How to shop safely on eBay: Three things to watch out for when shopping on eBay, the location of the store, the store’s customers’ feedback, and store inventory.
A few years ago, my sister wanted me to buy some dresses for her from an online shop. The pictures of the dresses she saw were amazing, and the prices were tantalizing. We ordered for the cloths making sure to confirm severally the tag numbers and everything. Her excitement on the arrival of the package varnished almost immediately. The boxes containing the cloths were dirty, and the supposed elegant dresses were mere rags. Some of the apparels were literally pieces of a fabrics, and made no sense whatsoever.
We learned in a painful way that all that glitters is not gold, and more so in the online market.
How do you shop on eBay, and generally online and avoid being ripped off as a consumer?
There is no simple answer to this conundrum. However there are few ways to minimize the risk. One of them is to shop from a store in close proximity from you. It could be same country, or state, and even city. Certainly the closer the better. Online store operators are likely to ship sub-standard product to a buyer far from their location, but they are also more cautious in dealing with a buyer in a close proximity. The logic is simple; a face to face confrontation (over trade dispute) is more menacing than a finger pointing from behind the computer.
If you shop on eBay, it is easy to configure a store location. Just go to the eBay Search: Advanced Search. Using the advance search helps to minimize unwanted results. After putting in your keyword or item number, then you can scroll down and select a location. The snapshot below illustrates what I’m talking about.
Store rating and customers’ feedback
Before making a purchase online, make sure to check the store rating, and also read the customers’ feedback. Ratings and customers’ feedback are the report card of online stores. Remember it is not our (buyers) task to judge the fairness of an online store’s rating. I think every store bears the responsibility to offer their clients services that attract the best evaluation. Honestly why patronize a store that is unwilling to go a few extra miles to improve feedback and ratings?
If I want to buy a mobile phone or a computer online, I will look for a store with a profile like Renew IT. The store has a great number of followers, and they are in the business of selling stuff, which is good. And finally you have many comments and feedback to back your decision.
The last factor I want to discuss is inventory. It is okay to buy a t-shirt from a store that has only one t-shirt in it’s inventory. Especially if you don’t intend to buy anymore t-shirts for a long time. But if you are in a business of retailing, you probably want to create a long-term relationship with a particular store. I can list a hundred reasons why a long-term relationship is good for business. But establishing a good channel for communication, and flow of goods will be on top of that list. Unless I am buying a one-time item, I will always check a store’s inventory to see if they have more of what I’m looking for.
In the art of online shopping, you can never get it a hundred percent right. However, worst still is not trying to get it right at all. Have you had any experience with online shopping you had like to share? Please write and share your story. By so doing, you could save someone some tear drops, and a box of worthless fabrics.