If you are a first time or just a newer buyer, I have some tips for you. Some of this may sound harsh and even sarcastic, so if you get your feelings hurt easily, please don't read it. It has this tone because these tips are a cumulation of frustrating situations I've as a seller, with difficult bidders. I am a power seller with 4500 positive feedback and only one negative, so think I am easy to work with and know how to take care of my buyers. For the most part, I have no problems, but when certain problems do arise, they are frustrating because it feels like some people shouldn't even be allowed on Ebay because of their inability to work with others and act fairly. So this is for "those people"- it probably doesn't even pertain to "you," reading this, so take it with a grain of salt....unfortunately the people who it is intended for probably won't get it....oh well. So here goes.
First of all, if you can't read, don't bid.
Second, if you can read, read ALL of the desription in the listing before bidding, including the "boring stuff," such as shipping info, return policies, etc.
Third, read the description again. Be sure you didn't miss anything. Be sure you know all about the item you are purchasing. Don't just bid on it because of the pictures and the title. It is frustrating as a seller to have people asking to return things because they 'didn't notice' the listing said this or that about it. One example, I recently sold a small Nintendo carrying case to a guy. It had the N64 logo on it, but I clearly stated in the listing that it was nowhere near big enough to hold an N64 console. I then went on to suggest it be used as a Game Boy carrying case or even a Lunchbox. I said these things clearly and more than once in the listing. I also had pictures of the case in the listing. Yet, as soon as the person got it, they wrote and said they didn't know it was a lunchbox, and that their N64 didn't fit in it. And they wanted to return it. I politely accepted the return, but I'm not a retail store and can't afford the losses that come with a return. If I return all of what you paid, that means I am losing the money that I paid to ship it to you, and sometimes that is more than the value of the item itself. If it's my 'fault,' I don't mind the loss, but when it's clearly the buyer's 'fault,' it doesn't seem fair that I should have to take a loss because the buyer can't read!
Fourth, abide by the seller's return policy. If it says "no returns unless an item is defective," that's that. So, you didn't read the listing thoroughly, you bought the item on a whim, and now you get it and it's not what you thought. Go back and re-read the listing! If you find that the item is just as described and that it's your own fault that you didn't read the listing thoroughly, then put on your big girl panties and deal with it! And don't threaten the seller with negative feedback- how is it their fault that you can't read??!!!You bought it, it's yours. The person you bought it from isn't WalMart, most of the sellers are like me, just small business, and even a small loss hurts! Most sellers will give the return because of fear of negative feedback, but is that fair? Is it fair for you to ignore the return policy and ask for a return when it's clearly not indicated, just because you didn't read the listing well enough?
Fifth, look at the pictures carefully. Often the item may have a small defect that the seller has shown in the picture. The seller usually then prices the item accordingly. So you snap it up because of the price, then write to the seller and complain that there's this defect- duh! That's why you paid half of what everyone else was asking for the same item! And again, the seller has clearly described the flaw in the listing, and even included a close-up picture of the flaw....I can see maybe if you can't read, missing it in the listing, but for crying out loud- there was a picture of it! I often have more than one picture, often pics from all angles.
Sixth, ask questions before you bid! I've had buyers write and ask me a question about something, then I go and look and they've already bid on the item. I've had one or two then ask me to cancel their bid after getting my answer. What is that all about? If you have a question, wait for the answer before bidding or buying. It's just common sense.
Seventh, accept that sellers are only human. If you have a problem, before getting upset or leaving negative feedback, please contact the seller with your problem. I know that I, myself, will provide a refund promptly when warranted. Another thing is, look at the seller's feedback. If it's someone with thousands of positives and no negatives, who has been selling on ebay for years, maybe think about giving them the 'benefit of the doubt.' Maybe don't accuse them of being a 'crook' or dishonest. Maybe consider that sometimes things just happen and sometimes you, yourself, are going to be in the wrong....try to be reasonable and listen to what the seller has to say and consider it. It's highly unlikely that a well established seller with huge amounts of positive feedback suddenly turned dishonest and is trying to rip you off!
Eighth, have fun! It's really not hard to be a good "Ebayer" if you are open-minded, willing to work fairly with others, and most of all, if you can read. (I know, I'm being sarcastic again!) Really, most buyers are great and I don't have alot of problems but hope that those who need this advice will read it.