Don't Get Scammed In Online Auctions
Posted by M. Allen on: 2006-10-05 19:44:59
Self SEO > Ebay Tips and Tricks
You can literally find almost anything for sale somewhere in an online auction. But, with most of the sellers being individuals and with it not being a face-to-face transaction there is a chance of getting scammed.
The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the auction site's rules and procedures. Many online auction houses allow users to list whatever they want to sell without verifying if the seller actually has these items in his possession. Maybe they don't guarantee that seller's will keep their word when it comes to the terms of the deal. Maybe there are hidden fees for either the seller or the buyer. After the auction ends is not the time to find this stuff out.
Now that you know how the auction venue works, let's be on the lookout for scam artists. Yes, scam artists have their sights set on auction buyers and sellers as well. There main goal is to either get money for nothing or merchandise for nothing. You can prevent them from succeeding in their goals against you.
As a buyer there are a number of ways you can get scammed:
Without being able to physically check the item out because it is being sold usually from many miles away, it is difficult to tell if the item is accurately described.
Always pay attention to the shipping and handling fees. Many less than legitimate sellers price things incredibly low to entice bidders then hit them with an extremely high shipping and handling fee. If the fee was listed in the auction ad and you were the successful bidder than most auction houses say that you are liable for that fee.
Many auction sites (including Ebay, the most popular) have feedback systems in place so that buyers can report on how the transaction went. Was it shipped on time, was it what was described in the auction, and was it packaged well are all things you can report on when filing feedback with the other party you completed a deal with. By checking a seller's feedback you gain information on how they've done business in the past.
Be cautious when dealing with sellers from foreign countries. There is very little to no recourse if one were to get "ripped off" by someone from a foreign country.
Beware of shill bidding. Shill bidding is when the seller himself or an associate of his purposefully bids on his own items and against a buyer in an effort to drive the price up. Many auction houses have safeguards built in to sniff out shill bidders but they are still a possibility.
When dealing with brand name items, especially clothing and media (dvds, cd-roms, etc.), be on the lookout for forgeries. Many of the top fashion companies have had replicas of their goods illegally manufactured overseas and then brought in illegally. A very good use of the phrase of 'if it looks too good to be true, it probably is." With the relative ease of copying movies and music and burning them to their own CDs and DVDs it is very possible that the hard to find movie you've come across is a pirated edition.
When purchasing via an auction site it is usually best to pay with a credit card as this will give you the opportunity to come back one year later or so and dispute a charge.
For expensive purchases, many sites can provide or recommend an escrow service so that the money you're paying the seller isn't available to him until you've confirmed you got the item you purchased in your possession.
There are also many ways a seller can be scammed.
Be careful when dealing with overseas purchasers who use paypal or credit cards. Paypal and credit cards are effective to use when buying online. When selling to an overseas buyer they may not have a confirmable address or there may not be a reliable service that can track a package shipped to a foreign country. The buyer then can claim to not have received the package even though it may indeed have made it to them. The buyer then files a claim with the credit card company and they reverse the charges, taking the money back from the seller even though they may have received the item.
A buyer can contact a seller and ask that he send the package to a different address other than the one listed for the buyer. It may be a gift or present for someone else or the buyer may be traveling. The possible problem here lies in the fact that some auction or payment sites (and Paypal is one of them) will not offer protection on your package unless it is sent to the address on file. If it's sent to a different address and the buyer claims to not receive it, they will have there money refunded.
When selling online and receiving a check through the mail, remember to wait long enough for the check to clear before shipping the purchase out. A buyer may request "as soon as possible" shipping on a package and pay with a check. If the merchandise is shipped out before the NSF check comes to the attention of anyone on the seller's end they may be out the item sold as well as the amount of money it was sold for.
One of the more popular auction scams right now happens where a buyer (usually from a foreign country) wins an auction and then contacts the seller offering to wire or send funds immediately. The only problem, the buyer will state, is that the item costs $100 (for example) and he only has a pre-made-out check or money order in an amount larger than the purchase price. The buyer then asks the seller to send not only the item won but the change back from the larger than needed money order or check. After the seller sends the item won and the difference in price back he then is alerted to the fact that the money order or check is a counterfeit or otherwise bogus. The seller is then out both the money for the item as well as the item itself.
When selling a package that is paid for by a credit card or paypal, make sure it is shipped in a way that requires the buyer to sign for the package (Registered Mail, Delivery Confirmation, etc.), this will help if the buyer later disputes that they received the package.
By paying attention to the details and being alert you can avoid getting scammed online.
Mark Allen provides the knowledge you need to protect yourself from a computer virus, spyware, and Internet scams at: http://SaferEmails.com
Print this article Tell a friend
| Related Articles|