Since older items are hard to find in normal retail channels, I’ve had to resort to using eBay for quite a few of my purchases over the past year. Most recently, Naru, Naru, and Mikuru came from eBay, as had Konata and Rin Figma, Lena Sayers, and a whole mess of others. There are a lot of things to be cautious of when buying from an auction site, as it can be difficult to ensure you’re getting a new and authentic product. There are plenty of rules of thumb out there (including the age-old “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” adage), though once you do find something you want to buy, why not try to save a little extra?
Last year, Microsoft launched a shopping and price comparison site, along the same lines as Froogle. Initially called Live Shopping (and now branded as Bing Shopping), the site offered incentives for purchasing in the form of rebates. The rebate would be a percentage of an item’s purchase price and would be delivered to you 60 days after purchase. Lots of popular retailers joined this program, from Newegg to Barnes and Noble. The amount ranged from as little as 1% all the way up to 50% in rare cases, usually during a promotional period.
One of the retailers offering incentives is eBay. Unlike most other stores in the Cashback program, eBay isn’t accessible through the main landing page. Instead, it was triggered by specific searches in Live. The amount also tended to fluctuate, depending on if there was a promotion going on. It is currently at 8%, however it has also been as high as 35%. Since not too many people in the figure community seem to be aware of the program, here’s a quick guide on how to take advantage and save a little bit in the process!
To get started, there are a few things you’ll need:
- Live in the United States and have a valid mailing address (no PO boxes)
- A Windows Live ID (eg. a Hotmail or Live Mail address)
- PayPal account
- eBay account
The first step is to set up your cashback account through Bing cashback. Sign in with your Windows Live ID and click on the cashback account link in the left navigation menu. Follow the prompts to sign in and create your account. At this stage, I would also recommend setting up the association with your PayPal account through the "Reward Methods” section so you can get your monies easily. This is also critical for linking up with your eBay purchases.
Once your account is set up, you can browse the cashback site to familiarize yourself with the stores available, or skip directly to getting to eBay. Since eBay isn’t a listed merchant, you have to do a search at Bing.com to get the cashback link. There are lots of terms that will invoke it, such as Xbox, wii, Nintendo DS, and atari. Since all you’re doing is using the search term to get the cashback link to pop, it really doesn’t matter which you choose.
Usually the link will show up near the top, but sometimes it will be in the right sidebar. In the image above, you see a link for www.ebay.com, and the 8% cashback. If it doesn’t say eBay in the link, then it is a general cashback link that will take you to bing.com/cashback. Here’s an example of a cashback link that isn’t for eBay (sorry Sony):
Notice the difference? Once you click on the link, you’ll be brought to a search page on eBay showing items that match your search term. You can now use that session to search for any other item you want. When shopping, be sure to remember these criteria:
- You only get cashback for items that are listed as Buy It Now
- You must pay for the item via PayPal
- Only the item cost will be counted for cashback, any shipping and handling charges leveraged by the seller are not eligible
- Items from the “eBay International sellers” list do not qualify (i.e. must be listed on www.ebay.com, and not any of the regional sites)
- Eligible items will have a little $ icon next to the name
In the example below, I did a search for Mikuru. Notice how the first and third items are auctions and don’t have a gold icon next to the name. The second and fourth listings are Buy It Now listings and have the icon.
Also, you you can check for cashback status at the top of the page. There will be a small banner at the top indicating “Microsoft cashback,” the percentage, and a link to more information on the program. Once you purchase the item (and everything was done correctly), you will get an email from Bing cashback indicating the status. For most eBay purchases, the rebate is instant, and you will receive the credit deposited to your PayPal account right after making your payment. This is especially useful if you’re buying multiple items, as you can then apply the credit towards your next purchase. For the merchants listed on the cashback site, a 60 day waiting period is required, and you must have a minimum of $5 rewarded in order to withdraw it.
Hopefully this quick guide will help you save a little bit on your next figure purchases. Happy buying!