Friday, 27 July 2007

ADVICE ON EBAY SHOPPING

I am not an expert in eBay trading but I would like to share some of my experiences (mostly boardgames, also some miniatures, books … but theses are just general advices that can be applied to all).

1. BE PATIENT

Don’t rush into buying, don’t do impulsive buying (which I am also guilty of from time to time). There will always be somebody else selling the stuff you want. So, cool off, just wait for another time with more reasonable price.

2. RESEARCH & SET YOUR LIMIT

You should be familiar with the stuff you are buying, do some background research. Know the market price and set YOUR OWN VALUE. It’s different if you are a collector or looking for profit (unlikely for boardgames) but gamer usually buy games to be played; with so many new games coming out each year, ask yourself a question: do you really need to pay that much for an old game? Ebay come with a neat feature of bidding, you just need to put a max bid and the computer will do the bidding for you. (I usually don’t use auction snipping program). For me, after I set a bid; if I get it, great! If I don’t, no tear lost as I won’t spend too much.

3. ALWAYS CHECK FOR SHIPPING COST

For those of us staying in Malaysia, shipping cost is definitely a huge factor. Always ask before bidding and consider it when you evaluate your maximum bid. Now that US has no more surface shipping, the cost is sky rocketing.

4. VS ONLINE RETAILER

For new games, it’s usually cheaper to buy from online retailer (for example: TimeWellSpent). For OOP games, it’s wise to check whether there is any reprinting in progress, for example: Republic of Rome, Titan, and Tales of the Arabian Night. For older games, it’s worthwhile to search if anyone is selling theirs cheap as long as you don’t mind a used copy.

5. BID WITH CAUTION

Fraud does happen but 95% of the sellers in eBay are OK. But when you have doubts, always check with the seller before bidding. Look carefully at the item description and the seller’s feedback again and again. Use Paypal rather than directly with credit card.

I have bought quite a few items from eBay for the last 2 years.

BAD EXPEREINCE:

Item lost – 4 (1 refunded, the other 3 no news)

Item delayed – 4 months (Despite using airmail and Insurance)

Cheated on shipping cost – 1

Item not as described – 2 (One was refunded immediately)

Item not as expected – 1 (My fault, I order the wrong version without double checking)

GOOD EXPERIENCE

Most sellers are good and professional, some do great packaging but some just dumped everything together.

Best purchases/ Rare Items:

Magic Realm

Star Wars: Epic Duel

Still waiting:

Space Hulk

4 comments:

wankongyew said...

I'm interested in hearing more general advice about buying stuff from a Malaysian perspective and not just from Ebay.

I haven't bought many games yet, mostly because I don't see what the point of buying lots is when there's so many games I could play at CarcaSean already. So far everything I've bought has been from him. I understand that it's more expensive, but it's also easier, less risky and you only pay when the games arrive. Plus, I feel guilty about playing all those games and not paying much to do so.

However, Sean also told me that I wanted to buy new releases I should order them online myself because it would take 6 months if I did it through him.

So I'm curious: which suppliers do you use? What are the shipping charges like generally and the delivery times? Do you get charged customs duties and if so, how much? From another post, it looks like you order in bulk. How does that work?

Thanks!

Hiew Chok Sien said...

I now usually buy from Canada, because US postal service doesn't offer surface mail anymore. Canada Post still has surface mail, which I use, to save on shipping. It does take 2-3 months. My most recently order took slightly more than 2 months to arrive. Customs duties, depends on your luck. I have been charged before, and it's painful. I think 20% or so, if I remember correctly. So the trick is not to buy too many, but to buy enough to reduce your delivery cost per game. When I say buy "in bulk", I only mean getting about 6 or 7 games in one order. That way it's not too many that customs would bother taxing you, and it's enough to give you good savings on delivery cost. If you buy some small box or card games, then you probably can buy more. I usually make about 2 or 3 orders in a year. If a few friends pool together, you can probably order more frequently, and have less wait between each order.

wankongyew said...

Hmm, may I know which specific online shops you use in Canada?

Hiew Chok Sien said...

I'm not 100% sure of the URLs (but I'm sure you can find the right ones on Google), but I've purchased from starlitcitadel.com and germangames.com. starlit has a wider range but prices are slightly higher. germangames is the other way round.