How to minimise dramas when buying on ebay!

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G'day ebayers!   

Some of you may have heard the many horror stories that abound on those current affairs programs on tv and be wondering to yourselves 'How can I protect myself from the fraudsters?'

Well....here are some things that I have learnt along the way

Always read the ad entirely - read from top to bottom and everything in between, then go back and read it again.

Check postage & handling charges and payment details.

If postage details are not listed in the ad, then email the seller for a postage quote using the 'ask seller a question' function. If you place a bid on an item before having a postage quote, you are basically agreeing to a blank cheque. 

Use the Australia Post website to get an idea of the actual stamp cost. Sellers are permitted to add extra to the stamp cost to allow for packaging costs and a reasonable handling amount. If in doubt, ask the seller how the item will be packaged, especially if it is a fragile item or if the P&H cost seems excessive.

Do not send cash or use Western Union as these methods are a favorite of fraudsters. Never send money in any way, shape or form to Nigeria!! If anyone asks to to send anything to Nigeria, run!! Paypal is the only method of payment that offers you some chance of getting your money back if something should go wrong.

Take a look at the sellers feedback

I would steer clear of any high volume seller with feedback less than about 98.8%.

When you are in the sellers feedback page, use the hyper links in the summary section to show you the feedback that you wish to see ie the last 12 months or 6 months or 1 month. You can choose to view the postives, negatives, nuetrals or all feedback received.

Check the feedback left for others, as well as the feedback left for them, as this sometimes gives you a better understanding of who you are dealing with. Also make sure that a negative hasn't been left unfairly (you can do this by investigating the person who has left the feedback, the item purchased and any follow-up left).

Make sure the feedback is for actually selling items. It is a common trick of scammers to buy many cheap items (such as e-books) to build up a feedback score and then list high-end electrical items to scam innocent buyers. Make sure that your seller has successfully sold similar items before and has the positive feedback to back it up.

and lastly.....

If it looks too good to be true then it probably is! -

It is sad but true that most people get caught out by scammers and con-men because of their own greed.

You wouldn't expect to buy a 3 carat diamond ring for $49.99 from a real bricks and mortar store, so what on Earth makes you think that you can on ebay?

Would you hand $2000 to a perfect stranger on the street and then wait in the park while he goes and gets your brand new laptop from his car around the corner? Of course not, so if you are going to purchase high-end, high-priced items on ebay then at least make sure you use an escrow payment service or PayPal and research the seller and the product that you are buying, well.

*Items like mobile phones, ipods and PlayStations are especially popular with scammers.

*Be extra vigilant if an item is from 'Adelaide, China' , 'Darwin, Macau'  'Hong Kong, Australia' or similar as the scammers are usually overseas but try to pretend to be from Australia to make you feel more confident.

*Never accept offers to trade outside of ebay in exchange for discounts or other inducements as you will have no protection at all.

Just remember to listen to that little inner voice in your head and let your common sense guide you along the way.

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