Rare times in local KT. Place your mouse over times and items for time conversions and info.
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I answered a post in another thread and thought that more people could use some help and advice with buying on eBay, so I am putting it up here, with a couple of typos corrected that is!
Both myself and my husband have bought AND sold items on eBay and in all the years we have done this (for me 6 years this April, him a year longer) we have had less than 1% of the transactions be bad ones. This is less of a percentage than going to the local restaurants or stores(sadly).
eBay in and of itself is not bad- there are scammers everywhere and no matter what you do, you are going to get a small percentage in a local mall or a flea market or on-line sites, like eBay.
There are ways you can protect yourself on eBay:
1. ALWAYS check seller feedback BEFORE you bid.
The feedback is there to let you know how others' transactions were with the seller. Read the negative feedback to see why it was left and decide for yourself. If feedback is low or have LOTS of negatives don't bid with them.
2. Try to contact the seller with a question before you bid.
If they do not respond in a timely manner then you might wind up not being happy after the sale (whether shipping time, shipping method, shipping cost, or should something be wrong with item or not show up when you are expecting it due to a lack of communication)
3. Always read AND re-read shipping cost information AND shipping method.
Many times people forget to check this amount and then get 'sticker shock' when they buy an item for $.99 and then pay $7 in shipping/handling costs. These people spend their time and gas to put the items up and getting them shipped out- wouldn't YOU want to make a little more back than what you paid for it? If you feel that the shipping is too high, contact the seller- they might lower it, especially if you get more than one item. If they don't respond or they do not wish to lower it, do not bid on the item.
4. Remember that if you have an issue with a missing/damaged/wrong item or you sold something and then a buyer is trying to stiff you, you have LEGAL recourses if mediation through eBay and/or Paypal has not worked.
We had an individual who bid up an item of my husband's and then wouldn't pay. We tried to resolve through eBay and then when he was refusing to contact with or through them, we got all the info we needed from eBay about the buyer and called his local police. No Joke. They went to his house and arrested him. It is considered a theft and a breach of contract and he had to pay us and then pay nominal damages (to cover our costs in having to go after him). Buy shipping insurance on the more expensive or fragile items.
You always have a recourse if a transaction should go bad.
5. eBay now has in its policy that ALL sellers MUST have a return policy (even if to say that you can't unless the item is wrong or arrived broken).
Make sure you read this policy for each item you might bid on to see if the item is returnable and what the time frame is to do so.
6. Paypal has an 'insurance' policy.
If you bid on an item and it is not as it was listed AND you paid with Paypal then you first try to go through the seller, then if still unsatisfied through eBay's grievance process, then if still unsatisfied, you can go through Paypal and get refunded (if you weren't by this point) and Paypal then debits the sellers Paypal account and refunds you.
7. If you have any questions feel free to ask them.
Many times a prospective buyer (and seller) will have questions, but think "they might just think 'I'm being dumb and they might try to take advantage of me' but seriously I've been asked some odd questions- like "what material is the box you are shipping the item in made out of?" but never though the person dumb, instead I would think that the prospective buyer was making sure that all of their preferences were going to be filled in buying that specific item from me. I respected that because that is what a person would do when walking into a store, why should it be different when buying online?
8. If you see an illegal item you can report it to eBay and the auction will be removed and the seller will be monitored or removed.
Many times people see something amiss and just click away thinking 'someone should do something about that, why don't they do something' Well you are the someone- contact eBay and let them know! :-D
9. Just for extra information:
Most shipping and handling is higher than actual shipping cost (actual shipping cost is the amount the postal service is charging the shipper) because most sellers will add an amount for: tape, boxes, packing envelopes, packing material (bubble wrap or paper inserts, bags), gas to the post office, some insist upon buyer getting insurance on the item, and a small amount for themselves for doing it all ( I only ever charged $1 for it all, even though the cost of the shipping materials were much higher- I packed very well, some people charge much more and that is their perogative).
When you go into a department store, drug store, fast food, etc... they do the SAME. eBay charges the seller for the add and Paypal charges a specific percentage on the amount of the sale. The seller loses money on an item if it sells for below what they paid for it (and even if it sold for the same of what they paid for it). If they are running an eBay business, then it is not unreasonable for them to figure their overhead into the handling part of 'shipping/handling' costs- just like any other business.
Again, if you feel the amount is higher than you are willing to pay, then contact the seller or do not bid on the item. You have the most power on eBay- the power to click the 'X' of the window and 'walk away' from bidding on it!!
If I did not cover something or if you have a question I might be able to answer, feel free to ask!
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