• eBay is safe with its money back guarantee, but some experts criticize the protections put in place for sellers on the site.
  • eBay is over 25 years old and has developed strong protections for buyers and sellers throughout its history.
  • You can buy and sell on eBay with confidence by taking advantage of its built-in protections and using other safety precautions.
  • Visit Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

As the second largest online auction site on the Internet, eBay is one of the oldest shopping websites still in existence. It was founded in the fall of 1995, just months after Onsale.com, the first online auction house.

With age often comes maturity and security, but questioning the safety of using eBay is a legitimate concern. Buyers and sellers frequently question the relative safety of using the site.

eBay is relatively safe to use

The good news is that using eBay, especially as a buyer, is considered safe. The site has put a variety of protections in place over the years, so the simpler problems that early eBay customers faced decades ago, like fraud, are largely a thing of the past.

Daniel Foley, head of cybersecurity for Halcyon London International School and director of Assertive Media, said it was generally a safe bet for buyers. “Defective products, scams, items that don’t ship as described and other issues are all covered by eBay’s extensive buyer protection program,” he said.

Woman unpacking boxes with laptop and phone

If your eBay order arrives in “not as described” condition, you can request a refund.

Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

Foley said if a seller refuses to accept a return request, eBay often resolves the case in favor of the buyer and compensates for the loss, while account termination, fines and other restrictions may be imposed on the buyer. seller.

But eBay’s protections aren’t as robust for sellers, said Aaron Bossig, a former eBay seller. “I stopped selling on eBay about five years ago because eBay changed their feedback policy to offer no incentives or security to the seller,” Bossig said. In particular, he noted the change in society towards forbid sellers to leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers as the reason for leaving the platform.

EBay’s protections for buyers

Over the past 25 years, eBay has implemented and improved its protection for buyers to make the site feel like a safe retail environment. Buyers are largely protected today thanks to eBay Money back guarantee.

The eBay Money Back Guarantee covers most transactions on eBay. Excluded items are specifically identified as exempt and generally fall into categories such as motor vehicles and real estate. If there is a problem with an order, the buyer is eligible for a full refund from eBay for the full purchase price plus shipping charges paid by the buyer. Most of the time, the buyer must return the unsatisfactory item to the seller as well.

Additionally, buyers are protected when they do the following:

  • Purchase an eligible item using an eBay approved payment method, such as PayPal.
  • Pay for the item in one transaction (you cannot make multiple payments).
  • Pay using the “Pay” button on the eBay billing page or by clicking the “Pay Now” button on the eBay items page.

If there is any problem with an order, buyers can make a claim within the EBay Resolution Center within 30 days of delivery (or eBay’s estimated delivery date).

EBay’s protections for sellers

Sellers are also offered some protection, although many sellers claim it is not as robust as what eBay offers buyers.

Store owner shipping box using laptop in shop

eBay offers protections for sellers as well as for buyers.

Maskot / Getty Images

Here are the types of protections eBay offers sellers:

  • Negative comments from “abusive” buyers can be challenged and removed. Abusive buyers are people who make false statements, demand things not on the original listing, misuse messages, auctions, or returns, or refuse to pay for items they receive. they are committed to buy.
  • If the buyer damages a product and returns it, the seller can deduct up to 50% of the item’s value from the refund.
  • Sellers may be refunded the listing fee for an item for which a buyer won the auction but chose not to buy.
  • If an item arrives at the buyer late for reasons beyond the seller’s control, eBay may remove negative feedback for the transaction.

As a seller, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and protections eBay offers to sellers. “Before selling, ask yourself:” Do I know what to do with a non-paying buyer‘? If you answered no, you probably shouldn’t be selling on eBay yet, ”said Kevin Parker, cybersecurity expert and co-founder of vpnAlert.

How to stay safe on eBay

eBay can be a perfectly safe retail and auction environment, but like any online business, you need to be careful and take precautions.

Safety Tips for eBay Buyers

  • Never take a conversation or transaction off-site. You are only protected by eBay by operating within the virtual boundaries of the site, so ignore requests from perhaps unscrupulous sellers to close a transaction elsewhere.
  • Read full product description and item details. Make sure you understand what is on offer and its actual condition. Beware of misleading sentences or descriptions that imply things without being explicit.
  • Consider the seller’s note. Each seller has a rating that shows how many ratings they’ve received and their overall percentage of reviews. Sellers with few or low ratings are obviously less trustworthy than sellers with thousands of satisfied buyers.

Safety Tips for eBay Sellers

  • Write a detailed and precise description of the product. Remember to include photos that you have taken yourself, showing the current status of the item.
  • Use PayPal. Tightly integrated with eBay, PayPal makes it easy to demonstrate a complete audit trail and transaction history, to ensure payments are complete, and to trace fraudulent buyers.
  • Keep all documents and documents. Be sure to keep shipping receipts so that you can prove how and when you shipped the item.

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