Kids Buying on Ebay

Archived Responses: 

May 2000

My son wants to buy some comic books on ebay. Does anyone have any experience with this type of transaction? What should he/we watch out for? This sounds like the perfect set up for taking advantage of young people. Thanks. Barbara

I buy on Ebay quite often, and have even sold items on Ebay. Sure there can be problems, but generally everyone is honest. The seller will have no way of knowing how old your son is unless your son tells them. Also, Ebay has a rating system which is posted by people who have done business with the seller. After your son has registered and identified the items he wishes to bid on, he should look at the sellers ratings, look for any negative or neutral ratings, as well as the good ratings and contact a few of them posters to see why they rated the way that they did. I would probably steer of someone who has received quite a few negative or neutral ratings unless they were for reasons beyond the sellers control. He can also email the seller and ask question about the item. Additionally, there are now services he can contract with if there is a large sum of money involved. Make sure that he reviews Ebay's services and understands how everything works. He should really have a good time. I have and have gotten some wonderful deals.
I collect old books and have bought a number of books from people on EBay. I have found people selling stuff on EBay to be very fair and the things I bought always came in a reasonable time and were in reasonable shape. Of course the price you end up paying may be more than the item is worth (just as it may be less) but that is the nature of an auction. If he knows what he is bidding on and what it's worth then it will probably be fine.
First, be sure you register on eBay at least three days before you plan to purchase -- they have a good incentive program, but if you buy before they get around to offering the Welcome to eBay incentive, they will not go back and let you apply it to your purchase, and it's for first-time buyers only, so you can't use it on your NEXT purchase, either. They are very rigid about this (I know, I asked in email and got a snippy reply).

Second, try to find suppliers within a short gepgraphical distance from you if you REALLY want to be sure the process is foolproof -- otherwise, take only sellers with SEVERAL excellent ratings and no negative reports -- eBay keeps that kind of information on everybody who buys or sells there. Don't trust a NEW seller if you are worried about getting taken (sorry, I know somebody has to trust them eventually, but that's another reason it's good to start out as a buyer, deal with reliable sellers, get good reports, THEN try selling something. People who do regular business on eBay tend to want to protect their good reputations, since those are what drive a lot of traffic in eBay.

Third, many of the area schools have an eBay affiliate program, so that part of your purchase price is returned to the school. You might want to check this out before making a bid, since it costs nothing extra and you could be helping one of the local schools in this way.

Happy shopping!

I have used ebay several times. I have bought ice skates for my daughter, and a living book software. I have also bided for a camera but did not receive it. Now, things would not be very cheap there, and would not be very expensive. If there are n customers that want to buy an item, bidding with maximum bids of x(1), x(2),..., x(n), where x(1) is the lowest and x(n) is the highest, the item would we sold to the bidder #n, in the price x(n-1) + y, where y is the bid increment (about $1). That implies that even if your son bids far too high for the item, he would pay it only if there is another bidder doing it. If you bid a price you are willing to pay, no harm can be done. User can leave feedback on each other, positive or negative. I have limited my buying to those users with positive comments. If I have seen even one negative feedback on a user, I wouldn't buy from him/her. The last line is that buying on ebay is one of my positive experiences with online shopping.