With high prices and few discount shops, Sweden can seem expensive to many expats. But where can a frugal or cash-strapped person find a bargain in Sweden? For many – the answer is the online auction site Tradera!
Perhaps one of the first things you may have noticed when moving to (or visiting) beautiful Sweden is how expensive things seem compared to your home country. (Readers from Norway, Japan and Denmark can maybe disregard this!) The reasons for this are a strong Swedish krona compared to other currencies, a 25% Moms tax and import tariffs incurred. Also, there are relatively few discount or wholesale shops in Sweden compared to those in other nations. But not everyone is prepared to pay through the nose. And this is where a site like Tradera comes in handy!
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So what exactly IS Tradera, you ask?
Tradera is basically Swedish eBay. It is a popular auction site where people sell both used and new items. The difference from Blocket, another popular Swedish resale site, is that Tradera is more regulated and therefore you as both a shopper and a seller are a bit more protected from scams. Tradera is a wonderful place to find high-quality low-price items (some new, even!) and to sell your stuff that you no longer use. After all, one man’s trash is another’s treasure! It is also tremendously good for the environment and economy to both buy and sell secondhand.
Ok, so how do you use the site?
Well, we’ve put together a how-to guide in Plain English about unlocking some of the best bargains to be found in Sweden. Please note though, there is very limited English available on the site. While registration is available in English, the adverts and site navigation (mostly) exist in Swedish. If this is a problem, perhaps the idea of a shopping bargain might motivate you to practice your Swedish? If not, get a Swedish-reading friend to help you.
1) Go to Tradera.se and register. Bli Medlem is an option up top. You fill in your personal information such as your name, personal number, address and email. You also choose an alias in order to protect your identity whilst shopping. From this account you can both buy and sell.
2) To buy, browse the categories (kategorier). If you have something specific in mind, you can search for it in the Tradera search engine. Results are displayed with an image of the item, the starting price (or buy-now price) and the options for payment/postage/pick-up. You will also see the seller’s feedback. Be wary of a seller with low feedback points (out of 5). Bad feedback points will be lower than 4.5. Perhaps this seller is not describing the items’ condition or does not send items quickly or sends them packed inappropriately.
3) Once you find your item, check to see if it is an auction or if it is a buy-now item. If it is a buy-now item and the price is right, check to see what the payment options are. Some sellers only mail items. Others allow for in-person pick-up. Payment can vary from PayPal to Plus Giro and bank transfers (all are much easier to do than they sound!). That is a very big difference from cash-payment/in-person pick-up Blocket (and perhaps a bit safer too).
4) If it is an auction, place a bid. You can also choose an automatic bid (the highest price you are willing to pay for the item). You can input that manually. This way you needn’t sit at the computer placing 1 bid increments. If an auction is ending, there is often a flurry of bids for popular items in the last minutes. So be vigilant!
5) When you win an item (Or buy an item outright), you will often (but not always) receive a Winner Mail (vinnarmail) automatically from the seller. This mail will contain information on how to pay them (PayPal or Bank Transfer etc) and also any rules or notes that they might have. It will also contain their contact information if you have any questions to ask them or have any problems transferring money.
6) After receiving the item (note: Swedish post is quick and when you’ve got the combo of a quick shipper and the fast post you’ll get your item soon. Yay for quick gratifcation!), most sellers appreciate your leaving feedback on the site. Many sellers build their “brand” reputation based on feedback. If you are pleased with how things were conducted, leave positive feedback as a testament. If not, it’s probably best to contact the seller first to let them know of your dissatisfaction. See if you can sort it out. Sometimes a longer wait for an item has to do with the post office. Sometimes there was a simple error and an earnest seller will correct it for you.
However, it does happen that an item arrives and it is nothing like how it was pictured or described. This happened to me. I emailed the seller, giving them the benefit of the doubt that they had perhaps sent me the wrong item. She had not. She was simply dishonest. I learned my lesson there. And I left feedback accordingly. I then wished that I had read her feedback first, as many other buyers had unfortunately had similar experiences with this seller.
Generally though, Tradera is a well-regulated site, with excellent and quick customer service. There is a chat option, emails are answered promptly and there is an option to phone in. The reason you do leave your personal information upon registration is so that the transparency and honesty is maintained as well as it possibly can be.
Happy bargain-hunting, YLC readers!
Amy moved to Sweden in July 2011 with 1 child, 1 Swedish husband, 2 large suitcases and no idea what she was going to do with her new life in Swedish subtitles. Two years and two more children later, she is starting up a retro-modern children’s resale store.
You can find out more about her experiences at www.expatmompreneur.com.
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