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Denise Nakano, NBC NewschannelEBay is a great website to get deals galore or to sell your old stuff. But beware! There are scammers out there as well.
EBay's Learning University Dean Jim Griffith says there are bad guys out there everywhere, in the online and off-line world and on eBay we do out best to keep them off, but they still sneak in."
Griffith says there are many strategies for buyers to use to protect themselves. He recommends that you alway check out a seller's feedback, ask questions before you commit and make sure you understand the entire listing - not just the item but the terms of service.
Another tip: never underestimate your own intuition. Jim Griffith says "they'll look at a listing and sometimes they'll say there's something wrong here. But then they won't listen to it. They say I really want it and what could possibly go wrong?"
Actually, lots can go wrong. An item may not arrive in the condition advertised. Or it might not arrive at all. If you're buying antiques or jewelry, authentication is important. Jim Griffith says "if you find that it's not as described, get a commitment from them that they will accept a return. I won't buy from and I tell buyers never to buy from anyone who doesn't have a return policy. That way you know if something goes wrong you can always return the item."
What happens if you fall victim to a scam? As long as you pay with a credit card or use an online system like paypal, you are insured. Never send a money order or a check. You have no protection in case of fraud.
Griffith says safe buying and selling on eBay happens every day. It's all a matter of being careful. Jim Griffith says "spending a lot of money on something with somebody you've never met or haven't dealt with before, you should be concerned and you should take the right steps to guarantee it will all work out."
EBay's website has lots of great safety and security tips. Check it out at http://pages.ebay.com/education/