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How to Shop eBay for Decor

When you’re shopping eBay for decor items, the rules are the same as when you shop eBay for most anything. Here are some basic tenets to keep in mind:

Check out the seller

Look for a rating of over 95 percent. Also, see what the negative feedback has to say. If one thing is repeated over and over -- especially recently -- it’s likely true. Finally, look for some sort of identification or recognition seal such as Paypal verified or a Powerseller seal. Then, look to see if the seller has previously sold similar items -- that’ll show you that they have experience in the area.

Check out the item

Even if you know exactly what the item is that you’re buying, look for pictures. You want to check out the quality of the piece with your own eyes and also make sure it actually exists. If you’re buying furniture, ask for big, high-quality photos; it’s important to be able to clearly check out the condition. Look for a clear description, and if it seems lacking, e-mail the seller for clarification. Ask especially for dimensions, so you don’t bother bidding on something that won’t fit the place you’re looking to fill. Also inquire about materials, workmanship, origin, and history.

Check out the price

If you’re looking for something that’s available elsewhere, check the prices in other places, both on and off eBay. If a deal seems too good to be true, be careful, it just might be. If it’s a vintage or one-of-a-kind item, still try to look around for other similar pieces that can give you an idea of the general price range for such items.

Check out the policies

Look for the shipping and handling price -- and if there isn’t one listed, don’t bid until you’ve asked about it. Also, make sure there’s a clear and documented refund policy. This way, it’s no biggie if the item isn’t quite what you expected or doesn’t seem quite right in your home.

More Advice at How to Shop a Farmers Market.

-- Paula Kashtan

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