Online Bidding: How To Avoid Scams - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/10/06

Online Bidding: How To Avoid Scams

If you can't find it in stores, you can probably find it online. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Leia Bayshore says she puts in a bid and gets what she ordered, but that was not  the case last December.

"I actually bought something for my boyfriend for his Christmas present. I paid for it and I just waited for it to come in and it never came," said Bayshore.

The Better Business Bureau says that is just one way you can get scammed online. 

"We've heard all sorts of horror stories like people bidding on items, paying for them and not receiving them. We've heard internet auctions taking credit card information and not delivering the product, products being delivered that weren't exactly how they proposed to be online," BBB President Nan Campbell said.

Some auction sites like E-Bay let you check a seller's history.

"Turns out the person I bought from never sends anything after a certain date. Now there's people out there talking about his ratings because there's a rating system that you use and they were giving him negative feed back. And, he apparently just dropped off E-Bay," Bayshore said.

E-Bay has a fraud investigation unit and offers online tutorials on spoof web sites.  But, not all online auctions are reputable ones.

"Be sure, when you are on an auction site, it's the real thing because there are so many that have been what we call hijacked. The logos and everything have been hijacked," Campbell said.

So, before buying from any auction site:  

  • Identify the seller and check the seller's feedback rating.
  • Know what you're bidding on, its relative value, all terms and conditions of the sale, including the seller's return policies and who pays for shipping.
  • Establish the top price and stick to it.
  • Evaluate payment options.  Don't send check or money order.  If the seller doesn't accept credit cards, consider using an escrow service. But, again, check them out as well.

"Since then, I use Pay Pal because they have virus protection, so you can get your money back or at least a portion of your money back," said Bayshore.

To take an online auction safety quiz (click here).

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