You can find some great deals on ebay for cheap and discount snowboards
but as with anything else, you have to be able to recognize them
when the opportunity arises.
For those of you who are unsure about making a purchase on ebay
for snowboarding gear, here are some tips on how to make the most
of your ebay experience and to decide if you really should bid
on that unbelievable deal you've seen listed.
How Good Is The Deal?
Beware of saving just a few
bucks on your gear if you won't be able to enjoy the
benefits of having a warranty or flexible returns policy
which you could get if
you were to purchase it from an authorized dealer.
Be sure to check the shipping conditions and costs. There are
sellers who make up for a low price with outrageous fees.
If possible, look for sellers from your local area so that
you can arrange for a pickup and avoid any shipping charges.
Review past auctions and compare final bids to the current
retail prices to get an idea of the market value (at least
on ebay) that your item will or should be going for. This will
help you to avoid bidding too much.
Trusting the Seller
The nature of ebay is such that it allows pretty much anyone
the opportunity to put items up for sale. While the majority
of sellers (and bidders) are good and honest people, there will
be the odd unscrupulous seller around.
The most obvious way to determine if a seller is reliable is to
check their feedback. Look at the numbers and read the comments,
particularly those which are negative or neutral.
Don't discount a seller who has not yet accumulated the necessary
numbers to impress you. At the same time, you may not wish to
blindly trust an experienced seller. Try contacting them by e-mail
so that you can get a feel for them by their response.
If the seller is from your local area, arrange for an
inspection. Apart from being able to determine the quality
of the item, this will also give you the opportunity
to meet the seller in person,
Pictures of the item for sale are important for obvious reasons.
If there are no pictures displayed, ask the seller for one or
just move on to the next in the list.
Be aware that a seller with some digital imaging skills may
be able to present a very flattering picture of the
shoddy old equipment on sale.
If the item is described as being damaged, look for a close-up
picture of the damaged area. Again, if one is not available, try
contacting the seller to ask for one. A 'small dent' may be
severely understating the degree of damage present.
Once you've made the decision to bid, you can do one of two things:
- Place a bid by setting the maximum amount you are willing to
spend on the item.
- Wait until the last possible moment before bidding.
The first method is a lot more convenient and less
time-consuming since you'll only have to bid once and check back
at a later time to see if you've won the auction while knowing
you'll never be paying more than you wanted to.
The second method will allow you to prevent driving up the price
by bidding early and potentially winning the auction by a small
margin by just beating the last bidder. Be aware, however, that
you may be competing with other bidders with the exact same intention
as well as sniping programs designed to do this automatically.
Do not get too emotional about winning the auction or
you may end up overpaying for the item. If you lose the auction
to another bidder, chances are you'll find another item which
will fit your needs sooner or later.