When I was younger, I was addicted to Ebay.
I’d literally spend hours on the site looking for some great deals. It was my gateway to all those luxury makeup products that weren’t available in Italy. For a fraction of the cost, too!
Can you see why I couldn’t get enough of it?
Unfortunately, eBay has its problems too. The site is riddled with scammers and dodgy dealers who send you something completely different from what you bought… or nothing at all.
Don’t let that put you off. Spotting dodgy sellers on eBay isn’t that hard – if you know what to look for. Here are my tips on making sure you get a genuinely good deal on makeup on eBay:
1. Check The Seller’s Feedback
The first thing to do when you’re thinking of buying something from eBay is to check the seller’s feedback to see if they are reliable. Usually I prefer buying from sellers that have at least 100 feedback (a lot more if the item I want is really expensive).
Keep in mind that, when someone has a lot of feedback, a few of them are bound to be negative. It could be than an item was lost in the post, arrived damaged or maybe the seller didn’t send it quickly enough. As long as the seller solved the problem with the buyer and it doesn’t happen too often, that’s fine with me.
What you should avoid is buying from sellers who:
- Have been reported selling fake makeup: If someone sells a lot of fakes, someone is bound to have bought it, realized it wasn’t real and left a negative feedback.
- Have 95% or less positive feedback: Unless they have thousands of transactions, there’s probably something wrong with them.
- Sell things for the first time: Even if they are honest (if they have good feedback as buyers, they probably are), they might not know very well how the eBay system works and what to do should there be any problems.
2. Google The Item You’re Interested In
If something looks too good a deal or you simply don’t know the brand well enough to know if an item is real or fake, just do your research.
The first place to visit is the brand’s website to see if the picture and description of the item on eBay looks exactly like the real product sold in stores and on the official website.
If instead you’re interested in a LE or discounted item, just google it. If something exists you’re bound to find some pictures, review or mention online.
For instance, MAC eyeshadows don’t come with sponge tip applicators and a quick search on the net will reveal that, preventing you to waste money on fakes.
3. Buy From Sellers Who Take Their Own Pictures
Personally, I prefer to buy from people that take their own picture as that way not only I know what I’m getting, but it is also easier to spot fakes. From a promo picture, you can’t tell if that MAC eyeshadow we were talking about earlier has a sponge applicator and is therefore fake.
Unless the seller has been recommended to you by a friend who has had a positive experience (and knows how to spot fakes!) or has thousands of positive feedback, always buy from sellers that don’t use promo photos or you may end up getting something different from what you thought you’d get.
Also, some people take really close shots of samples they got with GWP or at stores to give the impression they are selling the full size products, so look at the pictures carefully and if the price is too low, then it is probably too good to be true.
4. Buy From Personal Sellers
Personally, I prefer to buy from personal sellers, people who just want to get rid of something they bought or a gift they didn’t like.
Spotting them is easy. Just click on “see other items” to know what else they are selling. Personal sellers won’t just sell makeup but also books, clothes, bags etc.
What if someone has 10 of the same palette, but don’t have a shop or aren’t registered as a business seller? Chances are they are dodgy, so run away.
Of course, sometimes personal sellers can sell fakes too. Maybe they are reselling something they had bought from eBbay without realising it was fake (sometimes mistakes are made in good faith), so don’t forget to carefully look at the picture. When in doubt, ask. Which leads me to the next point.
5. Email The Seller
Is the picture not clear or worse, a stock one? Do you want to know if that blush is 100% unused? Or when the expiration’s date?
Whatever question or concern you have, don’t hesitate to contact the seller. Don’t worry about not trusting their honesty. Just write them a polite message explaining you’ve had a bad experience before.
If the seller is reliable they will soon get bad to you with all the information you need. Dodgy sellers instead will refuse to do so – for obvious reasons.
If you don’t hear back from a seller, don’t bid.
6. Only Pay By Paypal
When you buy something from eBay, pay by Paypal only. Why?
Unlike cash sent by mail or money given in person, Paypal is trackable. If something goes wrong and you get a faulty or fake item, you actually have proof that you paid.
Plus, if you pay by Paypal, you can submit a claim within 45 days and get a refund. But don’t wait more than 45 days or your right to submit a claim will expire and you’ll never get your money back.
7. What “New” Really Means
Due to hygienic reasons, on eBay you can only sell new and unused items.
If a seller wants to sell something that’s been swatched once or twice, they can’t choose the option “used” like they can with clothes or other items. But if they’re honest, they’ll mention the item is light used in the description.
If something is lightly used or just swatched, and the sellers states so, I don’t mind. I don’t worry too much about germs cos products can be sanitized (only liquid eyeliners and mascaras can’t).
But read carefully so that you know in what condition the item you want is.
8. Follow Your Instinct
The most important thing is to use your best judgement and follow your instinct. Always. If after following all the tips above, something still doesn’t feel right, don’t bid.
Of course, if you get a fake you can always get your money back with Paypal within 45 days, but at the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned money we’re talking about. If you’re not sure, it’s best to spend a bit more and go buy what you want in a shop.
Have you ever bought makeup on eBay? Share your thoughts in the comments below.