Would you spend $1 to buy a $35 coupon from eBay?

Would you spend $1 to buy a $35 coupon from eBay?

Summary: It seems that you can get a really good deal if you do your research on discount websites for the lowest prices and biggest coupons. But is buying a $35 coupon off eBay for $1 going too far?

TOPICS: E-Commerce

A few years ago if you asked me if I would buy a coupon off of eBay and I would have thought you were crazy.  But two years ago my friend got me to start looking at these coupon websites (which are a whole topic in and of itself) which list coupon deals for the lowest prices on products from companies like Dell.  Some of the discounts are extremely steep and the issue first came up earlier this year when I compared the first Intel Mac prices to PC based notebooks and from what I understand these discount websites don't make money off click-throughs but actual sales from referred customers.  When they do create an actual sale, the amount of money they make is significantly more than a click-through.  Even though I'm pointing directly to Dell's website in the next paragraph, the original coupon site still gets credit for the referral.

The latest deal I came across was this new 20.1" widescreen LCD display for a low $358 which includes a 3-year advanced replacement warrantee which would be the perfect companion to the overclocked 4 GHz Dual Core Game PC I showed you last Friday.  If that wasn't low enough, the discount site tells us to look for these special $35 "stacking coupons" on eBay which can be used on an already discounted product.  Assuming you find a reputable seller with decent eBay ratings, you would send the seller $0.99 via Paypal and they will tell you the coupon number.  Of course what I want to know is where these guys are getting their stackable coupons in the first place.  With the $35 stacking coupon, the price of the monitor is brought down to $323 + $1 for the coupon.  Depending on the state you live in, you might end up paying no sales taxes with free shipping so you end up with an awesome 20.1" LCD monitor for $324 total price.  For us suckers in California, we get to pay 8.25% sales tax plus an $8 environmental fee for 15 to 35 inch displays.

I still haven't gotten use to the idea of buying things from eBay, but the world seems to be changing and I'll probably have to eventually go with the flow.  Just one of these days I'll come across something I want and I'll have to set up that eBay and Paypal account.  From an advertising standpoint, could discount websites become the big disrupter of conventional advertising?  Tell me if any of you would buy a coupon from eBay and bargain hunt in this manner.

Topic: E-Commerce

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  • Absolutely!

    You should mention some of these money-saving web sites that do a good job, like TechBargains.com.

    As long as the money saved makes it worth the effort, you're crazy not to. The purchase price and the money saved has to be in a good ratio, though (don't ask me what the ratio is, I just know it when I see it).

    I had participated in a Mazda driving event and received a coupon worth several hundred dollars off a new Mazda. I didn't plan on purchasing a Mazda but I figured someone out there did. So I sold the coupon for a few bucks, figuring it was worth it to someone. I could have sold a dozen of them if I'd had them.
  • Kinda like scalping isn't it?

    Asking for more money than it took to buy the item in the first place. Most coupons have a cash value of hundredths of a penny, so $1 would be overcharging by 10000% . . .

    I see opportunities here for fake coupons, expired coupons, no coupons (take money and run), etc. If you got ripped off for a buck, would you care that much? Could be just another spam-like trick or maybe phishing? To buy your coupon from PayPal - click here! Taking you to a fake PayPal site . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • Yes it is

      I want to know where they get these things. It's worth saving $34. Only problem is that the coupon codes are single use only, so if they sell it to multiple people you're going to get ripped off.
      • Bummer

        You mean all these paper coupons for $50 dollars off of an Alienware system are only worth 1 thousandth of a penny, but I can sell them on eBay for $.99 and get serious dollars for them?

        I think that would be worth it.

        Alienware Wins, the Customer Wins, and I win. Who loses?
  • Why the mystery on the original coupon site?

    I see the eBay coupons from your link... TIA.
    • If I start linking to that, I'll never hear the end of it from other sites

      All the discount sites are already begging me to look at their site now. I'll never hear the end of it.
      • I guess that makes sense...

        but now the story does me no good because this isn't my forte. I figured this would've gotten me some discounts too. If you email it to me, no one would be the wiser and I have nothing to gain by divulging that info to others. Jeez, this is complicated... oh well.
  • Other shopping suggestions

    For other electronic gear, the Daily Woot! often has some goodies:


    And for Mac buyers out there, this is always a good place to consult before buying a new system:

    tic swayback
  • We spent one dollar for a password once

    My wife wanted the presale password for Wiggles tickets when we wanted to take my son to see them. She payed a buck on ebay, got the password (which worked) and we got great tickets.
  • Ebay

    Bought over 80 products on eBay over the last few years - Including Dell, IBM, Compaq computers running XP under US$300, lots of little tech gadgets, a mountain bike and WoW gold. Haven't really had any problems and although I have a PayPal account, I use direct bank transfer of funds.

    The main benefit is, unlike a shop, you can see the rating given to a vendor by their previous customers and also unlike a shop they don't get a look at your credit card - why some people think encrypted transactions are less secure than giving your card to a lowly paid waiter or shop assistant is beyond me.
    • Buying on eBay

      I haven't thought much about buying coupons, but I've made more than 500 purchases over the last 6 years - mostly CDs, computers and parts, auto parts, and even clothes. I've had only a couple of bad transactions, but in hind sight, I should have seen them coming.
    • payment security, CC vs. checks

      I'm carefull with my credit card info, but I am less worried about it than I am my bank account info. If there is a bogus charge on my CC, I don't have to pay it (first $50 if the actual card was used), but if someone takes my bank info and makes checks with that info, or does direct debits on my account, the law does not give me any protection, to get my money back, I would have to go after the person who made the bogus transactions. Plus, if I pay by direct bank transfer, I have no protection on the transaction. I.e., if I buy something and the product does not work, or is not as advertised, the bank will not help me with the problem, whereas the CC company will. I had to use that once when a company stated false information about a product on their web page and wanted to charge a restocking fee. I challanged the purchase with the CC and they removed the charge from my bill, no restocking fee.

      Also, the bank does not give me a rebate on the checks I write, my CC gives me 1% on most purchases, and 5% on some purchases like Gasoline and purchases from drug stores. The key is to pay your balance in full each month!
  • Did exactly that

    Funny, I bought the Dell monitor and also bought the coupon from eBay. Everything went very smooth, no problems with the coupon code and with both transactions. I am now anxiously waiting for the monitor :)
  • It works

    I recently bought the Dell 24" monitor using a combo of Dell and Internet coupons. The monitor was originally $999. I used a 30% off coupon from eBay and additional discounts from Dell available that week, including free shipping. There's no sales tax in NH, so the final price was $639. Not bad for a top-rated 24 inch LCD monitor.
    A 15% off coupon came in the box..I suppose I could have sold that on eBay.

    The only negative was Dell's overseas customer service people who barely speak English, but that's another issue.
    • Another issues

      Maybe if you paid $999 for the monitor Dell could afford someone who speaks english :)...but then if you could always just plug it in and have it work as advertised...they wouldn't need tech support people.
      Uncle Opie
  • Sure I would!

    This would give e-commerce websites, a huge bargain power! But would for sure benefit all of us as customers!
  • I have done it!

    I used a coupon I purchased on e-bay to buy a dell xps laptop I spent 2.00 for the coupon (750 off a laptop of 1499)plus another one I got on fatwallet.com plus they give you a rebate through them (3 percent) which knocked several hundred dollars off the dell price.I have been on e-bay since 1997 as a seller and buyer.No problems here.
  • Interesting, but too much work...

    I just bought a Viewsonic 20.1" Widescreen 8ms LCD from NewEgg.com for only $344, no tax, no shipping, no risk of eBay scams, nothing. While I know a Dell LCD is pretty decent, Viewsonic is still better.
    I think you can always find just as good of a deal with much less hassle and time by going to a place like pricewatch.com or some other price listing service.
    • You're right in this case

      I've even seen the Viewsonic for as low as $299 with a $100 rebate, but that's also a lot of work and it's very hard to get rebate money back even if you follow up. Also, 8ms is better than the current Dell 20.1 which is 16ms. The older dell 20.1 which I have is 12ms. I do like the 3 year advanced replacement on the Dell monitor though. But you're right that there are deals to be had anywhere.
  • I do it all the time

    Just look for good feedback. Anything less than 95% and I never bid. For example, I buy Borders and Barnes & Noble Gift Cards a lot. In the last month, I bought a $50ish Borders card for $22 with free shipping. I got another Borders card worth just over a hundred dollars for eighty something. These are GIFT cards so they work WITH coupons. Borders frequently has "30% off any item" coupons. I use them with the gift cards and - you do the math. We've been buying these kinds of things on eBay for about three years. Never been scammed. I have to see good feedback and many transactions before I do business. There are deals at eBay with "Gift Cards" and "Merchandise Credit" that's hard to believe.