Daily Prompt

How to Avoid eBay Scams.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth or Dare.”

Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

With an ever-growing market in fake goods and quick moneymaking, it is understandable that some people have reservations about shopping online. Some people would rather not have to worry, and will pay more in bricks and mortar stores than take a risk paying for something online.

As a seller with almost solely branded products, one of the main questions we get are a variation of:
‘Is this real?’

There is no point in being dishonest as an eBay seller. It doesn’t get you anywhere, and if reported enough times to eBay, you can be banned from selling. When they ban you, there really is no second chance. As a small business, we have no interest in taking that risk, and I am sure most others don’t either.

If you believe you have been lied to or that the item is not as described, eBay has policies in place and will help you communicate with the seller in order to resolve the issue.

If you message the seller, they should have no problem answering your questions honestly and respectfully. I have received many a bizarre question at Branded Value, but appreciate that people are just trying to find out as much as they can before committing to a purchase. I would rather answer honestly, and make sure that the sale is being completed with the customer knowing the facts, than to deal with a return request later on due to misinformation. That takes up time and effort, and is a disappointing experience for the buyer. Why would they ever come back to you?

It can almost seem too good to be true when you find what you’ve been looking for at half the price that the shops in town are selling it for. Why should you trust somebody on the other side of a computer? What if they don’t send your item?

There are ways to tell if an item is part of a scam, and if a seller is reputable:

  • Look at the seller’s feedback. Not only to check their reviews, but also to see the date that the business was set up. This is at the top of the feedback page, under their username. If they have just joined and you’re not sure about them, maybe wait to purchase. If they have been there since 2005, they are not likely to be disappearing any time soon. This is not to say that new sellers don’t deserve a chance. They are put through checks in order to sell on eBay, and have to build some feedback before being able to sell.
  • Check where the items are being sent from. Often, items from places like Hong Kong will be replicas. They have some great items, and will safely send orders, but are not likely to have branded items for sale.
  • If the seller only accepts cards or money transfers, this can be suspicious. Paypal is the safest way to pay online, especially on eBay. You can request a different type of payment with the seller, but at least check that they accept Paypal.
  • Only communicate via eBay messages unless there is a reason not to after initial contact. Initial contact and any links should always be sent via eBay messages and not to your email address.
  • Ask them a question if you are worried. An honest seller won’t mind ad won’t be offended. They will reassure you.
  • If an item really seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something worth £200 is listed for £20, it is unlikely that this item is in perfect condition. Ask the seller before making your purchase.

Don’t forget, eBay customer service will help if you have any issues after the sale has been completed. If the item does not arrive, or arrives damaged, you have rights and ca deal directly with the seller. If the seller does not respond helpfully, you can contact eBay who will read through messages (another reason to keep contact limited to eBay itself) and help you with your problem.

When it comes to online selling, honesty really is the best policy. If a seller seems dishonest, it may be worth reconsidering your purchase with them.

Have you ever been scammed on eBay?

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