The Other Side of eBay

By Ruth Lanham

I have been an eBay Seller since 1998 and a PowerSeller for most of that time. When I first started I could literally sell anything even without a photo. My sell through rate was 100%. But things have changed in the last few years. It is now reported by eBay itself that the sell through rate averages 40% or less. As the low sell-through rate persists, sellers are beginning to feel the pinch of all the listing and other fees associated with selling on eBay.

Selling on eBay is not as easy as it used to be and I believe one of the main reasons is due to fraud. Fraud on eBay can take on many forms including misrepresented items by sellers, non-paying bidders, and spoof eBay or Pay-Pal e-mails. While reportedly small in proportion to the number of transactions that take place, fraud is a real issue for the unsuspecting eBay member and it is becoming more prevalent. eBay sellers pay a high price in the general loss of trust in the site as it becomes increasingly perceived as riddled with con-artists, driving away buyers.

Sellers and buyers can be tricked into revealing their passwords to scammers by clicking on a link in an official looking e-mail message that appears to come from eBay or PayPal, a practice known as "phishing". While phishing attacks now target clients of every major bank and financial institution as well as all large Internet companies, eBay and PayPal users remain constantly barraged by fraudulent e-mails. Most of us have not fallen for such phishing scam but many eBay sellers do fall for them and now there are large numbers of eBay logins and passwords in the hands of hackers who sell this information to eBay Scammers.

Fraud on eBay can be committed by both buyers and sellers. eBay has an unbelievable customer base (one source reports 212 million+ users). Not all of those users have good intentions. For instance, a fraudulent seller, once he starts receiving poor feedback will simply obtain a new account and start over. Problems are far more frequent than you'll ever see recorded in feedback. The PowerSeller logo has become an embarrassment to many because so many of them engage in fraudulent practices.

While unsuspecting bidders are the main prey of the crooks, sellers are also bilked when their accounts are hijacked and when scammers hack into and clean out PayPal and linked bank accounts. Buyers also play the game by utilizing stolen credit cards or blackmail the seller via negative feedback in order to get refunds, etc.

Buyers can avoid becoming a fraud victim on eBay by making themselves as aware as possible and by being cautious. Avoid any volume seller with less than 99% good feedback. Don't buy from sellers who seem to violate eBay policies or trade in unusual ways—for example, by offering to sell you the item off eBay, by charging an insanely high shipping amount in order to avoid paying seller fees, or by falling for a sales pitch that seems just too good to be probably is. The Latin proverb, "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware), is always good advice for buyers and and in the case of eBay, let the seller also beware.

Ruth LanhamEntrepreneur, Webmaster, Author, T-Shirt Designer
Ruth Lanham is a T-shirt designer who authors four websites and writes on various topics relating to t-shirt design, the internet and Christianity.

For more information or to contact Ruth please visit one of her sites below.



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