Buying Computer Hardware on Ebay

September 30, 2011, By Christian Cawley

It’s one of the world’s most popular websites and one of the successes of the online shopping age. But what do you really know about eBay?

With its simple philosophy of providing traders and private sellers a platform to sell their goods, eBay has transformed how we shop. Low prices are regularly found for items that could cost much more in brick and mortar shops, and you won’t find a wider selection of products anywhere else.

The online auction service has had its fair share of criticism, but where else could you buy old rope, a jar full of Saharan air and a Ferrari Testarossa?

Buying Computer Hardware on Ebay

More to the point, where else can you buy cheap computer components?

For newcomers to eBay it isn’t immediately obvious how to find, bid and buy what is on offer, so let’s take a look at the process.

Signing Up for EBay

Before you start shopping, you ideally need to sign-up to eBay and specify a payment method. While this isn’t necessary it will make things a little easier later on. Head to and click on the register link at the top of the page to complete this task.

Once you have signed up, you’ll be able to access your My eBay page to check your bids and the items you’re watching, as well as keep an eye on your feedback score.

Searching for Items on EBay

You don’t have to have an account to browse eBay – you can even watch up to 10 items without signing up – but the service works a lot better if you have already registered.

Finding what you’re looking for on eBay is a matter of typing a keyword into the search box and checking the results. Often you might find that there are simply too many results; in this case, you will either need a better search term or you might be able to take advantage of enhanced search options in the side bar.

For instance, if you were searching for a hard disk drive, you would see additional options based on the specification, such as RPMs, or the capacity. Along with these options you can specify a price range and even use the search system to highlight items that are situated near you.

Buying and Bidding

There are three ways in which you can purchase items on eBay:

  • Auction
  • Nearest offer
  • Buy it now

Sellers can set any of these as the sale option, with the auction option typically used for an item that might reach a little more or a lot less than it is worth, a nearest offer usually set for expensive items and the buy it now option typically used by sellers who want to sell their goods as quickly as possible.

Once you have made your purchase or bid (which must be committed to, effectively giving you two chances to stake your claim) you will need to setup a payment method in line with the item you are interested in. The most common payment on eBay is via PayPal, although credit cards and personal checks are still accepted by some sellers.

Don’t forget that after the transaction is over and your item has been received, you should think about leaving feedback. This is important, although the effect of feedback has been somewhat neutered in recent years, with eBay preferring reconciliation between disgruntled customers and traders rather than negative feedback.

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