Tips for a Safe Buying Experience on eBay

eBay TipsHERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE GUIDELINES that can make buying on eBay a secure, safe, and rewarding   experience.

The first step is do not hesitate to ask the Seller questions about the item you are considering bidding on.  Most Sellers’ list an item with a photo but this does not always show the item completely.  Ask the Seller to email additional photos that might show the item from a different angle or in a better light.

Another very important tool on eBay is feedback.  A Buyer can instantly get a feel for how the Seller has done in past transactions with this important piece of information.  Feedback is broken down into 3 segments, monthly, six months, and yearly.  A Seller with considerable negative or neutral feedback it is a sign that they are not concerned with the transaction after completion because most Buyers will give a Seller a chance to make good on the deal by either asking for a refund or an exchange.

Another consideration is the Seller’s method of shipment.  If the method or cost is not in the item description, you should contact the Seller before you bid to avoid any problems after the transaction ends.  Unfortunately, there are disreputable Sellers that offer an item for a low price and then charge an enormous amount to have the item shipped.  However, eBay has taken steps recently to monitor and prevent this practice.

Although most Sellers are very reputable, and with the safeguards, eBay has put into place recently, there are still Sellers who try to defraud the Buyer regarding payment methods.  Do not buy from a Seller that insists on wire transfer for payment.

If the item is not as described or not what you had in mind, contact the Seller before you leave negative feedback.  Negative feedback should be after all other recourse.  Sellers want to please their customers.  They pay fees for the transactions and nobody wants to go through the effort of the sale only to have all parties disappointed.  Either contact the Seller through the “Ask the Seller a Question button” or, if listed in their contact information from eBay, reach the Seller with a telephone call.  The most important consideration is to give the Seller a chance to correct the problem first.

How to Retract a Bid on eBay

Tom places a bid on eBay for an expensive ring he believes he will get for a bargain.  Before the auction ends he finds out that his girlfriend does not like the ring he has selected.  Tommy now wants to withdraw his bid.  Can he do this?

EBay has very strict rules about withdrawing bids and all bids are binding except under certain exceptional circumstances.

The simplest circumstance is that Tom has made a typographical error when he placed his bid.  For example, he wants to place a bid for $100.00 and in his excitement and haste, he mistypes and puts in $10000.  When he looks over his bid and realizes what he did he could retract the amount immediately, but he would also have to re-enter the correct amount.  If he failed to enter his correct bid amount, he could face suspension of his eBay account.  Another reason could be the description of the item has changed significantly.  For instance, after Tom has placed his bid the Seller realizes that he has listed the ring at the wrong size and corrects it.  Because Tom was bidding on a certain size ring, he could legitimately retract his bid.

In addition, timing matters in bid retractions.  The bidder may retract all bids before the last 12 hours of an auction if he meets the above requirements.  Within the last 12 hours of an auction, a bid retraction only eliminates the most recent bid.  All others, if applicable, stay in place.

Tom also has the option of contacting the Seller to drop his bid obligation.  If the Seller is sympathetic to his situation and both agree then he can drop his bid.  However, eBay does track bid retractions.  A Buyer can face suspension or account cancellation if found to have a significant amount of bid retractions.

When to Purchase Buyer’s Insurance

Many Buyers wonder if the added cost of insurance is worth the cost.  They may question why they must pay for extra protection for an item to be packaged to meet shipping requirements.  Alternatively, they may wonder who should shoulder the burden for insurance, the Buyer or the Seller.

EBay allows the purchase of insurance to be optional.  Sellers, by eBay’s policy, may state they are not responsible for an item that is lost or damaged in transit.  Therefore, if a Buyer pays by money order or check they may want to consider purchasing insurance because eBay will not hold the Seller responsible.  PayPal’s Basic Tier system of Buyer Protection caps coverage at $200.  Therefore, a Buyer purchasing an item for more than that amount, whether or not offered by the Seller, may want to consider insurance.

Sometimes purchasing insurance creates peace of mind for the transaction.  Some Buyers believe an offer of insurance lends to the Seller’s respectability.  There are a number of false beliefs concerning insurance on Ebay.  There are Buyers and Sellers who mistakenly believe they cannot file a USPS claim until after 30 days.  This is not true.  According to Postal regulations, either the sender or the addressee of a package can file an initial claim for damage.  A Buyer can file a claim immediately upon the discovery of missing or damaged contents.

When a Buyer files an insurance claim, the Buyer must prove 3 things to have the claim paid.  The first is Evidence of Value, which means that the claimant must prove the value of the contents.  The next is Evidence of Insurance, which means the Buyer has the proper documentation to prove insurance was paid for, and last, is Proof of Loss, which means the claimant must take the package to the Post Office to prove damages.

To file a claim for a domestic package, with insurance purchased from the Post Office, the claimant must provide the “original” receipt for Insured mail.  Alternatively,   if the original mailing receipt is unavailable, the original sales receipt from the USPS showing the article number is acceptable.

If the claimant purchased the insurance online, he or she must provide a computer printout from the internet program through which the label was printed and purchased.  In addition, the claimant must provide the original package wrapping, with a legible insurance label, showing the name, and complete address of both the sender and the recipient.  If the claimant submits only the packaging with no legible information, indemnity can be limited to $100.  Reproduced copies are not acceptable.

What to Do If Seller Will Not Send a Paid Item

The Buyer has done her part.  The item’s description and shipping conditions are acceptable.  The Buyer has promptly paid through PayPal and there is a receipt for the payment.  The time for the anticipated delivery time goes by with no delivery.  The Buyer patiently waits a few more days and still no delivery.  Now what does the Buyer do?
A Buyer that has not received an item, paid through PayPal, must file the claim with PayPal.  EBay no longer gets involved in this type of Buyer/Seller dispute.  However, you can report the situation to eBay for poor performance.  If a Seller gets enough Non Performing Seller (NPS) reports eBay will suspend or terminate his or her account.

However, for eBay to designate a seller NPS, the Seller must state directly in an email, or other form of direct communication, they do not intend to complete the transaction.  Legally, by eBay rules, a Seller has 30 days to complete a transaction.  The Seller may not be communicating because of a family tragedy, an illness, or an injury.¼br /> Neither eBay nor PayPal can force the Seller to send the item to you.  No one from either company is going to go to the seller’s residence or place of business and force them to put the order in a box and send it.  However, if the Seller seems to be making this a regular practice they will certainly have their account terminated.

If it is a situation where the seller is posting phony auctions to receive money from people when there is nothing to sell, the Seller has committed mail fraud, which of course is a felony.

In addition, as far as communication problems, at times, people do have computer problems or limited access.  Sometimes email does not go through.  A remedy would be to look up the Sellers’ contact information and call them directly.  Moreover, even though a Buyer may have paid with PayPal, not everyone ships through them or they may not have used Delivery Confirmation.  In addition, items shipped by parcel post or medial mail can take from 2 weeks to a month to arrive during a busy season such as the Christmas holiday.

What To Do When You Receive an Empty Box

Ebay sellers are for the most part a loyal and trustworthy community.  However, here are suggestions for what the Buyer should do, if by some rare circumstance, he or she receives an empty box for an order.

Mary is a new buyer to eBay.  On April 3, she receives a shipment notice from her Seller.  When the item arrive 10 days later much to her amazement, the box she received from the carrier is an empty box with a statement from the USPS that the box they received was unsealed and without contents.  Mary paid $32.50 through PayPal for her item.  What can she do?

The first action Mary should take is to contact her Seller.  He may have a legitimate reason.  People do make honest mistakes and in his haste, he may have accidentally shipped an empty box with no intention of defrauding the buyer.  It may have been an honest mistake and he will take immediate action to make it right with the Buyer.

However, on the outside chance that the Seller is trying to dupe the Buyer there are actions the Buyer can take.  First, Mary should take note that she has 45 days to file a claim with PayPal.  The countdown begins 45 days from the date the payment cleared.

Second, if Mary does file a claim with PayPal she should file a Significantly Not As Described claim (SNAD) and not Item Not Received (INR).  The reason is that by filing a SNAD she strengthens her claim with PayPal.  If a dishonest Seller did intentionally send an empty box the Seller could provide an actual tracking number, such a Delivery Confirmation, showing that the Post Office delivered the item and the Buyer’s claim must be the fraudulent one.

The SNAD claim would be to stronger with PayPal because Mary should take a photo of the empty box and the notice from the Post Office to show that the box was empty.  In addition, depending on what she ordered, she should show a copy of the shipping label to prove that the weight of the shipped item was significantly less than what it would have weighed with the item inside.

The best action a Buyer can take in this instance is to communicate with the Seller as soon as possible.  Mary should email the Seller first, through PayPal, and if the Seller does not want to co-operate, or ignores her emails, for a reasonable time then she should file her complaint with PayPal.

Douglas Engesser is an experienced eBay buyer and seller.  He has a perfect feedback score of 100% with more than 1000 reviews. Douglas is also a power user of Adobe Acrobat, as you can see in his Tips for Using Acobat 8

Tags: ,
Previous Post
Stress on the Net

The Stress of Living Online

Next Post

Ubuntu Tips and Tricks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *