Who are you really selling to/buying from?

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These are my opinions, and what I believe to be, a guide on how to avoid getting messed around on eBay. Particularly when selling/buying expensive goods such as cars, laptops, mp3 players etc.

Come on... Is no-one absolutely sick and tired of scammers, hackers,
people who generally want to take you for a ride on ebay? It's pathetic the levels
that some people will go to flex their ego and win some money for nothing. All
behind the safe and secure guard of a computer screen.

My friend's dad recently sold a pick up truck/van to someone on eBay for a reasonable price. I won't disclose any information on how much/who/what etc. because the issue hasn't been resolved yet.
    He received a message prior to the auction from the winner, claiming that he could not pick the truck up from my friend's father's home, and that he'd be able to meet halfway. Now already this sounds slightly dodgy... but I'll continue. They exchanged phone numbers and negotiated to meet halfway anyway, with company (to avoid any problems that could have arised - safetywise).  They met up, and the transaction seemed to go very well. My friend received a text message a few hours after this meeting, from the buyer, claiming that the pick up had broken down at a service station. Now I can't say whether this is true or not, but this is a perfect example of someone who doesn't appear to want to make things easy for my friend's father. This issue is currently being resolved (hopefully) and things should turn out ok.

I'd like to point out that the journey to the halfway point was 1hr and 30mins long. The pick up had no problems whatsoever, and no problems had arised with it previously.

Now, I know this probably seems a very trivial matter to most, but it's a prime example of how people seem to want to take full advantage of ebay sellers (or even buyers) at every opportunity.

Take full precautions when selling expensive goods, stick to arranged delivery (or pick up) methods and always keep your wits about you. I've devised a few bullet points that may help new ebay buyers/sellers:

  • SELLERS - always stick to your plan of delivery (or pick up) and make sure that no negotiations are made outside of your eBay sellers contract.
  • BUYERS - if an item you wish to buy has a different form of delivery/pick up to what you would prefer, message the seller before you bid to check if your preferred method of exchange is available.
  • SELLERS - if a buyer contacts you after an auction is over to attempt to negotiate any part of the auction, always stick to your arrangements. Unless you are 100% sure that the buyer is genuine, then don't bother.
  • BUYERS - now this may seem incredibly obvious, but always read the fine print on auctions. If an auction seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Make sure you have a proper picture of the actual product (or even request one) and make sure the auction is for THAT product and not a replica or miniature version of it.
  • SELLERS - if you cannot provide a picture of your product, then try your hardest to find a way or providing one - the whole point of selling is to invite customers to buy, not make them worry about whether it's safe to bid or not! Make your auction clear and easy to read.
  • BUYERS - I've heard too many stories about scammers putting up laptops/electronical goods on ebay for a reasonable price with a supposed 'real' photo of it, but when the buyer receives this 'product' it turns out to be a photo of it, or even just a pathetic fake. Don't even think about spending your money unless you are totally sure that the auction is genuine. Check seller's feedback (cliche, but true), and if you are suspicious of a fraudulent auction - report it to eBay.
  • SELLERS - okay, you may be afraid of losing your eBay fees if you choose not to complete a transaction because a buyer 'seems a little dodgy'... but it's way better to lose that fee and regain it from winning a dispute, than chance it and end up in a situation where you've lost the money and the product.
There are probably many more points on safety that are yet to be made and these points have probably already been made... but I'm just trying to raise awareness that it COULD happen to you. And it is very disappointing when it does happen, and it could mean a big loss to your bank account and more.

I hope this helps!
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