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In theory, eBay sounds perfect (steep discounts on designer goods, hell yes), but scrolling through millions of products can be a touch overwhelming. But since we know how fruitful it can be, we did some digging to find these eight shopping secrets that ensure the most successful eBay experience possible. 

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Search for Misspelled Words 
How do you spell Gabbana? Accidents happen, and sometimes that means eBay sellers misspell brand names in their product descriptions. So, in addition to searching for “Manolo Blahnik pumps,” search for “Manolo Blanick pumps” and “Mannolo Blanik pumps.” Chances are, fewer people are straying from the correct spelling, so there’ll be less competition if you find the thing you want. Incredibly, there’s even a non-eBay-affiliated misspelled search generator called Fat Fingers that’s surprisingly helpful. 

Buy It Now
Some people shop eBay for the competition of the bidding process. Others just want to get in, get a reasonable deal and get out. If you’re in the latter group, search with the “buy it now” filter on. That means you’ll only be shown products you can buy without having to bid against other buyers. (Sometimes it’s not quite as much of a discount but a discount nonetheless.) Also sort the results by “newly listed” items, which will show you the most recent deals, which usually go pretty quickly.

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Shop at Off Times
If you’re not going the buy-now route and prefer to shop auctions, think about when most people are awake and shopping and avoid those times. It makes sense: Most people aren’t trolling eBay at 1:00 a.m. or during, say, Memorial Day Weekend, so take advantage of slow times (and filter items based on how soon the auctions are ending) to swoop in on bidding wars that might not currently have eyes on them.

Sign Up for Alerts
If you have an exact product in mind and it’s not currently available (or it’s available, but at a prohibitive price), set up an alert for when that item does hit the site. To do so, enter in a search term and click the “follow this search” button. From there, you’ll receive emails based on that search when new products enter the mix or when existing ones drop in price.

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Compare Prices on Amazon
According to personal finance website Wise Bread, many eBay sellers also sell their products on Amazon or keep a close eye on similar products to their own on Amazon. Before purchasing, check how much the exact product is going for on Amazon, and if it’s lower (including shipping) reach out to the eBay seller and present them with that information. Apparently, most sellers are just looking to close deals, so they might be willing to match Amazon’s price if it’s lower than their own.

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Don’t Overpay
Before you shell out a few hundred bucks for a new crossbody bag, it’s smart to check the selling prices of similar products in recent history. Here’s how you do it: Search for an item, then select the filter on the left-hand side for “sold items.” That way, you’ll be able to compare the prices active sellers are asking for with what people have paid for similar items in the past few weeks or months. From there, you can either ask the seller to go down in price or wait until more reasonably priced versions come onto the site.

Pay with Paypal
Hopefully you’ve done some research on a seller before making a purchase (a quick scan of the feedback section should do the trick), but to be extra safe, make purchases on eBay with Paypal. Then you’re covered by eBay’s money-back guarantee, which means you’re far more likely to get a full refund if an item is fake, broken or nonexistent.

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Negotiate

No, haggling with sellers doesn’t always work, but it also doesn’t hurt to ask for discounts on bulk items or cheaper shipping alternatives if you’re willing to wait a little longer. Politeness goes a long way, and while some sellers won’t budge, there’s always the chance that you’ll be dealing with a person who’s in a particularly generous mood on any given day.

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