Part of the fun of jewelry auctions is looking through their entire catalogs to find that one piece you absolutely have to have. The trick to having the most success at one of these auctions is learning how to screen your sellers, protect your interests, and get the best deal possible. Let's take a look at just how to put these measures into practice.
Online Jewelry Auctions
Bidding for items online has become one of the world's favorite pastimes; there's nothing quite like the thrill of finding a gorgeous bracelet or ring and confidently placing your bid on it before the deadline. Yet, for every successful lot that you've won, there have been many lots that haven't been worth the win. It's important to note that most online sellers are legitimate, offering items that accurately match the auction's descriptions. These sellers post shipping costs up front, are easy to contact, and make sure you get your piece in a timely manner. However, there are some sellers who are trying to take advantage of enthusiastic bidders. From receiving items that don't match the description to never receiving anything at all, it can be difficult to navigate the murky waters of online shopping.
1. Authenticate The Listing and Seller
Before you even think about placing a bid on that rock bottom priced diamond engagement ring, you need to thoroughly verify the seller and the listing to make sure that you're not going to fall prey to a scam. Here are some useful tips for how to authenticate a listing and seller on your own.
Read Through the Reviews
If you're purchasing through a large auction website with individual sellers, then the easiest way for you to check the validity of their claims (like fast shipping or easy returns) is to read the reviews that other people have left. Don't take a large number of reviews as a surefire sign that they're reputable; comb through both the five star and one star comments to see what the general consensus is on their performance.
Check Their Number of Sales
Sellers with a high-performance rating and a large number of sales are much more trustworthy than those with only a few sales and no reviews. However, given that every seller has to start somewhere, having only a few sales doesn't always equate to poor performance. If you're feeling hesitant about the seller, reach out to them to confirm any questions you might have.
Clearly Read the Listing
They are thousands of videos on the internet documenting people's experiences with receiving unexpected items because they didn't completely read the product descriptions. The amount of detail that a seller puts into their item descriptions can give you an indication as their authenticity; if you find listings that are completely transparent about size, quality, weight, the amount of shipping costs, and so on, then chances are the listing is accurate. Beware item descriptions that seem too good to be true, such as a 9 carat diamond ring listed for only $50.
2. Bid Carefully
Some auctions allow you to immediately buy the item outright, but if you find an item in an auction that only accepts offers, then you're going to want to proceed carefully since once a bid is placed, it has to be honored. These are some useful things to think about before making your bids.
Establish Your Maximum Bid
The first thing you need to do before placing a bid is set a limit on the amount you're willing to spend. The push and pull of bidding wars can be quite addicting, and you don't want to commit yourself to offering money that you don't have.
Consider Snipe Bidding
Auction sniping is a method of biding where you wait until the very last minute to place a bid on an auction; the goal is to end up with the highest, and winning, bid.
Don't Immediately Place a High Bid
You may be tempted to place a high starting bid on an item that you really want to deter other people from competing with you, but this can work against you as you may end up paying twice or triple the amount of what you would have originally for the item if you'd incrementally raised your bid instead.
3. Determine the Return Policy
Not every seller or every auction has the same return policy; it's very important that you identify the return policy - if there is one - before purchasing an item so that you know what instructions you should follow should you need to relinquish ownership. Sometimes items don't fit properly, their images don't match the way they look in real life, or you end up realizing you need that money for some other cause. If you're feeling a little unsure about an item, such as if you aren't clear that it's going to fit your neck or your fingers, check that the seller does have a return policy. Unfortunately, many policies only give you a short window to return the item and don't offer you the full amount of your bid back. At the very least, most just require that you pay for the shipping and handling to return the item to its original location. Either way, collecting all the necessary information before committing to a bid is one of the most valuable tips for successfully bidding in high value situations like with jewelry auctions.
Successful Bidding Requires Forethought
In order to maximize your success at jewelry auctions, you want to make sure that you're going through the proper research in advance before slapping a number onto an item and committing yourself to a bid. This can prevent you from wasting both your money and your time, and in most cases will ensure that you get to take that piece of jewelry home with you.