FROM antique Third Reich coins to rare memorabilia from the Beatles era, there's no shortage of the weird and wonderful for sale on online auction website eBay.
Don't get carried away, though -- you can pay way over the odds for something snapped up on the auction website -- in many cases, at least twice the High Street price. We line up some of the best eBay rip-offs.
TAKE THAT TICKETS
137% more expensive
Tickets for the Take That & Robbie Williams concert in Croke Park this June sold like hot cakes last October. The show is sold out, eBay is one of the few ways you'll get your hands on a ticket today -- but at a price.
Four Cusack Stand tickets were on sale on eBay last week for €1,000 -- plus €5 delivery. That works out at €251.25 a ticket, more than twice the €105.85 (including a €6.35 service charge) they were initially sold for.
100% more expensive
You'd want to be one hell of a chocaholic to bid for a Dairy Milk on eBay -- and you'll pay for your addiction there, too. Two standard 50g bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk were selling for €1.99 on eBay last week -- plus €1.50 postage. That adds up to about €1.75 a bar -- more than twice what you'll usually pay in your local newsagent or supermarket.
Mrs Brown DVDs
30% more expensive
You can't stand Brendan O'Carroll but your wife is his biggest fan so you've resigned yourself to buying her Mrs Brown's DVD box set for Valentine's Day.
The box set was on sale on eBay for €39 last week, including a €3.99 delivery charge. At €29.99, HMV's price is €9 less -- which leaves you with plenty of money over for some Valentine's chocolates.
If you've other box sets on your list, be sure to visit your local HMV store before settling for an eBay price.
HMV is charging €79.99 for the complete collection of Lost -- on eBay, you would have paid €196 for it last week, including €21 delivery. The complete dvd collection of Heroes was on sale on eBay for about €110 last week, including a €1.75 delivery charge. In HMV, you can get the same box set for €69.99.
If you're a U2 fan, the U2 360 Tour set can be yours for €79.99 in HMV -- but last week, you could have paid €121 for it on eBay.
Russian ballet tickets
68% more expensive
If you like nothing better than the sight of men in tights, you might be kicking yourself for missing out on a ticket to the Russian State Ballet's Swan Lake, which is on in Dublin's Grand Canal Theatre next month.
Four of the shows have already been sold out, but as an extra show has been added for March 20, don't rush to eBay just yet -- especially when you'll pay as much as 68 per cent more for your tickets there than you will on Ticketmaster.
Two front-row tickets for the night of March 17 -- one of the nights booked out -- were on sale on eBay for €350 last week. As you also had to pay a €5 delivery charge, the cost of the eBay tickets worked out at €177.50 each. On Ticketmaster last week, however, you could still buy tickets close to the stage for March 20 for €105.45 each -- about €72 less.
Irish dancing shoes
29% more expensive
If your son or daughter is turning into the next Michael Flatley, you might be desperately searching for the cheapest Irish dancing shoes.
On eBay last week, you could have bought a new pair of Boyne Walk Storm Irish dancing shoes for about €168, including a shipping charge of €14. Had you instead used your normal shoe leather and trotted down to Dublin's Talbot Dance Centre, you would have found yourself paying between €130 and €135 for a pair.
Irish dancing costumes aren't cheap on eBay either. A used costume for a 10- or 11-year-old was on sale on eBay last week for a whopping €1,500 -- plus €50 postage. You can easily pick up similar costumes on Irish dancing costume websites for several hundred euro.
16% more expensive
Just because Helen Mirren has been paid mega bucks for starring in the Wii Fit adverts doesn't mean you should dish out a fortune for the game as well.
A new Nintendo Wii Fit Plus (along with its balance board and 69 games) was on sale on eBay last week for about €116 -- plus postage. You can pick up the same package in Gamestop for €99.99 -- at least €16 less.
2% more expensive
If you live in horror of ending up with a set of teeth like Goldfinger in the famous James Bond movie of the same name, it might be time to invest in an electric toothbrush. Check out your local Boots store before starting your bids on eBay though.
Boots charges €143.97 for a Philips Sonicare Flexcare HX6902 electric toothbrush. At about €124, the same toothbrush looked like a bit of a bargain on eBay last week -- until you added the €23.36 postage, which brought the total cost of the toothbrush to about €147 -- €3 more expensive than Boots.
But Boots doesn't always get one up on eBay in the hi-tech toothbrush world. The Philips Sonicare Complete Gumcare HX6972 toothbrush costs about €244 in Boots. Last week, you could have snapped up the same toothbrush on eBay for about €105 -- plus €5.81 postage.
31% more expensive
You've fallen in love with the pink Canon Ixus 130 digital camera you've just seen on eBay. Put your head before your heart, however, and check out your local camera store first. Last week, it was on sale on eBay for €169.99 -- €40 more expensive than the price charged by PC World.
The Sunday Independent asked eBay if it had any measures in place to prevent customers paying over the odds for goods.
"As eBay is a market place, there is no price cap on auction items as pricing meets demand on auction items," said a spokesman.
"As there are millions of live listings at any moment, chances are that another seller will be offering a similar product at a competitive price, with supply often meeting demand once again."
Sunday Indo Business