Here’s a little open letter to anyone who conducts business on eBay.

  • If you bid on something. Be prepared to pay for it.
  • When the auction ends, respond to the seller as soon as possible (eBay sends you an invoice, why not just pay right then?).
  • If you have a problem paying, tell the seller that there’s a problem. 99% of the time they will be incredibly accomodating. I recently had an experience where PayPal held up a payment that I made, I told the seller, and he was more than kind, asking only that I keep him in the loop.
  • If you don’t want the item after bidding on it, tell the seller, preferably before the auction ends.
  • The seller is on the hook for fees, don’t screw the seller by bidding on something if you’re not going to pay for it.
  • Read the whole description and pay attention to the seller’s requests.
  • If the seller says it’s a PayPal only auction, don’t try to pawn off a cheque or money order. Chances are they’ve been burned before and don’t want the hassle.
  • If the seller asks you pay within a certain time, make sure you can. If you can’t meet the seller’s request, then don’t bid.
  • Under no circumstances should “I’m having computer problems” be your excuse. Use someone else’s computer, go to a library, get your dog to go online for you, just honour your deal.

eBay is a pretty cool process, and I’ve had a lot of success selling things that I don’t need anymore and purchasing things I do need, but a very small number of buyers ruin things for sellers. Don’t be one of them.

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