Monday, 20 August 2012

eBay's biggest scams you should watch out for

While there are a number of online buyers and sellers who provide are honest, looking to make the buying and selling experience enjoyable for all parties involved, there is a small minority of people who will look to essentially cheat people out of their hard earned cash.

Here are some of the more regular scams seen on eBay that you should be on the look out for:

Fake Bidding

Although there are some people who see this as harmless, it is one of the more popular scams and something eBay has taken great steps to prevent. Basically fake bidding is when the seller artificially raises the current bid on their item by using a dummy account or having their friends bid on the item. This gives the buyer the impression that the item is more popular than it actually is, making them purchase the item at a greater cost.

Fake Items

Pretty much what it says on the tin. This is when a seller advertises a brand product they have for sale, which is in fact a cheap knock off, leaving you with a poorly created replica that you have paid well over the odds for. If you find an item that you like the look of, carry out research to check if the item is a fake. Check out the price of competitors and if you find that the item from this one seller is substantially lower than the retail price or price that other sellers are charging, it is a good indication that this item is most likely fake.

Fabricated Feedback

As we all know, the greater levels of feedback a seller has, the more trustworthy the seem, meaning the more likely we will use them to purchase items. However, technology has come a long way in the last few years and some of these great seller feedback ratings aren't what they seem. There is software out there that people can use to create a number of fake accounts to then generate feedback on that one particular seller account. The number of dummy accounts they can have do this is staggering, meaning a seller can generate a great seller rating in a very short space of time without actually carrying out any transactions. 

Alternate shipping locations

A buyer will purchase your item, in this case they are usually electronic goods, and then contact the seller to inform them that although they live in the UK, they would like the item to be shipped to another country. The usual reason for this is that they claim to have a relative or friend living abroad who they wish to purchase the item for as a gift. The buyer will then encourage the seller to send the product before they receive payment, following on from the previous example, by suggesting that it needs to be sent straight away to arrive in time for the relatives birthday. Once this item has then been shipped out to that country it will be gone, the seller will never hear from the buyer again and definitely won't ever receive their money. To avoid this you could either not ship abroad or not send out an item until you have received payment. If you do decide to send out a product before payment is received, make sure that the buyer is someone you trust and that you have adequate security in place to protect you in case they then don't pay.

Lost in transit

You find an item on eBay that looks perfect, just what you were looking for and really cheap. You think you have found a little gem of a deal. You pay for your product and eagerly await delivery. A few days pass and you still haven't received your item. You contact the seller to query why you haven't got it and they inform you that it was sent out and must have been lost in the post. The fact of the matter is that most likely your item was never sent out in the first place. They simply took your money without actually having a product to sell. Keep track of that sellers account to see if they then place that auction back up for other people to bid on. If this does occur you then need to contact eBay to resolve the issue. However, bear in mind that not all sellers are like this and some items do genuinely get lost in the post. If an item really does get lost in the post, a seller must wait 15 days after shipping the item to see if you receive it before they can make the necessary arrangements to refund you or replace the item. 

Paypal chargeback

While the "lost in transit" section above looks at a scam sellers can play on buyers, this is the other way round. A seller sends out a product to a buyer and then after the required 15 day period the buyer claims that they never received the product, meaning that Paypal refund the money to the buyer. All the while, they did actually receive the item, meaning that you the seller have lost an item and didn't get paid a single penny for it. To avoid this you must ensure that all of your items are sent out to buyers through some form of tracked delivery service. This means you can prove exactly when the person received the item, leaving them with no leg to stand on when claiming a refund. While tracked delivery costs you more than the untracked option, it will save you a lot of money in the future as you will no longer be a victim of these kind of scams.

Ballooned delivery fee

You find an item that looks great and what's more, is really cheap. Suddenly excited that you have found such a great deal, you purchase the item as soon as you can. After purchasing the item, you realise that the item has a significantly inflated delivery fee which you earlier missed in all the excitement of finding the "cheap" item. The easy way to avoid this is to simply take your time. Read through every aspect of the product, how much it costs and how much the delivery charges are, all before you make the purchase. This will ensure that you are not surprised when you have to pay a huge delivery fee for an item. 

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