eBay is one of the safest places online that I have ever shopped, that is apart from large shops which sell online too, but they are not cheap. All too often, people get caught out by online shops selling items at unbelievably low prices. Researching these shops reveals a multitude of reviews, from 5 star to 1 star and lots of complaints. It all ends up being a search for a reliable seller rather than a search for the item you want! My suggestion: stick to the few guidelines below and you may never need to use another shop.
FIVE STEPS TO EBAY PURCHASE SUCCESS:
1. Always look at the seller rating (the number in brackets next to the name)
2. Always check the feedback score (the percentage when you press the number above)
3. Read the description fully, note returns policy, and description and picture irregularity
4. Ask the seller a question to test their commitment to you (if you have the time)
5. Always use PayPal - you are secure if things go wrong
1. ALWAYS look at the seller rating first (the number in the brackets next to the name) - the higher the number, the more the seller has traded. A 0 would mean a newcomer and someone to steer clear off unless the item description convinces you they are genuine first time sellers. A large number on the other hand mean nothing if the feedback is bad. A large number with as close to 100% feedback is ideal.
2. ALWAYS look at the feedback before you place any bid. Also when you do this, if you are a buyer, you need to focus more on the feedback the seller has received as a seller, which might require you to change the tab at the top. If the feedback is less that 90% positive with a number in brackets over 20, then double check this person, again if the feedback is around 96% positive with a number in brackets over 100, then make sure that you read where the negatives came from - sometimes people leave negatives through no fault of seller. On the other hand, you may spot a company going downhill and trying to sell its damaged wares, and so has a lot of recent negative feedback, although previously it performed well. This gives you a good picture of the seller.
3. The description can reveal key things too - is the seller appearing friendly, has he recommended contacting him with questions? Does he appear to be uncommitted and spent only one minute making his listing to sell an expensive item? Of course, everyone can be nice when there is something at stake.
4. Test the seller's real nature - send a question and see how long it takes to get an answer. This might not be possible at last minute auctions, but if you are looking to invest in something expensive then you might be keeping a close eye on some items on your watch list for a few days. The response can show you the sellers commitment to his customer - you! A one word reply like 'yes' or 'no' don't necessarily indicate a bad seller, but considering the money you are about to spend, how will things pan out if the item is damaged when it arrives?
5. ALWAYS USE PAYPAL! This is the safest option for the buyer, and money can be recovered if the item arrives different from what is advertised. Sellers who refuse Paypal can be considered unsafe, as PayPal ensures buyer safety.
I am an eBay seller, not a company, just an individual with an appreciation for what eBay offers the world. I am one of the 'good' sellers that you would have the pleasure of dealing with, and being a keen buyer on eBay I appreciate what every buyer is looking for in a purchase. I have had the misfortune of losing money to scandalous online companies, which trade under a multitude of different names - they take your credit card details and then switch their name or 'go bust'. Fortunately, I have not yet once experienced a bad buy from eBay which hasn't been resolved. As a seller I have so far not had any complaints, except for the obvious scammers who ask to post to an unknown foreign address and attempt to pay using unregistered methods.
But for you as a buyer, follow my suggestions, and you will stay safe. Hope to trade soon!