Internet Auction Fraud

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Protecting Yourself Against Internet Auction Fraud

Internet auctions have become a hot trend for everyone from collectors to trinket sellers. While their popularity continues to grow among both buyers and sellers, it’s important to fully understand how Internet auctions work, the different auctions available, and how to participate without getting ripped off.

Increased popularity brings increased numbers of complaints from consumers about products that are delivered late or not at all, and products that aren’t what was promised and expected. To help make your next Internet auction transaction run as smooth as possible, please see the following tips:

For Buyers:

  • Identify the seller and check the seller’s feedback rating.
  • Do your homework.  Be sure you understand what you’re bidding on, its relative value, and all terms and conditions of the sale.  This includes the seller’s return policies and who pays for shipping.
  • Establish your top price and stick to it.
  • Evaluate your payment options.  If possible, pay with a credit card to ensure the most protection if something goes wrong.  If the seller doesn’t accept credit cards, consider using an escrow service.

For Sellers:

  • Provide an accurate description of the item you’re selling, including all terms of the sale and who will pay shipping costs.
  • Respond quickly to any questions bidders raise during an auction.
  • Contact the high bidder as soon as possible after the auction closes to confirm details of the sale.
  • Ship the merchandise as soon as you receive payment.