like Shoptimate on Chrome, automatically go on price scouting missions while you're shopping online. If it finds better deals, it will show the price on the product detail page.
Get eBay to pay you back
eBay recently launched a Best Price Guarantee which provides instant restitution when you pay too much for a product. All you need to do is send eBay proof that the product was cheaper on another site at the time that you purchased it. eBay will then send you a monetary voucher for the price difference plus an extra 5 per cent. While that's not quite as good as having the money back in your bank account, it's better than nothing.