Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Do's and Don'ts of Buying a Laptop on EBay

One of the good things about the recession is that the country becomes somewhat of a buyer's market. The phrase "finders keepers, losers weepers" may come immediately to mind. But the ugly truth about any recession is that people will not hesitate to part with "unnecessary" household goods when attempting to raise cash for basic survival. As a result, sites like Craigslist, eBay, and others become flooded with sales on electronics, laptops in particular. I have made laptop computer purchases on eBay and have had some interesting experiences. If you've found that you're in the market for a new or refurbished laptop, take a quick look at some helpful Do's and Don'ts.

DO ...Understand Your Computing Needs
The first thing you must do is understand your computing needs. For example, if you need equipment for telecommuting purposes, you will have to know what kind of specifications you'll need to successfully do your job. If you are searching for programming laptops, you should choose laptops with powerful processor. In general, one should recognize how he/she plans on using the piece of equipment. Do you need something exceptionally fast, or with lots of memory? These may seem like simple questions. But for an inexperienced shopper, there are many important details that could be missed.

DO ...Comparison Shop on AND off the eBay web site
One thing I learned from making laptop purchases is that comparison shopping is key. I would suggest that for every "great deal" you find on eBay, check the same make and model on other sites like,, and even This will give you a good idea of whether the item's current bids are within reason. Use eBay's advanced search features to make sure you are capturing all the products that you're looking for. For instance, typing 'cheap laptops' in the search engine will yield a smaller number of products---giving you a narrower view of auctions. For those who are looking for a specific price range, or type of product, this might be great. But if you are trying to find the best deal on a wide range of laptops, you will want to broaden your search as much as possible.

DO ...Take note of the seller's background
One of the great things about eBay is how sophisticated their seller background feature is. There are a lot of things that you can learn from this important highlight. For instance, if a seller happens to be a "store"---with its own separate web site specifically---it's a good indication that they have a good handle on computer sales. More than likely you will be able to get in touch with someone who can answer technical questions. But the smaller sellers can be just as good as well. Look at the ratings on the kinds of products previously sold. It doesn't really take rocket science to spot the scary looking ads.

DO ...Buy outright if the the laptop bids are very close to "Buy Now" prices
If you are bidding on a laptop, and the reserve seems "too high" or close to the "Buy Now" price, it might be a good idea to skip the auction portion and simply choose the "Buy Now" option. This way you don't end up hassling with other bidders and wasting a lot of time. The important thing to consider when doing so, are things like shipping prices. Depending upon the location you are purchasing from, the shipping price may not justify the actual auction price. These are crucial to consider, because once you enter the auction, you are essentially committing to that product, unless you are outbid.

DO ...Investigate local computer repair shops in your local area
Scan the internet for repair services which offer free diagnostics and troubleshooting. Prior to making any purchases, finding a reputable service to help you with even the basic computing needs would benefit you greatly. I once purchased an HP laptop that seemed to be in great working order. But by the time I'd located a repair shop that would have performed a free check for me, the "warranty" period had expired. The next time I made a purchase, I had the laptop examined quickly; the unit turned out to be faulty, but I was able to get a prompt refund with very little effort.

DON'T...Forget to check general customer reviews on the product you seek
If you are somewhat unfamiliar with the product that you're buying, try googling customer reviews for that specific laptop. This is a great way to find out about flaws and recalls that are product-specific. Some models have popular quirks. This is the kind of information that you'll discover by visiting forums and reading the unbiased opinions of consumers.

DON'T ...Make immediate bids on auctions that have late auction end dates
This is a little trick that I learned along the way. I was once advised to wait until the end of an auction to pull out the winning bid. In many cases other bidders won't have time to intervene, and you could win the auction. I am certain that just about 99% of the population already knows this. But I have noticed that focusing your search on auction "end dates" is a great way to buy products when you need them quickly, and don't have extra time to wait. Additionally, if you bid on the first item that you find, you are more or less "committing" to that product. Should you find a better deal, you may get yourself into a sticky situation.

DON'T ...Ignore Return/Refund stipulations
Just because eBay seems like a "free for all" where it regards selling and buying products, don't assume that each auction will have the same or similar return policies. You must read all information listed in the auction. Do not assume anything about the policies. For example, in returning a laptop to a seller, I noticed that the policy called for a return within 7 days of purchase as opposed to receipt of purchase. Had I not returned the item within the required time frame, I would not have received my refund. In short, it can be very easy to misinterpret the language we see in writing. If you have any questions at all about the stipulations involved in returns/refunds, communicate with the seller first. If you don't receive the kind of response you're looking for (or no response at all)---then that seller might not be the kind you'd want to do business with in the first place.




  1. Awesome article on buying laptop on EBay. Do you know how I can permanently erase my suspended ebay accounts??? I hear there are ways but I can’t seem to find any. And do you think this helps when attempting to open new accounts? Also can I keep my email address I have and just use the new one strictly for ebay and paypal?

  2. Checking seller's feedback on ebay is important.

  3. I just bought a laptop for myself from ebay after reading this post.

  4. I just bid the highest price I willing to pay for the item at the start and let ebay's proxy bidding do the rest. I figure if someone out bids me they wanted the item more than I did, and are willing to pay for it more than I. The important thing to me is don't get emotional about that 1 item chances are if you don't get that one there is another one for sale just like it.

  5. I’ve bought more than a dozen warranties from SquareTrade, but its warranties are now more expensive. It used to send a steady stream of email solicitations for 30-50% discounts, but now rarely does. It has a “loyalty” program where you earn points. My impression, though I admit I haven’t carefully examined the numbers, is that the undiscounted prices for its warranties have crept up. I now rely again on the extended warranties of my credit cards. BTW, the owners of some Visa Signature cards can usually buy extended warranties at favorable prices. (Beyond the extra year you get for free, that is.)


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