It’s important to remember that eBay is like an online flea market or swap meet. There will always be someone trying to sell things that most people wouldn’t touch. The trouble is that online, when you can’t physically view the merchandise, so these people can be a little harder to spot. Here are some tips to make your eBay experience more enjoyable and safe.
Know Your Seller…
This, by far, is the most important research you must do before placing your bid on eBay. Getting to know a little about your seller before you bid on their item will make for a much smoother purchase.
1) Review the seller’s feedback and member profile.
Check the seller’s eBay feedback before you make a bid. The feedback rating will give you a good idea about the trustworthiness of your trading partner. One or two neutrals or negatives can be overlooked due to the fickle nature of some buyers, however if a trend of poor service or item quality comments is visible you may want to avoid the seller entirely. If a seller has no feedback or negative feedback, contact the seller before bidding to get a feel for their customer service.
2) Ask the seller questions.
Email the seller with questions by clicking the “Ask seller a question” link. If you have won an item, you can request the seller’s contact information to get more information.
3) Review the seller’s policies on shipping, payments and returns.
Shipping and handling – Review shipping and handling charges before you bid, and ask to have your item shipped and insured in a traceable manner. Avoid sellers who either won’t disclose or charge exorbitant shipping charges.
Payment – Consider paying with PayPal or with a credit card, as most offer 100% consumer protection. Be careful when sellers only accept one form of payment, especially when the seller requests cash. NEVER PAY WITH CASH and use caution when paying with cash equivalents such as wire transfers.
Returns – Examine the seller’s return policy carefully before you bid. Contact the seller before you bid with any questions about the return policy. Some questions you might ask include how long do you have to return the item, who pays shipping and handling, and under what circumstances can you return the item.
Know your item…
Read the description fully. Most misunderstandings result from buyers not carefully reading the item description in the auction listing. Use caution if the price is significantly lower than similar auction items. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Review the item condition, whether it is new or used, and any damage described.
Be realistic when purchasing used items. People have different definitions of quality and condition. Remember, just because the seller says the item is in “like new” condition, doesn’t mean you will feel the same way. A 25 year old item is likely to have some wear and tear so don’t be overly critical of the item when you receive it. Take the condition of the item into account BEFORE you place your bid.
Take advantage of PayPal for safe and fast funds transfer between you and the seller. PayPal is eBay’s preferred way to pay. It is a system that lets anyone with an email address securely send online payments using their credit card or bank account. eBay members can use PayPal to quickly and easily pay for all the items purchased on eBay. PayPal’s industry-leading fraud prevention measures make it a safe way to pay online.
When you’re shopping on eBay, look for items that are covered by PayPal Buyer Protection. With it, you get free protection of up to $1,000.00 USD on your purchases. To determine if your item is eligible, look for PayPal Buyer Protection in the Seller Information box on the View Item page.
The more that you know about your seller and the items that you are bidding on the safer you, as a buyer, will be. Spending some time doing research before you place your bid will help to ensure a positive buying experience.