Six Golden Rules of Using eBay
Going, going, gone. The gavel comes down and proclaims another bargain... Or does it? Online auctioneer, eBay has become one of the biggest sites on the internet but thats no guarantee, as many people seem to believe, that its a treasure trove for bargains. eBay provides its users a place to offer items for sale, which other users can then bid on. Yet, as the site has grown, so have the amount of scams and dodgy deals used by unscrupulous punters to trick honest bidders out of their hard-earned cash.
How are people being conned?These cons come in various guises. Many involve the sale of hyperlinks; eBay users bid to be sent the URL of a website touted as being exclusive with information of great interest. Then, having won the bidding, they get sent an address thats freely available to any web user. There have even been instances of the ad-free, free to use MoneySavingExpert.com address being sold to the highest bidder! Others have been swindled thinking theyre bidding on an actual item, when all thats actually up for grabs is a link to a site selling the items in question. One seller seemed to be offering laptops at the low price of $425, but closer inspection of the small print revealed the only thing for sale was a link to a site selling discounted laptops. These rip-offs so often work because we all seem to believe Its on eBay, so it must be cheap. This complacency allows sellers to hike up prices, knowing that the majority of people wont check whether or not theyre getting value for money.
Anti-Moneysaving in action I was finally jolted into writing this after seeing a particularly devious piece of anti-MoneySaving on eBay, concerning an offer I announced a few months ago in the weekly Money Tip. I reported a short-lived sale of Dell color printers, cheap at $10 a go. Later I discovered a tip received had seen this, and used the info to order 70 and made over $2000 profit from flogging them for $40, four times the asking price. Some may say good on them making profit yet this kind of behavior goes against everything this site stands for. Of course businesses source products and make money - thats fine. Yet to use info from this site, a Consumer Revenge site, to take money out of others pockets is precisely why we all need to become more savvy consumers and stop people unnecessarily taking our cash.
What can you do about it?
So, to fight back and protect your protect from overpaying and yourself from scams, Ive devised MSEs Six Golden Rules for eBay bidders. Remember Im not saying dont use eBay, it can be a great way of having fun and finding a bargain, but dont fall for the hype that its a panacea for finding a good buy. Three rules to check if its cheaper Google it.
Use a comprehensive search engine like Google or Yahoo to check out exactly what youre bidding for. If its just information thats being sold, youll almost always find the same thing elsewhere for free. Use quotation marks in your search terms to define your query accurately.
Use Shopbots. It only takes five minutes to check whether youre getting a genuine bargain when buying off eBay. Special price comparison websites such as Halfvalue.com Dealtime, Pricerunner and Kelkoo search the web to find the cheapest prices on a broad range of goods. If youre going to buy something on eBay always compare the prices using these shopbots first to see if the deal really is as good as it sounds. You may be able to pick up the goods brand new, from a recognised e-retailer for less.
Ask the forum. Chat Forums regularly have thousands of MoneySavers chatting about the best bargains. This mass consumer power means someone will almost always know whether youre being ripped off.
Three rules to check what youre buying Read the small print. Make sure you sift through every word of the eBay auction description. Often if there is a catch it is hidden in the tiny text at the bottom that way the seller is protected if theres a problem.
Know your rights. If you are buying via a buy it now (more and more common) from a UK based trader on eBay, i.e. someone who makes a living by selling goods regularly then provided its a buy it now not an auction you have all the same statutory rights as buying from a shop. However there is no strict definition of a trader, this would be decided by the courts, yet if its someone obviously doing this as part of their living, on a regular basis then its very likely theyre a trader. However if youre just buying from a private individual, then the law says let the buyer beware. If your purchase arrives as described youll have little legal comeback you may want to ask yourself would I be willing to buy this off a man in the pub?
Dont rely on feedback. eBay sellers often have a feedback rating which acts as a useful guide to whether theyve dealt fairly in the past. Yet its not infallible. In fact there are US websites that actually sell good feedback, so never rely on this alone. The bottom line is that you mustnt be complacent and assume that eBay will always provide you with the best deal. Always check the price, always check whether informations freely available somewhere else and, then, you should always avoid being taken for a ride.
Find Cheap ebay on HalfvalueYou can find cheap ebay deals at halfvalue.com. Simply search for ebay and click on the product link you are interested in. We provide you with the product details as well as list all the stores that sell cheap ebay online so you can easily compare prices and find the cheapest ebay deals online.
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