Before I bid on an item I like on E-bay, there are some things I review the listing and seller.
There are key words I look for. It is amazing how many item listings that refer to condition of item for sale as mint. Mint condition is self explanatory. Mint condition means the item is pristine. If an item has even a minor blemish or scratch, it is not mint. If I see a "mint lot" listed, I generally do not bid. Rare is another overused word on E-bay. It is amazing how often I see "rare" items listed, then I see that there are 20 more availabe on the site. It is has a tiny scratch, it is not mint. If there are many more available, it is not rare. And it seems like every collectable listed these days came from an estate sale. All I can say is the death rate in this country is too high. Why can't a seller just admit that the listed item was found in a box of junk at the flea market. I know these are just personal preferences of mine and they do not pertain to everyone. Perhaps it is a bit quirky. It does not disqualify me from bidding from these sellers. I just prefer telling it like it is when I am selling and want the same when I am buying. Not much hype and as much integrity as I can find.
If there is very little description on the item listing, it does affect how much I will pay. Do not hesitate to ask the seller a question with the link provided to get more information.
Before I bid, I always check the feedback. Not just the percentages, but the enthusiam given in the feedback. I look for "well packaged", "as described", and highly complimentary phrases. If a power seller has 98% feedback, you will find low deals with them. Let me tell you why. It is the only way they will get bidders. When a seller gets 1000 feedbacks in a month and 20 of them are negative, that tells you all you need to know. I do not deal with sellers such as these. I like smooth transactions and know I may not get one with a seller such as this. If a seller is doing it right, the feedback should be near perfect. Feedback should not be the only factor in making a buying decision, but it is important.
Always check shipping cost. A low price with outrageous shipping is not a good deal. If there is not enough shipping information given, ask the seller a question before you bid and get the info. Too many buyers bid before totally understanding the shipping the seller is offering. Unfortunately, there are some sellers who take advantage of good trusting buyers. The cost of shipping is a part of the total cost of your purchase. Always understand the shipping deal before bidding.
What about methods of payment offered? Paypal is the convenient way and I prefer it in any transaction, whether buying or selling. Some sellers do not accept Paypal because of the seller fees they charge. Paypal fees are high to the seller. Please note that Paypal charges no fees whatsoever to the buyer.
If I have had success with a seller, it makes it very easy to repeat. Getting repeat buyers is key to a seller's success. Buyers who do their homework help make E-bay a better place. They set expectations from sellers who will need to meet those if they want to be successful.