How to Shop on eBay

Hi everyone! I haven’t been updating as often as I would like because October is a super crazy time due to midterms and assignments. Many readers have recently requested a tutorial for shopping on eBay. As you may know, I purchase a lot of my stuff, particularly designer goods, from eBay. Some examples of my very recent purchases are (all prices include shipping cost):

Salvatore Ferragamo Vara – $80

Tory Burch Reva in Dark Brown and Royal Tan – $120, $90 respectively

Elie Tahari Maddie Sandal – $40

Longchamp Pilage in White – $40

As you can probably tell, the prices for these items are outrageously cheap compared to their retail value. eBay has many great finds, but there are definitely some things to avoid and useful tricks to keep in mind.

Part I. The Basic Principles:

  1. Know specifically what you are looking for. This way, you won’t be buying items you may like just because it is cheap.
  2. Make sure you have seen the item in person or on another blogger before you purchase the item. For shoes in particular, if you cannot find a retail store nearby, you must google for reviews for the fit of the shoe (just in case it runs big or small). Many retail sites such as Zappos has a wealth of public reviews on shoes.
  3. If you have not seen the shoes in person or can’t find a review, make sure it is from it is from a brand that you know, or from reputable brand in terms of quality. Brands have shoes that tend to run in the same sizes, but this may change depending on the style of the shoe. I highly suggest avoiding the purchase of shoes from an unknown brand even if they look pretty online.
  4. When buying clothes on eBay, make sure to compare the item’s measurements to your own measurements. Also check the material of the item. I would avoid buying clothing in viscose or polyester because there is a lot of variation between the feel of the material even if their root material is the same. Again, I recommend buying from familiar or reputable brands to avoid unwelcome surprises.
  5. If you are hunting for vintage clothing, look for items that are 100% cotton, silk, wool or cashmere to ensure quality. A lot of vintage clothing also has variation in sizing, so make sure to double check the measurements!
  6. Bids (Auctions) are generally cheaper than “Buy it Now”s. However Bids usually require more commitment and it is not always certain that you will get the item (particularly if it is a popular bid).
  7. Carefully assess the condition of the items from the pictures provided. Look for stains, scratches, tears, etc. If you feel that there isn’t enough information, don’t hesitate to request the seller to privately message you with more pictures (most sellers are happy to do so).
  8. eBay favours the rights of the buyer compared to the seller. If you do not receive your item in a reasonable amount of time (30 days) and there is no tracking provided, you can open a dispute, and the seller will refund you cost of the item. (This has happened to me before with some iphone cases I ordered).
  9. Sellers from USA, UK, Australia have much faster and more reliable shipping times than Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Korea. Keep this in mind if you need the item within two weeks time. Additionally, you can always request for faster shipping with extra cost.

Part II. Let’s begin our search!

I will be searching for a Longchamp Le Pilage bag for school. I have decided that I want a black, long strap bag in the large size.

Immediately, from the first page I can spot fakes.

There are a number of red flags for this listing:

  1. The price of the item is too low for an authentic purse. Please do your research before you buy an item in a certain price range. Longchamp generally ranges from $90-$200 for “Buy it Now”s. The prices for auctions greatly vary depending on the timing and luck. To follow the overall prices of auctions, add the item to your “Watch list”.
  2. The seller is selling multiple sizes. Usually, authentic sellers sell only one item at a time on one page, and they almost never offer multiple colours as well as multiple sizes.
  3. The color and sheen of the bags are too reflective and shiny, which is not the case for real Longchamp bags. If you are investing in an expensive bag and you are unsure of its authenticity, The Purse Forum has a section monitored by expert volunteers dedicated to authenticating bags.
  4. The last sign would be that the seller is from Beijing, China. Being Chinese myself, I have nothing against counterfeit goods if that is what you are looking to buy. But if I am definitely going to avoid them if I am looking for a higher end authentic item.

After looking through a couple pages I found a bag that fits my criteria and is an extremely good deal!

Keep in mind that this is a pre-owned item. However, from looking at the pictures, the item looks barely used. Generally, pre-owned items are MUCH cheaper than new items. I prefer to buy them over new items because of the price, especially if they are kept in excellent condition. It is also important to note the seller’s rating. From looking at the number of sales they acquired, they seem to operate a business (as opposed to being a personal seller), and they have an excellent rating. If I were looking for such a bag, this is the kind of deal I would grab immediately. (Note, this is an upgraded version of the Le Pilage, since it has leather trimmings that match the color of the bag, and it is made from a slightly thicker material. It is slightly more expensive on retail value compared to the regular ones).

Part III. Let’s look for designer shoes!

When I look for shoes, I often look for pre-owned shoes. The main selling point is that it is much, much cheaper than new shoes offered on eBay. Also, there are many pre-owned shoes in excellent condition. Let’s start by looking for Tory Burch Revas.

To refine the search for shoes, I would click on the side bar for “Women’s Shoes”, then choose my shoe size in this desired shoe (for reference, Revas run half a size small due to the elastic at the back), and select Flat under “Heel Height” for this style. You can also set a price range on the left sidebar if you are looking for items in the “Buy it Now” category. This way, you won’t accidentally fall in love with a shoe outside your price range. From looking at the page, I found an obvious fake everyone should be aware of:

Although this listing has an abundance of pictures and the shoes look rather authentic, it is important to be skeptical. As previously mentioned, the seller has too many sizes in stock. The price is rather cheap compared to the rest of the sellers. This seller actually has a pretty good rating, but after some careful inspection… it turns out these shoes are indeed fakes.

You can go to the recent feedback, or just click on negative or neutral feedbacks to filter them out. One recent buyer claimed these shoes are fake. In my experience, if any buyer has reported a fake, I would avoid the seller altogether no matter how convincing the listing looks. Another red flag is that the seller has hidden the items which buyers have purchased. This is highly suspicious because sellers can bump up their ratings by selling other miscellaneous items.

After a few pages, I found a listing selling a pair of shoes that was well priced and pretty new.

Although the price is low for this listing, it is important to note that there is a 30% off sign, which means it was originally listed for higher. Also, I have checked the seller’s ratings (no sign of fakes) and checked out the seller’s store and they seem cater exclusively to designer shoes and clothes. From the description below, these shoes are actually sample shoes in store or customer returns. Upon careful inspection of the images, the shoes appear to be in excellent condition. This seller, discountdesignerwarehouse, seems to have a business of acquiring sample or returned shoes and selling them on eBay. In fact, I’ve bought a few of my designer shoes from this store, so I higher recommend this seller! Also, the shipping to Canada is very expensive…however I have requested “USPS First Class” shipping ($15) from this seller and they are happy to ship using this method. I’m sure it’s worth a try asking other sellers as well to save on shipping costs. I believe this seller mostly has stock in Tory Burch, Stewart Weitzman, Steve Madden, etc. If you are looking for discounted designer shoes, there are a plethora of similar eBay sellers that focuses on other brands as well.

Wow, this is a really long tutorial. I hope it is useful! Good luck eBay hunting!


8 thoughts on “How to Shop on eBay

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