3 tricks to get more from online auction sites

Online auction sites can be a great resource for online shopping, but it can be sketchy if you're not careful. Here are three helpful things to remember so you can get your savings safely.

3 tricks to get more from online auction sites

1. Buy from auction sites on holiday weekends

  • When you bid on items, you'll always see when the bidding will end.
  • Watch for items for which the bidding will close at a time when most people are away from their computers.
  • If bidding stops at 9 p.m. on Canada Day, or 8 a.m. Christmas morning, few people will be adding bids and running up the price at the last minute.
  • You can sneak in at the closing seconds, place your bid and claim the item for yourself.

2. Be creative with your spelling

  • If you're looking for a particular item on an auction site, like an Armani suit, try searching for it under a few misspellings.
  • Sellers who aren't good spellers may be offering the suits as "Aramani" or "Armane," for example.
  • Since most people searching through the site would only look for the suit under its proper spelling, you'd be competing with fewer shoppers when you cast your bid.

3. Look for a reputable rating

  • When thinking about  whether to buy an item, consider the seller's rating. Unscrupulous folks may take your money and never send you the product.
  • Buyers, however, can rate sellers. They use criteria like whether the item was described accurately, whether it arrived on time and if it showed up undamaged.
  • Steer clear of sellers with less than a 98 percent positive rating. Your risk of having an unhappy transaction goes up as the seller's approval rating drops.
  • If you're tempted to buy an item but the seller's reputation seems questionable, send the person an e-mail asking about the product.
  • If you receive a thoughtful response in a timely manner, this is a good sign that you're dealing with an honest individual.

Auction sites can be a great place to pick up deals, as long as you're smart about it. Look at ratings and use a few tricks to tip the odds in your favour. If you do, you could see yourself winning more auctions and seeing even more savings.

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