Face it- the world is not always so pleasant and these days you can never be too sure in your online dealings. Too often we hear horror stories about innocent people beeing fleeced of their money by dishonest dealers. Although deception and fraud will probably remain with us so long as there is a dollar to be made, there are a few simple precautions you can take to ensure that your online trading experience is simple and relatively free of hassles.
Firstly, be sure to check up on the seller's feedback score. The whole rationale behind the feedback system is that trusted buyers and sellers are recognised within the eBay community.
Secondly, be sure to read through the seller's individual feedback left by other users, especially in recent transactions. You can do this by clicking on their feedback score next to their eBay user ID. Often sellers create "spoof" (fake) accounts in order to give themselves favourable feedback and appear to be more trustworthy than they actually are! Fake comments can usually be identified because the "users" which left the comments have a low feedback score, or the comments themself are meaningless and garbled.
Thridly, another good habit is to see which items the seller is offering concurrently. A seller listing multiple items within a short time span of each other or selling a wide variety of deisgner fragrances, for example, might cast a seed of suspicion in ones mind.
Fourthly, be cautious in instances where the seller has a low feedback score. Given the benefit of the doubt, such members are legitimate users trying to establish an online trading reputation, but it is always safest to get in contact with the seller to verify the particulars of the item and their credentials. Experienced sellers will usually request the same of bidders with a low feedback score.
Finally, be sure that the item you are bidding on is a true representation of its description. Most often this will probably involve a little detective work, trawling through feedback comments and scrutinizing photos for any discrepancies. Be especially aware with clothes and accessories.
Trading online is not a foolproof system and does come with inherent risks. However, through remaining vigilant at all times and adhering to a few basic principles, your experience should hopefully be a pleasant one.
Quick guide to buying items on eBay
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2 June 2006
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