Tips to not get stooged by - A Buyer beware guide.

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This is not a difinitive guide to stop you as a Buyer being ripped off on Ebay, as criminals are always coming up with new ways to steal, but it does highlight some simple and easy things you can check to help you make your own, more informed decision about a Seller before parting with your hard earned cash.

Ok, so you want to get a brand new mobile phone? and you want to get it for an eighth of the price?

Well as you know, on ebay anything is possible.

BUUUUUUUT, when i say that, just remember that ANYTHING is possible! Good or bad.

There's an age old saying: Too good to be true.
This saying has lasted the test of time for good reason. In ebay as in life, things are often too good to be true....


Before purchasing anything on Ebay I always check the following,

- The Seller uses paypal or direct deposit (within my own country) If using direct deposit to a bank account in another country, I may be charged with a $20 telegraphic transfer fee from my back, which may push the price higher than that I'd pay in a store.

- The Seller does not use Western Union.
Ebay recommends against buying through Western Union for good reason, if someone is only offering this then chance is extremely high that it is a Fraudulent Seller.

- The Seller must not ask me to contact them via email outside of ebay.
(Where there is no evidence of a binding contract of sale)

- The Seller does not have any negative feedback, or if they do it has to be preportionally low, eg 2 bad feedbacks within 5000 sales.

- If buying an expensive item, research the seller, they may appear to have sold many items, 500 etc, but if you look through them, they may all be $1 in value and the names of the buyers may be repeated. So they seller may look like a power seller and someone whom can be trusted, but the reality is they are just creating a flase sense of security in the hope you will hand over your hard earned cash.

- If you are looking to hand over a lot of cash, extemem checking is required. Look through the sellers recent buyers, then look through those buyers recent buyers if they are sellers. If they have "bought" from each other it is a bad sign that they are falsely inflating each others sales.

-  Check the writing style in the feedback, I've found that feedback for a typical person will come in various styles, some buyers will use lots of e-bling
eg "_-  ++++ GREAT SELLER ++++---_" where as others will say, "Great item, thanks." Be sure that all feedback of the seller isnt written in the same style, because if it is, there is a chance that it is actually the one person writing it using flase ebay aliases.

- Always look though more than the first few pages of feedback on expensive items. Fraudulent sellers may make a few pages look believable but then 10 pages in just repeat fedback out of laziness.

- Check the country of origin. Now at this point I'd like to point out that I am not beign racist in any manner, and have come across great sellers from many countries. The reason to check the country is that often time a lot of fake products come out of Asia, so you may pay less than retail price for a mobile phone, but it's lifespan may be limited. Thre is also instances of organised crime in Eastern Europe. My Hungarian friend has a great saying: "If you mix with sh*t, you smell of it." If something doesnt seem right to you, dont get involved, if items are stolen its a mess you dont want to be involved in.

- If you want a new unreleased item, ask yourself, why would it be on ebay yet? the answer is it wont be, and this is where fraudulent sellers make their money by offering something too good to be true, the newest, latest coolest thing at a "great" price. You may think you 800 Euro's is cheap, but when te item never arrives, 800 Euro's really isnt that cheap.

- Signing up to buy an item from a bulk lot. This smells of trouble to me, alarm bells go off, as its a vehicle for someone to rip off multiple buyers at once, and often involves contacting an email address or website outside of ebay.

- Always check the brand and compare it to the price of the manufacturer, often time you can buy something for a simillar price, with less shipping costs to buy it from the manufacturer.

- When it's not specified, I always contact the seller for a price for postage prior to sale, or to see what a combined price would be. Just yesterday I asked for a combined price on 4 lightweight items to be sent to Australia from Hong Kong. I was told $50. Which is ridiculous, lucky i asked...

- Compare postage costs between sellers.

- To "buy it now", or "not buy it now"?, that is the question. I like buy it now, it takes the temptation to overbid out of buying, "Buy it now" is generally offered by long standing sellers, and they ususally have good feedback, which I find assuring, but great prices aren't always in the buy it now dept. So I'll leave that one up to you.

Best of luck with it, happy, safe shopping :)

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