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How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off Or Scammed When Buying On Ebay

Jun 19, 2008
Anyone and everyone who's ever used ebay knows it happens. For example you'll buy a PS3 and only the Box will arrive in the post. You buy a brand new vehicle but it doesn't have vital components and wont start. The main reason for this is over-excitement. If you think you've found a good deal, and no-one has bid yet, don't go crazy and bid your maximum straight away. Over-Excitement will cloud your judgement and you need to be aware of that.

If you're buying a car, and the seller tells you specifications and they sound amazing then I myself know how tempting it is to make unreasonable decisions. But stop and think. Why is the price so low? What's their feedback like? Read the WHOLE product info before even THINKING about buying an item. Look at the photos - is the product dirty? Whether the product is dirty or not sounds irrelevant but it does matter. If the owner hasn't even bothered cleaning the product for the photo, what's it going to perform like if he's owned it? For instance if the car has wrappers all over the floor, and the seats are torn - will the owner have kept the engine in immaculate condition? Or is it likely that he's been just as messy with the engine and with general maintenance. If you see such an item make sure to remember that it might not be a bargain once you add-on garage costs - and the car will probably not last for very long. And in most cases, it won't even be pleasant to sit in, let alone drive.

If on the other hand, you are paying a large amount of money and you expect the item to be in pristine condition, then going down to the seller's house/garage is a good place to start. I can almost guarantee there will be additional things that the seller didn't mention. You might find a scratch on the PSP which wasn't listed. A chip in the windscreen of this "brand new car" you're about to buy. If you're going to drive down there, do it before you bid.

Also, if you visit, you can find out information about the seller, and whether you're likely to get into trouble. For example, don't buy a car radio off a 16 year old who's in a gang and doesn't own a car. It's just not a good idea.

So, the checklist:

- Check the sellers feedback. Has he always been selling radios mysteriously?

- Read the description. Scammers sometimes sell links to where you can find cheap items -and con you into believing they're selling the real deal.

- If buying a big item, take the cash round to the sellers house and check it out. Don't slack off - take a good thorough look and maybe even bring a torch, if its a car of some sort.

I'm not trying to make you paranoid - there are honest sellers out there, in fact the majority of sellers will give you a fair deal. But looks out for those odd ones with no morals."
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