Having now bought not one, but TWO of my important items from China (specifically for my wedding day, not to mention a raft of other things), I have learned much about dealing specifically with Chinese eBay listings.
Items from China have several advantages, primarily, they’re really cheap and generally acceptable (but take hallmarks with a pinch of salt). If you like your items to be to be quality-assured and guaranteed to arrive within 7-10 working days, don’t from China-based vendors. If you like to depend on places you buy things from, don’t from China-based vendors. But if you like to take a small risk on the off-chance of BIG savings, I can heartily recommend trying Chinese eBay-ers.
1. They are a LOT cheaper than American/British listings
Initially I was suspicious. Our culture tells us that things are priced at specific points for a reason. I think you should make up your own mind about that. Personally I have found it a great way to save money shopping.
2. The quality is generally either the same, better, or poorer than US/UK items
Remember when you gave your Barbie dolls a haircut, and suddenly realized they had “made in China” stamped on the back of their neck? Well, a lot of the time you are buying the same goods but directly from the wholesaler or manufacturer, so you are efffectively cutting out the middle man. This means that sometimes you get the exact same product for less. Sometimes, it means the product is better, because the American/British shops wouldn’t be able to make the same profit margin on a slightly higher cost unit. Sometimes, it means the product is worse, because your American/British middleman orders samples before deciding which items are worth selling on.
3. Sometimes things just don’t turn up at all
Other times, they take over a month to arrive. Other other times, they amaze you by turning up in a week. This entirely depends on the seller and their choice of postal carrier. When it’s free postage, you can’t really complain though. Often it’s free postage on odd-sized items (I got free postage on SHOES last month); I haven’t worked out how they afford this unless China Post has a special deal to improve foreign trade or something. Often they tick the “gift” column on customs decs. Sometimes…