Gone are the days when one has to travel long distances, going through heavy traffic, only to end up in crowded market places that take the fun out of shopping. Online shopping has become popular because of the convenience associated with it. Sitting at home in pajamas, we can virtually walk around doing our research and select what we need.
The option of getting what you want from the comfort your home is great, but with the ever increasing sellers online, some genuine and most not genuine, there is also an element of risk when making an online purchase, especially if you are new and have no idea of the workings of cyber dealers.
Let us take a look at a few things that need to be taken into consideration, to find a good bargain auction, in order to shop safe and buy a genuine product.
The product you are looking for needs to be researched before you place a bid in any online auction. Never buy from the first place you find a good deal. Always check out other online shopping sites in order to determine the lowest retail price that is available. In fact, it would help to check out the prices at your local retail shops as well. This will help you bid wisely.
Read Between The Lines
Make sure you read each and every word that describes the product and try and read between the lines to learn what it does not say – such as, is there a guarantee? Is it authentic? If it is, is there any proof of its authenticity? It is better to deal with auctions that are totally open and give you all the information upfront and avoid the others.
Shipping and Handling
Next comes the shipping and handling fees. Most shoppers concentrate totally on the price of the product and get excited at finding a great deal. What they do not understand or miss noticing is the shipping fees, which dealers usually increase in order to compensate for the low rates they are selling their product. You must double check with other companies and see what is being charged towards shipping fees.
Snipe your Auctions
If you have not heard of AuctionStealer or other such tools, check them out. They help keep the price in check by preventing other buyers from bidding against you. They also manage the bidding timing so that you do not end up missing good auctions.
Although, the above steps apply to any auction, if you are bidding on EBay, there are a few more important things to watch out for:
EBay Seller Feedback
EBay allows buyers to leave a feedback on the product they received and on the service of the seller. EBay assigns a community ranking system to all the profiles of users. This is a wonderful thing because other buyers are aware of what they are getting into. Reputable sellers inevitably end up with plenty of positive feedback. Around 100 positive comments is a good benchmark of a reputed seller.
This feedback helps the buyer stay away from sellers that are not up to the mark. If the seller has negative comments related to shipping, you can also ask them to use a delivery method for which EBay provides protection to buyers. In such cases, even if you do not end up getting the product from the seller, you will be able to get a refund. If the seller has negative feedback related to the product itself, stay away.
What if the seller is new and has no rating? If you want the item badly, you will have to check out the seller in the Yellow Pages or directory services. See if they do come from where they say they are from.
Disclosing Financial Details
This is the most crucial aspect of shopping online and it is very important for you to understand the implications. Never give out your credit card details, bank details or passwords through email. Unfortunately, despite warnings put up on most auctioning sites and others, people still end up furnishing their details through email, which can prove to be the worst experience ever. It can get as bad as losing all the amount from the account.
When paying money to a seller, do not wire money to their bank account; use the payment processing method authorized by the website, such as Paypal etc.
Look out for multiple accounts
Sellers use a very clever tactic while auctioning their wares. They drive up the price of their own auctions with the use of fake accounts or multiple eBay identities, all of which belong to them.
A good way to find out if this is happening to you is to check the other auctions of that seller that have closed. See if the same usernames are bidding for this product but not winning the auction. If you suspect someone doing this, you may contact eBay and they will look into it.
Just remember; never believe in anything that looks too good to be true. Shopping online can be a pleasure if only you know how to safeguard yourself from the unscrupulous elements.