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So I've been lurking, posting, and now modding on these forums for a while, and I've seen many, many, many references to people using EBay to their advantage to get all sorts of outrageous deals (the latest was someone claiming to get multiple battleforces for under $50 each) on EBay.
Now, I like to think I've got online knowledge that places me at least a bit higher than that of a boiled turnip, but I for one have yet to see the fabulous allure of EBay. Clearly, I am doing something wrong. Either I get outbid immediately for something I want, or watch an item that looked good and affordable at the auction's start only to get bid up to the point where at the auction's closing it winds up being cheaper to either buy the item direct from GW or some other online discount place such as The War Store (that's not an endorsement, just an example).
So this thread is in part for me to improve my EBay-Fu, but also a service to those like me who are not trust-fund children or filthy rich and looking to make this hobby more accessible. Post here your tips and tricks, EBay war stories, or other advice that might help someone new to the hobby or new to bidding on the online auction site.
Please note that I am not endorsing EBay in any way, shape, or form, nor am I encouraging people to somehow burn GW or their local store by buying stuff through EBay. I simply want to get my head around what seems to be an exclusive skill that I have to work at. I also feel that, as a mod, I must underscore that the views and interests I express here are not necessarily those of LO, Blackhat, Stoney, or the mod community in general.
Part of it is supply and demand. I bought ogres new in the box for about half of retail. There were plenty of OK goods on ebay and apparently a shortage of buyers, so I racked up quite nicely. I also spent several months buying the items. I lost far more auctions that I won. I had a set price I was willing to pay, and I stuck to it. Sometimes I was outbid by a small amount and I had a moment of "Oh, if only I'd bid. If only!" But my plan was solid, and now that I'm selling the models, it's a tidy profit.
So for me, it was supply and demand followed by a plan and the patience to execute it over time.
Through pure luck, I managed to get an only slightly used copy of IA V1 for only $75, and the same seller happens to sell pairs of LRMBTs for 50 bucks a set, on the sprue. While I prefer to buy from a LGS, my location makes that impossible...so instead I keep my eye out ofr deals. Courtesy of Ebay, I've also snagged a cheaper IA: Apocalypse, a half-price brand new Daemonhunters codex, and a $7 OOP Ravener. The hardest part is, however, the Bid-Snipers and managing to get something without being outbid or being pushed into paying equal to or more than the cost to get it direct from GW or The War Store. My general strategy for Ebay is to bid only if the item (plus shipping) is under the price of the item and shipping from either of those stores. The moment it draws even, I stop, walk away, and just try again elsewhere..and if I can't in a reasonable timeframe, I then buy direct again.
Ebay is an unwieldy beast, and as a rule, I'm not that fond of it...but from time to time, its kinda nifty and rather handy. I'm waiting for someday when that Perfect Opportunity comes and I can snap it up. I almost managed to get it with a pair of Armageddon Sentinels for ONLY 20 bucks, total. Unfortunately, the bidding jumped at the end to 30 bucks each, and I gave up. As I said...hit or miss.
David, that's the key right there: Making a plan, or a set priceline and sticking to it. Once it passes that threshold, its no longer worth the time. A bidder will lose many, many auctions, but the ones you win are worth it so long as you keep to the plan.
Last edited by Zeewulf; October 21st, 2008 at 16:15.
"Speed is life! You go slow, you die!"
-Sgt. Unther, Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries
Looks for items that haven't been bid on for a couple of days, these ones are normally not attracting bids because they daren't common. I normally go for items with horrible paint jobs, as these things have a great potential for resale after being cleaned, for a substantial mark-up, if I can't use them in my own army...
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I watch a lot more auctions that I actually bid on or win. Most of this to gauge what the going price is for model/set X and then I adjust my willingness to pay around that. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you see a badly painted set of figures, the pricing might be depressed and are a good deal ... if you're willing to strip and clean them. You can also look at large sets that are larger than most people want to bid on, especially if you know that you can dump the pieces you don't need to someone else and reduce the overall cost to you.
I'll echo what other people have said above. Determine your walk away price and stick to it. I'll often swoop in at the end with my bid and take auctions, but I've done my homework prior and if my bid doesn't win, I won't sit there trying to win the bid.
i just recently started an e-bay account to sell off my Epic collection and various 40k models i do not want anymore, i saw some FW Death Guard conversion kits cheap and as soon as i bid it told me i was outbid the same time i bid. its crap like this that pisses me off and completely turns me off from trying to buy anything off Ebay. if people want to not have their stuff sold dirt cheap then put a freaking reserve on it. its stupid to have a bot just sitting there bumping your price to the point your bot is the highest bidder because you outbid a potential buyer and turned them off from your lot.
maybe its better to wait untill the thing is about to go off so you dont have to deal with the price gouging bots? there has got to be a better way to go about this.
May the "Nurgley Goodness" protect you!
You (probably) weren't outbid by a bot.
Say an item is at $5 and you bid $10, you won't suddenly have to pay $10 - it becomes your MAXIMUM bid. So Ebay will bid on your behalf until it goes over $10 - say another person comes along and bids $7, you would have outbid them already and the current bid would rise to something like $7.50.
Bid in the last 60 seconds. Have a set price in mind. Enter that amount and see what happens. Other people might have the same strategy, but only one person's going to win. Bidding early encourages bidding wars. As a seller, I love it when people bid early. I usually get more. When the last minute buyers show up, I usually don't do as well.
The advice to watch other auctions is good, too. I do that for things I intend to sell or buy. Watch off and on and then go about my business when I'm ready.
While I don't buy much GW stuff on eBay I have this suggestion:
Do searches that contain common misspellings for what you are looking for and/or try to word your searches so that it might catch items listed poorly. Quite often you will find that people don't list things as effectively as they could. This will lessen the number of people watching an item and increase your chances of getting a better deal.
Bad for the seller. Good for you!
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