back to article eBay officially not cheaper than High Street

eBay has been told not to republish adverts claiming its prices are 25 per cent cheaper than the High Street. The Advertising Standards Authority found in favour of a complaint that the claim was misleading. eBay based their advert on third party research and not all the evidence was available. But the online tat bazaar …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Class !!!

    " tat bazaar"

    love it :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all true, until... add on the delivery charges, time wasted winning the auction, waiting for a response from the seller, collecting it from the sorting office, realising it is really just a cheap Chinese knock off then going to a proper retailer to buy the real item for £2 more than it went for on e-bay.

  3. Chris


    To be fair, I have got A LOT of computer parts off ebay for MUCH cheaper then I would have from a shop. I have Cisco switches, routers, HP servers (and I mean SCSI RAID+ILO+2 PSU's etc jobby's) Dell servers, tape drives...the list goes on for a fraction of the price. When I did my CCNA I got some Cisco stuff off ebay, if you look on a shop for reselling old gear they where asking far more then someone on ebay, who realistically was doing the CCNA or something simluar anyway. I bought a whole HP server for 30£ + 30£ for delivery from someone doing a factory clear out

  4. Daniel

    What high street?

    Since most high streets are filling up with pound shops, charity second hand outlets, and short lease tat-dealers, I'd say the high street was actually starting to offer a serious alternative to eBay. The only step the remains, is for all these highstreet junk-retailers to stay open until pub-closing time, and eBay will be finished.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Per cent (¢) or percent (%)?

  6. Duncan Carter

    Shock horror: Advertisement misleading!

    How will the world ever cope!

    Seriously, if someone is gullible enough to fall for adverts in this day and age...

    Pirate, cos their fees are extortionate!

  7. N


    That'll learn 'em

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    eBay sucks

    Im rapidly beginning to hate eBay and PayPal with a vengeance.

    Im sick of buying things on eBay that turn out to be fake, or where people receive the item and then put in a claim to Paypal for non-reciept of goods even though you have a receipt of postage, and Paypal then automatically side with the buyer.

    In short, go to eBay if you dont mind getting ripped off, getting fakes, and having their own credit company swindle you as well..... I only buy what I cannot find elsewhere on eBay now and even then I search around a lot to find an eBay alternative.

    Go ASA... now tell virgin media to stop calling Coax Fibre!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Does anyone actually trust ebay for anything except low value second hand tat, novelty collectables or cheap OEM spares shipped over from China via Hong Kong?

    I certainly don't feel comfortable buying anything of any value from that site - I've recently bought an £850 second hand DSLR from a high street retailer because I could inspect the item's condition before handing over the cash and I can return it to the retailer if i have any problems. There's no way I would trust any of the ads on ebay (powersellerXXX etc) with an £850 upfront transaction.

    Paris - cause with girls like her you get to have a look before you hand over your hard earned and she gives you exactly what you pay for...

  10. Stef
    Thumb Up

    288 products

    They compared 288 products?!?! Wow, impressive. That must have taken the poor work experience student a whole day to do. Were they a random sample? Or specifics that they knew they would win?

    To be fair, ebay is great for getting a spare phone-charger or extra long USB cable etc.

  11. Fat Mike
    Thumb Up

    Really save money on eBay

    If you find items that are spelt incorrectly, then you can save some cash on eBay - does the job.

  12. Haku
    Thumb Down

    eBay not always worth it

    As much as I enjoy searching eBay for rare collectables I also use it to get everyday gadgets & useful items, but certain things are not worth getting from eBay because with a 20% price difference between 2nd hand off eBay & brand new shop bought on expensive items the shop always wins because of consumer protection laws (does anyone /really/ trust PayPal?) and 2 year warranty under EU laws.

    Plus you shouldn't ever buy USB flash sticks off eBay, I've ended up acquiring (given by family/friends) 3 USB flash drives that originated from eBay and they all arrived screwey, 4gb one would 'lose' it's files when plugged into another computer even though they would initially playback ok, the other two had been programmed to appear bigger than they are - but found a handy piece of software to reprogram them to show their true sizes; so now I have a free 132mb & 1gb.

  13. Dave Webb

    High fees putting prices up

    I dare say most things on ebay are not as cheap as they would have been had they not increased the fess. I'm selling things for much more than I did before they put the fees up. An average sale of £50 can incur fees of nearly £10 (Listing, FVF and PayPal). I wish more people used ebid for the things I sell, then I'd switch and not look back.

    Now they are shoving adverts into our faces on every page surely that generates an income that would allow them to reduce fees? I appreciate they spend a lot of money on hosting, staff etc but they don't even care about the sellers and we're the ones that pay the fees.

    Start using ebid people!

  14. Gerard Krupa
    Dead Vulture

    Speaking of misleading text... about the title of this article? Unless I missed something and the ASA did a survey of their own proving officially that high street shops are the same cheaper, there's no "official" status of whether eBay's prices are better or not.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    ... does that make ebay the world's biggest tat-dangle?

    Already on my way.

  16. Yorkshirepudding

    see the ebay song

    by weird Al, all you need to know really. when you see someone selling something for 99p and postage for over 3 quid then alarm bells really should ring-a-ding

    pirate because even the FSM wouldnt approve of it yaarrr

  17. Steven Raith
    Paris Hilton

    *really* cheap kit on ebay

    "I bought a whole HP server for 30£ + 30£ for delivery from someone doing a factory clear out"

    Yeah, a bit like the 'clear out' a mate had forced upon him, when £10ks worth of surveyor-quality GPS receiver was nicked from his van.

    Put on eBay the next day - mate saw it, informed the rozzers, who found a mountain of stolen kit at the address.

    Be very, very careful of 'suspiciously' cheap goods. Would you have bought that server from a bloke in the pub? Or would you have been worried about being arrested for being in possession of stolen goods?

    Steven R

  18. Neil Kay
    Paris Hilton

    Surely not

    Buying a solar-powered phone charger from Hong Kong, receiving a 4-way USB video camera dongle instead and having to argue with the seller that you won't pay the return postage for the wrong item because a) it's their fault and b) Postage is 4x the value of the wrong item.

    What's not to like!?

    Seriously though - I have got some good, second-hand IT kit (routers, switches, VoIP phones and racks) from ebay but picking known, trusted resellers. Cheap USB chargers from Hong Kong etc. are also usually OK, but for new stuff I'd always check high street prices and availability first and then still seriously avoid ebay unless really certain about the seller.

    In about 4 years of dealings on ebay, I've probably saved close to £10K in IT kit, been shafted once for £45 whcih I couldn't reclaim and had to make around £50 of paypal claims so, on balance, it's been worth it.

    /paris because she'll accept any best offer. A+++ would use her avatar again.

  19. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Tat market is right!

    Perfect place for those silly little nick-nacks, like silly sata-to-USB cables or cheap computer cables, drill bits, comics, ods and sods etc, the sort of tat you used to be able to get at any local Saturday market, but I would never buy anything expensive off there anymore, not with places like Amazon and such like!

    Additionally I won't sell on there, eBay take 10% commission on sales then insist on PayPal and then PayPal takes about 2-3% cut off the payment! Fecking rip off to customers, damn near financial rape of sellers!

  20. H2Nick

    ASA give eBay a load of free advertising

    This will work to eBay's favour I think..

    Heard it on the telly breakfast news & on the radio news too.

    Oxygen of publicity etc..

  21. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    Need to fix their reputation

    The wheels are rapidly falling off ebay's wagon. Notice how everyone here is complaining about bas experiences and the realisation that for many things ebay just isn't worth it. A couple of years ago everyone would have been proclaiming how cheap ebay was - it was in the early days but there are too many buyers there now.

    They really need to clean up the site and weed out the bad sellers. Start with all those who reside in Hong Kong or China, UK. If they cannot be honest about where they are located they should be banned as untrustworthy. However, it is not in ebay interest to weed these out of UK listings even if that is what the buyer requests in their search preferences.

    There also need to be better reporting mechanisms - feedback does not work since retaliatory feedback is all that ensues. I saw one seller selling three identical Amstrad PCWs not so long ago. Two were advertised as tested and working. The third "appeared to work as far as I can tell, but I do not have a boot floppy to test fully". In other words of course, it was tested and failed. That is fraud and he should be kicked off, but there isn't even any mechanism to report that unless you buy the item.

    Until these issues are sorted, 25% isn't enough of a discount. You need to pay no more than 1/3rd of an item's true value to offset the inconvenience and outright risk involved in ebay buying.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for some things

    I find eBay is good for small things like cable ties or small amounts of craft materials that don't justify an hour spent looking in shops up and down the high street to find whats essentially only a few quid worth of stuff. Then again I can be quite lazy.

    I used to buy a lot of second hand computer equipment off them but I've since realised its a massive waste of time. Brand new stuff isn't much more expensive, and you get the luxury of knowing with some certainty that you're actually going to get what you paid for.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    international trade relations

    If you gonna buy stuff on Ebay from China and Hong Kong - well you've only got yourself to blame, together with a import tax bill. Idid it once and I'm still deciphering the instruction manual.

    Maybe I'm kidding myself in thinking I have a better chance of recourse with a UK seller than one who lives on the other side of world, speaks a different language and has a completely different set of laws. International trade regulations were never my strong point.

    And, yes, you can presume I live in the UK.

  24. E

    It depends

    It depends what one is buying.

    I just bought a USB cable for a Canon Powershot Pro 90 IS camera on ebay: $7.00. At retail it was over $50.

    I just bought a Dell PERC 5/i on ebay: $165 inc shipping. I don't know what Dell would ask for the thing but I seriously doubt they would meet the price I paid.

    I frequently see good ethernet switches selling below retail too though I've not bought one.

    Video cards and CPUs and new hard drives and mainboards on the other hand are not appreciably cheaper on ebay than the local computer parts bigbox shops.

  25. E


    So, you pay for it, do you?

  26. Dive Fox

    @ Steven R

    £30 ProLiant may not be stolen, he never said it had top of the line hardware in it. I got one with a Pentium D in it for $20 at a salvage yard around here. With that being said, though, I haven't touched eBay in years; ever since I found a couple of computer equipment salvage places around town - I doubt you'll find a complete SunFire 880 on eBay. (Well, maybe you would, but I wouldn't want to ship the bloody thing.)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Almost every advertisment where one retailer claims to be the cheapest is misleading and based on incomplete or selective data. Why is this news?

  28. A J Stiles

    How to do it

    How to survive the eBay purchasing process:

    1. Treat any eBay purchases as a pure gamble. Never, ever bid even one penny more for an item than you could afford to lose (as in, never see again, ever) if anything goes amiss.

    2. When buying anything over £10, use the "ask seller a question" feature. If they can't answer questions satisfactorily, don't bid.

    3. Always pay by postal order, made out to "cash", bought from a busy urban post office (not that there are any rural ones left anymore under Labour). Post it to the vendor using a self-sealing envelope, with a self-adhesive stamp (saliva is full of DNA); and put nothing in the envelope which might identify you, or whatever you might be buying, to anyone who might intercept the postal order in transit.

    4. The most important rule of eBay: If you can get it anywhere else -- get it there.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Why is this news?

    > Why is this news?

    Because Ebay / Paypall is a massive profitable mega corp with luxury riverside offices in Richmond.

    Paying a few struggling PR agencies / writers to promote them on el reg is fair game really.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian (Chinese?) Roulette

    For all the reasons stated above (poor quality, fraud, stolen goods, outrageous "fees." little or no customer service. high prices), t just isn't worth using eBay anymore. I've been ripped off as both buyer and seller one too many times. As my gran would say - pshaw!

    It pays to scour the web and local shops for deals on new stuff. I recently found a local reseller offering 2TB Western Digital oem SATA drives for $150. Used stuff i seek and sell on the local Craig's list. This gives me the chance to examine the goods and run the serial to see if it is used, stolen, etc.

    Ebay is so twentieth century.

  31. Kevin Reader


    Its been the case for several years (maybe longer) that for example a lot of PC memory went for more on eBay than it cost from online shops WITH a Warantee. BUT when you wanted older parts that no-one can be bothered to sell - or that get rapidly "unsold" - eBay IS the only place to go.

    Need memory for that old motherboard? Broken the VHS you use to watch the 1000 tapes you collected in the previous decade? - almost no other choice than eBay. I sold off my Dad's old (circa 70s & 80s) hi-fi for him - people rushed to buy as it had a proper record deck AND you couldn't match the quality later than the mid-eighties.

  32. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    this assumes

    that adverts at any point in time have ever told the truth? Its not like ebay is a one off case. why pick on them?

  33. Eric Hood

    China Sellers OK

    @spectacularly refined chap and AC

    I have purchased many things from Chinese and HK sellers without issues. My last large purchase was a new 135mm Nikon lens, the fellow had at the time of purchase a positive feedback of 22 thousand. Service was first rate. The lens arrived in 5 days by Fedex. The store name is Chinaarts if the mods will let this through.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Per cent (%) is correct. Yeah yeah, I'm a pedant. Still, criticising correct usage does make you look like a wally. Or is it just that we're so used to reading mangled English in El Reg that we complain when they get it right?

  35. wim

    ebay for locally unavailable goods

    I use ebay to purchase goods that "don't exist" in the local chain.

    I live in a small city (1 million population) in a fairly developed country (japan) but not a single decent pc store to be found here. Graphics cards are at least 50% more expensive than in US/European shops if you can find something you want.

    So for me being able to just look for what I need on ebay without having to deal with sales people in a shop that try to sell you a PXI express card when you ask for AGP is perfect for me.

    Of course buying something on ebay is always a risk and it is a fact that ebay will do nothing (except to ignore you) when you have a problem.

  36. VulcanV5


    Got something too bulky / too heavy to post? Don't want to risk possible damage in transit? Well then, go to eBay, and be mindful of the following:

    1) You must offer PayPal (which is owned by eBay.) No ifs. No buts. That way, eBay can rip you off for the listing fee and for the sales commission, and eBay-owned PayPal can then rip you off for the commission charged on the compulsory credit transaction.

    2) You must not ask for payment in cash on collection. Your listing will be banned by eBay.

    3) You must have proof of posting of any item to the buyer's PayPal verified address otherwise PayPal won't cover you in the event of a fraudulent charge-back.

    4) So you refrain from asking for cash, you agree to let your buyer pay via PayPal, your item is taken away, eBay hits you with listing fee + sales commission, PayPal hits you with transaction commission, your buyer claims the item was never received, you have no proof of postage because the item was collected, PayPal immediately refunds the buyer and you've just lost not only your property but the money that was 'paid' for it.

    Question: how do you sell something without being left open to paying out large sums to a tacky American conglomerate and being defrauded as well?

    Answer: keep well clear of eBay, the online auction site for eMorons everywhere.

    It shouldn't even be allowed to operate in the UK considering the illegality of its unfair terms and conditions (as per above.)

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