eBay is great. Not only is it home to all sorts of weird and wonderful items, it's a great place to go if you're looking to pick up something fairly standard at a knock-down price. But just like anywhere on the internet, there are certain things you need to watch out for when shopping on the world's favourite auction site.
Nowadays, money is tighter than ever – and even if the smallest amount goes missing, it can make a serious dent in your finances. That's why, here at 118 118 Money, we've devised a super-quick guide to help you stay clear of those pesky eBay scammers and digital fraudsters.
Too good to be true
The number one golden rule to remember when shopping on eBay is: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
So you've seen a brand new set of golf clubs listed at a fraction of the recommended retail price, what are you going to do? Well, first things first, it's time to see where the seller is based. Selling from overseas is one of the most obvious signs that the seller is a scammer, so be sure to give them a wide berth.
Feedback is everything
You wouldn't book a hotel without reading a few reviews first, so why would you buy from somebody on eBay without checking out their feedback score?
Every time a seller sells something on eBay, it is down to the buyer to submit a review of the transaction. Normally, anything above 90% is worth trusting – but to be extra sure, why not check out the negative responses before you make a decision? If they don't have a feedback score, don't buy – it could be a scam.
The small print
So you've bought a sofa for your new home and it turns out to be a dolls house sofa. It looked like a genuine sofa, and cost the same amount too, so what's gone wrong?
Chances are you've misread the item's description and rushed into making a purchase. You silly sausage, you. Always make sure to scan every last detail when viewing an item and make sure you've checked out every image available to you too. If, after this, you're still unsure, don't be afraid to contact the seller in a bid to find out more.
Paypal is, err, your pal
PayPal and eBay have a relationship that's similar to that of Ant and Dec, in that they go back years, and they really, really get on.
Paying for your items via PayPal has always been the way it's done on eBay, and to this day, thousands of customers use it each and every day. So if your seller asks you to send money via something like Western Union or by a direct bank transfer, alarm bells should start to sound in your head.
At 118 118 Money, our blog is bursting with handy hints to help you look after those pennies. So if you've enjoyed learning the ins and outs of eBay – just take a look at our other blog posts for more of the same.