Advice For The New Ebay Shopper

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To find someone who is not where or what is you have to look under the rock that they been hiding under for the past decade, and although virtually everyone in the modern technology world knows what eBay is, that does not necessarily mean that everyone is participating.  If you are one of the many thousands of new eBay members whom are just now getting familiar with the process of eBay or perhaps not even signed up for an account yet, there are some safety issues to consider before opening an account.  EBay is a fantastic place to buy discount used and even new merchandise at a fraction of the retail price and is truly placed on a pedestal in any active discussion of the current online marketplace.  So here it is, some quick safety tips for new or future members looking to begin your shopping experience.

You bid on an item or “buy it now” then you are signing a contract

This is a common mistake for many brand-new eBay members and additionally one of the major reasons that some seasoned sellers have stringent standards for buyer experience before purchasing.  When placing a bid or purchasing anything on eBay, it is important that you are aware that you are entering into a contract with the seller and that contract is fully backed by both eBay and PayPal.  It is not a game, and there are in fact consequences for not paying that can follow you throughout your future eBay career or even get you permanently removed from eBay without the ability to create new account.  Granted this is being said with a certain lack of any fluff but every new buyer should be aware of the contract they are committing to when purchasing.  It will benefit you in the long run to know all the rules ahead of time and that those rules have consequences.

legitimate listings will have most of the answers you seek

It is the right of the buyer on eBay to inquire about any issue or clarification that is needed before purchase and for the most part all sellers are more than willing to answer any questions that a new buyer may have.  However, with the combination of premade specifications for many items coupled with the sellers description, most simple answers can be found by simply checking the listing carefully.  If you have further questions feel free to contact the seller, but if the answer to your question is simply stated in listing, it can often be annoying for a seller and may be misconstrued as rudeness.

EBay and PayPal are one and the same

It is important for new eBay member to know that eBay owns PayPal.  While eBay does not require you to release any really specific personal information such as a Social Security number or bank account number, PayPal does require this to become active.  Additionally, if you’re signing up for an eBay account your options will be extremely limited if you do not also sign up for a PayPal account.  Although some sellers on eBay do have the option to pay by credit card, PayPal is often a safer way to go anyway and signing up for account is free as it is on eBay.  Do not fret about your privacy, this is simply an opinion, but PayPal is probably one of the most secure online ways to purchase items with peace of mind.  Their customer service is also incredibly helpful if you have any further questions.  It is also an added benefit that eBay and PayPal are actually the same company, this ensures that your protected by two separate entities at once.  Because eBay and PayPal have a direct line of communication with each other, any truly messy issue you may have or specific situation can be supported with evidence easily.

Beware of the scammers

As with any online marketplace eBay attracts multiple fraudsters and scammers that will seek out new eBay members specifically with a low feedback score or a zero for feedback score.  New eBay members are considered a quick and easy way for a potential scammer to get what they want. It is important to be aware that they do exist and not to be too trusting.  Specifically, it is common for a brand-new eBay member to receive multiple e-mails to their registered e-mail address for eBay and PayPal, or even a phone call from a non-legitimate scamming company attempting to retrieve personal information.  For the new buyer, beware the eBay and PayPal will not call and e-mail you essentially ever.  The exception being to verify your account in which case you will be aware of the call ahead of time because they will notify you during the process that they’re going to call you, or to notify you of a previous action such as bidding on an item.  Otherwise if you get a call from someone who’s claiming to be eBay or PayPal shortly after signing up for an account, it is likely not legitimate and simply hang up.

Feedback matters

Feedback is a way for a seller to assess how experienced you are as a buyer but also a way for you the buyer to assess the experience and aptitude of the seller.  Before purchasing it is always a good idea to check over the feedback score of the seller, even if the seller has a relatively high feedback score ranging from 500 to 3 or 4 thousand.  If the seller has a lot of negative feedbacks then you may want to steer clear.

You’re creating a reputation and there is often no reset button

It is important to understand that when you sign-up for an account on eBay the purpose is to build a reputation for yourself.  Although the immediate purpose is to purchase something you want, it would be a good idea to think ahead about the next time you may want something and how you would like eBay as a resource for that as well.  Simply stated, don’t abuse eBay and abide by your contracts because if this is not done, it is possible to be suspended or permanently removed from eBay and you will not be able to create an account to start over. 

Beware of the new seller with zero feedback

In gauging whether or not a seller is legitimate, it is very important to look at the feedback score as discussed above.  Although not that common, if you see a seller with a great deal of items listed in the very low feedback score or none at all, then they are likely an older experienced seller that has had their accounts suspended for some reason and has started from scratch with the previously existing account from before their suspension.  Although there may be nothing wrong with the seller whatsoever, or if they have even been suspended, on that same note it is impossible to tell the history of the seller because they don’t really have a history on their new account.  Buy at your own risk if you suspect this, they may be perfectly legitimate but on the other hand they may not be.

Be aware of your standards for buying an item and don’t be too hasty

Before purchasing an item it is important to review the seller’s policies regarding refunds, shipping and handling times, and the condition of the item.  As a new member is important to be aware of the fact that eBay is not a sole entity online store, eBay in fact is not selling merchandise on their own.  Every individual you deal with on eBay is considered a separate entity, and each of these individuals has their own rules and guidelines for purchasing with them.  Some may require more handling time and they will note that, while others may not accept any returns or refunds and they will note that as well.  Although you are protected from damaged goods or a non-receipt of item, it is important to be aware of the individual sellers standards and rules for purchasing and not to be too hasty with leaving negative feedback simply because you as a buyer were not aware that it may take seven days to process your order, as an example.

PayPal is the safe way to Go

If you’re looking for the most protection of your purchase then there is no safer bet than simply opening a PayPal account.  Although some sellers do offer additional payment options such as Auctiva or Vendio, without a doubt the safest route for a new buyer is to use PayPal.  If you do decide to purchase your item with this alternative payment method, you will have to abide by that companies policy regarding protection and it is often not as strict in favor of the buyer as PayPal is.


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