Buying from overseas

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Many people limit their shopping experience because they feel that it is too risky to buy outside their own country.  Follow these tips to minimise the risk.
  • Have a bank or credit account that you use specifically for online transactions.  Don't keep a large sum of money in it or have a large credit limit.  Open a PayPal account and link this "dedicated" account to it.
  • Always pay by PayPal.  It's free! This avoids fees for buying an International bank cheque or money order.  It is also the most widely accepted form of payment. 
  • Wherever possible buy items which qualify for PayPal's Buyer Protection (The item will have an icon on the listing page if it qualifies).  This way, you are covered by PayPal's Buyer Protection policy and have access to the dispute resolution policy.
  •  Keep exchange rates in mind  and always be sure of postage cost.  Often "bargains" can become quite expensive, particularly with some sellers offering items for a ridiculously cheap price and charging ridiculously overpriced postage and handling charges.
  • Shop with sellers who offer fair postage rates and who combine postage on multiple purchases.
  • Use a translation site, eg.Babelfish, if the listing isn't in English.  You can copy/paste into the program & it will translate it for you (sometimes not very well, however!).  If you don't understand the listing, don't buy!  You may be missing very important information and end up not getting what you expected!
  • Check the seller's feedback rating.  Less than 100% should not necessarily rule out the seller.  It only takes 1 or 2 hard-to-please buyers out of hundreds or even thousands to spoil a perfect score and we all know that you can't please all of the people all of the time!
  • If you are having difficulty with any part of the process communicate with the seller.
  • Contact the seller if the item is not as described or faulty, BEFORE leaving negative feedback!
  • Be aware of time limits for dispute processes over items not received and act before time runs out.  Make sure you contact the seller at least a week before taking any action to allow him or her time to respond.
  • In many cases I have had items arrive from overseas faster than from within Australia!
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