Buyer Beware – Ricardo and Ebay Corona Virus Time

Ricardo and Ebay are two sources many use to purchase used goods and “unknown label” products often sold by drop shippers who themselves use Amazon or Alibaba as a source. 

What do you need to watch out for during a pandemic like the coronavirus?

The same applies to any purchase on Ebay or Ricardo, the most common things to be aware of include: 

Buyer Purchase Protection

Ebay has a stronger purchasing protection policy through PayPal, Ricardo is notorious amongst expats or those new to Switzerland for their poor response times and inability to resolve problems. The customer service premium rate phone line will often lead to advice for you the buyer to “resolve” your differences with the seller. 

For low value purchases you simply end up with a new purchase being put into the  recycling or trash.

Times of shortage – Corona Virus actual offers and pricing:

  1. Desinfektionsmittel (Hand) 6x 500ml = CHF 120 Total +post 10.70
  2. Desinfektionsmittel (Hand) 2L = CHF 70 Total + Post CHF 10.70
  3. Desinfektionsmittel 500ml = CHF 15 + Post 7.00
  4. Desinfektionsgel 250ml = CHF 12.50 + Post 12.50

No 3 was made with 98% Ethanol and No.2 80% Ethanol, 1 and 4 had no information in their description as to alcohol content.

The ethanol % is important to address coronavirus transfer, learn more in our post:

How to make your own hand sanitiser had a similar price range and it was obvious sellers were on both platforms.  

Seller Product Descriptions

This is variable on Ricardo, less so on where more effort is made on the listing. It is also a clue as to the interest in the seller regarding her/his product. 

Do not be surprised by one-offs on Ricardo, item 3 was being sold by a seller who had recently been selling over 15 personal items.

Items 1,2 and 4 were listings related to a bulk purchase where the product was 1 of 10 or 1 of 90 for sale.   

Common Sense Rules Apply

As with any purchase on or Ebay, you need to 

Research the Price of an Item ( did I say research the Price of an Item)

Don’t assume that the prices you see are the lowest around, you only need to check the used camera equipment prices on both Ebay or Ricardo to see sellers who have unrealistic price expectations.

Google shopping, Amazon and in some cases Etsy or others will help you to find a shopping price point. 

Discover What People Have Paid in the Past

On Ebay this is simple with a quick completed sale item search. Ricardo is a bit more tiresome, you need to search using the article number (10 digit number visible in feedback results). 

Check the Question and Answer Section

Ebay and Ricardo offer a “buy it now” option and the opportunity to ask questions about the listing. It is not uncommon on higher value items to arrange to see the item for sale before a final commitment. Do not be afraid to suggest a best final or lower price, sometimes a seller will do a deal on volume or postage.

Check the postage cost

The prices for use of the postal service vary, one member was charged CHF9.00 to then be sent a product via slow B post on Ricardo for less than CHF3.00. Tightwads apply to both Ricardo and Ebay, it is not uncommon to get “chipped” on postage as a buyer. 

A number of Ebay sellers offer free postage, it all depends on the product to be purchased.

End of auction – Ebay is different to Ricardo

If the item you have your eye on is really hot, then that will just drive up the price as other bidders swoop in on Ebay. There it is a last second sniping game as you wait until the clock ticks down to zero and the end.

On your bid opens up a 3 minute window which attracts other bidders and can be a tense last 3 minute wait if you want an item. If the price at countdown is within 10% of the buy it now price, just buy it to guarantee ownership instead of waiting to save CHF3% or less. 


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