Sellers often specify that bulky, heavy items must be picked up in person. Many people are loath to travel far, so lack of competition keeps prices low.
Our Local eBay Deals Mapper exploits this. Simply tell it your postcode and how far youíre prepared to schlep, and it trawls eBay* for hidden gems nearby. Use our top 10 tips to keep it safe and cheap.
Locations are auto-generated using eBayís data. Always contact the seller to double-check the locationís correct, unless they specifically mention the place in the itemís description.
Occasionally items will be at a different spot miles away. This could be because the seller has moved and left an old address on eBayís system, or they are storing the item at an office or someone elseís home. To protect sellers' privacy, we give a rough location based on the first part of their postcode.
Just because itís local and on eBay doesnít automatically mean itís a bargain. Always benchmark the price before buying. Use shopbots (shopping robots), which whizz through scores of internet retailers to find the cheapest price. Our MegaShopBot.com tool auto-searches the best of these for each category.
Don't start grabbing stag's heads, saxophones or sets of skis just because they're nearby. Before bidding, use Martin's Money Mantras to ensure you'll use and can afford them.
Martin's Money Mantras Full Info >>
Before spending on anything, even on items found using the Local eBay Deals Mapper, use Martin's Money Mantras. If you say 'NO' to any, DON'T BUY!
If you're skint, ask
Do I need it?
Can I afford it?
Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?
If you aren't skint, ask
Will I use it?
Is it worth it?
Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?
While incidents are rare, there are simple precautions you can take to make sure the transaction is a safe one. First, if someoneís listing or email sounds dodgy, trust your gut and walk away.
Go with a friend, or failing that, tell someone exactly where you are going and arrange to contact them afterwards. Take a mobile phone, and stay on the doorstep if possible.
All new eBay tricks go in our free weekly emailEnsure you don't miss any new top guides, deals & loopholes. It's spam-free
Collection-only items often attract fewer bids. But they're not guaranteed to be cheaper than eBay's average price, especially if the seller has a high starting price.
Thereís a quick way to glean a productís market rate. Fill in the search box and check 'completed items' on the left hand grey bar. Itíll come up with a list of prices similar listings have already fetched. Try not to pay more than this.
eBay sellers have a feedback rating that acts as a useful guide to whether they've dealt fairly in the past - especially important if you're meeting someone in person. As a guideline, look for a seller with over 98% positive feedback, and a feedback score of at least 30.
Think twice before purchasing expensive items from a seller with zero feedback. Remember that feedback is useful but not infallible. One thing to watch for is traders flogging a few tiny things for 10p each to build up their feedback.
Buy from a 'trader' who makes some or all of their living selling on eBay and you've full consumer rights (see the Consumer Rights guide). If someone lists themselves as a business seller, itís reasonable to assume they count as a trader.
However, buy from an occasional private seller and as long as the goods are 'as described', the only rule's "let the buyer beware". There's little legal comeback, though eBayís Money Back Guarantee may help.
The power-puncher of local classified sites is Gumtree, which covers 50 big UK cities. It sells anything from bikes to beds. Unlike eBay, Gumtree doesn't charge fees, so sellers may be willing to part with items for slightly less.
Popular classified site Preloved lets you prioritise local adverts when you search.
Amazon* has a thriving second-hand marketplace for most of the products that it sells new. When you search for an item the second-hand price will be listed, where it's available. It offers a fixed price rather than an auction, making it a straightforward alternative.
Also try local Facebook selling groups, where instead of eBaying second-hand goods, people sell to others in the local community. Our Facebook Selling guide shows how to find the right groups and stay safe. While aimed at sellers, much of the info is relevant to buyers.
Top-quality goodies are available daily across the country for FREE. Itís all about local web communities, and the big names are Freecycle and Freegle.
Instead of binning goods or trying to eBay them, people offer them to their local community. In return, they often hope they can grab back something when they want.
Occasionally, there can be grotty, moth-bitten junk, but thereís also top-quality unused stuff people just donít want anymore. For a full guide, see Freecycle & Giveaway websites.
For more help tracking down hidden bargains, see the
40 eBay Buying Tricks guide
Links that have a * help MoneySavingExpert.com stay free to use, as they're 'affiliated links' which invisibly take you usually via affiliate linkage or commercial money sites, which then pay this site.
We usually give you duplicate links of the * links above, which donít help MoneySavingExpert.com, for the sake of transparency. However itís not possible with this tool. To find your item, go to www.ebay.co.uk and search for the itemís title.