Online auctions sites let you find almost anything that you want, from hard to find collector’s items to swimwear that fits your size. Items that are not available in local stores can also be found here. People who sell items on online auctions are often honest and reliable but there are, unfortunately, dishonest sellers that can victimize you if you do not know the tricks they use to deceive buyers.
Remember that online auction fraud isn’t just about failing to receive the item you have paid for. It can also mean getting misled by the description and photo of the item you are buying. You can avoid dealing with fraudulent sellers by identifying the common practices they use. Here are the things that you should avoid to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction on online auction sites:
Be wary of items that are priced too low because they may be pirated or stolen goods. Stolen items may have irresistible price tags but you should be careful not to buy them. Once the rightful owner files a police report and tracks the item in question in your possession, they have the right to demand that you return the item. You may have to give the item back and not get your money back from your seller.
Computer software, gadgets, cell phones and DVDs are among the items that are most vulnerable to piracy. When buying them online, make sure that they come in their original packaging. Stolen jewelry pieces are also often sold on auction sites. You can avoid buying stolen jewelry by asking for the history of the item from the seller. It also helps to ask for copies of certificates of authenticity or appraisal records before you buy jewelry pieces in online auction sites.
Online auction sites, especially EBay, are monitoring counterfeit items that are sold on their site but fraudulent sellers continue to sell fake items by passing them as authentic. Replicas of luxury bags and shoes, for instance, continue to be sold on online auction sites. The price of the item can give fake products and fraudulent sellers away, though. If the seller offers the item too cheaply, there is a high chance that the product is a replica. Knowing the standard price of the item you intend to buy helps you filter out fake products in the listings.
Some sellers may claim that they have bought their items at a very cheap price so they offer them at below retail price online. Be wary of these, too particularly if you are buying luxury items. Louis Vuitton, for instance, never goes on sale and their price is the same regardless of location so there is no way sellers can offer Louis Vuitton bags and purses cheaply unless the items that they offer are counterfeits of the real thing. Companies that manufacture high-end products often provide business phone numbers for their customers and you may want to contact them to make sure that what your seller is telling you is true.
Misleading Photos and Descriptions
Sellers may use flowery descriptions to entice people to buy their product so be careful when you read descriptions. An item that is described as “like new”, for instance, does not mean it is new. Some sellers may even omit describing the conditions of their product so first ask if you are unsure of the condition of the item. You should also be wary of sellers who use stock photos. You should be provided with the actual photos of the item so you can see easily the real condition and flaws of the item you want to buy.