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Just How Safe is EBay

Jul 11, 2008
Many of us buy things on eBay. Clothes, appliances, electrical - and we usually get value for money. But is eBay safe? As a first time eBay user it can be a daunting experience, and if you think that there are no scammers on eBay then you will probably be ripped off. Like any store or shop that you've ever been to, you need to be careful when giving out any personal information or details, and you need to make sure you know what you're actually buying and whether it is good quality.

The biggest problem regarding eBay scams is that on eBay you are not protected by the consumer rules that you are usually protected by when you purchase something from a high street store or another online seller and you aren't protected by the Sale of Goods Act. This act says that everything that you but should be "fit for its purpose", it should be exactly as you were told, and that it should be of a good quality unless stated otherwise. You can't return anything if it's faulty, and you can't send something back if it's not what you expected.

Sale of Goods Act - which says everything you buy should be fit for its purpose, as it was described, of satisfactory quality and able to be returned if faulty - nor Distance Selling Regulations, which entitle you to send back something you bought online if it is not what you expected, apply for eBay.

This isn't to say that some sellers won't give you a refund - but it is to say that some sellers will take advantage of this. But despite all these acts that eBay is not subject to, eBay acknowledges scammers and has put in rules and regulations regarding selling to try and protect the customer.

Although many people don't like it, the safest way to deal with eBay is to use PayPal. PayPal is an established company that can handle these kinds of things, and has a large database. None of your information will be released to anyone else.

Remember that you shouldn't give out your credit card details directly to a seller on eBay unless they have a website which is secure - (look for a small padlock in the corner of the screen) - and also avoid sending money directly to people selling on eBay, especially if they want you to send it through a money transfer agency, like Western Union. This is mainly because you won't really know where your money is going and it will be harder to trace. If you are scammed, it will be harder for you to find out who it was that scammed you.

For the same reasons, don't let your item be sent to a depot. Make sure it is delivered to your home, or office. The main thing when buying off eBay is to make sure you know who you are buying from. Do some research on the company that is selling you the item. Look at their history. Not everyone on eBay is a scammer, but they are out there.
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