I would like to pass to you things that i have noticed on EBAY concerning, what i believe to be, poor treatment and a concerted effort to scamm off new Ebayers.
When you start dealing on Ebay it can be somewhat daunting. You need to learn what to look for, How to look for it, How to bid on it, How much to bid on it, When to bid on it and the list goes on and on. Rightly you turn to the HELP section of Ebay or to friends you know that use it but ultimatly you ARE going to get your fingers burned by a dodgy dealer.
"How can I prevent this from happening", I hear you ask.
Well, you may not be able to but you can make it less likely that you will by following some simple guidelines.
1. ALWAYS check the sellers feedback. The higher the number does not necessarily mean this person is a good dealer. Look for a good rating, ie. The percentage of feedback that is Positive. I tend to be happy with 98 to 99% for sellers with a high number of feedbacks but if the seller has a low number say from 20 to 200 i would be looking for 100% as a feedback rating. Sellers with high numbers of feedbacks tend to be traders selling their goods and sellers with lower numbers from 0 to a couple of hundred will more likely to be private dealers. Be careful with anyone with less than 10 feedbacks and ensure any they have are POSITIVES. Again i would not say that everyone with a small amount of feedback is a crook because we all have to start somewhere but it is more likley that this person is a dodgy dealer. Be especially careful of those that change their ID. If in doubt contact the person by email and talk to them. (NOTE I would like to point out that i DO NOT say i would NOT deal with anyone under 100% feedback ONLY that i would be more cautious but i have found the majority of people who have recieved the odd Negative feedback to be sound and highly respectable EBayers who were victims of circumstance rather than bad dealing)
2. PROTECT your money. If you are a new ebayer it would be a good idea to set up a PAYPAL account (You can follow this link to Ebays own explainations of PAYPAL and how to set it up http://cgi6.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SearchHelp ) Now people WILL say dont use Paypal to recieve payment as it costs money however i believe the cost is worth it to be sure of a) if you buy something via PAYPAL, and i buy everything via it, you are covered and insured against the dodgy dealer and b) you know that when a payment hits PAYPAL and goes into your account that it is paid and you can send the item, No messing around with cheques and waiting ten days till it clears here.. There are other services out there and NOCHEX (PS 12/07/06 I have since found out that NOCHEX is no longer recognized by EBay so please dont use this service for transaactions on EBay)( PPS as of 16/07/06 It appears Ebay have changed their minds AGAIN and NOCHEX is now ALLOWED as a method of payment GO FIGURE) would be one. Similar to PAYPAL it allows payment and to recieve monies and is a perfectly reasonable way to do your buisness but it is not intergrated into EBAY as much as PAYPAL. Its your choice but i would recommend setting up your account straight away.
3. Download the only essential piece of software you will ever need if you are going to sell on EBAY, Namely TURBOLISTER. This tool sets up on your computer and allows you to set up listings in a plain and practical way giving you a lot of scope to create excellent pages to sell your items and trust me you will sell an item far more easily from a well set up listing with pictures (of the item itself and not stock if you can get them onto your system) than a crappy couples of lines on a plain otherwise blank page. Maximise your return with this FREE program. It can be downloaded from inside EBAY or follow this link http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/advanced_selling_tools.html This is what the big sellers and even the dodgy dealer uses because of ease to set up and use and to entice you in to their product. Stay a step ahead.
4. Keep an eye out for Uncle Zawala from Nigeria. There will be many people who will send you a message asking if you can send your item to their sick Uncle, Aunt, Sister, Dog and they will pay you over the asking price but it will be Via WESTERN UNION. The answer simply is NO. You will either NEVER recieve money or it will be a forgery or some other scam. Mention at the bottom of your listings that you Do not offer services to these countries nor accept payment other than PAYPAL for example.
5. Always give Terms and conditions in your listing ensuring you cover things like how long someone has to Pay/Make contact with you and lay out exactly what will happen if this time period ends eg cancel their bid and report them. Also ensure you have honestly described the item AND any failings it might have as there are some fairly unscrupulous people out there who will try to say the item was broke and return you an item the same as the one you sold but not it looking a refund. When posting an item use a service like recorded delivery (it doesnt have to be first class) as this means an item MUST be signed for at the other end and you have a tracking number for the buyer. This way they can never say the item never arrived and if they do give them the tracking code as your proof of sending so that it then becomes someone elses problem (Bloody Postal Service. Strike indeed)
6. Lastly as well as looking at others feedback you should aspire to build yours quickly and successfully. Ensure if you make a transaction, whether it is buying OR selling, that you always leave a feedback. You will have noticed from point 1 that feedbacks are the life blood of EBAY and without these we wouldnt trust anyone with our money. HOWEVER a word of warning be careful if you are considering leaving a negative on someone as they can bite you on the ass by ruining the perfectly manicured 100% you had going. So before leaving it consider just not leaving them one and live with the satisfaction that you have other choices to deal with them like reporting to Ebay and getting them booted off (they will probably set up a new account with a different email addres but it is a hassle having to build feedbacks again after 4 or 5 times of this.)
I hope this insight helped and at least i can maybe do my bit and stop you getting ripped off and help you become a successful EBAYER. Fox_uk
PS. Please read my Amendments to this guide as i have recieved various questions and critisisms (ALL Welcome) hopefully this will clear up a few things for you. Cheers