ebay vs. Amazon

ebay vs amazonUp until a few years ago, I did quite a lot of shopping on Ebay. Sure, every now and then I'd run into an unscrupulous seller and have a bad experience, but overall, I was able to save money by buying items on Ebay. I particularly liked using Ebay for buying used items, such as books, cds, and games. And I've saved quite a bit of money by buying used computer parts like CPUs and memory as well. But in the last couple years, I've had a change of heart, and now prefer Amazon. Sure, I still visit and buy from Ebay every once in a while, but the first site I go to in most cases is Amazon. Why is this?

On the whole, I find the vendors on Amazon to be more reliable. And while I used to favor Ebay for the used goods I could find there, Amazon sellers now sell quite a few used items as well, including books, music, and movies. While I ocassionally had bad experiences with Ebay sellers, I have yet to have an issue with something I've bought from an Amazon seller. Maybe they just vett their vendors more carefully. But for whatever reason, I have much more peace of mind buying from Amazon these days.

But perhaps most importantly, I made the switch to shopping primarily from Amazon sellers because that is where I find the best prices. At first glance, you may think that Ebay sellers have equally low prices, but I have found this not to be the case. The part that really ends up costing me a lot when I shop on Ebay is shipping. I don't know why, but I find that shipping costs are always lower for the products I buy on Amazon. What's more, I like the fact that Amazon has a very good rewards card, called the Amazon Rewards Visa Card. This card gives you a whopping 3% cash back on everything you buy on Amazon. You also get 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants. For a card that has no annual fee, this is among the best rewards cards I've been able to find anywhere.

To be fair, Ebay has a similar, Mastercard rewards card. This card, however, is based on points and gives you 2x points for every dollar you spent at Ebay. It also requires you to have a Paypal account. But the worst part is that 1 point does not equal 1 dollar. You'll be disappointed to find when you're redeeming your points that in most cases, you'll be getting less than a penny for each point you accumulate. When you do the math, the Amazon card gives you a lot more in terms of rewards.

In addition, Amazon simply provides much better consumer information when you are shopping. While the review on Amazon aren't always geniune or 100% accurate, they do give you a terrific way to gauge what the consensus opinion on a certain product is. This tool alone is a must-have resource for any serious shopper. In fact, even when I'm not shopping at Amazon, I still look up the reviews on Amazon because I have come to rely on them so much.

What really helped Amazon become my no-brainer, go-to web retailer was a program called Amazon Prime. Until I joined Amazon Prime, I had a Netflix account for which I was paying $8 monthly. Amazon Prime gives me a streaming service that is just as good, PLUS it gives me free 2-day shipping one everything I buy from Amazon. Note, however, that the free shipping won't extend to Amazon Marketplace sellers, which is a bit of a letdown. But I still find that I save at least $100 a year in shipping by having a Prime membership. These savings pretty much pay for the program, and I end up getting the streaming service for free. To get more insight into how Amazon Prime works, check out this video:

If you talk to other shoppers, you may get a different opinion. But for the reasons I've listed above, as far as I'm concerned, Amazon comes out as the winner when compared to Ebay.