Why do people pay more on eBay?

@rowantree (1190)
United States
July 13, 2008 9:55am CST
I've noticed this before, but recent events have really got me irked enough to mention it here now. Why do people pay more for an item on eBay than they'd pay for it in a store? For example, Mario Kart Wii is $50. A Nintendo wheel for the game is $10. If I were to walk into Best Buy, GameStop, or even Target or Wal-Mart I'd pay $70 for the game and two wheels. I would also have to pay 6% tax. Yet on eBay, people are paying $100 for the same thing. Plus shipping. There are pages and pages on eBay of people paying these prices. It's not just a few. I wanted to mention that, because I thought well, if the stores are sold out...only they're not. Even if you can't find this game and the wheels in your local stores, you can still get it online for the same price. Sure, you have to pay shipping but it's not going to be $40 to $50 more. Have you ever paid more for an item on eBay when you knew you could just go get it in the store for less? Why?
4 people like this
19 responses
@forsan (28)
14 Jul 08
Sometimes they just seem to get carried away. I've listed 2 identical items at the same time and they've appeared on consecutive pages on the listings. If a person starts bidding on one of them they tend to stick with that auction and keep bidding up against a second bidder ignoring the second one which is then cheaper. It's fascinating to watch sometimes
2 people like this
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
13 Jul 08
Maybe the stores are sold out in their area. In my area, a lot of the Wii items are constantly sold out. I've noticed mostly people shopping on eBay want to save money. When I buy things, I either buy them because it is cheaper than buying it at the store or because the item I want is not offered in any store. For example, a lot of the harmonicas I've ordered have been really pricey, but the only online stores that have them are in Europe and often will not even ship to the US. And music stores hardly have any harmonicas offered out here. I have however, had someone buy one of my brand new and still wrapped college textbooks for about $10 more than a new one at the college bookstore (well, at the college bookstore where I go at least, maybe their place does cost more, but I doubt it). I'm not sure why anyone would do that, but I was happy to get all my money back and then some.
2 people like this
@ShepherdSpy (8562)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
14 Jul 08
In some cases,It's either they don't realise they can get it cheaper in a shop,or they get caught up in "Auction Fever" and MUST win that Item! Personally,I'd shop around before going to Ebay to see what the going price for an item would be elsewhere first,or use a price comparison site.. My last experience of being overcharged on Ebay was when I wanted to see Billy Connolly Live..tickets were not to be had from the venues at all..sold out within hours..so as a last resort I went to Ebay..I bid my maximum price,didn't win,then got a "Second Chance" offer..I still paid well over the face value of the ticket,and there's no way I'm leaving positive feedback for somebody who buys a bunch of tickets and scalps them on Ebay..
• United States
14 Jul 08
another thing to add on is that peoples ego get in the way when there bidding they want to out bid the other person to make them feel good.
1 person likes this
@ocean4 (236)
• Canada
14 Jul 08
Ive never bought anything on e-bay myself, but I noticed how people are paying more and more. What I think is that the starting price was something low, like $10 but since everyone bids on it as soon as they see it, the price will probably go up to $80 or more.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jul 08
I've noticed the same thing. I go on eBay to find a good deal that I can't get elsewhere. Earlier this year, I wanted to digital SLR and I refused to pay full price. So, I went on eBay. I already knew how much the cameras cost and what I was willing to pay. So, when I was bidding on an item, if it got higher, combined with sales tax and shipping, than it would be if I went to a store or another site, I passed on it. I ended up getting a great deal and saving a lot of money, but I really had to do my research. I think that might be part of the problem, people really don't know how much things are supposed to cost.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
14 Jul 08
good day... I would have to disagree, I mean you shouldn't generalize, maybe on some item but in overall it's cheaper specially on electronics. for example regarding laptops, we know that battery plays a significant role in laptops however it's the battery that goes first. If you would buy a new battery in local stores in our country it would cost 100 dollars or so, if you decide to get it repack it would cost around 60-70 dollars but if you buy on ebay you could find brand new battery for as low as 50 dollars shipment included. It's case to case basis but I have to agree that we should be smart and try to search for vheaper items out side Ebay. One more thing, with paypal ebay can guarantee 97% protection so that's what makes it attractive than buying on online store.
1 person likes this
@dizzblnd (3073)
• United States
19 Oct 08
For some, I think it is the thrill of the hunt to "win" something on Greedbay. Once the bidding wars start, they can't help themselves. I am a former seller there. I couldn't believe the prices people were willing to pay for something that I picked up on sale. Some people are often too lazy to search elsewhere, they are also so disallusioned that they think greedbay has the best price.
@Spider64 (26)
• United States
16 Jul 08
cause maybe its rare or something not avalible in stores any more
@stan131 (32)
• United States
14 Jul 08
there paying more on ebay then at stores because the item there buying might not be in stores so they have to pay a little extra for the item they want
@metschica25 (5408)
• United States
14 Jul 08
Ebay is a good place to find a deal if you look around and can wait on a bid , and not want the item right away . I have seen the price keep goig higher and higher , and it is crazy how much a person is willing to pay for something they could pick up themsevles . Sure, there are many rare things on ebay , but maybe times it is just for normal things . I list once in a blue moon and wish I would get those higher bids . I have learnt that sometimes if a person wants something bad enogh they will get it , and even on ebay if they pay more .
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I've notice the same thing rowantree, people paying more for items than they would in a store. I gave it some thought and the reasons that I came up with are: (a) perhaps some of the buyers do not drive and must shop from home; (b) items are hard to find in some remote areas; (c) some people live so far from the right stores that to drive hours to the store with current gas prices makes it cheaper to buy on ebay despite the markup; (d) some people get caught up in the auction mentality and are happy to 'win' the bid, not realizing that they are paying more! Who really knows, we can only speculate!
@littleowl (7157)
14 Jul 08
Hi Rowan' I have heard of this before and don't know the reason for it..but at the moment won't buy anything online as there are too many hackers etc that get into your comp'-but it is interesting to see the differences of prices on ebay to the shops-your friend littleowl
@Yazo0_0 (74)
• United States
13 Jul 08
Maybe the person really needs it and none of the stores in the area have it because they are sold out, some people are willing to do a lot of things even to pay a little more for something that they want. I for example wanted to buy a WII but the Future Shops, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart in my area were sold out, so I had to go on the internet and I had to pay almost $500 for the Wii itself. Some people may call that a rip off but It really wasn't because the WII is keeping me active and keeping me occupied. I really love it. A friend of mine wanted a PSP but it was all sold out in about the first week, so he decided to go to a warehouse that sells only SONY items and got his PSP for much cheaper than what they were selling in the stores. He got a combo with his PSP and it came with a game and a whole bunch of other stuff. All in all if you want something bad enough you don't understand how much you are willing to do to get it.
@tzuria (31)
• United States
13 Jul 08
People do it for supply and demand. In some areas, this stuff is constantly sold out, and they really want it. It's offered together on somewhere like ebay, they want it a lot, and the price goes up. Or maybe the people are too lazy to go to the store, or they don't know the retail price of the items. Who knows. I've never paid more for something on ebay than in a retail store. I go to ebay to look for a deal, not for the high in demand items that get so expensive due to frenzied buyers.
@halynn (1809)
• United States
13 Jul 08
Yeah, i've noticed that too. I wonder sometimes if it's people that doesnt like to or is unable to get out of the house. Maybe for health or transportation reasons. however, i would never pay more for something on ebay than i would pay in a store.
@Bugsey (775)
• United States
13 Jul 08
A lot of items on Walmart, particularly on "sale" are cheaper than ebay :) Last I got there was a Nextar Mp4 that cost me only 20 bucks. Had I bought that on ebay it could have been about 30-34:) Still, ebay is okie depending on what who is the seller. A lot of lap taps there start with a 2 cent auction price.. I just love it!
@mscott (1924)
• United States
13 Jul 08
I think they often forget about the shipping fees, I have seen people charge crazy amounts for these. I also think it is the addictiveness and the must win and all costs nature that some people have that gets them into trouble. They get outbid and keep bidding until they are the high bidder because they hate to lose. I know there are plenty of sellers that use others or another account to drive up bids because of this. That happens more than anyone will admit. Just check some of the sellers histories and see who is bidding, then see how quickly the item is relisted. They would rather lose a few cents on fees because they no they can drive up the price and make it up on other items. Ebay can be a nice place but it has many, many problems and they never really address them because they are making plenty of money just hosting the site.
• United States
13 Jul 08
That's the beauty of eBay! People bidding $40 for something that they could go and buy for $20 in a store. That's why there are many sellers making decent money on the site. I think there's 2 reasons for this. The first is the rule of supply and demand. People will spend more than retail for a "hot" item that is often sold out quickly in stores. The Wii game unit is a perfect example. People still spend up to $50 over retail for this game on eBay. Stores don't receive very many when they do have them and they are sold out quickly. Which leads to the 2nd reason... Instant gratification. For those who have walked out of the Targets, WalMarts, Best Buys without a Wii unit, eBay provides the opportunity to give them what they desire...often at a premium. They can bid on and win a Wii auction and pay more money than the stores charge, plus shipping, and they have their "need" filled. Then they see the credit card bill the following month and realize they could have saved a hundred bucks if they showed some restraint and patience. I just sold a new action figure release on eBay for almost a 50% mark-up from the retail cost. The items are flying off the shelves and I just happened to be there when the shelf was full (and I went back 5 hours later to get more and they were gone!) eBay is a great venue to make money as a seller if you can buy items low and sell them high. The market that will gladly overpay for the "hot, new items" continues to shop there, so why not take advantage and provide for their demands. I don't consider myself a seller on eBay and I bargain shop on the site much more than I sell (because I get a cash back incentive when I purchase on eBay)but when I hear about a hot item and I can locate them to sell on eBay, I certainly take advantage of the opportunity. To answer your question... No, I have never paid more than retail for an item on eBay. Great thread!