I typically shop around quite a bit before making an online purchase. Even if the item is relatively inexpensive I still take a few minutes to compare prices. Froogle is my favorite site and I typically punch in the description and search around the cheapest websites before making a decision.
Lately I’ve found myself shopping at eBay more and more often. If I don’t need an item particularly quickly I’ll find the price at other online retailers and then search for the same item on eBay. If the item is significantly cheaper than I’ll watch the item or bid.
If the eBay bid comes within a few dollars of the price from a respected retailer than I’ll stop watching that item. Online stores provide much better service and return opportunities then eBay sellers, so if the difference is just a couple of dollars I’d prefer not to buy from eBay.
Here’s an example. I wanted to purchase a new video game. I went online and found that the suggested retail price at most online vendors was $39.99, including Amazon.com, which offers free shipping for orders over $25. I then logged onto eBay and searched for that same item. There were quite a few games up for auction that ranged from $20-$30, so I decided to watch a few of them.
Most of the auctions took place over a five day period so I just watched and waited. The final price on the majority of auctions fell between $35 and $38 after accounting for the price of the item plus shipping.
Now the bidder that purchased the game for $35 saved 10% off the retail price, but the bidder who bought the game for $38 saved only 5%. Both bidders will have to wait for the seller to ship the item and hope that it arrives undamaged and matches the seller’s provided description.
So my question is this… Is the 5% savings worth the hassle of buying from eBay rather than an online retailer? What if the seller doesn’t ship the item, ships slowly, says it was lost in the mail, or ships a damaged item? While I know there is recourse for all of these issues, I also know that the process for rectifying a problem can be quite slow.
So do you eBay and if so how much do you intend to save by shopping there? Is there a specific limit that you will not go over?