Monday, July 03, 2006

How to Protect Yourself on eBay

Kathleen Day of the Washington Post did an excellent article on "Self Defense for E-Bay Buyers," where she took an in depth look at fraud on eBay and came up with some pretty good suggestions on how to protect yourself.

In her own words:

"Goods that are damaged, counterfeit, don't match what was advertised or are never delivered remain a persistent problem for eBay and its customers -- even though the numbers represent a relatively small fraction of transactions on the Web site. How big a problem is unclear. EBay Inc. does not disclose specific totals."

She interviewed Ina Steiner of Auction Bytes, who clarifies this; despite eBay claims to the contrary:

"Ina Steiner, editor of AuctionBytes, an online newsletter that follows eBay and other electronic auction sites, said the estimate does not include many unresolved disputes that exceed the company's time limits for consideration or were not counted for other procedural reasons. It also does not include cases in which customers persuade their credit card company to cancel the charge. And Steiner points out that by comparing confirmed cases of fraud with the number of goods listed rather than the number of actual sales, eBay makes the percentage seem smaller."

In 2005, the NCL (National Consumers League) listed auction fraud as the most prevalent type on the Internet. Interestingly enough, eBay removed the link from their site to them (which tabulated the complaints) so the percentage might be higher than they reported.

For the full story - which contains some excellent tips on how to protect yourself on eBay - here is the link.

For a new service, which protects buyers and sellers on eBay:

buySAFE Protects it's Customers from Fraud on eBay

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