12 essential tips for eBay Christmas shoppers

7. Look at seller's other items

When we first started using eBay, we once won a camera on auction. A day later, when browsing their shop, we saw the same camera listed £20 cheaper as a Buy It Now item. Ever since, we've been sure to double check that before we bid for an item from a business seller, they don't have the same item listed cheaper in a different format elsewhere. It's always a good idea to have a scour around a seller's shop, too, as you may chance upon an item that is more suitable.

8. Just starting out? Buy from UK

I personally recommend that new UK buyers buy from a UK seller where possible. The vast majority of international sellers are reliable and trustworthy, but there is more than can go wrong when buying that expensive porcelain tea set, or that rare LP, shipped from abroad. It's a good idea to get comfortable with eBay and PayPal, and be fully aware of trust and safety risks, before making big purchases from overseas.

9. Scour Charity hub for interesting auctions

The new eBay for Charity hub features a host of interesting auctions, from high value money-can't-buy experiences auctioned by big brands, to everyday auctions from community sellers donating some, or all, of their proceeds to charity. Look out for the charity ribbon, and bid in the knowledge that you're supporting a good cause!

10. Check the Wholesale and Job Lots category

The Wholesale category is a great place to start if you're looking for bulk purchases. It's a potential goldmine of good deals from sellers who might be selling off their entire stock or don't have the time to package each item. It's a good place to start if you're looking to sell, too. Buy in bulk, sell separately, and make a few sales, collect feedback and detailed seller ratings, and you're be better positioned to compete with more established sellers.

11. Don't bid too early

Bidding wars often mean you can end up spending more than you intended. It's tempting to bid as soon as you see the auction but in doing so, you'll like drive up the final price. If there's a while to go before it ends, it's worth sitting back and waiting as close to the end time as you can. Experienced bidders typically use 'sniping' software, which bids on your behalf at the last minute. AuctionSniper is a popular choice.

12. Be wary of instant second chance offers

Be cautious if you receive a Second Chance Offer soon after the item has been bought. It may be legitimate, but check that it has come from a seller you have been dealing with for something you have previously bid on. Fraudsters use bogus Second Chance Offer to get people to send payments for items that do not exist, or as a way to get hold of personal data.