Scams are a hidden danger!
It is pretty likely that sometime, somewhere in our lives we have all heard about a scam. Unfortunately they are a sad reality and can often be very difficult to recoup money from. But after being the victim of a scam I decided to tell people some useful advice on how to avoid scams before they can be take hold on you and how to deal with them if they have.
Scams are an unfortunate reality on EbaY. They exist on EbaY because enforcing policies and preventative measures can often be very difficult with the amount of transactions that occur everyday on EbaY Australia alone. But here are some simple steps to avoid being targetted by scammers from someone who has been the victim of a scam!
Rule #1: Avoiding being a victim of a scam starts and ultimately ends with you because it is your money that is being stolen or extorted and you should always exercise supreme caution when bidding on EbaY!
PLEASE ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! IF SOMETHING LOOKS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE 99.9% of the time IT IS A SCAM!
Rule #2: Treat EbaY with caution! Here are some very general rules about 'dodgy' sellers on EbaY:
- If a seller is selling two or more of the same item at a low cost when that item is normally much higher be very cautious! Scammers will often target people's greed! They attempt to "sell" high price items at much lower costs in large quantities because they can get a much larger yield of bidders in one illegitimate transaction.
- Be wary of new EbaYer's selling high price items at low cost. If a new seller is selling a high price item at a low cost it may be legitimate but always be wary. Most EbaYer's start out by selling smaller items because they are unsure if they will be a good return for a higher priced item. (Especially if they are new to EBAY and don't understand it's intricacies just yet!)
- Be wary of BUY NOW OR MISS OUT scams. Most EbaYer's as a general rule will try and get the highest price for their items if they are selling it so it isn't normal when a member tries to sell a high price at a low cost immediately! Be wary of this!
- You can't get cheap electronics from China! Unlike the popular belief China does not have an endless supply of cheap electronics! If a seller is claiming that an item is much cheaper than normal and claim so because it is 'from China' be very wary!
Rule #3: Take full advantage of the tools to protect yourself, that you have available when you pay for an item! EG: PAYPAL!
Here are a few important things to remember about PAYPAL:
Firstly be aware that PAYPAL offers BUYER protection of "UP TO $400.00 AUD for transactions made on EBAY Australia with items listed with EbaY members with a feedback score below 50". (You must check the relevant PAYPAL buyer protection policy to ensure that this has not changed recently.)
What does this mean? Basically if you buy an item that has a 'Final Price' of under $400.00 AUD and you use PAYPAL for the transaction there is a very good chance that you will recieve "UP TO $400.00" in compensation if something goes drastically wrong with your payment. EG: it simply does not arrive!
What if a seller has a feedback score over 50? If you buy an item using PAYPAL and the seller has a feedback score of over 50 then you may be eligable for a compensation payment of "UP TO $3000.00 AUD" (You must check the relevant PAYPAL buyer protection policy to ensure that this has not changed recently.) This means that if the item you bought was between $400.00 and $3000.00 you may be eligable to get some of your money back!
PAYPAL offers no guarantees and states very clearly "Their decision is final"! If you do use PAYPAL, please be aware that they DO NOT guarantee your money back! If something goes wrong they will work as hard as they can but if you are not covered under their BUYER protection policy, ultimately you are at the mercy of the Seller!
Rule #4: Use your credit card if you use Direct Bank Deposit! Though this may sound strange we are talking about reliable ways of potentially getting your money back! Your bank or credit card company will try it's hardest to get your money back from a scammer, often a lot harder than if you paid with a savings account!
Rule #5: Report a scam ASAP! If you are the victim of a scam you should report it immediately otherwise other trusting EbaY members may also fall victims of a scam! EbaY have a live help option where you can 'chat' much like MSN chat, with an EbaY representative about your problem. This service is available 24 hours a day.
Rule #6: If you use PAYPAL make absolutely 100% sure that you escalate your claim ASAP! PAYPAL will not launch an investigation into the transaction UNLESS you escalate your claim! For information on how to do this log into your PAYPAL and follow the directions for making a claim with PAYPAL.
My personal rules:
- Always be cautious on EbaY and thoroughly investigate a seller before committing money to that transaction whatever means you may use. EG: PAYPAL, Instant Bank Transfer, Cheque etc. Send a seller an email if you are concerned (sellers are there to sell you their wares and products). Judge the response you get! If you get a response that does not address your questions and sounds unnusual report the seller to EbaY and avoid bidding or paying for the item until it has been investigated!
- Always use common sense and if a seller or an item looks a bit 'dodgy' no matter how much it appeals to you! Avoid it completely!
- Always use PAYPAL. It protects you, it protects them and you may be eligible for buyer protection. Use whatever advantage you have!
- Use your credit card because your bank will fight harder to get your money back!
- Report to EbaY any problems that you encounter.
- If you find yourself in a nasty situation and you have followed the above steps but have still become a victim of a claim DON'T FORGET! Escalate your claim ASAP!
I sincerely hope this guide helps you avoid scams!
Happy and safe bidding from Aussie!