Can You Trust Ebay and PayPal?
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January 6, 2007
My daughter grown and on her own, has repeatedly tried to discourage me from buying from EBAY. She has passed along all the horror stories of people who expected to receive one item and after paying, they receive something much diffrent than they expected and, in addition, the seller will not return their emails! Well, despite my daughter's fears, I do spend a lot of time shopping on EBAY and I even make a fair number of purchases. I am disabled and have more time than the average person to look around. Some of my purchases were disappointments but some items were even greater than I had anticitipated. But I think that's what everyone should expect when they purchase something "blind" i.e. not being able to see the item in person and hold it in your own hands. You must understand that buying from eBay is always going to contain some element of risk. To some of us, that's what makes it so fun! Does that mean you are helpless and can never trust what you buy on EBAY? Of course not!! But I would offer a few suggestions that can reduce your risk but still leave enough there to make it fun! All you need to do is un derstand that risk is involved but there are some ways to reduce that risk of getting "ripped off." 1. Use common sense! If you are bidding on what you think is a "genuine, fully authenticated, ancient, museum quality Greek statue", it will probably not be offered for $15.00. And if you see that 4 identical items are being offered by the same seller, you just have to realize that this is not going to be the gold you had hoped you had struck. 2. Educate yourself about what things cost before you start bidding. Especially on technical items like cameras, computers, etc. If you know what a specific Cannon camera costs at Best Buy or at Target, you are much better equipped to know what would be a fair and reasonable price. The more distance between that outside price and the eBay price, the more risk you are taking! 3. My last suggestion: if you buy the same kind of items frequently, keep track of what you are getting from which sellers. I collect 1st edition books. (That's a strange hobby that only other book collectors can appreciate!) Over time, I learned that there were a number of sellers that repeatedly offered high quality books for bidding and were fair and even pleasant in negotiating any problems that might come up. By using primarily these sellers, I reduce my risk. Don't be afraid to get to know the sellers that seem to give you what you want. Email them, thank them for the service they offer. I have found that short and simple conversation is generally well accepted by sellers. And I have made some good friends as well! I know that I am less likely to get "ripped off" by sellers I have gotten to know! Using the formal Feedback process that is available can also be helpful! But I find it not as reliable as looking at your own track record with that seller. But always be sure to give your good sellers that positive rating and helpful feedback. And, just as important, do try to work things out with a seller before slamming them with negative ratings and feedback. It may have just been a simple misunderstanding! And my sceptic daughter? She just graduated from U of Ill with a MS in structural engineering and moved to LA to accept a great job doing failure analysis. She planned her move very carefully and in typical style, she insisted on handling all the arrangements herself. When she arrived in LA, however, half of the boxes that the movers had accepted were totally missing and most of the others had been crushed to half their size! What's more, they came back to her for additional money far beyond their initial quote! I asked her where she had found those movers anyway. Sheepishly she reported that she had found them on EBAY. "But they were so cheap! I would have saved so much money." Time for a little "failure analysis' for her! ! Enough said!!
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