Advantages simple search for potential bargains
Disadvantages might have to give credit card detail at the very begining
QXL.com is the British part a pan-European auction company that runs in 13 countries. It’s free to join and the registration process is very simple. You need to give an email address and they will send you spurious junk fairly frequently – so use a spare account rather than your work or main personal accounts. You are given a membership number and you select a username so make sure if you join you keeps these safe!The site itself is adequate. There’s a lot crammed into every page so it can be a bit overwhelming at first. In fact sometimes certain pages are quite slow to load and this could be because of the plethora of banners and logos. Speed of navigation is currently being slowed down by a pop up window displaying an advert!
The simple search option is faster than I expected and pretty efficient. In fact is so good that I haven’t needed to use the advanced search option yet. The latter is, however, useful if you only want to look for products from certain countries or to search for a certain seller.There are many categories on QXL so be prepared to hunt around! There’s an antiques section, flights and holidays, sports, entertainment - you name it, its probably there. Some categories are very popular and others are a little bit more sparse on items actually up for auction. You can even set up your account to notify you if you have successful or not. This can done via email or more impressively via SMS text messages. I haven’t actually bought anything yet, but I have bid for several items.
One of the main issues I’m concerned about is safety. I didn’t really want to give my credit cards details in the original registration process so I opted for not giving my details which means I can’t bid for the items supplied by credit cards only merchants. But if you are prepared to give your details then you can register to bid on all auctions on the site.Moreover QXL offer free insurance to qualifying QXL members that are affected in that you paid but didn’t receive the goods in a reasonable time period or paid for a product and received a materially different one. This seems reasonable protection but I’d have to read the small print to be 100% sure! Insurance companies are often too keen to get out of their commitments.
Before you buy from a seller you can also see how they have been rated by other QXL users. Merchants can be given a score of +1, 0, or –1 to produce a cumulative rating. Be careful if you look closely a few sellers have been rated many times by the same person! So this is not as reliable as it might originally seem. Users can also leave a brief message/opinion about the seller so read these if you are interested in making a purchase.In summary it’s not great but it's not too bad either! It's free to join and if you are running a pay as you surf scheme then what’s the harm on keeping an eye out for a bargain! Just be careful there are no excessive hidden costs like p&p! Check on the items that you are interested in whether paying p&p is your or the sellers responsibility.
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