Please help me figure out buying on eBay

I’ve never bought anything on eBay before; I’ve never been interested. I have very limited experience shopping on-line. My son is asking me to purchase something. I’m clueless.

  1. The price is in British pounds, so I assume it’s coming from Britain.

  2. The item costs about 13 pounds or about $20. Shipping is apparently about 3 pounds or about $5 bucks.

  3. Who delivers it to my address in Canada and are there additional shipping costs I’m not aware of?

  4. Are their duty and import taxes involved?

  5. How do I pay by PayPal. I’m not kidding, I have no idea. Do I link a credit card to PayPal?

  6. I assume I need to set up an eBay and a PayPay account?

  7. Does PayPal accept American Express?

  8. Should I be worried about linking a credit card to PayPal?
    The thing is, I have no idea how to even proceed.

I know it’s a lot of questions, but I would be grateful for some guidance.


Its easy.

Set up an eBay account.

Set up a Paypal account.

Set up a credit card on your Paypal account.

Bid on or buy the item in question.

When you’ve won the item/bid, you will be prompted to pay for it, with a button to pay using Paypal.

Use Paypal to pay for the item.

Item will show up at your house.

No worries about exchange rates; your credit card and/or Paypal will take care of that.

The shipper will pay for the shipping costs, usually charging you an amount they believe will cover the cost. They will use their regular post, UPS or FedEx; they usually specify in the item listing or will ask you what shipper you prefer.

Any duties owed will be assessed on their end when they ship.

Yes, I think Paypal accepts AmEx.

I’ve been using Paypal and eBay for years now and have never had a problem with either service or with my credit card being charged improperly. You confirm all purchases through Paypal, just like you confirm your purchases on, say,

In my experience duty is paid separately by the recipient and not by the seller. Many auctions specify that import duty is the responsibility of the purchaser.

Not sure what Canadian law is. In the US you can receive a certain amount of imported items via post duty free. It is calculated on a daily basis.

I’ve never had to pay any import duties. I get a lot of stuff from other countries, but mostly books, CDs and DVDs. Maybe it’s just that I’ve never hit the limit per item or per year or whatever.

Thanks Snowboarder Bo. Although you assume I know what it’s like to confirm purchases on

I’ve never ordered anything on-line. I bought a gift certificate once. And I think I may have helped my ex-wife struggle through some menus, but nope. I don’t think I’ve ever completed an on-line purchase.


Your welcome.

Purchasing online is easy.

On Amazon, you pick your items, which then go into your “cart”, just like a real shopping cart.

When you’re done shopping, you click a button that says “Proceed to checkout”, where you can see everything you have placed in your cart.

Then you confirm shipping address and method (Post, FedEx, UPS, etc.).

Then you confirm payment method (credit card, Paypal, etc.).

Then you get a total for all your items and your shipping charges. If it’s all good, you click “Confirm”.

Then you sit back and wait for other people to bring you stuff.

All online purchases are just a variant of this procedure.

How do I know that the guy in Britain is actually going to ship the stuff? (It’s Yu-Gi-Oh cards BTW).

I mean there’s a hundred things that can go wrong here, intentionally or by accident. And this is why I don’t shop on-line.

Should I even mention my lawn?

EBay and Paypal have a complaint/resolution procedure in place that you agree to follow by using their services. So there’s that.

The seller has little to no incentive to deceive or renege on the deal. You can always leave negative feedback about them, which all other eBay users will see and WILL (trust me) affect their ability to do business in the future.

Also, you’re talking about being worried about being scammed for like $25 dollars. A person would have to scam a lot of people really fast for that amount to make it a worthwhile endeavor. The vast majority of people are honest and want to do business, not cheat people out of the price of a movie ticket and some popcorn.

I’ve never, in hundreds of purchases, had a seller fail to ship my purchase.

In the end it’s up to you, but take a look at how much money and how many people use eBay and Paypal. It’s quite literally tens of millions of people in over 30 countries, with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions. eBay’s revenue last year alone was over US$14 billion; Paypal’s was over US$5.6 billion. They have a definite interest in making sure that people who use their services are not ripped off.

Shippers are in the same boat: they are interested in providing a service, not ripping people off.

I too am very protective of my lawn… well… my dirt, maybe. I live in a desert, so yeah, it’s more like a bunch of dirt and rocks. But I still yet at those goddamned kids to stay offa it!

In my country, no Ebay purchase comes to your doorstep. You receive a notice from the post office parcel section. A customs agent opens the UPS box and assesses the item(s) for duties and taxes.

Start with a small item when buying from the bay. The reason is buying from that place takes maturity. You have to be a smart buyer. Don’t give in to impulse. Waiting is actually better than grabbing. Try to avoid shortening the time between buys.

You just have to go with the broader picture and not get hung up on the remote possibilities. I’ve been shopping on line for years for essentially everything I physically can. I can’t really recall ever being ripped off. There was one thing that didn’t turn up for ages.

I assume that I will get ripped off sooner or later, but it’s small price to pay if/when it happens. The savings on price, the convenience and the range are just so good on line that I’d have to be ripped off every tenth transaction for it not to be worth it. Meanwhile, I have completed many hundreds of transactions without a hitch.

I hedge my bets as best as I can by buying through people with tons of feedback, and usually very little/no negative. If there is negative or neutral, I review what it is carefully…

I have only been “burned” once and got my money back anyway through Paypal.

You need an eBay account but you do not need a PayPal account. PayPal is perfectly happy to accept a credit card that is not tied to any account there.

I’ve paid duty on items bought on eBay and imported into the UK from China or the USA - it’s the recipient that pays, but there’s usually a threshold value below which it just sails through without attracting import duty.

As **Poysyn **has alluded to, all eBay sellers have a Feedback score. You can look up exactly why any negative feedback was given by a buyer. If you stick with sellers with feedback scores of above 96% positive, you’ll be good. And don’t buy from sellers who only have fewer than 20 (or some other magical number) sales, so you know they have an established track record. Ripoffs are almost always by someone who has no previous sales.

On eBay, you can check out his feedback rating (in theory, this is a measure of satisfactory transactions he’s had so far. From the recent part of his feedback history, you should also be able to see what kind of items he’s been selling recently.

Basically, if he’s sold similar sorts of items recently, and the people who bought them are also members in good standing, with good feedback, these are all quite good indicators that he’s a reliable seller.

‘The bay’? is that what the kids are calling it these days?

It that like ‘The Boo’ (at about 8:30)?


Be warned that many buyers these days wait until literally the very last seconds of an auction to put their bids in. I was sniped at the last second three times in the last week. There are websites that will snipe for you for free or for a fee, but I haven’t used any of them. I’ve heard that they work though.

This is why I use Buy It Now whenever possible.

Once you start buying online, you’ll never look back.

There’s a reason brick and mortar stores are dying, and that’s because it’s so easy and works so well to shop online. Scams are out there, but not for people who go into with their eyes open. Most issues that occur are ones of communication. Either a buyer doesn’t read the description well and misses something, or the seller doesn’t post something they think is perfectly understood, only the seller doesn’t have the same understanding.


So eBay is always an auction on every item?