Jewelry auctions can be a lot of fun. The trick is learning how to screen your sellers, protect yourself, and still get the best deal you can. Let's learn how.
Online Jewelry Auctions
Bidding for items online has become one of the world's favorite pastimes. There's nothing quite like the thrill of finding a gorgeous ring or bracelet, placing your bid and anxiously awaiting the outcome. Will you be the winner, or will this item be the one that got away? It's all part of the thrill.
Jewelry auctions can also have a down side. Most online sellers are legitimate, offering exactly what they describe in their auction description. They post their shipping costs up front, based on your zip code, and then ship your item out promptly once payment is received.
Sadly, there are some sellers who are out to take advantage of unsuspecting bidders. Their merchandise is either not as described, of inferior quality, or in the worst case scenario, you pay your bill and the item never arrives.
Let's take a look at participating in jewelry auctions from start to finish, and get some tips that will help ensure a successful transaction.
Screen Your Seller
Before you even think about placing a bid on that rock bottom priced diamond engagement ring, you need to thoroughly check out your seller. Let's use auction giant eBay as our example.
You'll find a box on the auction page with the seller's name, the total number of transactions that person has been involved in, and a feedback rating that is based on how happy or unhappy buyers have been with their transactions with that individual. A positive feedback rating of 100 percent is very encouraging, since it means the seller has had no complaints about merchandise or service.
Now look at the number of auctions after the seller's name. Here is where you'll find that feedback is relative. A seller with a 100 percent rating who has only participated in five auctions so far shows promise, but he hasn't been around long enough to establish a solid track record. A seller with a 100 percent rating who has participated in over one hundred auctions is likely a safer bet to risk your money with.
Some sellers have less than perfect, but respectable ratings. If you really want to put a bid on one of their items, then you need to read the feedback that was left about them. Open the comments link, read what the complaints were about and what the seller did to remedy the situation. If it all seems reasonable to you, then you can take a chance if you choose. If the seller wasn't responsive to the buyer's complaint, and made no attempt to work the situation out, then perhaps you'll decide to bid elsewhere. It's all about weighing all the evidence and deciding if it's worth the risk.
A seller with a rating of less than 95 percent who has had numerous unresolved complaints is a seller you should definitely pass by.
Place Your Bid
If you've decided to proceed, you need to consider how much and when to bid. Ask yourself how much you might expect to pay for that gorgeous ring in a retail shop, decide on the top price you're willing pay, keeping the shipping cost in mind, and stick to it. Too many people get caught up in the bidding and wind up overpaying for an item they just simply had to have.
This brings us to our next point: when to bid. There are two routes you can take. You can go ahead and place your bid now, but realize that if there is a lot of time on the auction it gives other bidders time to run up the price. This can eat up your bid before you know it. Then you must either bid higher or say goodbye to your bauble.
Smart bidders take another route. It's called snipe bidding, and although some bidders don't like getting outbid with this practice, you can usually wind up winning your item near the price you want to pay.
Snipe bidding involves waiting until the last minute of jewelry auctions to place your bid. You must calculate just how much higher you might need to go to outbid the current highest bidder. If you play your cards right, your bid is the last highest one to go in before time runs out and you are the surprise winner.
Pay for the Auction
You must pay in whatever form the seller lists in the auction. Typical options include:
- Money orders
- Personal checks
- Credit Cards
- Escrow Payment
Auction Payment Tips
- Tip number one: Never pay in cash. There's no way to prove you paid, especially if you never receive your merchandise.
- Tip number two: Whenever possible, pay by money order instead of a check. No point in sending your account number and home address to a complete stranger. Money orders are safer, and can be traced in the event your seller tells you payment never arrived.
- Tip number three: PayPal is preferable to paying with your credit card. The system protects your information from being forwarded to the seller. He simply receives the payment you forward from your account to his without ever learning your account number. Additionally, systems like PayPal offer optional buyer's insurance to protect you if your transaction doesn't work out.
- Tip number four: Escrow payments offer the most protection when paying for big ticket items. You pay the auction price into the escrow account, where it's held until you receive your item. Only then is the money forwarded to the seller. Just make sure the escrow company has a good track record before you bid, because there are some less than reputable ones out there.
Hopefully you now feel armed with what you need to know before bidding on jewelry auctions. You'll accumulate even more knowledge with each transaction, and before you know it, you'll be an old pro with a lot of great bling.