When buying any item online it’s important to be careful. When it comes to antiques and collectibles it’s important to do a little research and protect oneself. Ebay is an online auction site that offers up thousands of items at any given time, sometimes for incredibly low prices. It’s important to remember when placing bids on eBay that you’re buying not from the site, but from individuals who post items on the site. Therefore buyers must make sure that the person is a responsible seller, and that every effort is taken to ensure that the item advertised is the item received

How to Buy Antiques and Collectibles on eBay: Use Caution When Purchasing Vintage Items Online
How to Buy Antiques and Collectibles on eBay: Use Caution When Purchasing Vintage Items Online

Read the Listing and Examine Photos Carefully

Read the listing description very carefully. There should be a detailed description of the item and plenty of pictures. Including:

  • Terms of sale
  • Payment options
  • Shipping and handling fees
  • Delivery methods
  • Insurance options
  • Refund policies

A refund policy is very important when purchasing antiques and collectibles over the Internet. Anyone who has purchased antiques and collectibles before knows the importance of condition. Knicks, scratches, patina; these are all very important and they can’t always be seen in photos. Also, one person’s description may not match up with another person’s. So it’s important to deal with a seller who understands this and will take the item back if the buyer gets the item and doesn’t feel the description was accurate.

A Few Things to Remember When Buying Items on Ebay

  • Be sure to examine the photos very closely, and don’t be afraid to ask the seller for more photos. Make sure that the picture is of the actual item being sold and it is not a stock photo.
  • How quickly the seller gets back to you and how helpful he or she is will help determine his or her trustworthiness. If you have not heard from the seller within a reasonable amount of time, be sure to check any “spam” folders first, in case the reply was filed there.
  • Always ask questions before bidding. Don’t ever make assumptions about details that are not given.
  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

Research the Seller

Have a look at how many transactions the seller has completed and how many positive reviews they’ve received. It doesn’t take long and the feedback given by other buyers is invaluable. However, keep in mind that even terrific and trustworthy sellers can occasionally receive unwarranted negative reviews, so do some research and then follow your instincts. If there are any doubts, don’t bid.

Good feedback ratings are usually between 98% and 100%, but if you find one with a lower score take the time to read the buyer comments. Sometimes they can provide useful information and help explain the low score.

Paying for eBay Purchases

Never, ever use cash when purchasing items through ebay. In fact be cautious of most payment methods. The best thing a buyer can do is use Paypal to pay for their purchase. Paypal enables buyers to pay quickly and easily without the seller ever seeing bank account or credit card numbers. Paypal actually protects buyers completely from unauthorized payments from their accounts. They also offer a certain amount of protection in case buyers don’t receive the items they were promised. See their website for details.

Occasionally, sellers will ask buyers to complete a transaction outside of ebay. Don’t ever do this. Aside from it being against the rules, buyers give up any protection ebay can offer if the sale goes sour. Also make sure that any personal information on eBay is correct and up-to-date (if your address is incorrect, you are not eligible for eBay or PayPal Buyer Protections). When buying antiques and collectibles it pays to do research, and when doing it online there are even more things to take into consideration. Before making a purchase on ebay (or any other online site), make sure you know exactly what you’re buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you. eBay is a great place to find unique and special items, and more often than not, sales go through without a hitch. Just do a little research and your experience is sure to be a good one.