How to bid online

Shopping online

Wow, I have bought some crazy shit online over the years. There was the kaftan phase, the 1960s Murano art glass era and my current obsession, the wedding spree.

So how do you avoid getting caught out with some of the common traps of online shopping? Read on for some tips.

1. Read the fine print

Plenty of online auction sites like ALLBIDS have a set of terms and conditions that govern how people can use the site. These rules apply to both buyers and sellers and are designed to protect both from unscrupulous scammers. To be clear on both your expected conduct and personal rights are, make sure you read through the terms and conditions section thoroughly.

2. Know how to spot a fake

Though terms and conditions can make it hard for scammers to conduct their business online, a few may still slip through here and there. Learning how to spot a fake is one of the first things you should be doing when bidding online. The old adage neatly applies: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Further, if you know what the item you want to buy looks like and the pictures don’t match, it’s probably best to avoid.

3. Be careful of Snipe bidders

One thing you need to prepare yourself for is the aggravation of leading a bid all the way to the end only to miss out on an item you really want because someone outbid you with half a second to go. The ‘Bid Sniper’ can exist in large numbers across every online bidding site. They wait in the shadows until you are confident of victory and then strike, taking your item and happiness in one fell swoop.

4. Always take shipping into account

It’s easy to get excited when you see an item you want online for a cheap price, but that price doesn’t factor in the cost of postage and handling. Shipping costs can be surprisingly expensive, especially if you need to get it sent express. Additionally, you should always check where the seller is willing to ship to prior to purchasing the item. You don’t want to commit to buying something only to find they don’t ship to your location.

5. Set a limit

Another situation to be wary of when bidding online is getting caught in a bidding war. Bidding wars can inflate the price of an item far beyond its actual value and it happens because people get competitive and protective. Don’t fall into that trap. If you know what the item is worth, set yourself a reserve at that price and don’t go beyond it. If someone is willing to pay above the item’s worth, let them. You can always find another one.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when bidding online. What are your favourite tips for getting results at online auction?

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