Sometimes that perfect gift or treat for yourself isn’t easily found in typical retail stores. The Internet has made it much easier to obtain what we need or want, but that doesn’t mean the process IS easy. Online auctions are a great way to get collectibles and unique items, but prepare yourself before throwing your bid in.
Set Your Budget
Bidding can be fun, and competitive. In the heat of the competition, it can get easier to overlook how much you’re spending on something. Set a top limit before you even start bidding.
Check Shipping Fees
Your desired item may be on the other side of the world. Don’t forget to check where the item is shipping from and figure out if you’ll need to cover shipping costs. Those costs should be added into your budget.
Do Your Research
Do a search of the item online to find out what it sells for new. This is going to help you set your budget, but it will also give you an idea if the online auction seller is asking a fair price.
Contact the Seller with Questions
You can’t see the item, and refund policies generally aren’t the best with auctions, so make sure you get all the details you need. If the seller doesn’t respond, it’s best to not take the chance.
Scope Out Other Auctions
Don’t forget to check less common auction sites for your item. More obscure sites have less competition, which means the prices could be lower.
Know When You Need Your Item
It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly you’ll get the item you won in an auction, so give yourself plenty of time. Take note when the auction date ends and where it’s shipping from.
Find Out the Return Policy
Some online auction sellers have a refund policy, but many don’t. Know what you’re getting into before anything is shipped to you.
Read Seller Reviews
Many auction sites will allow buyers to review sellers, and the seller ratings are available for everyone to see. Do a quick check to make sure you don’t see any red flags. The auction sites will block out sellers that develop to bad of a rep, but you still might get caught up with someone is still on their way out the door.
You can get pretty unique or cheaper items through online auctions, so have fun and remember to be smart about it.