How to Protect Yourself on eBay?

In: Safety Corner

22 Feb 2009

When all is said and done, eBay is a fairly safe environment to conduct person-to-person transactions. The vast majority of eBay users are honest individuals, and you’ll no doubt enjoy hundreds of good transactions before you hit your first bad one.

That said, here are some tips on how to better protect yourself when you’re dealing on eBay:

  • Remember that you’re dealing with human beings. Be nice, be polite, and, above all, communicate! Send emails confirming receipt of payment or shipment of merchandise. Say “please” and “thank you.” And don’t send short, snippy emails in the heat of the moment. Be tolerant and friendly, and you’ll be a better eBay citizen.

  • Realize that, in most cases, you’re dealing with individuals, not businesses. Keep that in mind if things don’t go quite as smoothly as they would if you ordered from or L.L.Bean. Most folks don’t have automated shipping systems installed in their living rooms!

  • Know that experienced eBay users take the feedback system very seriouslyif not obsessively. Positive feedback is expected for every successful transaction, and negative feedback should be used in only the most dire of circumstances. When in doubt, just don’t leave any feedback at all.

  • If you have questions about an item for sale, or about any part of the transaction, ask! Email the seller if you’re not sure about payment or shipping terms. Good communication eliminates surprises and misinterpretations; don’t assume anything.

  • When the item you purchased arrives, inspect it thoroughly and confirm that it’s as described. If you feel you were misled, contact the seller immediately, explain the situation, and see what you can work out. (You’d be surprised how many sellers will go out of their way to make their customers happy.)

  • If the merchandise doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, contact the seller immediately. If the item appears to be lost in transit, track down the letter/package via the shipping service. If the item never arrives, it’s the seller’s responsibility to file an insurance claim with the carrier (if the item was insured), and you should receive a refund from the seller.

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