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Six eBay Safety Shopping Tips

by Suzanne Kantra on December 04, 2009

eBay logoBefore you buy on eBay from the comfort of your own home, make sure to follow these easy tips, provided by eBay Tech and Toy Director, Cat Schwartz, to ensure your shopping experience is seamless.

  1. Item Descriptions Are A Must Read
    If you're interested in making a purchase on eBay, take time to read the item description carefully. Having all the information and details about what you’re looking for will assure you get exactly what you pay for. Be sure to look for shipping and handling costs, where the item is located, whether the item will be shipped internationally, what payment options the seller offers and whether the seller has a return policy.
  2. Feedback Gives You Insight
    The eBay feedback system has been in place for a long time and is the key to shopping safely on eBay. Always look at your seller's feedback score, ratings and read though comments left by other buyers. Sellers with 98% positive feedback are considered to be safe. If the score is lower or you see questionable marks then proceed cautiously or move on to the next seller.
  3. Communication Is Key
    Before you buy that cool new laptop for example, you may have questions or just want a little more detail. You have the option to contact the seller for additional information. Always use the "Ask Seller a Question" system, though. Don't communicate with the seller directly.
  4. Payment Methods
    When it's time to pay for your goods, make sure you use a secure method of payment. PayPal is the preferred method on eBay because, if needed, it offers the most protection against items that are received not as described or never obtained. A really cool new layer of protection to PayPal is the PayPal Security Key device. It's a small gadget that generates a six digit authentication code for signing into eBay. This layer makes it impossible for anyone to access your account without that code! If the seller doesn't accept PayPal the next best is credit cards. Never use cash or instant cash transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. And don't respond to "outside of eBay" offers.
  5. Spoof emails Exist! 
    If you don't win an auction and you receive a "Second Chance Offer" in your email, check for the same message in your My Messages box on eBay. All your eBay activity should be kept on the eBay marketplace.
  6. Want More?
    eBay offers an easy an interactive tutorial that outlines top safety tips for shopping on the site. It’s a helpful tool as you transact on eBay.


Shopping, Computers and Software, Internet & Networking, Computer Safety & Support, Tips & How-Tos

Cat SchwartzCatherine “Cat” Schwartz is eBay’s Tech and Toy Director. Cat spots trends, identifies hot new products in the consumer electronics and toy space and educates consumers on the wide array of products available on eBay. She is widely known for her electric commentary on the hottest gadgets and how to use them.

As the tech go-to-girl, Cat developed new high-tech ways for distributing TV content over the Web. In 2003, she produced and hosted TechTV’s “The Screen Savers” followed by the live computer show “Call for Help.” During the next three years, Cat gained a dedicated following both on the show and on her blog,, a catchy mix of tech spiced with her personal musings on parenting.

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