E-bay is one of the best places online to find anything you want, lingerie included. But there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. I’ve put some of my favorite tips below…
1) First of all, use good search terms. Be as specific as possible. For example, I want to acquire all of the vintage Vanity Fair leopard print collection, so I not only search for “Vanity Fair” and “Vintage Vanity Fair” but also “Vintage Vanity Fair Leopard” and even “Vintage Vanity Fair Leopard Girdle.”
I also think it’s helpful to use misspelled search terms. Many times people are rushing to put listings up and don’t double check their spelling. I’ve found items for Vanity Fair leopard print items listed under “Vanity Fair loepard,” for example.
2) When you find something you like, check the listing from top to bottom starting with the seller’s feedback. I believe e-bay has recently taken steps to make sure only sellers with high ratings are able to list items, but it’s still worth taking a look if their feedback is anything less than 100%.
You also want to look at the pictures in the listing. Generally speaking, more pictures are better, and you want to make sure pictures are taken from every angle including closeups of seams and any defects. Carefully read the measurements and the seller’s assessment of the quality and condition of the garment.
A seller should be able to say exactly what the measurements for any piece are, both stretched and unstretched. This kind of information is critical for vintage pieces since a size 8 from the 1960′s is not the same as a size 8 today. Finally, study the return policies and shipping costs. I’ve found that many “99 cent” listings often have outrageous shipping fees of $10.00 or more.
If you still can’t find what you need or have any questions at all, don’t be afraid to contact the seller. The way someone responds to you (and how long it takes them to respond) is a crucial factor when I’m deciding whether to buy from someone or not. If I can’t reach you before you get my money, what are the chances of you responding after I send you my money?
I also like to use e-bays tools like saved searches, saved sellers, and e-mail alerts. This allows me to find out when an item I’ve been looking for has been listed.
3) Pay via paypal using your credit card. This is very important. You want to pay using Paypal because it allows you to file a complaint and (potentially) get your money back if you never receive an item.
Paying via credit card gives added consumer protection. If Paypal falls through, you can always file for a return of the funds with your credit card company.
An important note: if you file against a seller, make sure to do so before the time is up (I think it’s 30 days). File even if the person says your item in the mail. You can always close an open case, but you can’t open a case once the allowed time is past.
Don’t buy corsets from e-bay. Ever. Most of the corset listings on e-bay are poorly made knock-offs using pirated photos from reputable websites.
Avoid overseas sellers. While there are some exceptions to this rule (such as sellers from the U.K.), I’ve found the headache isn’t worth it. Not only do you have to factor in extended shipping times, you may not have the same payment protection as you would from a seller in the U.S. Some countries (like China) are also notorious for e-bay scams.
Cross-reference products online to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Some sellers significantly mark up the cost of items, or even claim some items are vintage when they’re not (this happens often with Rago and Lady Marlene products). There’s no reason to pay $50 for something you can get elsewhere for $35.