Shopping Tips: Advice For Buying Antiques Online

Shopping tips, guidelines and advice for buying antiques online such as seller's reputation, good-faith warranties and shipping issues.

Purchasing antiques always contains some risk, even for the most educated antique shopper. Shopping online for antiques adds completely new elements to the process.

Knowledge

Advanced knowledge of the item you are purchasing can help carry you the extra distance when buying an item via an online auction or through an online storefront. Ask if any damage that is not visible clearly through photographs is present. Inquire about the insides of items, such as the rim on a cookie jar. Does an item have any stains that are not visible through the supplied photographs? Are there markings to substantiate an items heritage? Can the seller provide details on these?

Information

Oftentimes, when making a purchase online, we hesitate when asking for additional information, or for the information to be clarified. We, as the consumer, need to learn not to hesitate to ask the seller for any additional information that may guide us in our decision to make a purchase or not. Ask for additional close-up photos of an item if you think that will clear up any confusion to an items condition. Ask the seller if they have any additional information about the item that was not included in its listing, such as where they acquired it. Ask all questions before you make a binding bid, and be wary if a seller is evasive in their answers, or just does not reply at all. A seller in good faith will try to be as clear and concise about an objects condition as they can be. They want to not only profit on the sale, they also want a satisfied customer so they can potentially make another sale.



Reputation

One of the most important aspects of purchasing antiques online is often overlooked, the reputation of a seller. Options are available, such as seller feedback, chat rooms, and often the most overlooked, the telephone, to check out a seller's character. If the online venue is a storefront, it may be a spin-off of a real brick-and-mortar store. Inquire to the stores local better business bureau about their reputation.

Warranty

Most people do not think of a warranty when they think antiques. However, surprisingly, many online sellers will offer good-faith warranties. They warrant that the item is as listed. Ask before the final purchase if any such warranty is available.

Paper Trail

When making any type of online purchase, keep copies of all emails pertaining to the sale. Print and keep a copy of the webpage that shows the ad in it's entirety for the item purchased. It will not hurt to save a copy on your computer hard drive also, especially for a big-ticket item. This will in no way be a perfect solution if the sale goes bad and you wind up having to resolve an issue through a court or mediator, but any information of this type can back up your case.

Shipping

Be realistic when paying for certain shipping options often offered where antiques are concerned. If the Hull teapot you just closed a deal on stated that the seller requires extra shipping and insurance charges, a: consider the cost at the start, and b, common sense tells you to insure a breakable item! What about the postcard that you just had to have, to complete your collection of "˜Big Fish Lies' that cost you a total of $2.99"¦Common sense tells you again that it may be worth the extra fifty-five cents to have delivery confirmation added to the envelope, but not to pay an extra $5 insurance fee.

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