Find Great Bargains With eBay Auction Typos and Spelling Mistakes
Published 5/27/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
I love using eBay. I've been a busy eBayer since the online auction service opened for business in the late 1990's, and over the years I've gotten my bargain grubby hands on quite a few deal finds. However, back in the beginning there was less competition among buyers and sellers vying for a piece of the lucrative eBay pie. With less auction and savvy awareness on the part of the general public during eBay's infancy, deals were easier to be had.
Back in the good old eBay days, one of my best past success stories was bidding and winning online auction sales for D.C. Metro SmarTrip cards. People in the Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia metro area use prepaid magnetic debit cards to ride the subway train to work in our nation's capital. When the SmarTrip cards were first implemented on the subway system in 2004, I think I was one of the early few to immediately turn to eBay to buy subway cards in bulk denomination for maximum arbitrage savings. At the time, the whole concept of buying subway cards was still in its infancy so there was less competition for them online. Most of the SmarTrip sellers were federal government workers looking to unload their government issued cards to eBay buyers and make some money in the process (they probably weren't authorized or permitted to do that of course). But regardless of the legality or morality on their part, I was happy to buy them. Since I worked in D.C. at the time and commuted downtown on a daily basis, I needed a huge supply of them at all times. Due to the lack of bidding competition, I frequently won for 40-60% off the face value, although I had to bid on higher value cards to maximize my cost savings. For example, for cards valued at $300, I usually only paid $140 for them. My auction bidding success lasted a few brief years, but as the years went by and the number of worldwide eBay users grew, many of the inherent market efficiencies were ultimately plugged up, causing bid prices to soar and eBay savings to become less and less. Nowadays, it's hard to get any type of significant savings anymore as eBay auction prices usually get bid up to or close to the fair market value, negating the awesome bargains I use to enjoy.