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How to Avoid Getting Scammed on eBay

Updated on January 9, 2015

Finding a Seller you can Trust and Avoiding Ebay Scammers

Finding a reputable seller, at first, can seem tedious. The quickest, easiest and most effective way to for buyers to find a trustworthy eBay seller is, quite simply, to read their feedback! It's tried and true. There is an easy-to-learn science to analyzing an eBay seller. First, read their feedback percentage, which is next to their user ID name. Is the percentage high or low? High should be around 98% or higher. Anything lower is really unacceptable and you may have a good chance of being an unsatisified customer if you purchase their product. Otherwise, the seller would have gone to great lengths to keep their customers happy to avoid a negative feedback.

One highly recommended tip for shopping on eBay:

Open a PayPal account. PayPal offers protection beyond your credit cards, and conceals personal bank account or credit card information. You can learn how to open a PayPal account here.

Reading the Feedback Forum

Avoid getting scammed by reading up on the Ebay seller's reputation!

Next, you'll want to read how many negatives or nuetrals the seller has received in the past 12 months, 6 months and a year--and read the comments. Click back a couple of pages and read even the positive comments, you can scan them very quickly. Next, see if the product you are viewing is something they regularly sell. If it isn't, you may want to add an extra step of precaution by asking the seller if they guarantee the authenticity or where they purchased the item. A lack of response from the seller would be a warning sign.

Newbie or a pro?

Check the length of time the eBay seller has been a seller. Also check that the seller has sold items on eBay...a high feedback score doesn't necessarily mean they have sold before! These feedbacks could be from purchases only. Click the "feedback as a seller" tab to find out the truth. However, a high feedback buyer should also be fairly familiar with the buying and selling process on eBay as well. Also, watch out for sellers that quickly boost their feedback with low-cost items or ebooks! Ebooks are a low-cost file, photograph, or other media that is often transferred between sellers for the sole purpose of increasing their feedback score. You may find a deceptive seller mixing lots of ebooks in with their counterfeit products to cover their tracks with lots of positive feedbacks from the easy-selling, low-cost ebooks. Checking the feedback will tell you their history!

Do You Trust this Ebay Seller?

Look at all of their products to see if something doesn't make sense (use common sense to avoid rip offs!)

Next, see if there are other items similar to this item on eBay. Is it likely that this designer would have hundreds of the same product available for eBay sellers to sell on eBay? Does this company wholesale? Not many companies do, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind authenticity cards can be faked, and not all authentic prodcuts come with a dustbag! Often times, counterfeit sellers will also use "stock photos" from another website, and not use their own photos of the actual product. It's kind of a bait-and-switch technique, you'll see the real product in the photo, which seems perfect (go to the company's website to see if they have copied it), but the product you receive is far different or somewhat similar. In this case, contact the seller immediately and request a refund!

eBay Bargain Shopping for Dummies

eBay Bargain Shopping For Dummies
eBay Bargain Shopping For Dummies

Bargain shopping is the reason we choose eBay in the first place! Refine your deal hunting skills with this essential book. A user from NYC left this review regarding her mother and mother-in-law: "Finally! They get what eBay is all about. They know how to set up their user accounts, how the "store" is laid out, how to uncover the best deals and, most importantly for them, how to stay safe when buying on eBay. In fact, they picked up so much great information, they even taught me a few things!"


Avoiding Exhorbitant Shipping Charges on Ebay

Look for high shipping prices - and avoid them!

The next to examine is the shipping price. An honest seller will charge a fair price, so this might give you some insight on the seller. However, keep in mind shipping isn't free, and bulky or heavy items may cost more to ship too! Insurance is available on some items from eBay sellers, and this will insure you in case the item is damaged during transit. Our personal recommendation for a shipping service is USPS, they offer the lowest rates and quickest service. For heavier products, you may want to use UPS, they offer cheaper rates for these items

New eBay Changes

New changes in the marketplace have made it more difficult for sellers to charge exhorbitant amounts for shipping costs. These changes will give these sellers less visibility in the eBay search engine.


Phishing attempts are everywhere online. To keep your computer and personal information safe, be sure to read about our PayPal lens!

Reading the Ebay Seller's About ME

Read the seller profile page (ME) to find out more about the seller

Here's an often overlooked feature that you can find out plenty about an ebay seller: the about me and my world page. These pages, especially the about me page, will offer loads of information about the seller. A serious seller will clearly and blatantly state their policies in length. If it's not so clear or not even there, you may want to move on! Sellers usually utilize these two pages to your advantage so you'll know more about the seller and their selling rules. To find them, simply click the "me" next to the user id of the seller, or click the user id itself to visit the my world page. Their my world page will feature additional quick information an overview of some products, reviews, guides and feedback, sometimes blogs, depending on the seller's preferences.

Following Up With Your Ebay Purchase

What to do once the transaction is over and you're happy (or unhappy)

After winning your eBay item from the great eBay seller you have found, if you are satisfied or unssatisfied, leave the appropriate feedback. However, if you are going to leave a negative or nuetral, you should try to contact the seller through your eBay account to try and correct the situtation. Most eBay sellers are happy to work with you and will be very responsive. If they handled it well and you are happy, leave the appropriate feedback! If you really enjoyed your product and experience, you can add them to your favorite seller's list, or sign up for their store newsletter if they have one. eBay can also send you automatic updates on the seller's new items. Helping small business is a great thing!

The next time you buy...

Right away, head for the buyer's feedback score. Scan the feedback forum and percentage. Analyze the "feedback as a seller." Scan item titles to see if the seller has sold items similar to the ones you are looking to purchase, and what people have left as a feedback. Check the duration as a seller, as well as the location (be cautious of international sellers). Check the "about me" page for policies and other important info. Make sure the seller accepts PayPal, then check the shipping charges. Now you should be ready to buy!

Remember, most everyone on eBay is good, but that doesn't mean you don't have to look out for those few bad ones! A minute of feedback research on the seller is all it takes in most cases to avoid being scammed.

What if I LOVE the Seller I Dealt With?

Then you should add that seller to your favorites list! If they have an eBay store, sign up for one of their newsletters. These should send you updates on new items, sales and promotions, as well as links to their items.

Don't Forget! out for sellers that quickly boost their feedback with low-cost items like "ebooks." Ebooks are low-cost files, photographs, or other media that is often transferred between sellers for the sole purpose of increasing their feedback score.

Have you had a good or bad experience on eBay you'd like to share with the world? Let us know!

© 2008 Kiwisoutback

Have You Been Scammed on Ebay? - Tell us about your good or bad experience, and how we can avoid what happened to you!

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    • Kiwisoutback profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      @anonymous: Thanks for letting me know about the broken links, it has been updated.

      There are definitely plenty of instances of people being ripped off on Ebay, myself included, both as a seller and as a buyer. And, I can tell you first hand that as a former flipper, it's a strategy to get items from newbies with low feedback scores -- and it used to work sometimes. Having items end without bids is frustrating. It just takes time to know what's worth listing and what isn't. The higher feedback numbers help, too, and a bunch of other little things like keywords, photos, etc.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      First; your Phishing - Paypal Lens link is broken.

      Second; Due to personal financial reasons, I've had to sell some of my belongings to make ends meet.

      Some of my items which I couldn't sell to my family nor friends, I decided to put them on Ebay.

      Guess what happened next?

      Because I don't have any feedback rating, I had no bids yet my auctions had between 5-9 watchers; ALL my auctions ended without any bids. Soon after that, I received emails from would be buyers.

      They all, wanted to purchase my items (ranging from £10 -£50) below the asking price, (My guess is they are the flippers)

      Newbies make the most genuine sellers. And Yes I did use stock pictures because I don't have a decent camera. Not everyone on Ebay, ought to be viewed with suspicion.

      Third; My Friend who is an Ebay seller got scammed. His item sold for less than £45. He duly dispatched his goods to the buyer and (he has the proof of posting), yet the buyer claims he has not received the item. Had my friend used Recorded delivery then his item would not have sold.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      joeclothing sold me a suit which I returned under his returns policy and after agreeing with him to do so. He acknowledged receipt of return and said he'd refund. I haven't heard back. This is 3 months after the purchase.


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