BAM eBay Buyer Blog

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How to Avoid Buying Fakes on eBay and Online

How to Avoid Buying Fakes on eBay and Online



Brands have gotten better, I believe, about policing online marketplaces for fake goods. There may be a fake Chanel item up on eBay a little while but I don't believe it will be there for long.  But that doesn't mean that every brand is policing every item, or if they are, can keep up with it. Still, there are things you can do as a buyer to reduce your chances of getting burned by fakes.

- Avoid Buying the Types of Items Most Often Faked

Some of the most fakes items include things like brand-name shoes and luxury clothing. But it can be other things too like household items...one web sire featured a picture of a fake Sharpie pen, of all things. There can be bootleg movies and even pharmaceuticals and baby products, which could be dangerous. You can avoid buying the latter kind of thing online. For the former..

- Look for all the Signs of Authenticity

Know Thy Luxury Item. I am a big fan of Chanel clothing and jewelry, and I bought a very good authenticity guide that shows what the Chanel signs of fakes are.  These can be things like the logos not looking right, the color of the logo not matching the details of the bag, and the all-important serial number and its modern hologram.

Bear in mind that even if you are buying vintage you may come across a counterfeit item. But a serial number label from the 1990s is going to look different from one from 2016, so you can use an authenticity guide to reference that the item's labels look appropriate for their era.

- Packaging

Luxury items come with specific packaging, such as dust bags for Chanel bags. The one time I got burned by a fake purse on eBay, I noticed its handles cam wrapped in plastic. This was never done with the real brand. It also just felt cheaper, with poor quality leather and hardware. Sometimes the "smell" or "look 'n' feel" test is the best.  Just be sure the seller has a return policy..no return policy is a red flag!

- Seller Feedback

Because it is impossible to know the scope of what all the fake items are out there, you can always carefully check seller feedback. If one person has been burned, likely it will show up there. And if the seller doesn't have any feedback, or very little feedback, don't take the chance buying from them.

It's good to go into a real retail store for a brand to get familiar with exactly how their authentic items look. Some of the fake items are now starting to look as good as real items, so these details matter even more.

"The problem is that the fake products today, they make better quality, better prices than the real products, the real names,” Alibaba chair Jack Ma was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg article. “It’s not the fake products that destroy them, it’s the new business models.”

But he also said Alibaba is the best in the world at fighting the sale of counterfeits.

So, be careful out there. It doesn't mean you can't find plenty of real deals online -- just watch out that the deal is not too good to be true.

PayPal OneTouch and Easier Ways to Pay this Fall

PayPal OneTouch and Easier Ways to Pay this Fall


PayPal had already announced OneTouch, where you can activate a one-time login at their site, and stay logged in through your online session at various sites to pay with "just the click of a button." Now they are also helping to bring "Cardless Cash" to people at ATMs in some 70,000 locations via PayPal subsidiary Paydiant, and a partnership between FIS and Payment Alliance International. People will be able to use their mobile devices to get money at these ATMs without having to use their cards.


Apparently, OneTouch is growing rapidly. According to Arnold Goldberg, vice president of global merchant product and technology at PayPal, One Touch may have 36 million users by the end of this year. With OneTouch, once you log into PayPal for the first purchase, you can stay logged in on that same device for up to six months. Subsequent purchases can be made with just “one touch,” so you do not need to repeatedly log in to your PayPal account.

Meanwhile, you may be seeing more payment options from smaller merchants when shopping, thanks to new integrations by PayPal, Amazon and Apple with ecommerce platforms that provide store-hosting solutions, according to this article in EcommerceBytes.

For me, it always made sense for merchants and platforms to provide the fastest checkout possible. Amazon's "one-click" checkout has been one of its advantages and one reason shopping on the site is so fast and convenient. And I also like to see merchants offering the most payment options possible, from PayPal to ApplePay to the Google Android payment system.

But is there such as thing as too many payment buttons? What payment service or services do you prefer? And will you be trying out PayPal OneTouch? Post a comment here!



A Look at High to Low Sales Across Some eBay Categories

A Look at High to Low Sales Across Some eBay Categories



I do miss the old eBay Pulse, in which eBay gave us a look at what categories and subcategories were trending. But the terapeak tool has a feature that looks at what categories have high and low sales, from the top-level on down.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at what categories have the most sales right now, or rather, within the last seven days.

On the top end, we have:

- Clothing, Shoes and Accessories as having high sales.  Within that:
- Women's Clothing is trending big as well.

- Cell Phones and Accessories have moderately high sales, with:
- Cell Phones and Smart Phones garnering the high sales "red dot" in the terapeak color spectrum.

Rounding out the C's, Collectibles are an overall high sales top-level category. Within that,
- Comics are the hottest with highest sales, followed by:
- Militaria
- Knives, Swords & Blades
- Decorative Collectibles
- Advertising
- Transportation

Most of the other top-level categories show a grey dot (for low sales), but within those we have, for example:

Antiques - Low sales

- Silver - high sales
 - Asian Antiques - second highest, etc., with the rest in order on down to Periods & Styles.
 - Decorative Arts
 - Rugs & Carpets
 - Furniture
 - Periods & Styles

Within Computers/Tablets & Networking, we have, in highest to least order:
- Laptops & Netbooks
- Tablets & eBook Readers
- Desktops & All-In-Ones
- Computer Components & Parts
- Printers, Scanners & Supplies
- Drives, Storage & Blank Media

What about Sporting Goods? That top-level category shows moderate sales, with high sales in:
- Hunting, and then on down in order from most to least:
- Outdoor Sports
- Cycling
- Golf
- Fishing
- Fitness, Running & Yoga

Home & Garden is a "warm" top-level category. People are still buying things for the outdoors despite the turning of the season. In order, we have:
   -  Yard, Garden & Outdoor Living
   -  Home Improvement
   -  Tools
   -  Kitchen, Dining & Bar
   -  Furniture
   -  Household Supplies & Cleaning

That's a quick snapshot of how some key eBay areas have done in the last seven days. What categories do you buy the most from, and what information from those would you find most helpful?  Post a comment here!

What Could Be Better About EBay Search?

What Could Be Better About EBay Search?



Do different shoppers get the same results when conducting identical searches? Not according to this article in EcommerceBytes, where they conducted a test with multiple shoppers entering the exact same search words.

For example, one set of searches entered the term "black cocktail dress," and these are the results they got:

Black Cocktail Dress:
63%: 453,000 listings (+/-2000 listings)
21%: 363,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
8%: 376,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
4%: 472,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
4%: International participants

Other search terms with inconsistent numbers of results included "Diaper Bag," "Tackle Box," and "Star Wars Figure."

You can see the results on the EcommerceBytes Blog post. It also explains the methodology and numbers of people who participated in the study.

The question here is why would a search using Best Match bring back different numbers of results for different people? Is eBay somehow tailoring the search results people see based on their past buyer behavior?

One other thing that troubles me about eBay search is that they got rid of the use of the asterisk, which I found very helpful in conducting searches. Anybody else with me in wishing eBay would bring back the asterisk for search? Post a comment here!

What other changes would you like to see made to how eBay search works, or are you fine with it as it is?

How to Recognize a PayPal or Other Phishing Scam

How to Recognize a PayPal or Other Phishing Scam


If you're like me, and you've been buying and selling on eBay and using PayPal for years, you're bound to come across a PayPal or other "phishing" scam.  This is when someone is trying to trick you in to giving them your PayPal login id and password, or login and password for other sites.

Some of the "phishers" have become very sophisticated, including graphics, logo, and legal language in the email that looks legit. Here are a few tips for recognizing these kinds of evil emails:

- Check for any sort of incorrect grammar or punctuation. I've noticed some will put a space in between a word and the followup punctuation, such as, "Your account has been limited ,"  Other times the punctuation is wrong, such as a comma instead of a period, in that example.

- Hover your mouse over the link in the email, and see what url pops up when you do (if one does). Most times you will then see the url of the phony site and it will not look like the legitimate PayPal or other site login.

- Watch for scare tactics like "Your account has been limited."  There were reports of such an attack in March of this year. The email then has an html attachment that launches the victim onto a page where all sorts of personal data can be collected.

My favorite tip for checking emails is the hovering of the mouse one.  But the best rule of thumb you can probably keep to avoid these scams altogether is to never login from the email; always type in the url of the main site and see if there are any notices or messages there on which you need to act.

Have you been the victim of a phishing scam? What was it that pulled you in? What are your tips to avoid these kinds of scams? Post a comment here!