How to Buy Used Baby Clothes Online!
There are multitudes of ways to purchase used clothing for your baby. In this article I will cover only the online options available in the hopes that it will help you to maximize your spending money with the least amount of hassle, stress or risk. I hope to cover some of the key issues of buying used clothes online such as private sales versus online stores, the use of PayPal and other forms of payment, purchasing through ebay and non-ebay auctions or non-auctions alike, online classifieds and more all in the hopes that you will benefit from some of the things I've learned and avoid the mistakes that I as well as others have made.
First of all let's talk a bit about where to find used baby clothes online from private sellers. There are some areas on the web which allow you to post used clothing ads such as ebay and classified sites. Some classified or "for sale" sites are even specialized in either family or baby related items. Ebay, for those of us who are familiar but not necessarily all knowing about it, is a giant online auction with items being posted constantly in all possible fields and topics. Those selling can choose to list their items in an auction format in which the sky's the limit. Bids can start as low as one penny or they can choose to invite people to purchase the items out right by using a buy now feature in which they set a price for their items. As a general rule the buyer pays all shipping costs on top of the selling price and most payments are made through PayPal, which I will cover later.
Baby clothing on ebay tends to be mostly new with or without tags attached and is either sold in batches of items known as "lots" (grouped by gender and size) or individually as outfits. Since I am focusing on used baby items let's discuss those. Batches of baby clothing on ebay tend to get bid very high as there is a seemingly large number of people wanting to buy in this way and very few meeting the demand. I have found that items and batches of clothing of any note on ebay tend to sky rocket in price above what is reasonable for used clothing -- particularly if they toss in a few name brands such as Gap, Osh Kosh, Gymboree etc... and more often than not a bidding war ensues and you are inevitably outbid or worse you get caught up and spend more than you'd originally expected for items you haven't even seen and have no quality guarantee!
Auction and classified or selling sites other than ebay can be very chancy -- since ebay is established it has the ability to set down rules which keep most dishonest people out while the smaller sights haven't the same pull with those posting. Quite often these sites (this doesn't really apply to local purchasing) are riddled with people who are no longer allowed to post on ebay for one reason or another. I have had experiences myself in which items promised ended up being fewer than what I'd paid for and set a price based entirely on quantity! I can't tell you how upset that made me, and what was worse -- I was informed that three of the items had small stains when in truth about 50 fell into the stained category. So what had originally been a good deal turned out to be very disappointing!
There are of course no guarantees with a private seller, no return policy or customer service after the sale is closed and once the sale is complete you must find a new seller down the road when you need clothing again and you run the risks of stumbling across a swindle or a sour deal every time.
One rule to follow in all private sales is to use a traceable method of payment like PayPal. PayPal is a third party which will ensure payment and receipt of product from both parties. Do not use Western Union in any online transactions, or any other non traceable forms of payment! There is no guarantee you'll ever get the items you paid for when you use this method as it is meant to be untraceable!
So now let's discuss the second option of buying used baby clothes online -- the non private sellers or online used baby clothing stores. There are over 50 stores currently running online who specialize in selling used baby clothing. As with all things online there are stores which are shabbily run due to poor web design skills and such to no fault on the part of the store, they just don't have the skills to make the process simple and enjoyable for you. They have great items and competitive prices and if you don't mind a little extra effort when placing an order they do have more security than the average private seller -- especially since you know where they are going to be when you need them.
There are a handful of sites which are a little better for service - for example you do not need to email them detailed descriptions of the items you'd like, mail them a money order or some such and then wait for them to receive it before they even send you the items these sites often have PayPal as an option and some even have shopping carts if a little confusing to use. There are an even smaller number of high service sights who offer credit card payment options, low shipping costs and things similar to those offered by online stores in general. Quite a few of all three levels of sites have quality guarantees for a week or so after you've received your order -- one even offers a full year quality guarantee! This ensures that the items you buy from them have been inspected thoroughly by people who have a more universal understanding of the words "in great condition" and it is in their best interest to satisfy as they ideally would like you to come back and tell others! Shopping with these stores can be fun and you can save tons while getting the quality you are looking for!
Should you choose the more dangerous route of shopping through private sellers with ebay and non ebay sites please take care and remember to never use a non traceable form of payment, don't be afraid to ask numerous questions -- if something seems off in their responses trust your gut -- there will always be another seller. Should you choose to explore the option of purchasing through an online used baby clothing store I wish you all the fun of shopping for baby clothes at bargain prices (doesn't that mean you can buy even more?!) with none of the hassle or risks associated with private sellers and the added benfit of quality guarantees! Happy Shopping! I will cover more on this issue in later posts.