Brought to you by Destinations Credit Union.
Summer is a wonderful time for getting rid of the neglected and forgotten items sitting around the garage, attic or other areas of the home. The kids are around to help, and all the yard toys and gardening stuff that got stashed away last year has to come out of storage anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone? This is a good time to go through some of that stuff and see if any of it is still valuable.
Though some of it may not be valuable to you, some items – like clothes, electronics and collectibles – might fetch a fair sum if you were to sell them on eBay. Things small enough to ship can earn more when sold on the world’s biggest online auction site than on sites like Craigslist, because the potential reach is much greater. Shoppers all over the world can see what you’ve got for sale, and you might end up with a few extra dollars.
Not all eBay scams are quite as tragically funny. Most are just tragic. Here are three common eBay scams and how to avoid them.
1.) The fake payment. You’ve just sold a big-ticket item, like a cellphone or a pair of designer headphones. Maybe you didn’t get quite as much as you were hoping for, but some money is better than nothing. Out of the blue, the buyer reaches out with an amazing offer. They’ll pay you more than they agreed if they can get around PayPal fees by sending you a certified check. Alternately, you get an email from what appears to be PayPal telling you the payment, more than you agreed to, is in transit, but won’t be released until you provide a shipping number.
Once you ship the item, the money never shows up. If you get a certified check, it will undoubtedly be bogus. The “in transit” money from Paypal never shows up. You’re out both the item and the cash.
The scammer is relying on your desire for money to overwhelm your common sense. If a stranger offered to buy something at a yard sale for more than the ticket price, but would only do so if he could send you a check from home, you’d scare away half the neighborhood laughing at him. Never send the item until you have the cash in hand, and never accept non-electronic payment from someone you don’t know.
2.) The 3rd party payment system. In this scenario, you’ve settled on a price with a buyer, but they have a catch. For whatever reason, they can’t use eBay’s checkout system. They need you to take the item down and send it to them, and they’ll send you money directly. They’ll even send you the money before you send them the goods.
If you’re using a site to sell, use the site to finish the deal. Not only does this keep the company involved if things go sour with the deal, but it also ensures you’re using the site legally and following the rules.
3.) It was like that when I found it! This is another transaction that starts off smoothly but takes a sudden turn once the buyer gets the item. They send you pictures of the item you sold them with a broken screen or other serious damage. They want their money back, and you can either pay them or deal with eBay’s Buyer Protection Program. Even though you’re in the right, eBay will take their side (it’s called the Buyer Protection Program for a reason) and force you to issue a refund.