Unfortunately there are criminals and they ruin the eBay experience for many innocent buyers and sellers. I hope these tips will stop some of you from getting conned on the internet. I have used some examples that I have experienced or heard of.
General Things To Concider
1) Is it the actual item?
Beware what you are bidding on is the actual item. In many auctions on eBay the auction is for a link, not for the actual product. I have already produced a guide on links and pyramid schemes. In many other auctions the item is not genuine. Examples are Oakley sunglasses and Gucci bags etc. I have also produced a guide on spotting fake Oakleys. Other things to look out for are copied DVDs or CDs. You know they are fake when it says in the description that they are 'back-up files' and 'you should only buy them if you have the origional'. Don't buy it at all! You will be helping Fraudsters!
2) Is there a photo?
If there is a photo is it one taken from the internet or is it one the seller has actually taken? If the seller has taken the photo himself/herself then the sale is more likely to be genuine.
A mistake I made and it cost me £171.00, don't buy from sellers with a low feedback rating and lots of negative comments. I bought a phone from someone with 2 comments, one being negative. It prooved costly. You can usually trust shops, people with high feedback and when the seller is signed up with square trade.
When paying with PayPal you have some fall back if things go wrong. There are fraud protection policies etc. However if you pay with other methods you may not be covered. If you don't have PayPal I would advise it. If you pay by other methods send it recorded delivery or special delivery. NEVER SEND CASH! Don't use any money transfer systems, it is the easiest way for fraudsters to get your details.
e.g. If you ring up and pay with a credit card how do you know the person on the other end isn't going to use your details. The same applies for bank transfers.
5) Know what you are bidding on.
When you know what you want you should research it. Know you are not getting a fake. Read eBay's safety policies and ask questions. Genuine sellers won't be afraid to answer questions.
General things to concider
1) Non Payers
There is nothing more annoying than a non payer. In most cases they are people who are new to eBay, with a feedback rating of less than 20. In most cases you can e-mail them and explain what they should do and it usually works out. In other cases you may have to report them. You can block bidders with low feedback or no PayPal account etc. It is upto you, but remember some of them will be genuine. People are more likely to pay if they have a PayPal account.
2) When to send the item
Only send the item after payment is received or has cleared. You don't want to give them the item and not receive the money. If they want to return the item then only pay them when you have received it.
Set out a clear returns policy and postage information. You want to make it clear to buyers the postage price and returns policy so they can't accuse you of anything. e.g. you will only accept returns if the item is unused. This will stop them from using it for a week, getting bored and sending it back.
4) Proof of postage
Always have proof of postage, if not insurance. This will proove you sent the item. If they didn't buy insurance then that's their problem. I have another guide describing methods of insured postage.
5) Be Honest
Be nice to the buyer and increase your feedback rating in case you have a difficult customer. I know as I have had a few in the past. Always describe the item fully and truthfully and everyone will be happy.
I hope this guide helps. If you disagree with this then please e-mail me. You can contact me through my eBay shop: