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Shopping on eBay has evolved. Here's what to know.

eBay is more than just a site for bidding wars. Retailers like Best Buy and Adidas have their own eBay stores: Here's how to shop eBay deals smartly.
It is safe to buy things on eBay if you know what to look out for while shopping for sales and deals.
It is safe to buy things on eBay if you know what to look out for while shopping for sales and deals.eBay; Getty Images

eBay may be most well known as an auction site for obscure collectibles and lightly-used clothes, but things have changed a lot since the company’s founding 25 years ago. These days, eBay has almost become a retailer unto itself, offering a ton of ways to save money on fashion, electronics, tools, and anything else you can imagine — even brand new items like Smart TVs and bicycles. In fact, there’s an awful lot on eBay that isn’t up for auction at all. Many professional eBay sellers merely use eBay as a platform to sell their inventory just like they would any other platform, like Amazon or Walmart.

In fact, many big-name retailers, like Best Buy and Newegg, even have their own eBay stores. Usually, these retailer stores on eBay include similar inventory and prices to the regular store sites, but occasionally you’ll find eBay-only deals and coupons that tip the scales. Depending on the store, you may even be able to return an eBay-bought item at a brick-and-mortar location (when those open up again, of course).

Dell 23-Inch 1080p IPS LED Monitor

If you work from home, an external monitor is a must-have — and Dell’s IPS monitors are some of the best you can buy for the price. Best Buy offers this monitor for the same price, but getting it shipped through eBay allows you to use any other eBay coupons or gift cards you have on hand.

This extends to the actual brands themselves, too. In eBay’s Brand Outlet section, you’ll find a ton of deals direct from the product manufacturers, whether it’s laptops from Acer or sneakers from Adidas.

Jabra Elite 75t True Wireless Earbuds (Manufacturer Refurbished)

True wireless earbuds let you blast your tunes without any cables getting in the way, and Jabra’s Elite 75t are among the top of the pack. Jabra currently offers refurbished units for $125 on their eBay store, which is quite a discount over the $180 price tag for new ones.

For some of these brands, there’s definitely still a heavy focus on used, refurbished and open-box items rather than new. There are still lots of new products on eBay—both from big brands and smaller, independent shops — but eBay’s roots make it a good place for these brands to give a second life to certain items. Thankfully, eBay’s buyer protection is in your corner, offering you the ability to return an item for a refund if it isn’t as described — even if the listing says “No Returns.”

Furthermore, eBay offers something almost no other site does: extended warranties on used products. In a partnership with SquareTrade, the Allstate-owned electronics insurance provider, you can purchase extra protection against products that fail within the insurance period, not to mention accidental damage like drops or spills. In general, I’m not a huge extended warranty advocate. But for certain products and people, it’s nice that eBay offers the service, particularly for used items from everyday, at-home sellers.

Apple iPhone XS (Refurbished)

If you’re a bit clumsy and you need extended protection on your phone — but you don’t want to shell out the money for a new iPhone 11 with AppleCare+ — a refurbished phone like this iPhone XS is a great buy. The seller is a popular, highly-rated retailer of refurbished phones, and you can add a year of SquareTrade protection for an extra $60.

Just make sure you research the seller before you buy. eBay is a pretty open marketplace — you do need to be careful of the occasional scams and deceptive listings. As refurbisher Dan Vanwijk explained in our guide to buying refurbished tech: “Look for a seller that has been around for at least a year and has at least 200 reviews that are 90 percent or higher positive.” You might even Google a seller’s name to see if they’re a well-known figure in that product space.

Samsung 43-Inch The Frame 4K TV

If you want a solid TV that completely blends into the space when you aren’t using it, Samsung’s The Frame is a killer option. It’s a TV when it’s on, and art when it’s off. The 43-inch model usually costs just under $900, but BuyDig sells a version for the same price with the customizable brown bezel, so you can fit the color to your decor (most stores only sell the Frame with the black bezel, with the brown available as a $100 upcharge). Most importantly, BuyDig is an authorized dealer of Samsung products, so this deal comes with the standard manufacturer warranty.

Finally, eBay has one other money-saving trick up its sleeve: sitewide coupons. eBay often offers coupons that apply to entire sections of their store (like “15% off all Fashion purchases up to $100”), specific brands (“70% off Puma shoes and clothing”) or even for approved sellers across the entire site. It often requires a code, which is likewise often plastered all over the homepage. If you have the eBay app, you’ll get notifications for a lot of these sales. On a daily basis, you’ll also find a helping of deals on the eBay Deals page. Couple that with loyalty programs like eBay Bucks and a savvy shopper can save quite a bit — even if you aren’t shopping for an old bucket of Beanie Babies.

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