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Top 5 tips for buying a van on eBay

November 19, 2019

With over 30,000 listings, eBay is a great place to find the best used van. But how does eBay work when buying commercial vehicles? And how do you ensure you stay safe? Dan Powell of Honest John Vans shares his top 5 tips.

Sign up and start small

It only takes a few minutes to sign up for an eBay account, and it can be very tempting to start bidding for vans straight away. However, if you are completely new to eBay, start small and bid on a few small and relatively inexpensive items. This will allow you to acclimatise yourself to the way eBay operates and build that all-important eBay feedback score.

eBay is much more than an auction site

Although eBay is billed as an auction site, vans can be bought in a variety of different ways. Some vehicles will be listed at a set price and sold instantly under the ‘Buy It Now’ listing. There are also thousands of ‘Classified Adverts’, which allow you to contact the seller, view the van before paying the price. In addition to this, there is the classic ‘Auction’, which lets you bid within a timed process. Which one is best? That will depend on your budget and the type of vehicle you want. But it’s vital to understand the difference between the three options before making a bid or offer.

You can still haggle

It might be a digital platform, but you can still perform the age-old art of haggling to get the best deal. If you are buying a van that is being sold through a classified advert then the buying process is the same as with any other sale; be sure of its value and your maximum budget, and be prepared to haggle. With a ‘Best Offer’ listing, eBay limits you to three attempts, so don’t waste one by tabling a ridiculously low bid. And be sure to leave yourself enough room so your final bid is the maximum you would be prepared to pay. A ‘Buy It Now’ listing is a fixed price, which means the seller is unlikely to accept a lower offer, but it might be worth sending a polite message to see if they are willing to move the price in your favour.

Fiat Ducato eBay

Bid to win

If you are using the classic auction process, then timing is everything when it comes to winning the sale. Be ready a good five minutes before the auction is due to end and bid the absolute maximum you are prepared to pay 30 seconds before the end of the auction but don’t confirm your bid until only five seconds are remaining. This will mean other bidders won’t have enough time to enter another bid if you have outbid them. This is not a guarantee of success, someone might pip you to the post, but it will prevent you from going over your budget in the heat of the auction.

Remain smart and safe when paying

The seller may request a specific means of payment or allow a few options. Paypal offers a degree of protection and the fee charged for the service comes out of the seller’s payment, so it is a good option for buyers. Cash in hand works if you are comfortable carrying the required amount of money – you may be able to arrange the exchange at your bank if the seller agrees. When collecting the van, ensure the name and address on the V5C logbook matches the details of the seller and the location of the vehicle. Always ask the seller for two forms of identification to ensure they are the person that’s listed on the V5C registration document.

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