UCB Parents Advice about Teenagers
Kids Buying on Ebay
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My son wants to buy some comic books on ebay. Does anyone have any
experience with this type of transaction? What should he/we watch out
for? This sounds like the perfect set up for taking advantage of young people.
I buy on Ebay quite often, and have even sold items on Ebay. Sure
there can be problems, but generally everyone is honest. The seller
will have no way of knowing how old your son is unless your son tells
them. Also, Ebay has a rating system which is posted by people who
have done business with the seller. After your son has registered and
identified the items he wishes to bid on, he should look at the
sellers ratings, look for any negative or neutral ratings, as well as
the good ratings and contact a few of them posters to see why they
rated the way that they did. I would probably steer of someone who
has received quite a few "negative or neutral" ratings unless they
were for reasons beyond the sellers control. He can also email the
seller and ask question about the item. Additionally, there are now
services he can contract with if there is a large sum of money
involved. Make sure that he reviews Ebay's services and understands
how everything works. He should really have a good time. I have and
have gotten some wonderful deals.
I collect old books and have bought a number of books from people on
EBay. I have found people selling stuff on EBay to be very fair and
the things I bought always came in a reasonable time and were in
reasonable shape. Of course the price you end up paying may be more
than the item is worth (just as it may be less) but that is the nature
of an auction. If he knows what he is bidding on and what it's worth
then it will probably be fine.
First, be sure you register on eBay at least three days before you
plan to purchase -- they have a good incentive program, but if you buy
before they get around to offering the "Welcome to eBay" incentive,
they will not go back and let you apply it to your purchase, and it's
for first-time buyers only, so you can't use it on your NEXT purchase,
either. They are very rigid about this (I know, I asked in email and
got a snippy reply).
Second, try to find suppliers within a short gepgraphical distance
from you if you REALLY want to be sure the process is foolproof --
otherwise, take only sellers with SEVERAL excellent ratings and no
negative reports -- eBay keeps that kind of information on everybody
who buys or sells there. Don't trust a NEW seller if you are worried
about getting taken (sorry, I know somebody has to trust them
eventually, but that's another reason it's good to start out as a
buyer, deal with reliable sellers, get good reports, THEN try selling
something. People who do regular business on eBay tend to want to
protect their good reputations, since those are what drive a lot of
traffic in eBay.
Third, many of the area schools have an eBay affiliate program, so
that part of your purchase price is returned to the school. You might
want to check this out before making a bid, since it costs nothing
extra and you could be helping one of the local schools in this way.
I have used ebay several times. I have bought ice skates for my
daughter, and a living book software. I have also bided for a camera
but did not receive it. Now, things would not be very cheap there,
and would not be very expensive. If there are n customers that want
to buy an item, bidding with maximum bids of x(1), x(2),..., x(n),
where x(1) is the lowest and x(n) is the highest, the item would we
sold to the bidder #n, in the price x(n-1) + y, where y is the bid
increment (about $1). That implies that even if your son bids far too
high for the item, he would pay it only if there is another bidder
doing it. If you bid a price you are willing to pay, no harm can be
done. User can leave feedback on each other, positive or negative. I
have limited my buying to those users with positive comments. If I
have seen even one negative feedback on a user, I wouldn't buy from
him/her. The last line is that buying on ebay is one of my positive
experiences with online shopping.
The opinions and statements expressed on this page
are those of parents who belong to the
UC Berkeley Parents Network and
should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the
University of California, Berkeley.