Question from Angie S.: I love buying stuff on ebay, especially when I can get something I want really cheap.
I recently found a pair of designer boots that had no bids because the seller had misspelled the name of the designer. I ended up getting them for $6 plus shipping.
The problem is I felt guilty afterwards because the boots cost over $300 in the stores, and they were new.
My questions is do you think it’s ok to take advantage of mistakes like that? My husband says it’s fine but I do feel a little uneasy about it.
Rick’s answer: Angie, lots of folks share your concern about getting a great deal simply because someone made a mistake. But they really shouldn’t, and I don’t think you should either.
eBay is known for being a place where bargains can be had on a regular basis. It’s also known as a place where knowing a few tricks can help you get great bargains more often.
One of the most-used tricks of all is exactly what you did in this situation – searching for misspelled brand names and keywords.
There are a couple of reasons why I think it’s ok to take advantage of these types of deals:
1 – Most people who sell on ebay know that every listing is a crap-shoot. Any individual item could sell for a premium if a bidding war ensues (and they often do), but it could also sell for a tiny fraction of its true value.
The sellers know this going in and they’re willing to take a chance on losing money in order to have a shot at hitting the jackpot. And again, they often do.
2 – It’s up to the sellers to proof-read their listings to ensure that there are no errors, especially if the item is indeed quite valuable.
The above being said, it’s true that some folks head over to ebay to sell a single item, never to return again. It’s those folks who are really hurt by erroneous listings.
If this weighs on your conscience you can always limit your bidding to items that are being sold by experienced sellers. You can determine who those sellers are by checking out their feedback profiles.
Bottom line: I think it’s fine to do your very best when trying to get the best deals possible on ebay. Just let your own conscience be your guide.
Bonus tip: Get my latest tips in my weekly RicksDailyTips Email Newsletter. Sign up at the bottom of this page!
Do you have a tech question of your own for Rick? Click here and send it in!