Thank you for taking the time to read my guide. In my 3 years of buying and selling on ebay, I have found most people to be honest, friendly and just great to deal with.
Unfortunately though, over the years ebay has received a battered reputation due to a few unscrupulous sellers which have hurt the many good sellers here on ebay.
So, I have decided to write a guide based on buying safely on ebay which are tips I have learnt along the way:
1) First things first: When considering buying or bidding on an item, it's always a good idea to check the seller's repuation or feedback.
2) When checking the seller's feedback, look at their overall percentage and the amount of feedback received.
3) If a seller has a percentage of 99% that's not so terrible when they have a feedback score of say 3000. But if that feedback score is only 10, then it's not so wonderful.
4) You can check on their feedback page how many negatives or neutrals they have received in a time frame of up to 12 months.
5) If the seller has been registered with ebay for several years and has suddenly in the past month received 10 negatives, you have to ask yourself why. What's happening that has caused so many buyers to be unhappy in such a short amount of time all of a sudden ?
6) You can go in and check the neutral or negative feedback comments on the top right side of the feedback profile page. There you can pick from a drop down menu to look into the past month, past six months or past 12 months. By doing this you can then click at the top on beutrals or negatives received and read the comments.
7) If possible, check to see what the auction was for. It could very well be for the same thing you are considering bidding on. Imagine if you were looking at purchasing a childs toy computer and the seller had 18 negatives for the same item, all with comments such as "flimsy" or "cheap". I know I would move on and continue to search elsewhere.
8) Check to see the payment methods accepted by the seller. Whilst Paypal is always the safest way to pay, some seller don't like to offer Paypal. That's ok, but make sure they don't ask for Western Union money orders only or cash in the mail. These are not considered accepted payment methods by ebay as there is a risk of losing money.
9) I have noticed quite often that there can be sellers with very little feedback even a score of 0, selling high priced items such as large electrical goods. While some may be honest, it's never a good idea unless they can offer a safe form of payment such as Paypal. Paypal offers buyers protection for their purchases of up to $1500 even when the seller doesn't offer any protection such as insurance.
10) Escrow is another way to go. This is a service offered by ebay where the buyer can pay into a third party governed by ebay, receive the item, inspect it and then give the go ahead for the payment to go into the seller's account if everything is ok. This is not commonly used and there are fees involved which the seller can pass onto the buyer. If this is something you would be considering, ask the seller if they accept it and if so, what are the fees involved.
I hope this has helped you when considering buying any item here on ebay.
Good luck !!