Coronavirus Employees' Help
1 August 2021
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 you’re prepared to schlep, and it trawls eBay* for hidden gems nearby. Use our top 10 tips to keep things safe as well as cheap.
Locations are auto-generated using eBay’s data, so always contact the seller to double-check the location of the item's correct, unless they specifically mention it in the description.
Occasionally, items may be at a different address miles away. This could be because the seller has moved and left an old address on eBay’s system or they are storing the item at their workplace or someone else’s home. To protect sellers' privacy, we give a rough location based on the first part of their postcode.
Just because it’s local and on eBay doesn’t automatically mean it’s a bargain - always benchmark the price before buying. Use shopbots (shopping robots), which whizz through scores of internet retailers to find the cheapest price.
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 what you want to buy.
While untoward incidents are rare, there are simple precautions you can take to make sure every transaction is a safe one. First, if someone’s listing or email sounds dodgy, trust your gut and walk away.
Second, 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.
Collection-only items often attract fewer bids, but they're not guaranteed to be cheaper than the average price on eBay, especially if the starting price is high.
There’s a quick way to find out a product’s market rate on eBay. Enter the keywords for the item you're after in the bar at the top of the. Tick the 'Completed items' box on the left-hand side. You'll get a list of prices similar items have fetched, enabling you to work out whether the item you're thinking about collecting is a bargain or not.
eBay sellers have a feedback score 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 rule, look for seller's with over 98% positive feedback and a feedback score of at least 30.
Think twice before purchasing expensive items from a seller with no feedback and remember that feedback is useful but not infallible - one thing to watch for is sellers that have flogged 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 have full consumer rights - see our Consumer Rights guide for more information. If someone lists themselves as a business seller, it’s reasonable to assume they're a trader.
However, buy from an occasional private seller and as long as the goods are 'as described', the only other rule that applies is 'let the buyer beware'. There's little legal comeback if the item you collect isn't what you wanted, though eBay’s Money Back Guarantee may help.
The power-puncher of 'local' classified sites is Gumtree, which covers the whole of the UK. It sells everything from bikes to beds and, unlike eBay, it doesn't charge listing fees, so sellers may be willing to part with items for slightly less.
Another popular classified site, Preloved*, allows you to prioritise local adverts when you search.
Amazon* has a thriving second-hand marketplace for most of the products it sells itself. When you search for an item the second-hand price will be listed, where second-hand items are available. It offers fixed prices rather than auctions, making it a straightforward alternative.
Also try local Facebook selling groups and Facebook Marketplace, where people sell to others in their local community. See our Facebook Buying Tips for a crash course on finding local groups, using Facebook Marketplace, closing deals and staying safe when collecting.
Instead of binning goods or eBaying them, people offer them to their local community. In return, they often hope to then can get something they want.
There can be grotty, moth-bitten junk, but there’s also top-quality unused stuff people just don’t want anymore. For more details, see our Freecycle & Freegle guide.
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