There are a number od sellers registered on eBay who display ony a PO box number as their geographical address. These sellers should be avoided. Here's why.
First and foremost, it is contrary to UK and European Law. According to the Office of Fair Trading (Leaflet oft913.pdf ), they clearly inicate the interpretation of 'geographical address' in the actual legistaltion (Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 2334 The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 ) excludes PO boxes. The legislation uses the words 'geographical address of the place of business'. A PO box is not a geographical location.
So you must ask yourself why a trader want's to hide their actuall address?
You will hear many arguments as to why a business seller working from home may wish to keep their address private, but none of these are truly legitamate. Once you engage in trade you waive certain rights to 'privacy' if you choose to trade from your home address. Others may express worries about informing burgulars about the location of a rich haul of valauble goods. (Which sounds convincing, but you can trust me on this. Thieves prefer easy pickings over rich. They are also oppurtunists not planners. An unattended mobile phone is infinitely more attractive than a locked house full of expensive jewelry!)
In fact there are more illegitamate reasons for withholding the real geographical address than legitamate ones, (Tax evasion is only the most obvious!) but the most important one is this....
The Royal Mail cannot obtain a signature at a Post Office Box!
Under PayPal buyer protection you must provide online tracking in order to make a claim for goods significantly not as described, and that tracking must indicate the item as delivered. With a PO box, anything requiring a signature a card is all that is ever left. Now a seller who chooses to ignore these cards is effectively blocking delivery of the item, and so your PayPal claim will fail!
This means that business sellers showing only a PO box, can sell anything they wish in whatever condition, and provided they send it to you by a recorded method, they can avoid ever having to make a refund!
While eBay is working hard right now to make sure that eBay is as much as possible a safe place to buy, it is still relatively easy for rougues to 'sneak in under the radar', and buyers should as always excercise caution when buying. So please remeber this.....
By choosing a business seller who shows only a PO box number as a 'geographical' address you are throwing away your first layer of protection against online fraud.
Obvioulsy not a good idea!