Exploring eBay! The Basics on Bidding

Exploring eBay!
The Basics on Bidding
What is eBay?
Founded in 1995, eBay is an internet-based version of a traditional auction. However,
there’s no fast-talking auctioneer online and your contending bidders can be located anywhere
in the world, as long as they have Internet access. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
eBay is just a marketplace to buy and sell, nothing more. eBay does not get involved in
transactions between seller and buyer. The seller pays a small fee to eBay – similar to renting a
booth at a flea market.
Why would you want to eBay?
Buying goods for less money than elsewhere.
Buying from a large selection of goods (e.g. close-out brands by manufacturers).
Buying goods not otherwise available conveniently (e.g. rare/collectible items).
Buying for resale (e.g. buys at or below wholesale and sells retail).
Having fun or bidding for the thrill of winning. However, by bidding, you are entering
a contractual agreement and the winning bidder is obligated to buy the item
What can you find on eBay?
Practically anything from common items such as clothing, school supplies, consumer
electronics, and used vehicles to more pricey items such as aircraft engines and houses for sale
in Las Vegas. Services such as musical instrument repair and laptop diagnosis service can also
be found on eBay. More peculiar items/services such as ‘a box of dog hair’ and ‘hilarious
singing on the phone for four minutes’ also exist on eBay. Rules on ‘Prohibited and
Restricted items’ are posted on their website at the address:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/policies.html . Alcohol, prescription drugs, and human body
parts are a few examples prohibited on eBay site.
How does eBay work?
Seller posts an item for sale and sets the time limit on auction time (1, 3, 5, 7 or 10
Buyer finds what he’s looking for and can bid on an item, thus becoming a bidder
Highest bidder wins and is then notified
Winning Bidder makes payment
Seller ships the item
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How trustworthy is bidding/selling on eBay?
eBay has an outstanding system for establishing reputations. The reputation (feedback)
system comprises the focal point of the eBay system. It is a system that eBay members use to
rate their buying or selling experience with another eBay member. After a listing is completed,
the buyer and seller can leave a rating (positive, neutral, or negative) and a comment about
each other. To see a member's full feedback profile, click on the number in parentheses next to
their User ID. The feedback system helps you build your reputation on eBay and helps you
check the reputation of other members of the community.
For every positive feedback, member gets +1, 0 for neutral, and -1 for negative. Based
upon the total points, the Feedback Score is the sum of all the ratings a member has received
from unique users. In most cases, a high feedback score is a good sign, however one should
also check a member’s profile to read comments from other members.
The Feedback Star indicates the level of Feedback Score an eBay member has
achieved. For example, a Yellow Star next to the member User ID means, the member has
feedback score 10 to 49. For more information, check on
In addition to leaving an overall Feedback rating (positive, neutral, or negative) for a
seller, buyers also can leave anonymous (seller will not see the specific ratings) Detailed Seller
Ratings (DSR) in four areas: item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping
and handling charges. With DSR, buyers can provide additional information about the
transaction, and sellers can get a more complete picture of their performance. The DSR system
is based on a one- to five-star scale. Five stars is the highest rating, and one star is the lowest
rating. DSR do not impact the overall Feedback Score.
Since eBay changed the rule for sellers for not being able to leave negative or neutral
Feedback for buyers, the company put in place new policies and tools, and increased the
number of reasons for removing negative and neutral Feedback in Unpaid Item cases. These
changes were intended to help sellers better manage their bidders and buyers and ensure that
policy violators are reported and held accountable. For details read at Updates on Feedback
System on eBay. Note: if this link becomes outdated in the near future, you can always find
the latest Feedback Rules under eBay Help pages.
An independent organization Toolhaus.org has a website where anyone can check out
for free negative/neutral and mutual feedbacks by putting in an individual eBay user ID. By
doing so, one does not need to sift through to search for negative/neutral feedbacks for any
particular eBay seller or buyer on eBay website. Check out at www.toolhaus.org.
On the other hand, the website www.bidfraud.com lists reports that the public can read
and write reports themselves about suspected fraudulent internet activity as it is happening
(e.g., live auction) or once the transaction has completed & the buyer/seller has reported a
fraudulent claim. Bidfraud is free to use. (This site can restrict users at times.)
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eBay Time
The official time of day at eBay headquarters in San Jose, California goes by Pacific
Time Zone. Timing on eBay is more essential for eBay sellers. Sellers should time their
auction to end when most potential bidders will be online.
How to get started
Registration is not required just to browse the eBay website. However, before you can bid
anything on eBay, you are required to register. You may make up to fifteen purchases as a
guest on eBay without completing full eBay registration. As a guest, you’re not allowed to bid
on auction-style listings. Item must be purchased using Buy It Now. Payments must be made by
credit card processed by PayPal. Item price must be $2000 or less. Items must be purchased
from sellers who have a feedback score of 50 or higher and have a 98% positive rating.
Let’s get Browsing
Type www.ebay.com in the URL address bar area and let’s go over some features of
the eBay’s homepage.
Reviews & Guides: At the bottom of page under Inside eBay – eBay members share their
expertise and comments. With each review, you submit a product rating and write your opinion.
Readers can then vote on your review based on its helpfulness. The most popular reviews are
given "Top Review" status. Guides allow you to be creative in both the topic and design of the
page. Writers can insert pictures, special formatting, eBay links, and headings.
Want It Now: Want It Now page http://pages.ebay.com/wantitnow/index.html lets buyers post
requests for hard-to-find items and allows sellers to respond to those requests with eBay
Daily Deals: This page displays items ending soon with deep discounts, usually between 20%
to 90% off, with zero bids and free shipping. This list gets replaced with new items continuously
through out the day.
eBay Pulse - http://pulse.ebay.com/ : It is a daily snapshot of current trends, hot picks, and
cool stuff on eBay. It is changing dynamically and it’s a great way to catch a glimpse inside the
world of eBay marketplace.
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The set of categories by which items are organized on eBay, such as Antiques, Books,
Computers, Musical Instruments, etc. You can browse the categories and look at the lists of
items until you find something you’re interested in. This is an alternative to doing a keyword
search, where you enter words and get a list of items that contain those words. If you are
looking for a unique item and know exactly which category to use, it’s the best way to get the
defined search. Selecting the most appropriate category is essential for a seller to ensure
maximum exposure of his/her listing.
Successful searching on eBay
First and foremost, eBay searches are not case-sensitive.
Imagine which words a seller might use to describe the item that you’re looking for. Try
several different options and combinations – but do not use more than two or three words at
a time to ensure a variety of results. Search commands are ways of narrowing your search
to get more specific results. Use Advanced Search Commands for more specific searches.
Use specific words for more-targeted listings. For example, use Bee Gees posters to look for
posters. Do not type in Bee Gees only.
Place quotation marks around the group of words if you’re looking for items containing
certain words in a particular order. For example, “Gone with the Wind”.
Place a minus sign immediately before the word to be excluded (no space) if you do not
want that certain word to be included in your results. For example, Dr. Scholl’s –sandals will
not produce any sandals by Dr. Scholl’s. You can place all words that you want to exclude
from your search in parentheses separated by commas such as Dr. Scholl’s –
(sandals,sandles). This example will catch those sellers who may misspell sandals.
If you’re looking for items that contain either term, place them in parentheses separated by
commas. For example, (Christmas dress) (green,red) will look for green or red Christmas
If you’re looking for items that contain words starting with a particular sequence of letters,
use an * at the end. For example, chin* buddh* will retrieve items that contain words such
as China, Chinese, Chinos, Chinook, and chintz, as well as words include Buddha,
Buddha’s, Buddhist, and Buddhism.
Specify a date, color, or brand for a closer match. For example, type Barbie dress 196*
when you’re looking for a Barbie dress in the 1960s. Type red Christmas dress to look for
Christmas dresses in red colors.
Do not limit your search to titles alone. Check “Search title and description” box to ensure
more results.
eBay, in some cases, will expand your search to include a plural and/or an alternative
spelling of your search word(s), provided you do not put terms in parenthesis. Searching for
book, will retrieve items containing the keyword book or books. Searching for grey would
bring back items containing the keyword grey or gray. Thus, if you want to only search for a
specific spelling of word, simply enter the keyword or phrase in quotes or in parenthesis.
For example, searching for “Tom Clancy” book will only retrieve items that include exact
keywords Tom Clancy Book or Tom Clancy Books and not the additional items that may
include the term Tom Clancy.
eBay’s search engine searches for and, or, and the just like any other word. Do not use
those terms unless in cases of looking for items with particular terms such as “Truth or
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Do not use extra punctuation unless it’s expected to appear in the title or description.
Examples include Dr. Scholl’s, N-Sync, and t-shirt.
Finally, do remember that sellers misspell words. Trying some misspellings can find items
that do not get much traffic specifically due to the misspelling. In that case, you may find an
auction with very little bidding competition. There are websites that are designed to search
items with misspelled words on eBay site. Try http://www.fatfingers.co.uk/Default.aspx to
find your luck to take advantage of searching eBay items with misspelled words.
Types of Auctions
There are three types of auctions on eBay.
1) Normal: Similar to a silent auction and is designed for one item (or package). The seller
sets a minimum bid to start things off.
2) Reserve: A reserve price is the minimum price a seller is willing to accept for the item. A
bidder can still use a minimum bid just as in a normal auction, but the reserve is the secret
minimum to buyer. Only once the reserve has been met or surpassed, the term (reserve met)
will appear beside the bid amount. Until that happens, the reserve has not been met and the
caption will read (reserve not yet met). If you do not see either of these, it’s not a reserve
auction. The seller is not obligated to sell the item if the reserve price is not met. The winning
bidder must meet or exceed the reserve price and have the highest bid. This type of auction is
also designed for one time (or package) only.
3) Private: In this auction, the bidders’ identities are kept secret though the seller is notified the
winning bidder’s identity, and only the winning bidder’s.
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Step by Step searching on eBay
1. Let’s start with a simple search by using a search entry box in the upper right hand
corner. Let’s suppose that we are looking for a ‘toy’ or a ‘figure’ on Television Character,
“Diego” from “Dora the Explorer” Children’s show. Type in “Diego” without any quotes in
the search box.
Result page also shows how to sort. By clicking on “Sort by Category” will list the items
in more defined mode. If you want to skip the bidding and purchase items with Buy it
Now option only click on your search term “diego” here under search results. Also notice
eBay suggests Related Searches that include all possible other search words more
suitable for our purpose.
2. The result also shows many sports related items not intended in our search. By clicking
on the left pane to where it says “TV, Movie, Character Toys”, narrowing search results
further to reach “Dora the Explorer” will eliminate unrelated search results. See below.
To further narrow down to finding toy figures of Diego, type in another word “figure” in
your search box next to your original search term “Diego”. Notice, each search result
has all the words ‘Diego’ and ‘figure’ in their titles. However, not all sellers might use the
words in the title to describe their auction. Try checking ‘Include description’ box in case
the seller puts important keywords in the auction description but not in the title. The
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search would bring more items that match not only the title but also in sellers’ description
and should look similar to this. See below.
Let’s analyze the following search results page carefully.
On this page, the All Items tab on the top is activated – that means we are looking at all
items mentioned below:
1. Items that are being traditionally auctioned.
2. Items being traditionally auctioned and, at the same time, sellers offer buyers with “Buy
It Now”
3. Items that are only listed with “Buy It Now”
price by sellers.
If you are interested in looking at items on auctions only click on the Auctions only tab.
Similarly, to look at items with
options only, click on Buy it Now only tab.
Some items may appear in both categories, since a seller can post an item in auction
style and at the same time give buyer an option to purchase the item immediately with
Setting a Price on eBay
There are a number of options that a seller can use when setting a price on eBay.
1. Auction-Style Listing Price: List an item for sale by setting a minimum bid for a fixed
length of time and let the market decides the price.
2. Buy it Now
Feature: These items are identified with “Buy it Now” icon paired
with “Buy it Now” price on search result page. There are three ways for sellers to use
this Buy it Now option.
a. Auction-style: Seller sets a minimum bid for an item and at the same time offer a
“Buy it Now” option to potential buyers who may desire to avoid bidding and
make a purchase immediately. If a buyer is willing to meet Buy It Now price
before the first bid comes in, item sells instantly and terminates the auction. OR,
if a bid comes in first, the Buy It Now option will be available for a limited time.
Then auction proceeds normally. (In Reserve Price Auctions, Buy It Now
disappears after the first bid that meets the reserve.)
b. Fixed Price: Most common alternative to using auction-style format. It lets you
list an item for an unchanging, set price, with no auction-style bidding.
c. Buy it Now paired with Best Offer: If a seller offers this option, you can suggest a
price that you’re willing to pay for the item.
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3. Classified Ads: Similar to printed Ads in the papers, Classified Ads connect buyers and
sellers, who then complete the sale outside of eBay. You'll see "Classified Ad" in the
item listing and search results. You can find items or services that don’t fit into standard
categories and can deal personally with the seller. Classified Ad sales aren't backed by
eBay services and protection, including Feedback and problem resolution and are
offered only for certain items.
Let’s examine the right part of the search result page as follows.
This is an example of pure auction style. There is one bid on the item; the highest
bid being at $4.99. A seller charge flat shipping rate $6.99; and the auction is ending
in 1 day, 12 hours and 47 minutes.
This is an example of pure
option by seller. Seller offers free shipping
with a fixed price for the item $11.99. Time left is 6 days, 8 hours, and 58 minutes.
This is an example of a combination of an auction paired with
option. The
item has gotten no bid yet; the minimum starting bid price is at $8.99; however, an
interested buyer can buy at $24.99 by using
option right away and
terminate the auction; charges flat shipping rate $7.95; and the auction is ending in 2
days 8 hours and 35 minutes.
You may also see another option as “Buy It Now” or “Best Offer”. You
can negotiate the price with the seller, giving you the opportunity to buy
the item at a lower price than the Buy It Now price. The seller can accept,
decline, or counteroffer your Best Offer.
You may customize your screen to view the only information you want to
view by clicking on the “Customize View” link. You can switch among
three view styles List, Gallery, and Snapshot. You can also use Advanced Search form to
narrow down your search in more specific way. We can limit our search
to specify items fall within our price range, items from a specific seller by
using seller’s User ID, items on Completed Listing list, items available in
US only, etc. See below.
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On the left pane
In Advanced Search Form
If you want to see what an item has sold for, you can search for completed (ended) listings.
Completed listings are listings that have ended within the last 15 days, whether or not the item
sold. Since many of these listings ended with a winning bidder or buyer, you can look at them to
determine how high you should bid or what the market price is. As a seller, you can also decide
what starting price you should use in an auction-style listing. Check the box on Completed
listings only in the Advanced Search form or on the left pane of your search result page to do a
research on the price of the item before you buys or sell.
For serious eBay users, eBay introduced a new service called eBay Market Research
in November of 2005, as a new subscription service to give buyers and sellers a view into
millions of eBay listing, bidding, and pricing trends. The paid service gives subscribers access
to data, charts, and graphs, that show the prices eBay’s 168 million users have paid in any
auction over the past several months, based on their subscription levels. For more information,
check out at http://pages.ebay.com/marketplace_research/index.html
Further, there are special pages where members can post messages to the eBay
Community about various topics. There is a discussion board for just about any eBay topic you
can think of. You can post questions, learn valuable tips, share your experiences, and connect
with other eBay users. Check out at http://hub.ebay.com/community to learn more on the
Community Group.
How to learn more details about an item
When you click on an auction title, the first thing you see is the basic information on the
auction. Note that the auction title and the auction number are at the top of the page.
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Current bid: shows the accurate current bid for that moment. It is crucial to refresh
your browser button to learn the latest current bid from time to time.
Place Bid: You may input your bid price here and click Place Bid button. It also shows
you the minimum bid price to enter. You can click on Watch this item button to save in
your My eBay if you are not ready to bid yet but want to wait the activities on the
Time Left: tells how much time has left on this particular auction.
Bid #: gives the bid history with number of total bids for that moment. By clicking on the
number of bids shown next, an interested buyer can find out which eBay user bid at what
time and what was his bid amount but not their maximum bids that may have taken
place days or hours before a listing ends
Item location: indicates where the seller lives or does business. That will determine
whether a buyer will have to pay sales tax if he wins the auction.
Returns: indicates whether the seller will accept returns or not.
Shipping costs: when seller uses flat shipping rate, no matter how far the item has to
be shipped, the shipping cost will be the same. Mostly, sellers of these types limit their
shipping to certain geographical area. However, when seller uses a method to calculate
shipping costs, location of an item will make a difference in total cost of winning an
auction. Also note that some sellers make their profit on shipping and handling. They
charge a lower price for the item and a high price for shipping and handling. You may
report on those sellers by clicking Report item on the item listing page on the right pane.
You must login and select a specific reason of your report.
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eBay Store: If a seller has an eBay Store, you will see
Visit Store symbol. See example. Clicking on seller’s
User ID will provide you more information on seller’s ID
history, other items for sales by the same seller. Take the
time to read feedback comments on seller especially if you
are thinking of bidding/buying on a pricy item. The color
star next to the number indicates the level of feedback score points.
By scrolling down the page, you will get to the auction ad where seller has a chance to
provide all the information necessary to help the buyer make a decision to bid. As a
bidder, this is your chance to get all the information you need to make an informed
decision. If you are not satisfied with what seller provides in that section, you can
always contact the seller to get more information by using “Ask a question” on the
bottom left.
The other tab describes the seller’s shipping, payment and return policy. Seller’s
payment instructions may include more than the usual payment method. Seller may
also state that he would not be able to ship the item until 7 days after the bidding is
closed since he would be out of town, for example. It is crucial that buyer beware any
particular requirements and statements made by the seller before bidding. You can bid
without proper information, a choice you may regret later.
A. Bidding on an Item
You will need to register with eBay before you bid anything. Registration is free, fast and
easy. You will choose a user ID (your eBay name, which is a login name) and a
password. (Note: For security purpose, NEVER use your birth dates, your children’s
as password. An alphanumeric combination that is nonsensical and only unique to you
is recommended. Also never use the same password for more than one website or
service.) Right on the top of the auction webpage, you can place a bid. If you have not
registered or signed in yet, you will get a webpage that requires your login and password
when you click Place Bid button.
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Your bid must equal at least this amount plus one increment higher. The bid
increment is the amount by which a bid will be raised each time the current bid is
outdone. It is predetermined based on the current high bid. Click on the Place Bid
button when you are ready to submit your bid.
eBay can automatically bid on your behalf up to your maximum bid (Automatic or
Proxy bidding). Proxy bidding works as follows:
1. When you place a bid, you enter the maximum amount you'd be willing to pay
for the item. Your maximum amount is kept confidential from other bidders
and the seller.
2. The eBay system compares your bid to those of the other bidders.
3. The system places bids on your behalf, using only as much of your bid as is
necessary to maintain your high bid position (or to meet the reserve price).
The system will bid up to your maximum amount.
4. If another bidder has a higher maximum, you'll be outbid. BUT, if no other
bidder has a higher maximum, you win the item. And you could pay
significantly less than your maximum price! This means you don't have to
keep coming back to re-bid every time another bid is placed.
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Example of Proxy (Automatic Bidding):
This is what the bidding result page shows for an active item:
Once you click on Show automatic bids on the top right, you can see the bids took place as
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Tips on Bidding
Only bid on what you decide to buy. Make every bid a serious one. You will earn
negative feedback from this practice and after enough infractions you will be
permanently suspended from eBay.
Learn all you can about the item. Thoroughly review the item description. If not
enough information given, ask the seller questions.
Research the item’s value. Print sources such as catalogs and price guidelines
available in your local library, local market ads, regular online merchant stores,
and other auction websites such as www.ubid.com can provide valuable
information on possible market price of an item. www.yahoo.com has a shopping
page where your search of an item would provide list of vendors selling a
particular product with comparisons on prices. Google Product Search
http://www.google.com/shopping is also a price engine website launched by
Google Inc and does the similar thing as Yahoo.
Check the feedback about the seller. Normally, higher feedback score is a good
sign. However, check on actual feedbacks, especially negative ones, to find out
how serious the problems that earned the seller the negative points. Often, you
will also find seller’s rebuttal to the buyer’s negative feedback.
Decide the maximum you're willing to pay for the item.
Make sure the item is legal and allowed.
Use extra caution if an item is listing significantly below the manufacturer's
suggested retail price. Without seeing and touching the item yourself, authenticity
is all in seller’s promise.
Don't assume without confirmation that claims about an item's condition or value
are true, or that photographs are accurate. Get an escrow if you cannot lose
more than $500. Get the item appraised by an expert agreed by both you and
the seller for valuable items.
Time your bids. Watch the “Time Left” for an auction. Click on “Watch this item”
feature to track the items you wish to buy. If you bid too early you may drive the
price up prematurely. However, if you are not going to be around at the closing
time and you really want the item, consider “proxy bidding”.
B. Retracting a Bid
You can retract a bid if you desire, but you open yourself to eBay strike. Get two or
more strikes from different sellers and you'll find yourself blocked from a lot of listings.
You can find the option to “retract your bid” at the bottom of the confirmation page after
your bid. Unless you have a darn good excuse, you should not retract. There are,
however, a few exceptional circumstances (described in the User Agreement you agreed
upon signing up with eBay at registration) under which you may retract a bid. These are
You made a typographical error and entered the wrong bid amount. For instance,
you bid $99.50 instead of $9.95. If this occurs, re-enter the correct bid amount
immediately after you retract your bid. If you do not place another bid, the
retraction will be in violation of eBay's policy and could result in your suspension.
The description of an item you have bid on has changed significantly.
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You can't reach the seller. This means that you tried calling the seller but his or
her phone number doesn't work, or you have tried emailing a message to the
seller and it comes back undeliverable.
C. Following up with your bid/Watching
Go to My eBay on the navigation bar. It features a record of your bidding. See
below for an example summary page of how you can keep track of your biddings, items
you are watching, and other convenient eBay services. You can also check messages
sent by other sellers, buyers and email confirmations on your bids from eBay
immediately after your bidding. eBay also sends you an email message acknowledging
when you are outbid or when you win the auction.
If you are not in a hurry to buy a particular item, or if you cannot find what you seek,
search for an item in Advanced Search, and from your results page, click on Save this
search and alert me later next to the results. Indicate that you want eBay to email you
for a specific time period whenever items are listed which match your search terms.
Sniping: It is placing a high bid in the closing seconds of an auction-style listing is
within the eBay Community. Sniping is part of the eBay experience, similar to raising
your hand at the last second at an open auction, and all bids placed before a listing ends
are valid - even if they're placed one second before the listing ends.
If you are online at the auction ending time, and there are (or if you anticipate) other
bidders, open the auction page in two windows so that you can be prepared to make
quick follow up bid. It’s a good idea to SIGN OUT of eBay and SIGN IN again to avoid
delaying the bid, if eBay asks you to sign in right after you bid. Make sure to reload the
auction page to see the latest current bid.
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1-click bids
To help you avoid being outbid, e-Bay now offers 1-click bids during the final 60 minutes
of a listing. When you click the 1-click bid button, eBay automatically raise your bid by
one increment. To use 1-click bidding, you need to be signed in to eBay and have at
least one bid on the item already.
Shill Bidding: It is a prohibited practice on eBay when a bid is deliberately placed just
to raise the price of an item artificially. To avoid appearance of involvement in this
activity, family members, friends, and individuals living or working together, or sharing a
computer should not bid on each other’s items.
D. Payment Methods on eBay
Check out the latest payment methods on eBay on this link:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/pay/methods.html. As of May 2012, eBay accepts the
followings payment methods.
Important: Sellers can’t require you to pay using payment methods that aren’t allowed on eBay.
And if your seller wants to change payment methods after the listing has ended, you can insist
on paying with one of the methods specified in the seller’s original listing. For more about safe
payment methods, see Accepted Payments policy.
E. Security Concern
The Internet in general is a hotbed of fraud schemes, and eBay is definitely an
attractive place for these con artists. Anonymity provides an easy path to cheating
people out of money. But while eBay users are anonymous on the surface, eBay almost
always knows who they are. The good news is that eBay has a superb system for
establishing reputations. In most cases of fraud committed through eBay, the victims do
have some remedy. The reputation (feedback) system, in other words, Trust, comprises
the heart and soul of the eBay system.
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In order to make buyers feel safer when making purchases on eBay, eBay laid
out eBay Buyer Protection on their main page at this link:
In addition, eBay recommends independent escrow service at
http://www.escrow.com for any purchase, but typically is used for purchases of $500 or
more. It is a licensed and regulated company that collects, holds, and sends a buyer's
money to a seller according to instructions agreed on by both the buyer and seller.
Typically, once the buyer receives and approves the item from the seller within an
agreed time frame, the escrow service then sends the payment to the seller. Consult
this eBay page http://pages.ebay.com/help/pay/escrow.html before using one to avoid
fraudulent escrow services.
The most common type of buyer fraud is simply not paying for an item. Sellers can
deal with non-paying bidders by filing an Unpaid Item dispute. To avoid buyer fraud:
Always check the feedback of your bidders. If a bidder has excessive negative
feedback, you may be able to cancel the bid. You can add buyer requirement in
your listing. Read details on Selecting Buyer Requirement Page.
Keep in mind, however, that in purchasing via credit card a buyer can always ask
the credit card company for a charge-back on an item with which he or she is
dissatisfied. That creates the risk that the seller ends up refunding the purchase
If your buyer doesn't pay, after an appropriate waiting period, eBay provides
options to deal with unpaid item. Read more details at what to do when the
buyer doesn’t pay page on eBay site.
There are two main ways that seller can commit fraud: The item the buyer
purchased is dramatically different from how it was described in the listing; or the item
simply never arrives. To avoid seller fraud:
Always check seller feedback before placing a bid.
Ask all relevant questions before bidding on an auction. Some sellers think that if
they don't say what condition the item is in, it's the buyer's fault if he bids on the
item assuming it's in good condition and it turns out to be a piece of junk.
Always leave negative feedback for unscrupulous sellers -- this makes it harder
for them to continue committing fraud.
Should you have any unresolved disputes between you and the seller/buyer even
after using all resources to reach a concurrence, go to Customer Support and Select
Resolution Center to report your problem.
Though eBay allows sellers to change their User IDs, it is not recommended since a
User ID plays an important role in a member’s reputation. A good reason and example
of changing a User ID would be when a seller wants to reflect a new line of business.
Normally, a member who has changed User IDs keeps the same member profile.
Change of a User ID would be indicated by
icon next to the User ID for 30 days.
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eBay Glossary: To find out what a particular eBay term or icon means, visit
eBay also has “Trading Assistants”, who are independent business owners, who will
list your product and sell it for you for a fee on eBay. Read at this link about more on
The following pages show examples of phishing scams many con artists are
trying to use on eBay and PayPal customers. Phishing is sending an email to user
falsely claiming to be an established legitimate business or enterprise in an attempt to
scam the user into surrendering private information such as passwords and account
numbers that will be used for identity theft. First and foremost, neither PayPal nor eBay
addresses you as in a general format, “Dear PayPal” or “Dear eBay member”. Second,
even though the link in the e-mail looks like an eBay or PayPal URL, once you click on it,
you can see in your browser's address bar that you're not at eBay at all.
Phishing Email that appears to be from PayPal to a customer
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Phishing Email that appears to be from eBay to a customer
What do you do when you receive a phishing email?
delete it since it’s not only sent to you with the intention to steal your identify but can be
loaded with viruses. Upon opening the email, your computer can be attacked by viruses.
If you are a regular eBay and PayPal user, you should consider downloading
eBay Toolbar and Account Guard on your computer. The easiest way to download
the eBay Toolbar is on the www.download.com by cnet group. Search the words “eBay
Toolbar: and you should get to this link: http://download.cnet.com/eBay-Toolbar/300012512_4-10153544.html?tag=mncol;1. eBay Toolbar reminds you when listings you're
bidding on are about to end, and even lets you choose from a variety of alert times.
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Once you have downloaded, your eBay Toolbar will always be there when your
open your internet browser. From your eBay Toolbar, you can manage your bidding,
selling activities from one location, My eBay tab. You can get to the Security Center in
one click. See below.
You can even search items on eBay by placing search terms in your eBay toolbar
search button without being actually at eBay website. See example below.
You can customize your eBay Toolbar to turn on/off what you want to see. Click on the
drop-down arrow next to eBay, select Toolbar Options and select Customize tab to do so.
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Sinclair, Joseph T. eBay the Smart Way: Selling, Buying, and Profiting on the web’s #1 Auction
Site. Fourth Edition. New York, NY. AMACOM, 2005. 381.177 Si616e 4th ed.
Sinclair, Joseph T. eBay global the smart way: buying and selling internationally
world's #1 auction site. New York, NY. AMACOM, 2004. 382 Si616eg
on the
Miller, Michael. Absolute beginner’s Guide to eBay. Indianapolis, Indiana. Que Publishing,
2003. 381.1702 M649ab.
Holden, Greg. How to Do Everything with eBay. Emeryville, CA. McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004.
381.177 H726h.
Collier, Marsha. eBay: Timesaving Techniques for Dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana. Wiley
Publishing, 2004. 381.177 C699et
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