Ebay –Buy it, sell it….love it? Featured

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A bit strapped for cash? Still NEED that new dress/Iphone/onesie/exercise bike? From time to time, we all feel the nibble of the commercialism bug biting away, often resulting in an enormous hole appearing in your bank account. So when the letters HMV or H&M bring a tear to your eye, where do you turn in these times of need? Ebay.

Since Pierre Omidyar started up Ebay in 1995, it’s been the go-to place for cheaper than cheap merchandise and the weird and wonderful stuff you can’t get in the shops. Nowadays it’s the perfect place for your average student to buy all the non-essential things in life without breaking the bank. From the comfort of your own computer screen you are able to satisfy those cravings for new stuff without raiding Topshop and making scorch marks on your Debit card.

However the ease of shopping at the click of a button can be dangerous, as I learned a few weeks ago when I decided to break my Ebay virginity. It was perfect; the most amazing, flattering designer dress I have ever seen in my life, and only £5. Of course the downside was that it still had three days left to bid on it. I checked it incessantly for days, my heart sinking a little every time as the price slowly crept up. Finally in the last two minutes, my friends and I were crowded around my laptop screaming at the screen and frantically typing in numbers. Once we got started bidding though, things got out of hand; what started off as £15 as my maximum bid rapidly turned into £20, then £25…at £33 I was sure I’d won it, until I got the email everyone dreads; ‘Sorry! You’ve been outbid!’ So even just after my first attempt at a bid, I felt the pull. That addiction to buying seemingly  brilliantly cheap things. When you’re just tapping out your credit card details into Paypal, it doesn’t feel like you’re spending money on something you probably don’t really need, because you’re not physically handing over any cash. In a few days time though, reality hits when along with you’re beautifully wrapped parcel from Ebay, you get a daunting letter from Natwest reminding you that you’re reaching the end of your student loan.

My doubts were increased further after reading some Ebay horror stories. The first entailed a man spending a few grand on a brand new car. Pretty good deal right? That’s what he thought until he received a picture of a brand new car in the post. Turns out the crafty description was about as clear as the Thames, and he had spent his hard earned pay on a photo, not the real thing. The second one was about a man who tried to sell his wife on Ebay. I don’t know how this one turned out, but I’m almost certain that if he didn’t get any bids, he definitely got an earful and a slap in the face. While Ebay is certainly a paradise for students looking for a bargain, it does hold its risks. Overspending and the risk of receiving faulty or wrongly described items is a minefield you have to be willing to stumble through to get a good deal.

So next time you’re looking sadly at your worn down wardrobe or your computer that still runs on Windows ’97, don’t be tempted to jump on the next bus to town, but instead open up your web browser, type those magic words into the search bar and wait for Ebay to open up a modern day Mecca of bargains. Only at just the click of a button.

Philippa Barnes

Aspiring journalist for BounceSin, currently stumbling through life in Leeds. Likes reading, dancing and sangria - but not the hangover.

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