Had The Winning Bid, did you? ... You arrive at an online auction and are eager tostart bidding. You start looking at ... and pictures of items you ... in. Then the bi
Had The Winning Bid, did you? (c)janes-place
You arrive at an online auction and are eager to start bidding. You start looking at the descriptions and pictures of items you are interested in. Then the bidding starts.............
Wow! The excitement! You are now bidding on the item that you really *must* have. When the bidding ends, you are notified that you have the winning bid! My, how excited you are! You send your payment through Paypal or by mail. You can't wait to receive the item! After all, it is a *must* have item!
You wait anxiously for the mailman to deliver your package. You can't wait everyday until he delivers the mail. You run to the mailbox as soon as he leaves. This goes on for weeks! Now it's been months. It *never* arrives.
Don't feel that you are the only one that has experienced this. In 1999, consumers lost more than $3 billion to Internet fraud [National Consumer League]. People never received what they purchased or the merchandise they did receive wasn't what the seller had described.
What do you do now?
First, contact the person selling the merchandise. Mistakes *do* happpen. Be sure to keep a copy of the correspondance [mail or email], between you and the seller.
Didn't get anywhere with that approach?
**Complain to the on-line auction site. Be sure you can give them proof of your payment and have copies of any correspondance between you and the seller.
**Check to see if the site offers a dispute resolution service. This service works for you, the buyer.
**Most online auction sites have some type of insurance program. Ex- eBay will cover up to $200, minus a $25 deductible if you don't receive your item or receive items that don't live up to their description.
If you feel the seller is operating his auctions dishonestly, send an email to the security staff of the auction's web site. They *will* investigate! The sellers account with the auction can be cancelled in this situation. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]. You can complete a complaint form at: http://www.ftc.gov
You can protect yourself when bidding at online auctions by using services that have been around on the internet for a while--eBay--Yahoo. R-E-A-D the site's buyer protection policies. Do they offer insurance and dispute resolution services? Find out what other purchasers are saying about the seller. Use a credit card to purchase. You will have more protection and can cancel a transaction up to 30 days after purchase. You may also want to check out an escrow service for expensive items.
Using an escrow service can save you money in the long run, especially if you have a large amount of money at stake. Insurance at auctions only go up to a certain amount. An escrow service acts as a middle man. You set-up the escrow account and deposit the money that you and the seller agree on. The escrow service will let the seller know that the money is there and then the item is shipped. If you are satisfied, the escrow service releases the money to the seller. If you aren't satified, let the escrow service know and return the item to the seller. You money will then be returned to you, minus the escrow fees for handling the transaction.
Using these techniques will help you have more confidence when bidding on merchandise at auctions.
Jane Fulton is owner and webmistress of: http://janes-place.com janes-place is dedicated to helping newbies. If you are new to the internet, you need to sign-up for Newbie & Affiliate SOS Newsletter and learn to use your computer like a pro! http://janes-place.com/sos.htm