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Brett_Goldfarb

Consumer Scam Warnings About Selling on eBay

 
By Brett Goldfarb in Consumer Advocacy, Special Reports
December 1st, 2011

Thinking about selling that awful sweater you got as a gift from your great aunt on eBay? Before you do, you might want to read this article and think twice before you sell anything on eBay.

ebay scamHoliday times are here and it’s a given everyone is going to get a gift or two you simply don’t want or can’t use. In the past, it was common to stuff that unwanted gift in a closet, re-gift it to someone else or return it for a refund.

These days, more and more people turn to eBay as an alternative to get rid of that dust collector and put a little cash in the pocket, but best be warned : selling on eBay can be VERY treacherous.

eBay can be a great place to find a potential buyer interested in your unwanted gift but there are numerous pitfalls novice sellers can easily fall into when selling on eBay. Most of these potential problems are due to eBay policies that provide loopholes for crooks to use the eBay Buyer Protection system to their advantage.

eBay also takes up to 15% of your sale price in fees and force sellers to use Paypal for an additional 4% transaction fees. When all is said and done, eBay will pocket nearly 20% of your item’s price for selling in their marketplace that is littered with crooks, scammers and fraudsters. All with zero customer support for sellers.

We spoke to several veteran eBay sellers and they were quick to offer these 7 warnings for casual or novice eBay sellers to avoid potential buyer fraud.

Never Sell Anything on eBay You Can’t Afford to Lose

The eBay sellers we spoke to all were very clear about the fact that you should never sell anything you can’t afford to lose on eBay. In the last year, there have been hundreds of reports of eBay buyers using eBay’s Buyer Protection to scam sellers out of high priced designer items such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses by simply claiming the item was not authentic or by pulling a switch and returning a fake item.

Always Ship With Delivery Confirmation

If you’re going to ship anything to an eBay buyer, always, always, always purchase some form of online viewable delivery comfirmation. Without DC, a malicious buyer can simply file an Item Not Received claim and eBay/Paypal will grant them an automatic refund from your bank account or credit card. It is important to note that delivery confirmation is not available for international shipping unless you ship using USPS Express Mail International which is very expensive.

Purchase Signature Confirmation on Orders Over $250

This is another loophole eBay does not inform sellers about but can really come back to bite you in the arse. Any order over $250 (this includes shipping costs) MUST be shipped with signature confirmation in order to qualify for seller protection. There are far too many horror stories from novice sellers who shipped expensive items only to have them stolen by buyers who claimed they didn’t receive it. Again, eBay/Paypal will refund the buyer from your bank account or credit card on file.

Be Prepared for Paypal to Hold Your Funds for 21 Days

Here’s another gotcha that eBay isn’t up front about. All new sellers or sellers not meeting eBay’s secret criteria will be subject to having the funds from their buyers payment held for 21 days by Paypal. This means if you sell a $2000 stereo system on eBay that costs $50 to ship, you will have to pay for the shipping out of pocket and wait for Paypal to release your funds when they see fit.

Beware of Scam Artists Seeking Partial Refunds

Newer sellers with a low feedback score can be assured they will encounter the buyer who complains about the item they were sold but doesn’t want to return it and wants a partial refund. Don’t fall for this scam. This scam is perpetuated by eBay sellers using multiple eBay ID’s (yes, believe it or not, eBay allows people to have more than one ID) who buy on one and sell on another. Never give a partial refund to a buyer for any reason. If they don’t like what you sold them, have them return it for a full refund.

Always Ship to Address on File With Paypal

Another common eBay scam is when a buyer targets a new seller and asks them to ship the item they purchased or won to an address other than the address on file with eBay. If you ship to an address other than the one Ebay/Paypal provides for the transaction, it completely voids your seller protection.

Be Prepared to Accept Returns for 45 Days

No matter what you’re selling on eBay and no matter what you state as a return policy in your listing, eBay will FORCE you to accept returns and issue refunds for 45 days after purchase. This policy is widely abused considering the possibilities for buyers to buy and use an item, then return it at the seller’s expense. Considering Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers no longer accept returns of unsealed CD’s, DVD’s, video games ~ eBay has become the perfect place for people to buy, copy and return.

As you can see from the information provided above, selling on eBay is like tap dancing in a minefield. In most cases, especially where larger, higher priced items are concerned, it’s always best to use an alternative like Craigslist or the newspaper.





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Candice_Taylor

An Important Lesson From the Village Idiot

 
By Candice Taylor in Special Reports, Wealth Watching
October 10th, 2011

There’s a lot to learn about frittering small amounts of money a little at a time. You just never know when the time comes, how much was actually squandered away.

Village IdiotOnce upon a time there was a village named Egoville hidden away in the mountains. Now, this village, like most villages, had their own idiot. His name was Hugh Millety.

Hugh, the village idiot, was the ridicule of Egoville. The towns folk would often set him up with silly choices in order to laugh mercilessly at him when he made the wrong choice.

“Hugh,” they’d say, “would you rather have this shiny new quarter or this dirty old torn dollar bill?”

“I’d like the shiny quarter,” Hugh would reply. His tormentor would give him the quarter and walk away laughing, declaring Hugh a true village idiot. Hugh would just shrug and go about his business.

Even though it was a poor village with little opportunity, this was repeated several times a day by many people. As the years went by, the ridicule became a ritual that dozens of townies took part in. The towns folk had little to their names, but at least they could feel better about themselves in comparison to the village idiot this way. It was their small comfort in the lap of poverty.

Not everyone would make fun of Hugh though. A few felt sorry for him and gave him hand-me-down clothes, leftover food, and even an old shack to live in at the edge of town. Hugh lived off of the handouts of the charitable few.

One day, Hugh showed up at the village square wearing a brand new suit. Everyone was amazed, for few people in the town could afford new clothing, let alone a nice suit. The small village didn’t even have a new clothing store, only a used clothing store.

One of townsfolk asked Hugh where he got his new suit, thinking he must have stolen it. He bought it, he told them. And furthermore he added, the fine new house being built on the mountainside that everyone was wondering about, that was his.

When questioned where he got the money, he told them it was the money they gave him. With people giving him food, clothing, and shelter, he simply saved and invested everything they gave him. “I may be your village idiot,” he smiled and said, “but I’m no fool.”

But why then, they asked, did he always take the lesser amount of money they offered him if he was so cunning?

Hugh replied that if he had taken the greater amount of money, they would have stopped offering it to him. He earned his money by letting them laugh at him, but he knew the first time he took the greater amount they’d stop offering him money and find something else to laugh at him about.

“Now,” said Hugh, “I’m the richest person in town and have all the money I need. I didn’t waste money amusing myself at the expense of someone I falsely perceived to be a lesser person. And you, all of you, have little more now than you had when you started ridiculing me. So tell me, who is the village idiot now?”

Hugh smiled again, then handed out hundred dollar bills to those who had been kind to him. The townsfolk were shocked. It was true though, they had frittered away their money a little at a time, trying to make themselves feel big by comparison to the village idiot.

It just goes to show you, if you live in Egoville, take care not to become the village idiot by your vain perceptions. On the other hand, if you follow the wisdom of Hugh Millety, you might just become the richest person in town.





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Candice_Taylor

$16 Muffins and $8 Coffee Served at US Department of Justice Conference Events


By Candice Taylor in Special Reports
September 21st, 2011

While millions of American consumers are cutting back or doing without due to the current economy, US Department of Justice is still spending.

Justice Department MuffinsHow much would you pay for a muffin?

How about a cup of coffee ?

You might be shocked to find out what the US Justice Department is willing to pay for serving these common items to conference attendees - all at the taxpayer’s expense.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General released a report on Tuesday entitled “Audit of Department of Justice Conference Planning and Food and Beverage Costs.”

The report covers the last few years of the George W. Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration and details how the department hosted or participated in 1,832 conferences in 2008 and 2009, costing $121 million.

According to the report, one conference served muffins that cost $16 each (yes, you read that right, $16 each, not $16 for a dozen). Coffee and tea at some of these events cost as much as $8 per 8 ounce cup. That’s more than the average consumer pays for a bag or can of coffee that would yield up to 60 cups.

Another conference served Beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres that cost over $7 per serving. Still yet another conference had a $60,000 tab for a reception that included platters of Swedish meatballs with a cost of nearly $5 per meatball.

While hotel food is notoriously expensive, these costs are simply outrageous. The Justice Department will say that this report old news and that it has done much more since 2009 to reduce “allowable but … extravagant” spending.





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