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FORUMS Marketplace & Market Info Market Watch
Thread started 20 Mar 2007 (Tuesday) 15:27
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STICKY: How to be Better Informed During Online Purchases

 
TeamSpeed
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Mar 20, 2007 15:27 |  #1

Since it comes up quite a bit, here is a compilation of steps you can take to check before you buy from a place that has prices that "seem to good to be true", as well as questioning an Ebay feedback result. If there is any use for this long-term, maybe the mods can find it in their hearts to sticky it. I am happy to keep it updated as time allows.

Ebay Sellers
1) Create separate buy accounts and sell accounts (you need two separate email accounts). This protects your negative feedback from retaliatory feedback hurting your sell account, and frees you up to leave honest to goodness feedback for a seller. <EDIT: no longer valid since Ebay changed the policy where a seller cannot leave negative feedback>

2) Check the seller's withdrawn feedback count on their feedback page. If more than a few, question that seller's integrity, there is almost no reason for large numbers of withdrawn feedback, you can count on those to be negative, nobody withdraws positive feedback.

3) Use www.toolhaus.orgexternal link and put in the seller's id, check the negative feedback and also check how much positive they leave, and the content of both types of feedback to get a feel for the character of the seller. You can also filter feedback with the Ebay user profile screen, under the feedback grid for 30 days, 6 months, 1 year, etc for positive, neutral and negative, you can click the counts to get the details.

4) Check the seller's historical offerings by clicking any of the item links that are still active, get a feel for whether the seller has sold big items or many small items. If all small, and now they are selling a large item, beware.

5) If no activity for a long period of time, then there is a rash of large items for sale, beware, it might be a hijacked account.

6) Contact the seller for the item you are interested in, build a dialog to see how you feel about that person, ask some very technical questions about the item to see if they know anything about it.

7) Google the seller ID and add "scam" and "ebay" to the search, for instance, barclaysphoto scam ebay, and check out the results. Do the same for "bait" and "switch", for instance barclaysphoto bait switch ebay.

Forum Sellers or Buyers
1) Look at the seller/buyer posting count, also their registration date under their public profile page. Look at their prior posts to get a feel for what the person seems like as an individual. Are their posts helpful, or nothing but "nice shot", "great capture", etc, and then blam, they start posting sale items once their probationary period is over? If they are not a well-established member, you might want to follow up with one or more of the following pointers.

2) Look to see if the forum offers some sort of positive feedback thread, like POTN's very own feedback thread. Research accordingly.

3) Ask the seller/buyer for other forum references, like Ebay, from FredMiranda.com, etc, then repeat steps 1 and 2 there to follow up. If an ebay reference is given, try using the "ask member a question" feature in ebay by entering their ebay id on this page (http://hub.ebay.com/co​mmunityexternal link) and following through to get to the question area. See if they respond and can verify they are the same person as on the forum. Also read through their feedback, and reference some of the bulleted items above under the Ebay Sellers section.

4) Before sending or accepting (ie. sending the goods) paypal payments, take their email address they give for the payment and google it. Make sure nothing really negative shows up. Google their forum ID as well, many folks use the same community name across forums. See what others have to say elsewhere.

5) Keep in mind that many forums (including POTN) have policies where they will not act as the police in your transactions. It is up to you to do the research and if you do get scammed, there is little to nothing that forum leadership can do to help you recoup your money back. It is your responsibility to do the necessary research and use proper protective techniques like credit cards with protection plans, etc to help you should something terrible happen in your dealings online.

6) It is very wise to ask for photos of the items in question if you are the buyer, this is handy for detecting hijacked accounts. Sure the person at the other end can find images on the web and pawn them off as their own, but then you can maybe check the EXIF to see the date of the photo, etc.

7) Certainly ask for a phone number to call the person if you are still unsure, sometimes you can get a really good feeling (or bad) from how they respond to this question, and then again if you actually are able to talk them on the phone. Sometimes there is no substitute for person to person contact, especially in our electronic "text it and forget it" world.

Online Vendors
1) Check this "Too Good To Be True Online Retailers" thread for the URL in question, see if they are on the watch list. This list changes often, so don't think "if I don't see it, they must be okay".

2) Check www.resellerratings.co​mexternal link for the online website for a community view on that seller

3) Here is a sticky master thread that has all vendor-related links in it.

4) Google the website and add "scam" or "bait" and "switch" to the search, for instance, priceritephoto.com scam or priceritephoto.com bait switch and check out the results.

5) In mid-2009, there has been some legal ramifications to these shops, read about it hereexternal link.

Metaphor of how your purchase will proceed with these bait and switch shops

You buy the hamburger at the convenient and legitimate looking drive-through.

They call you out of your car into the fast food joint to confirm your .99 hamburger purchase. This should be your first clue...

While they have you at the counter, they conveniently remind you that in order to eat the hamburger, you need the bun and condiments.

You say, "What!? Those are included in a hamburger purchase, it is the way they are made".

They say "who knows better what is included, us or you? Do you want the buns for $2.99, the condiments for $1.99? And right now there is a special on the pickle for $.49".

You say "no, you will just take the hamburger and buy your own buns and condiments".

They say, "oops, somebody just sold that hamburger, it is no longer available, would you like one of the other available specials?".

You say "no" and stand at the counter for 3 hours to get your .99 refund back and disgustedly leave.

Payment-Related Suggestions

1) Remember that you hold all personal responsibility for how you send payment to the recipient. Nobody else outside that transaction is to blame if you lose your money on a bad deal.

2) There are many forms of payment, but the most popular to pop up is Paypal personal payments (otherwise known as Gift, money owed, etc). Think of this as no different than sending straight unadulterated cash to a recipient via uninsured, unregistered first class mail. Would you do this if you trusted the person at the other end? Sure. Would you do this if you don't know the other person but really want in on a good deal? Your call, but also your responsibility.

3) Look at all the alternatives when you make a payment: Paypal, Paypal Personal/Gift, Paypal Masspay, Money Orders, Checks, Google Checkout, Chase Quickpay, and many other options.

4) Many will suggest to make sure your payment through paypal is done via a credit card in order to garner other protections. A good idea, but be sure you know your credit card account terms, and the Paypal terms.

5) If you send money via Paypal personal gift payment, Paypal will almost never help you, and you certainly cannot pin blame on the forums or others outside the transaction for having sent that to an unknown party. Always double-check the seller's reputation first and foremost, then decide whether you would send cash to the person with no traceability for the item, and if the answer is yes, then using Paypal personal payments is really no different.

6) If the seller and buyer both don't want to budge on the paypal gift idea, perhaps the two could compromise and split the fees down the middle. I personally have used paypal personal payments with no issues at all, but I have also split fees with buyers in the past, as well with sellers. This leaves the normal Paypal protections in place, for what they are worth.

Motto to Live By
GREED or LUST for new equipment or a spectacular deal makes people do crazy things! Take some time and think about what you are about to do especially if it is a high-dollar item! Also ask yourself whether you could continue to make ends meet, if for some reason that money were to disappear and you received nothing. In the end remember that you, and you alone, were the one to send the money out the door, and that is a decision you ultimately have to live by. :)


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Permagrin
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Mar 20, 2007 15:31 |  #2

This is a good post..maybe it should be a sticky :)

One question though...does it fall within the Ebay guidelines to have two different accounts? I thought that was against their rules.


.. It's Permie's world, we just live in it! ~CDS

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TeamSpeed
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Mar 20, 2007 15:38 |  #3

Permagrin wrote in post #2902464external link
This is a good post..maybe it should be a sticky :)

One question though...does it fall within the Ebay guidelines to have two different accounts? I thought that was against their rules.

Nope, if you have two email addresses, you can, who cares what their guidelines are. Ebay propogates this fraud. I have one for my wife (who never uses it) and one for myself, two different addresses. Just don't use one to bump up the bids on another.


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Permagrin
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Mar 20, 2007 15:46 |  #4

TeamSpeed wrote in post #2902502external link
Nope, if you have two email addresses, you can, who cares what their guidelines are. Ebay propogates this fraud. I have one for my wife (who never uses it) and one for myself, two different addresses. Just don't use one to bump up the bids on another.

My only point was that it would be wrong to advise people to break the Ebay rules (in a sticky on this forum).


.. It's Permie's world, we just live in it! ~CDS

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TeamSpeed
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Mar 20, 2007 16:25 |  #5

Permagrin wrote in post #2902542external link
My only point was that it would be wrong to advise people to break the Ebay rules (in a sticky on this forum).

Read through the community threads at Ebay, there are no rules against multiple accounts. I have had two accounts for multiple years now, as do many others. My personal account protection and interests, if ethical and moral, come first over Ebay rules any day, even if there were guidelines against it. Ebay does more for sellers than they do buyers, so count on Ebay to do nothing for you as a buyer, take every precaution you can yourself first.

http://answercenter.eb​ay.com ...019838&forumID=16&s​tart=0external link


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scorpio_e
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Dec 01, 2007 09:26 |  #6

I do have to agree. I only have one account but after reading the post having a buyer and seller acct is a great idea. I have one negative feed back and it was from a seller !!!! She a upset because I question how she advertised her golf shirts. I am still ticked *LOL*


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mkuriger
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Apr 10, 2008 23:05 |  #7

DO NOT USE THESE SITES!

According to the Better Business Bureau, all the following companies are part of BROADWAY PHOTO:

A&M Photo World

Best Camera

Camera Addict

Cameratopia

Digital Liquidators LLC

Ghu, LLC

Millenium Camera

Preferred Photo

Prestige Camera

Quest4Cameras

Regal Camera

TheDigitalExpo

Tronicity

Wild Digital LLC


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ben_r_
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Apr 10, 2008 23:54 |  #8

Nice! This is an excellent thread!


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GIVE a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. TEACH a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

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TeamSpeed
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May 30, 2008 07:25 |  #9

Recent list of Canon authorized dealers for the printer rebate (May-Aug 2008)

http://canon.rebatesta​tus.com ...ions/CANON/storelis​t.aspxexternal link


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CoolToolGuy
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Sep 05, 2008 14:12 as a reply to TeamSpeed's post |  #10

This was on USATODAY today:

http://www.usatoday.co​m ...08-09-04-graymarket_N.htmexternal link

Nothing new here - this stuff has been going on for years. But if you need verification about bogus online vendors with unbelievable prices, read this.

Have Fun,


Rick

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dahblazinazn
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Sep 22, 2008 22:23 |  #11

For those buyers out there:

These are the things you should watch out for and take to precaution if you're using paypal:

* If you're using paypal, charge from your credit card so you can do necessary charge backs when items are not as described.
* Make sure your seller has a verified paypal account and confirmed address.
* Do a background check on your seller
* ALWAYS wait for paypal e-checks to clear.
* If package is damaged/opened (before you opened it), don't open it and send it back. make sure you have Post office confirmation of this as well

Now for those sellers out there who use paypal:

* Make sure your buyer has a confirmed address and verified account.
* SHIP the item to the address on the paypal account. NOWHERE ELSE
* Be careful when dealing internationally
* Make sure you use paypal shipping labels (highly recommended). This is proof of shipment when your buyer says "they never recieved it" and also select a delivery confirmation for this as well
* Have signature confirmation and insurance on all your packages.
* Deposit payments straight to a bank account (savings, so paypal cant take money from it incase anything happens).
* When you bring the package to the post office, make sure you keep the receipt they give you and record the weight of the package. Any returns of your items not meeting that SAME weight is void.

If anyone else has anymore tips feel free to add. Have a good day, and buy and sell safely.


~KLEE

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TeamSpeed
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Sep 22, 2008 22:52 |  #12

Keep in mind that with the new buyer protection Paypal states they have implemented, you no longer have to send to the confirmed address on the paypal account of the buyer, but to any eligible address on that account.

https://www.paypal.com .../SellerPPOverview-outsideexternal link

However, I am a fan of establishing communications with the seller before if they appear to be a risk and get a feel for that person, from their responsiveness to their knowledge of the goods they are selling. If enough research and communications take place before the sale, the risk of a bad transaction should be greatly diminished.


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1artistatwork
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Nov 11, 2009 06:30 |  #13

Sam's Club is definitely not on the Beware List, but their prices for digital cameras are so low now ($700 for a T1i, including 18-55 IS lens) that I'm wondering if I should beware. This is if I purchase online and have it delivered to my home. In-store prices are higher, but still better than Amazon. Has anyone had a problem buying a camera from Sam's? If the camera needs repair, do I go back to Sam's or to Canon? Thanks.




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TeamSpeed
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Nov 11, 2009 08:42 |  #14

1artistatwork wrote in post #8995152external link
Sam's Club is definitely not on the Beware List, but their prices for digital cameras are so low now ($700 for a T1i, including 18-55 IS lens) that I'm wondering if I should beware. This is if I purchase online and have it delivered to my home. In-store prices are higher, but still better than Amazon. Has anyone had a problem buying a camera from Sam's? If the camera needs repair, do I go back to Sam's or to Canon? Thanks.

Sams has a great customer service policy regarding electronics. I have had no issues with Sams or Walmart. Depending on how long Sam's return policy is (6 months on laptops for instance), you could take your camera to Sams for an exchange, else you would send it to Canon. No matter where you buy it, if the camera needs repaired, you would go to the manufacturer, unless the place you buy it has some sort of extended customer service guarantee.


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Nathan
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Nathan. 3 edits done in total.
Jun 22, 2016 12:30 |  #15

My Rule of Thumb:

  • Don't buy an item that costs more than twice the number of posts - give or take - that a seller has on POTN. This would exclude a lot of good, honest sellers and would also preclude a lot of good deals. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.
For example, I recently bought used camera body for $1650 from someone who had a little more than 800 posts. I would probably not buy the same deal from someone who had only 500 posts. That may be a little arbitrary, but it's a rule I set for myself. I'm not going to buy $4000 lens from someone unless they've spent enough time to make 2000 posts on this forum. Your threshold and tolerance might be more or less than mine.

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