BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Is It Safe To Buy From eBay?

I have often been asked: is it safe to buy on eBay? My answer is always Yes! providing you take a few easy precautions.

Check the Feedback

When you are looking for an item on eBay, the first thing you always want to check is the feedback. If the feedback is lousy, and that means in the 80 percentile range, consider avoiding that seller no matter how much you want to get that item. This becomes doubly true if you read the feedback and many people have written about the items quality, poor shipping and even payment issues. Stay away from these sellers at all cost.

Making Payments

A lot of people get tripped up when making a payment on eBay. The best way to do that is with an electronic payment service like PayPal. There is no muss, no fuss, you simple transfer the payment directly from an electronic payment service directly to the auction seller. These transactions are recorded, and they will give you powerful evidence if the item is not received or the person says that you've never sent a payment.

Checks and Money Orders

Sending a certified check or a money order is not as good. Although they can be tracked to the person who cashed them, it will take time. The worst part is that someone can intercept your check from the mail, change a few things about it, and cash it for themselves. Does this happen often? No, but it does happen, and it can lead you into weeks or months of problems when you are trying to prove where it went, and to whom.

The worst thing to do is to send cash for an item that has been won. Cash is untraceable, and even if the seller gets the cash, they can say they didn't, and no one will know otherwise.

The Honesty Of eBay

In most cases, asking yourself, is it safe to buy from eBay is a no-brainer. eBay, as a whole, is very honestly run and people who sell there want you to have no trouble bidding and winning. They want the transaction to go smoothly and as effortlessly as possible. Just remember that you will always maximize your safety by using an electronic payment service and by always dealing with reputable people. Just by doing those two things, it will be safe to buy on eBay nearly 100% of the time. And buying right with safety in mind is another reason why BAM's got your back!

A Valuable Tool: eBay Feedback

Feedback as a confidence builder

eBay offers a means by which people from across the globe can connect and conduct business. The opportunities to buy and sell on eBay has allowed for a world in which you are no longer limited in what you can purchase based on your location. In order to maintain as a source of honest and accountable commerce, there are certain mechanisms that are in place to foster confidence among buyers and sellers alike. One important and highly effective mechanism is the feedback feature.

Customers looking to buy an item or service should filter their options using several factors. Cost, shipping, and the availability of receiving exactly what you are seeking are the keys to choosing among eBay sellers. Once you have narrowed your choice to those listings that meet your standards closest, dig even deeper to choose the vendor to receive your business. The feedback section can prove to be an invaluable tool in choosing a reputable seller.

Look for the "right" kind of feedback

Look for feedback that matches the type of product of service you are seeking from the seller. If you are buying a service, consider the feedback related to services over those related to items that the seller may have previously sold. A seller could have a stellar record of delivering services in a timely and professional manner while struggling to deliver items as well. That distinction will allow you to differentiate between sellers of similar feedback rating.

The information listed in the seller’s feedback will alert you if the vendor has had previous complaints about the timeliness and quality of their delivery. You can use the seller’s reputation when deciding what to offer for an item or service. A seller with a sub-par feedback rating may not attract the same amount as a vendor with an impeccable rating. There are no strict rules as to how you should use the information you glean from feedback but as much information you can gather and consider as possible can make the difference between a smooth and satisfying transaction and a transaction that is rife with snafus and delays that would be easily predicted by the tenor of the seller’s feedback.

Provide your own feedback after the transaction

After you have weighed all of the information at your disposal and have chosen a seller from whom to purchase, provide your own feedback once the transaction is completed. By adding feedback you will contribute to the eBay community and assist future buyers in choosing the vendor they will trust with their business. The community works best for everyone when as many people as possible contribute to all of the tools at their disposal.

Research eBay Seller Before You Purchase

Check seller feedback

Before I purchase anything on eBay, I always check seller feedback to make sure they have good reputation. Checking feedback is easy. You just click on their feedback score and it will take you to their eBay Feedback Profile. On that page, you can see what people have to say about their past transactions with this seller.

If I see any negative comments, I like to read what people had to say about them To filter out positive feedback scores and only see negative, you can click on the number next to Negative and that will display only negative comments. After reading those comments, I make a decision to continue further research or move on to another seller.

Check recent eBay selling history

Sometimes, I want to know what the seller sold in the past, especially if I'm interested in an expensive item. eBay allows you to see recent selling history for a given seller. There are multiple way to get to that screen. One of them is to go to advanced search page and choose items by seller:

You would just enter seller User Id, check "Show completed listings only" checkbox and hit Search. This will show you all eBay auctions and Buy It Now items that this seller sold in the past 15 days. If the seller was selling some cheap items in the past and suddenly listed some expensive item, that usually raises a red flag for me. I would think twice or ask seller some questions before committing to buy.

Conclusion

Before purchasing anything on eBay, do some research on the seller to make sure they're reputable. First thing you should do is check their feedback score. If feedback looks good you might also want to see what they sold in the past.

If you liked this post, check out my other blog posts for more eBay buying tips. I also invite you to try the eBay buyer software that I created. It will help you find good deals and save you money.

Robert