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How to Win at eBay:
What's it Worth?
© KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Use this link to get to eBay whenever you buy and it helps me write more like this, thanks! Ken.


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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

This is the easiest part.

eBay has a tool with which you can see exactly what other items have sold for in the past few weeks. You can search and see everything about completed listings.

To browse eBay's completed listings, search for a list of items, scroll down the page of search results, and under "Preferences" on the left side, click "Completed listings."

Unless you're looking for something really uncommon (which is the main reason to use eBay), you'll see exactly who paid what for what for lots of similar items.

You'll see for how much other similar items sold, or didn't sell.

Only the green numbers count, since those are the only items where someone actually bought something. Many listings have no buyer (listed in red or black), because they were listed with either a ridiculous Buy-it-Now or opening bid amount. Ignore these.

Likewise, ignore other for-sale ads from conventional dealers elsewhere when researching prices. If you find an item offered by a regular dealer outside of eBay, it's likely his asking price will be much higher than the price at which an item would actually sell on eBay.


The 20% rule

If you still can buy the item new, research what you'd pay at Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Calumet or J&R, who have the lowest prices.

Never pay more than 80% of the new price for a used item, even if it's being offered as "like new in the box."

10% of the time that I buy anything through eBay, it's junk. The other 10% is the extra effort it takes dealing with most likely an individual, instead of a store, in case of returns.

If it's only 20% or less extra to buy the real thing from a real store, I always do. Often items offered "in the box" are missing the internal packaging, missing the back half of the box that was ripped off for a rebate, or whatever.

Never bid more than 80% of the new price of an item.

Checked used dealers like Adorama, B&H and Calumet. I'd also pay a 20% premium over buying from strangers' garages' over eBay to get a used item from a real store with a real warranty.

Remember, after buying hundreds of items over eBay, 10% of them have been defective. I often have been able to return them, but just as often, it wasn't worth the effort.

People often pay way too much for things at auction. This is called Auction Fever, and it's our next page.


Next: Auction Fever

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Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!


Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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