The world of online auctions doesn't begin and end with eBay. There are other options available to those bidders looking for very specific items or genres of merchandise on which to bid. Some of these independent online auctions can be tough to find, if you don't know where to look; as well, many of them have some security issues as far as giving away personal and money-related information on unsecure servers and forums. However, you can have a good experience shopping at these auctions, and this article is here to tell you how.
First off: how do you find these auctions? It all depends on what you're looking to purchase. If you don't have anything specific in mind, it will be hard to narrow down your search to something productive that will turn up results regarding independent online auctions. So, don't start searching for these until you've narrowed down what you'd like to buy. One of the best places to go is forums where the type of merchandise you're interested in is frequently discussed. For instance, if you're into vintage dolls, you can search for vintage doll discussion forums and browse for mentions of independent auctions from there.
To participate in independent auctions, you often have to join the exclusive ranks of a group of people who have specifically said they are interested in bidding on an item or type of item. That's not as scary or difficult as it sounds! When you find a forum listing for an auction, the auctioneer or seller (sometimes they are the same person) will often post information on how you can participate in their auction. This may involve leaving information like your name, email, and expressed interest in the object for sale.
Address these safety concerns before you bid too much on independent auctions:
- Never give your credit card information to someone who asks. The safest payment route is Paypal, and if someone doesn't take this method (it's free, so it's not as if there is a reason not to have an account), you should probably avoid the auction altogether.
- Except for shipping purposes, don't give away personal information like your address, and certainly not on a public forum.
- Ask if there is some merchandise guarantee on the object(s), so that you don't send off a check and never see your purchase.
We're a great online resource as well -- GarageSaleCow.com, your one stop shop for secondhand merchandise of all kinds!