(August, 2013: special thanks to guest eBay author, Joanna Gil, for this list. This is part of the Become a Confident eBayer reference series.)
Never place a bid, or “Buy it now”, without a careful examination of the auction first.
Make sure that you know exactly what it is that you’re bidding on at eBay. This may sound like common sense, but it's amazing how many new eBayers lose themselves in the excitement, they forget to pay attention to the details..
Be aware of any conditions the eBay seller might have placed in the ad. These could include: method of payment, shipping and handling cost, amount of time before item will be mailed out, or any extra costs such as taxes or duties, etc. Also, when it comes to an article of clothing, or shoes, make sure to note the size, color, fabric, finishing, any possible flaws, wear and tear, or damage. This is especially important if the item is “used”, “pre-loved”, or “vintage”.
If there is anything you are not quite sure of, get more information from the eBay seller before you bid. You can do it by clicking “Ask seller a question”, either on the right-hand side or near the bottom of the listing.
The vast majority of sellers encourage potential buyers to ask as many questions as necessary to help them make an educated buying decision.
Since you cannot examine the item in person, you have to rely on the information provided by the seller. After all, once you place a winning bid, you are obligated to complete the transaction.