Buying Guide: Determining the seller.

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Buying guides for determining and preventing scam.

It was in my early days that I found eBay. I was young, naiive, inexperienced and yes - quite stupid. I would spend hours and hours fishing through hundreds of auctions and setting bids whenever I see an offer that seemed reasonable enough.
I was extremely lucky that I was only burnt out of $25 or so - and this $25 was a wake up call to me. I realised that not everything in the world was this simple as I once thought I was.
We all have heard the sterotypes, everything on eBay is scam - all sellers there wants to take your money and hide in their caves. Let me tell you - this is not true. There is probably 1:1000 or so ratio of scammers in comparison to those who are genuine businesses, or individual sellers who are selling what they have here and there. But think about it - even if it is just 1 in 10000 members who are out there that wants to scam your money, the numbers adds up. eBay has grown and is growing so with the current registered members being some 2 000 000, there is about 2000 members out there, targeting innocent people and scam them. Scary, right?
But with enough knowledge, most of these frauds can be prevented and treated! Here are a list of things that I have accumulated through experience:

FEEDBACK SCORE: I know that we've all been there once upon a time where the number that represent our reputation is 0. But use your common sense. Someone who is going to scam people isn't going to target audiences of, say used tshirts. I wouldn't worry about buying something costing $20 dollars from someone without a feedback but a new member just registered within the last 24 hours listing 10 laptops + 10 digital camera + 10 ipod nano looks a bit suss, don't you think?

SELLER LOCATION: I love buying goods from Chinese sellers, most of them are really great - cute & inexpensive. But again, I wouldn't be happy about dealing with seller from nigeria or something with $100+.

ACCEPTED PAYMENT METHOD: This says a lot. Recently eBay has probitted sellers from outrightly state that they accept Western Union/cash but if this is offered through email, I say STEER CLEAR. Western union is great for sending money to people you know, not strangers on the internet as there is no way of getting a form of protection/proof of fraud when the situation requires.
Most (genuine) sellers accept a wide variety of payment methods - paypal, bank deposit, money orders, cheques etc. If they accept two or more of the above, that should be fine. Just be aware, with money orders they can instantly cash it and run away so this should be a seller you trust who is more than happy to accept another form of (safe) payment methods.

ITEM LOCATION: Doesnt really do anything to determine a authenticity of a seller (or non existent of) but does great to tell you when your item will arrive, where it originates and sometimes quality of the product ($2 DVD from China)

FEEDBACK COMMENTS: Feedbacks comments are sometimes just as important as the feedback score, if not more. Take your time to thoroughly read the negative's + neutrals. (toolhaus.org)
Sometimes a neg or neut isn't entirely the fault of a seller. Feedbacks cannot be withdrawn and are not always accurate, so do the seller some justice by taking time to actually read them. If the seller isn't at fault/sorry for their innocent human mistake - there is usually a response explaining their side of the story. Read this and you can determine the case.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: If you have a question, ASK AWAY! If the seller is interested they will answer you. This is a great chance to see if this person is good to the customers aftersale.

more will be added when I think of something else. :)

BUT, there is absolutely NO guide that is better than your common sense. As the saying goes, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. And when it comes to eBay, this is especially true.

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