We have been trading on eBay a while now and whilst it has mainly been an enjoyable experience, we have found that very occasionally an individual will fall foul of the dishonest and we have written this guide to enlighten everyone of the potential pitfalls. We hope that this in turn will ensure everyone has a more enjoyable eBay experience, so please vote for this guide below and help raise awareness of it.
- Shill Bidding - This is where at least two individuals known to each other bid on each others items with a view to raising the selling price. Apart from the fact that it is a criminal offence, it is also a way of the buyer paying less fees to eBay as the starting price of an item can be set very low, knowing that it will rise anyway. If you suspect this is happening, take a look at the feedback of the two individuals and look for patterns or look to see if the item has been relisted and if it doesn't look right, report it to ebay.
- Feedback Inflation - A seller with a large percentage of positive feedback will always appear to be trustworthy and in most cases this is true, however feedback can be inflated quite easy. If a seller sells a very large volume of items at a very small price then positive feedback will quickly be earned and until recently the most common form of feedback inflation was to sell `ebooks`. This is where a seller would advertise a book (or similar) that was in electronic format and what the buyer actually recieved was nothing more than an email with an attachment.
- Second Chance Offers - Again like most things on eBay the second chance offer is a great way for a seller to sell multiple items to those who want to buy them, this can however cause problems. If someone advertises a fake autograph or a fake designer shirt that is virtually worthless and it sells for £50 the next highest bidder (who bid £45) may receive a second chance offer also, in other words a buyer can sell many worthless items in one go for a large profit. There is nothing wrong with second chance offers, just make sure that it really is the item you want before committing to buy it.
- High Postage Rip Offs - The price a seller charges for postage and packing is not just the postage, it is also for the packaging etc`. If a seller packs the item correctly it is going to cost money, however some charge a highly inflated amount for postage and packing as there are currently no fees to pay on this and again, it is a way of avoiding fees and is simply not right. If a seller charges excessive postage then you have a number of options. You can report them to eBay, email them to negotiate a lower rate or simply don't buy the item.
- Address Changes - When someone registers with ebay or pays for an item using Paypal it is a requirement that an address is entered. This then allows the seller to instantly see where the item needs to be posted to. Why then, would a buyer want the item to be posted anywhere else? Although it's understandable that occasionally it might be beneficial to have an item sent to work, it is an alarming fact that all too often items are requested to be sent abroad, if this is the case, be very, very careful and don't fall for the old one "it's for my uncle who lives in........"
- Items For Sale In Another Outlet - If a buyer claims that the item for sale is also offered for sale elsewhere, don't be surprised if one minute before the auction is due to end, that the item disappears or that the seller refuses to sell it to you. This is yet another con used to avoid fees and to ensure that the item does not sell for too low a figure. If the seller hopes to get £100 for an item and does not want to pay the fees to add a reserve, the seller will simply wait to the last minute and withdraw the item claiming that it has been sold elsewhere. This not only avoids the fees, but also stops the seller having to sell the item cheaply, making a mockery of the auction principal.
- Pay Using Paypal - Where possible always pay through paypal, it is far easier to claim a refund through them, than it is to try and get a refund through the seller if you've paid by cheque. Paypal offer a buyer protection system and if you fall foul to any of the cons on ebay then at least you're not on your own. It's currently free to open up a Paypal account and it's an instant payment which means that you'll also get your item quicker.
At the time of writing, all information is correct and this guide is written purely as a help guide to those new to eBay. We sincerely hope you vote for this guide below and help raise awareness of the pitfalls of an otherwise excellent experience, thank you. Jason Mcloughlin at Scrawlers.