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Buying items from eBay

Most eBay sellers are decent and honest people, but there are many bad ones. I have been conned by some sellers, and by a few Nikon Historical Society members on eBay. (There is no NHS code of conduct, so anybody can become a member.)

When you buy an expensive item, ask questions, get more details and photos, check the return policy, and use the escrow service for very expensive items. eBay does not protect buyers. Paypal provides SOME degree of protection, but their claims investigation is very slow and often their compensation NOT 100%, even though they claim to be. Furthermore, Paypal often closed claim cases because they said the bad/fake item is not 'significantly not as described' or the requested information was not received on time. Just do a Google search on Paypal Complaints and see for yourself.

eBay changed their protection policy in 2007 so that only items paid by Paypal are protected. Items paid by any other means, eg bank/personal cheque, money order, bank deposit etc, are not protected even if sellers do not send the items. You can report the problem as an item not received dispute, but eBay would just send you a standard email back. eBay now allow sellers to have 10% items not received or significantly not as described warnings, before banning them. (On the other hand, buyers are banned for life if they don't pay for three items.) You could report the not received problem to the police at the sellers town, but they would not do anything.

If you been conned and didn't pay by Paypal, then the best you can do is to give the seller a negative feedback.

If you paid by Paypal, and didn't receive the item after 21 days, then you should file a Paypal claim no matter what the seller says, eg he said the item was undelivered and returned back but will resend. This is because 45 days after the auction ended, Paypal protection ends, and some sellers are playing for time to extend beyond this period.

A 'safer' way to pay on eBay is via Paypal, and use a credit card EVEN if your Paypal account has sufficient funds. However, the Paypal buyers protection is only a little better than nothing - "PayPal's Buyer Complaint Policy applies to the delivery of goods but not to disputes about merchandise quality." So sellers can send buyers junks and can get away with it, as long as the junks are received. Paypal would recover SOME of your money if you send the item back to the seller, IF the seller still has funds in his account. If Paypal would/could not recover your loss, then you can still recover it from your credit card company but it's a long process.

Some previously 'good' sellers are now taking advantage of the above, so be careful on all eBay purchases. Always check their past feedbacks as a minimum, and only pay by Paypal using a credit card.

Better still, use escrow instead of Paypal :

This way, the seller won't get his money until the buyer has received the item and completely happy with it. I highly recommend escrow for buying expensive items. If a seller doesn't agree to use escrow, then don't bid. Remember there will always be another and even better item for sell if you can wait a little longer.