Cheat Sheet

eBay For Seniors For Dummies

From eBay For Seniors For Dummies by Marsha Collier

Using eBay smartly is a mantra for all buyers and sellers. Before you jump in, check out the eBay lingo and increase your sales savvy. Use the time chart to keep up with online auction timing, and embrace the tips for buyers and sellers, and for leaving feedback.

eBay Time Chart for Auction Timing

eBay’s clock goes by military time in the Pacific time zone, and eBay sellers use it to schedule auction start and end times. Print this chart and keep it by your computer where you can quickly check on the ending time for an auction you want to bid on. Find your time zone in the table and check the corresponding times on eBay.

eBay Time versus Continental U.S. Time
eBay Time Pacific Mountain Central Eastern
0:00 12:00 a.m. 1:00 a.m. 2:00 a.m. 3:00 a.m.
1:00 1:00 a.m. 2:00 a.m. 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m.
2:00 2:00 a.m. 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m.
3:00 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m. 6:00 a.m.
4:00 4:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m. 6:00 a.m. 7:00 a.m.
5:00 5:00 a.m. 6:00 a.m. 7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m.
6:00 6:00 a.m. 7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m.
7:00 7:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.
8:00 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
9:00 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.
10:00 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.
11:00 11:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m.
12:00 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.
13:00 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
14:00 2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
15:00 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
16:00 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
17:00 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.
18:00 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m.
19:00 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.

eBay Auction Terms to Know

You may want to get comfortable bidding and buying on eBay. Or maybe you’d like to gear up and take on the role of seller. Knowing these terms related to eBay listings can help you figure out how to buy and sell effectively.

  • Best Offer: You generally see this feature with a Buy It Now, fixed-price listing. If you like the item, but the price is a bit more than you’d like to pay, click the Make Offer button and make an offer to the seller.

  • Buy It Now (BIN): You can purchase an auction item with the BIN option if the seller has posted a Buy It Now price. If you feel the BIN price is a bit more than you want to pay, place a bid at the minimum bid level (or the most you’d like to pay). The, BIN option will disappear, and you may just win the item at a lower bid price.

  • Fixed-price listing: On the eBay core site, some items are Buy It Now items but have no opening bid to begin the auction. These items are up for sale for the price shown. Just click and purchase!

  • Minimum bid: This is the lowest acceptable bid for an item, but it may not be acceptable as the actual selling price. The seller determines the minimum bid, and it is not kept secret. This amount is often different from the reserve price, which is the lowest selling price that the seller would actually accept.

  • Proxy bid: You can decide the most you’re willing to pay for an item and allow eBay’s bidding program to place bids for you while you go on with your life. The proxy bidder ups the ante incrementally to beat out your competition until you’re outbid or win the auction.

  • Reserve price: The minimum price a seller is willing to accept for an item up for auction. Setting a reserve is optional, and only the seller knows the reserve price. If the bidding doesn’t exceed the reserve, the seller has the option to keep the item. eBay charges the seller a small fee for using this option.

Tips for eBay Sellers

Selling on the eBay site has its complexities, and eBay sellers compete in a vast online marketplace. Here are a few rules that will help make your sales a success:

  • Find out as much as you can about your item’s value, history, and condition.

  • Answer all questions posed by prospective buyers via e-mail within several hours. Don't let too much time pass, lest you appear uninterested in their queries.

  • Check out your eBay competition. If a ton of other listings are on the site for the same kind of item and the bidding is competitive, wait until the competition is fierce for a few select items.

  • Make sure your item isn’t prohibited or considered questionable by eBay. If you’re in doubt, read eBay’s guidelines and check your local laws.

  • Use pertinent keywords in your listing title. eBay gives you only 55 characters to draw eyes to your item; so select your words smartly.

  • Add a picture (maybe more than one) to spruce up your auction. Make sure that your title highlights the item’s keywords — but don’t gloss over its flaws in the description. Being direct, informative, and concise shows potential buyers that you’re honest and easy to work with.

Tips for eBay Buyers

Buying an item on eBay is an art. You can get some great deals! But before you bid on an auction item or buy a fixed-price listing, follow these tips:

  • Research the item before you bid or buy, and search completed item listings to see what price similar items have sold for in the past. If the item is new and can be bought in a store, do some online research on search engines to find out what the stores are selling the item for. Don’t overbid or overpay!

  • Make a mental note of the cost of shipping before bidding or buying an item. Add the shipping cost to your final amount to get a clear idea of the total amount you will be paying.

  • Check the seller’s feedback. No matter how high the feedback rating, be sure the latest feedback isn’t negative.

  • When bidding in an auction, bid in odd increments. Bidders often bid in round numbers (such as $0.25 increments). If you bid in $0.27 increments, you might win by just $0.02!

  • Have fun and be prepared to pay for whatever you bid on. Remember: In many states, placing a bid is a binding contract.

Leave Feedback on eBay Smartly

When dealing on eBay, you need to take the feedback system seriously. Check a seller’s feedback profile before you buy and follow these tips. Before you send feedback to another eBay member or read feedback that eBay members have sent you, make sure you do the following:

  • Before you bid on an item on eBay, do check the seller’s feedback rating by clicking the number that appears next to the seller’s user ID.

  • Even if you see a large amount of positive feedback, do check to be sure that the seller doesn’t also have a growing number of negative feedback responses — especially recently. In the eyes of other eBay members, you’re only as good as your last few transactions, so beware.

  • Do take a breather before you leave negative feedback for a seller. eBay doesn’t remove feedback, even if you change your mind or overreact to a situation, and if you leave negative feedback too early, the seller will be less likely to make good.

  • The seller is not required to leave you feedback when you pay for the item. Feedback is based on the entire transaction, so the buyer may not post any feedback until the item arrives and you’re both happy.

  • If someone gives you positive feedback, do reciprocate by giving him or her positive feedback, too.

  • If you receive negative feedback and feel your side of the transaction is worth telling, do be sure to give your reply in a neutral tone. You may also add a line responding to feedback you’ve received, to explain the situation to those who read the comment.

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