To E- Bay or Not To E- Bay: That Is The Question

As someone who has both bought and sold on E-bay, I should say at the outset that my experiences have all been positive. There is good and bad in everything, however, and buying and selling on the Internet is no exception. For an enterprise that began in 1995 as an innocent way to sell old Pez candy containers, the owners of E -bay are and should be quite proud of the operation that began in their living room and skyrocketed beyond their wildest imaginings.

Common sense may apply here more than one would guess. For example, the last time I thought about buying something on E-Bay, I checked out the seller, which is very easy to do. (Just the click of the mouse from instructions on the home page). That will tell you right away if other people have had any problems in dealing with the particular seller. That’s not, however, always enough of a precaution. According to Web Pro World, the biggest problems facing the buyer and seller on the Internet today are fraud and identity theft, both of which leave very deep scars on consumers.

A former employee of E-bay, Rajesh Navar, states that there are three major problems with e-commerce via E-bay; one is cost, two is fraud and three is the fact that shipping is not included in many of the items that are bought. (I myself, when advertising the sale on an antique stove, had to deduct from the asking price to include shipping costs and be fair to the buyer.) Navar claims that if you enter E- Bay, it is at your own risk and you must take the good with the bad. (And there is a lot of good). Unfortunately, and this is once again according to Navar, who has since launched his own competing site, the types of fraud that occur most frequently on E-bay (non-payment and identity theft) are difficult to detect and combat until AFTER they happen.

I have a friend who buys and sells both costume and good jewelry all the time on E -bay. She has told me that after five years and at least a thousand transactions, she got stuck only once with a deadbeat customer. Those are pretty good odds by anyone’s standards, (even me, who can’t even calculate odds very well). On the other hand, Caveat Emptor. As the buyer, you should always beware, and even more so on the Internet because you can’t personally evaluate the sale item. Demand a photo. To buy something without seeing it is like stepping off a mountain and then inquiring if it is safe.

And so in the long run, you must always remember to take precautions when shopping on the Internet because transactions always involve people dealing directly with people. As a human race, we are a mixed bag, and fortunately, at least in my experience, most of us are okay. Still, you must remember to always look before leaping. Don’t forget too, that he who hesitates is lost. In other words, you are on your own to caveat emptor or non-emptor. Hang on to your identity. (If you are insecure, this may be no easy task). Check out the buyer or seller, (whichever category doesn’t apply to you.) Take the extra time. In the long run, maybe, it will all be worth it. In the mean time, do you know anybody who would like to buy an antique parlor stove in excellent condition?

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