Caution Urged When Shopping at Online Auctions

Caution Urged When Shopping at Online Auctions

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KSL Newsradio's Chelsea Hedquist reportingYou can get almost anything on eBay, even cars, boats, planes, or real estate. But can you really trust a seller you've never met when you're buying an item you've never actually seen?

Enter the search term "Hummer" on the popular auction site eBay and you'll be able to find a listing for a 2005 blue H2 with a moon roof and heated leather seats. Eric Pace from Watts Automotive in American Fork is the man listing the Hummer.

"Spending $40,000 sight unseen, that's a pretty big leap of faith," said Pace.

But it's one that apparently lots of eBay users are willing to make. For the record, the reporter saw the blue Hummer with her own eyes. It's just as advertised, but you have to wonder whether all eBay sellers are as honest as Pace. Jim Griffith, dean of eBay Education, says the best way to protect yourself against fraud is to research the seller by reading the feedback comments. And if a seller wants a cash payment, that's a dead giveaway for fraud.

"You should never ever send cash to a stranger through Western Union or money order," Griffith said, "especially a high-ticket item. Never."

Cheryl Snapp Connor uses those tips when she shops on eBay. She makes six to eight purchases each month, and even bought her engagement ring on the site.

"I really liked it, "Connor said. "In fact, the particular seller that I bought from had excellent feedback, was willing to Federal Express, and was willing to guarantee her merchandise. So that convinced me. We gave it a try and I was thrilled with the ring." Of course, there are always going to be those who are going to try to hoodwink you. Griffith provides a hint: Just don't buy anything from someone whose feedback reads "big fraud," or from someone who only accepts cash.

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