Collection in person is an obvious safeguard when buying something on ebay.
However there is often conflict between what the buyer is expecting and what the seller is providing.
If you win something on ebay you buy it against the description in the auction and the seller’s reputation. In the normal course of events the seller packs it up and the buyer inspects it when it arrives. If there is a problem both parties then work it out.
However if you opt to collect something you won you should not expect to get anything more than a collection unless you have agreed it in advance. If you want to run the equipment, have a demonstration or a full inspection the time to establish if that’s an option is before you bid.
You have to remember that you are most likely visiting someone’s house. You wish to see the goods because you don’t know the buyer. You must also remember that the buyer doesn’t know you,
The buyer is expecting the seller to invite a complete stranger into his house. You do not have the right to expect entry and any facilities that have not already been agreed. The seller may have other places to be and things to do that don’t fit in with your unplanned requests. The seller is expecting a 5 minute hand over of the goods.
In short the seller may not allow people into his house for personal or security reasons but may offer a collection facility. If the potential buyer needs to see the goods working then the buyer should bid only after asking. The buyer cannot object or introduce conditions after the auction has finished.
Now there comes the question of payment. PayPal and collect is dangerous as the seller will not have a delivery receipt if the payment is fraudulent and may well refuse which he is entitled to do. Do not expect to arrive with a cheque and take the goods away, it won’t happen. Sellers need cleared funds before releasing goods.
If you are taking a large quantity of cash with you to pay for an expensive item you do need to be certain that your personal security is not compromised.
Meet at the seller’s home if you can. If you don’t like the situation or you find there are other people hanging around be cautious. If you can get there a little early you can take better account of the situation.
Try not to complete sales at motorway service areas, in pubs or other public places unless you are sure of the provenance of the items you are buying or the risk to you is small.
By all means take someone with you to visit a seller but remember that you may then be seen as a threat to the sellers own security. You do not have the right to expect entry to the sellers home with a posse of friends. In fact you should expect to refused.
When you decide to bring a couple friends with you as advisors remember the seller is dealing one to one with you. He doesn’t have to answer a barrage of questions from your appointed expert.
Also remember that the sale has already been made and agreed when the hammer fell. There is no facility to vary the terms, haggle over the price or ask those questions that you forgot to ask before bidding. You have purchased the goods at the auction price against the description.
If you have arranged a powered on inspection and the description is correct you are due to pay and collect. If you have arranged to collect only that’s what you can expect to pay and collect after a brief inspection.
Considering that you had already decided that the purchaser had a strong enough reputation before you bid you will likely upset the seller if your questioning comes over as an interrogation.
Don't get Paranoid
Ok once the thrill of the auction is over that’s often the time when the doubts set in. When your friends and family start questioning the sanity or wisdom of buying that expensive item from a stranger caution sets in.
I can guarantee that your seller will get upset if he is selling on ebay with hundreds or thousands of good feedback comments and the seller’s is asking him to prove that item meets the description. You should start from the position that the seller is honest and straightforward and wait to be proved wrong. After all the seller is expecting to meet an honest and straightforward buyer.
There are a few rouges on ebay but they don’t usually get Powerseller status or even build much good feedback. Most ebay sellers are straightforward and honest and take care when listing items. To be accused of not being straightforward is an insult to them.
So above all else remember that both the buyer and the seller have agreed the sale before the auction has ended. Once the auction has ended neither the seller nor the buyer is free to change any terms other than by mutual agreement.