If you can't find what you're looking for anywhere else, you can often find it on E-bay. But with one scam after another coming around sometimes I wonder if it's worth the risk. Here's a few tips and tricks to help ensure you're getting a good deal and not just getting taken for a fool.
1. Do Avoid Diamonds
Diamonds aren't a big risk their a big mistake. You can't prove someone else didn't know they didn't have a real diamond and in a dispute they can't prove you didn't take it and switch it out with a different stone. There's no way to tell if it's stolen (unless laser numbered) and you'll most likely pay to have it tested once you get it. Just stick to buying diamonds in a trusted jewelry store and avoid the entire mess. It will get ugly if it's not what you thought it was.
2. Do NOT Purchase From Accounts With Recent Disputes
Accounts with open disputes, recent disputes, and/or recent negative feedback maybe having problems. They could have closed down their account due to fraud, be on vacation, etc. Just avoid those accounts, it's really not a good deal if you never get your product anyway.
3. Do Use A Credit Card When Possible
PayPal says they protect their customers and most of the time they do. But it's way more difficult to win a case on PayPal than it is with your credit card companies. Plus if you loose the dispute the money will be automatically withdrawn from your account again with no warning. So unless you've got PayPal gift cards to burn try to use your credit card for your own protection whenever possible.
4. Do NOT Purchase Refurbished or Used Electronics
Refurbished is a scary word on E-bay. Very few users are actually certified by electronic companies to refurbish items. Most of the time this safely means, stolen and in 'like new' condition. So here's the problem with stolen goods. My Sony NEX 5N was stolen a few months ago. When I called and reported it as stolen to Sony they let me in on a little secret. With modern digital cameras they update every time you plug them in (or at least regularly) if they are marked as stolen they refuse to update meaning after a few months you loose functionality. You can't add new lenses, because the camera would have to update to recognize the new lens. After a short time of use the camera will become obsolete. You don't want to have purchased a camera at $500 to $5000 to find out it was reported as stolen and it's now useless. The same is happening with electronics across the board. iPods, Pads, and Tables are already equipped with this technology and many other pieces of equipment are starting to incorporate it.
5. Do Be Cautions Of Accounts That Sell "Random Items"
An account with tons of random items, is a big RED FLAG for stolen! Now there are some exceptions such as "garage sale" dealers. And, people with the notice "I"m cleaning out my children's room" still watch to make sure their items match up with their story. For instance 3 wedding rings, a big screen tv, and a used iPod all on the same account and it's a good bet they are all stolen.
6. Do NOT Use Alternate E-mail Addresses To Contact Sellers
If a seller on E-bay says "please e-mail me here I never check my e-bay e-mail then how do you know they check for orders, or update order status'? In fact e-mailing someone off e-bay you don't know if they'll reply or shut down that e-mail address after your order is placed. Stick to the e-bay rules here and just use the e-bay e-mail program. There's no reason to risk your money for the sellers connivance.
7. Do Look To See If The Seller Has A Store
If you're considering buying something like a television or laptop, expensive jewelry, or tools. Check to see if you can find the seller outside of E-bay. Rating sites, their actual store front, etc. If they do it's a much better chance they are legit.
8. Do NOT Buy DVDs or Games Before You Check The Area They Work In
You can get some awesome deals on games and dvds on e-bay, however make sure when buying games, and DVD's that they work in your are. They may have the same cover listed but that doesn't mean it's not a South American DVD or European DVD that won't work in your player! If the seller did not list the area it could even be a black market bootlegged dvd and you're going to end up watching people in the theater walk across your new movie as whoever was recording moves their cell phone around. I HATE THAT.
9. Do Buy Toys, Collector Items, Craft Items & Daily Deals
Toys are a great e-bay item! I got 1lbs of Polly Pocket clothing over Christmas for my daughter for just $15.00. I estimated if I had bought it all new it would have cost me close to $300.00. When I opened the box I went through washing each piece, and threw a few out. Overall it was an amazing deal! Her stocking wast stuffed to the brim of new clothing for her little 'princesses' she couldn't have been any happier! Always check E-bay when looking for toy items... I find what I'm looking for about 1/3 of the time, in good condition and 80% or more off what Toys R Us was asking. Many craft items, such as charms, beads, scrapbooking supplies, sewing supplies, etc, are also a great deal! And, the daily deals are often awesome!!!! Always free shipping there too.
10. Do NOT Bid Or Buy Before Checking The Shipping
Shipping can kill you! Just because the game was only $12.00 regularly $50.00 doesn't mean the shipping isn't $48.00 making the game $60!!! Check how much the seller wants for shipping before committing to buy or bidding. It will save you a headache!
Hope you enjoyed the hints and tips. Do you have some e-bay super finds? what about nightmare stories? Feel free to share your experience and any tips you might offer up!