Use Caution when Selling Online

You've undoubtedly heard the old saying, "Let the buyer beware." Well, there's a somewhat new saying that's applicable to the Internet: "Let the seller beware, too!" If you choose to sell any type of merchandise online, regardless of whether it's on eBay, Amazon or any other virtual marketplace, there are certain criteria that you need to follow so you won't become the victim of a scam.

For instance, in the case of eBay (though it doesn't happen often), there may come a time when you could be scammed by a buyer. How? Well, let's assume that you're selling an item for the first time, and you choose to be paid by the winning bidder via PayPal. But the winner emails you that he doesn't have a PayPal account and would like to send you a cashier's check that's been written for more than the amount due. He may ask that you send him the difference once the check arrives and, because you're a trusting person, you agree. When the check arrives, you deposit it into your account, send the item to the buyer along with the difference, and a few days later you receive a notice from your bank that the check is a fake and therefore no good. Of course, when you try to notify the buyer at home (you can with eBay’s services), he has disappeared and you're left holding the proverbial bag. This is just one very common example of the scams that some unscrupulous individuals use to commit fraud.

Here's another: let's say that you've become quite good at selling on eBay and have built up a very high feedback rating. You only accept payment via PayPal. Now, an item that you have up for auction sells and the buyer is duly notified – just as in the previous case. You check your PayPal account and see that the money has been deposited into it. Since you probably have other auctions going on during the same week, you wait to withdraw the funds until all the auctions are over. You have all of the items packaged and ready to be sent; all that you have to do is address them to their winning bidder, add the postage and mail them out. So, you send out the first item the same day that it's won, and the others when they sell on the following days. By Friday, all of the items have been shipped and you access your PayPal account – only notice that the first item has been cancelled. You already know that you've probably just been had because you fully suspect that you're not going to be able to reach the bidder.

Be aware that there are people in this world who are out to make a quick buck at your (or anyone else's) expense. So, instead of stressing over it, which will do absolutely no good, carefully follow the grievance guidelines of eBay and Amazon to their full conclusion. You may or may not be successful; it all depends upon the person that you're dealing with, where they live, and the degree to which the corporate marketplace can help in this regard. While you may not receive compensation, you can rest assured that these people will have their accounts cancelled and, in some cases, be referred to their local authorities.

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