Monday, January 9, 2017

Changes to 2017 eBay Bucks Program. What Watch Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

For any of us who buy and sell watches on eBay, quiet changes were made to the eBay Bucks Program that may affect the amount of rewards we can earn. Everyone is different in how they buy, but for some of us it's a game to get the best deal on everything we purchase. eBay Bucks was one of the best reward programs out there if you were already buying watches on the popular site.

If you did not know, eBay is probably the world's oldest and largest peer-to-peer retail site and a game changer for watch collectors and sellers alike. It started life in 1995, but a peek at the 2015 stats shows what a sales behemoth it is. Granted, those numbers include everything from sales of useless junk to ├╝ber expensive luxury items like cars, but you get my point.

In the not so distant past, if you wanted a watch then you had to go to a brick-and-mortar store to buy it. This could include an authorized dealer with their MSRP limitations, an auction house, a pawn shop or a private seller. Sure, that is capitalism at its finest, and I am not knocking it. But, that was a very local buying experience, and limited.

Like many disruptive technological inventions, eBay created a whole new internet economy that did not exist before, bringing together people from all over the world to perform one-on-one transactions. Ebay buyers and sellers negotiate their own prices through Buy-It-Now sales, Auctions and Best Offers. More money would go into the seller's pocket. The buyer would benefit from the cheaper "street value" of the watch, perhaps as low as 25% of the MSRP. Even with the apparent risk of buying luxury goods online, many of us could not resist the opportunity to save money... and every sale is guaranteed by eBay's protection policies. That is another subject for a later post.

The Old eBay Bucks Program...

Last year's eBay Bucks Program
The eBay Bucks Program was designed to reward buyers for spending money on eBay. It used to be that you would get 2% back from every purchase (up to $100 per item). Every 4 months, eBay would tally up your points and give you eBay Bucks to spend on eBay. While 2% does not seem like a lot, many little purchases could add up to a decent amount of "cash" back spendable only on eBay.

The New eBay Bucks Rules...

Effective January 1, 2017, the eBay Bucks rules changed. I'll only be discussing the ones pertaining to buying or selling watches. The biggest difference is that the base 2% cash-back has shrunk to 1%. This seems like a bummer, but maybe not as much as you might think.

New to the program is the ability to earn eBay Bucks as you sell items... but only at certain times through special emailed promotions. This means that sellers also now get eBay Bucks back on sales they make. Not bad for something they are doing anyway.

This would be a good time to mention that you have to sign up for the eBay Bucks program. It is not automatic, but it is easy. Sign up for eBay Bucks Program here.

The small 1% back is not eBay Bucks Program 's biggest advantage. The largest cash back rewards happen when eBay sends enrollees special offers that might be 6%, 8% or even 10% back (up to $100). There is often a limited timeframe to take advantage of the offer, usually 24 hours. If all the stars aligned and the auction you were bidding on ended in that timeframe or you found an item as a Buy-It-Now, then you were golden. A $1,000 watch would still cost you $1,000, but you would get $100 back in eBay Bucks to spend later. An old proverb said "a penny saved is a penny earned" so saving a $100 or more on a future eBay purchase is even better-er. (ha!)

While it seems like the changes made to the eBay Bucks Program will be less advantageous for buyers, they might not be so bad. As long as the high-percentage special offers are intact, then the greatest opportunity to earn eBay Bucks is still possible. Don't forget to sign up, because the program works and I have several "free" watches to prove it.

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