How to avoid scams when buying and selling on eBay, a short guide written after experiencing some of the pitfalls with buying and selling on eBay.
Feedback is one to be judged carefully before selling or buying an item. For sellers, you look for someone with a perfect payment record or nearabouts whereas buyers look for buyer ratings. Someone may have a positive score of 40,000 (98.8% Positive) but only bought items never sold them. Feedback can sometimes be decieving so must be carefully assessed to avoid problems. Also someone with a small number of feedback is unlikely to be verified by PayPal so looking for experienced sellers/buyers is a good idea.
Expensive items are an easy target for scammers, they see an item which is very popular so exploit it. For example the Nokia 8800 Black Limited Edition Phone, retails for around £600, so one on eBay for £150 seems to good to be true. Well it is. Many users from foreign countries list their items on eBay using pictures from other websites or other users but with a very low price as to tempt potential inexperienced users.
To avoid these cons, look for sellers in your country of residence simply because expensive items are better collected in person (if a buyer claims collection is not possible, steer well clear) and in the event you have a problem, foreign transactions are not as well covered as you are taking a risk with it. Look out for duplicate listings, it seems obvious but is easily missed by bargain hunting eyes, and ask questions regarding details of items, if an answer seems dodgy or inconclusive with the item in question, consider the item non existent. Also asking for specific pictures can test whether the item is in the sellers possession (I dont have a digital camera is a poor excuse in the 21st Century.)
Some fake buyers will be listed in a different country to that which they are asking you to post to this is an obvious scam sign and these transactions shold be immediately ended. Also some sellers say that PayPal will give the funds to you once you give them a tracking number, again end the transaction.
Always use a payment method which is allowed on ebay (only Western Union and Bidpay are not allowed ut some other methods are also best avoided). PayPal seems the obvious choice but I would advise checking a PayPl guide before using PayPal. Try to make sure their account is verified if using PayPal as the chances of a refund in the event neccessary is easier. Bank transfers should be avoided unless you are confident in the seller/buyer but always request contact information for reference later. Cheques are also non traceable so again best avoided. The best method is Cash On Collection as you know what you are gettting and that you have paid, although make sure you get a reciept and some signatures for proof.
Ill leave you to be vigilant when choosing your payment methods and buyers/sellers but if you need any more information do contact me to see if i can be of any help.
Thanks and safe eBaying.