In this hurry flurry world of disposable technology and people buying adult toys Ebay has grown to become the largest source for consumer purchases of sundries and consumables. Do you want a cell phone belt case or a yaht; you can buy them on Ebay. In addition to getting anything you want on Ebay a low price, bargain warehouse mentality has surfaced. Buyers spend hours searching for hard to find items and then work to buy it for the lowest possible price. If you are buying a new item this is a great mentality, even better if it is new with warranty however I am reminded of the old saying "Be careful of what you wish for because you might just get it." Below are some of the expectations you should have of a seller and some that are not so reasonable.
The majority of all sellers on Ebay are individuals and not businesses. Even those individuals with unbelieveable feedback numbers are most likely one person and their spouse or child selling items. This is not a negative situation for buyers but a positive one. The addition of these private sellers in the marketplace helps to supress the retail pricing of items and saves consumers money. The flip side of this is that if the prices are supressed low enough as most Ebay items are then most sellers are working for "penny profit." This means they are making a profit measured in single digits whereas most retailers work on a 30-70% gross profit margin. Having said this most sellers will ask for 2-3 days of handling time for your item to be shipped and most will be challenged to answer lots of communication during an items sale due to the amount of product they need to move in order to generate an income.
Do not expect your seller to be available for you at all times. Ebay may be open 24/7 however the majority of sellers are not and sell in their part time. This means that they will answer questions, send billing invoices, make money requests in their off times which could be up to 24 hours from your original communcation. Buyers need to keep in mind that this purchase is the most important thing happening to you on Ebay but most sellers handle multiple items daily and in their off hours.
Shipping is another challenge as the restrictions placed in the marketplace by Ebay are agressive and the demand by buyers is heavy. As a buyer you should be willing to pay reasonable shipping costs. Here is the crux of the shipping question. What is reasonable? Reasonable should be defined as the following...
Shippers cost to the seller (Whatever UPS, Fed Ex or USPS charge the seller)
Cost of the box, tape, peanuts, paper etc...
Handling fee (this is generally part of the cost of shipping products but can sometimes be additional for items such as the cost to pay an employee to handle shipping.) This fee should never exceed $2 per transaction.
As a buyer you should be prepared to pay shipping. It is part of the purchase experience and Ebay. Furthermore shipping is not an item that feedback should be left for. For example, if you purchase an item and then left feedback for the seller that said you felt shipping was overpriced you are being an unreasonable buyer. At no time does the seller have any authority to force you to pay their prices. You have every opportunity to shop around and pick your most comfortable sale on Ebay. If you didn't like the shipping price then don't buy from that seller. If you are unsatisfied with the shipping price after you purchased then you should probably be more wary in the future as this was your mistake not the sellers.
Shipping times are also a hot topic to sellers. Many sellers are beat up for shipping time. The amount of time it takes a seller to ship your item can be identified as the time between your payment being received and the postmasters stamp. After the stamp by the postmaster the shipment is out of the sellers hands and as a buyer you cannot legitimately leave poor feedback for this. Now, should the seller wait several weeks after payment before the stamp is placed on the box then that is a legitimate gripe unless (as a buyer you should be wary of this) the seller has stated in his shipping policies that he waits this long to ship. Buyers should always read the sellers policies prior to purchase. Most sellers post handling time, costs of shipping and other important information that can reduce anxiety for buyers and reduce needless communication through email. Remember also that as a buyer you can request a different carrier than what the seller has advertised (this should always be done prior to the end of sale) but they are in no way bound to use your request. Their business is set up to serve you best with the tools they offer and by changing the rules you are asking for possible complications. For example: the seller states he ships UPS Ground. The buyer requests that the seller ship it UPS Ground but do so on their UPS account to save money. The complication is that all authority for the shipping has passed from the seller to the buyer and any mistakes will become the buyers to deal with and no assistance from the seller should be expected.
Here is the big BEWARE to buyers. If the deal seems toooo good to be true then STOP! Do not bid, purchase or do a thing until you have re-read the listing and verified that what you are getting is what you expect. If you are getting an XBox 360 for the unbeleivable price of $59.99 then you should stop and look for any signs that this is used or not in working condition; maybe you are looking at a listing for a game and not the system itself.
Additionally if you buy an item for $1 do you expect it to be fine old world craftmanship? No, you expect it to be $1 worth of value. Sellers sell new and USED items and generally if you are getting an unbeleivable deal you will be beleivably disappointed.
Ebay is a great and fun marketplace for all sellers and buyers but it does not mean you throw common sense out the window. Read your listing, be knowledgeable what is being sold and what the sellers policies are and understand what you can expect from them in costs, time and quality of product. If you do these things you should be happy with your experience and get out of it what you put into the purchase!