Experts provide tips to avoid being scammed
With the holidays just around the corner and a new semester following, many transactions will take place on eBay. For many, it is a way to save money. But what happens when the product is misrepresented or never comes at all?
>> IC3 offers the following suggestions for preventing auction fraud:
Before you bid, contact the seller with any questions you have.
Review the seller’s feedback.
Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
Ensure you understand refund, return, and warranty policies.
Determine the shipping charges before you buy.
Be wary if the seller only accepts wire transfers or cash.
If an escrow service is used, ensure it is legitimate.
Consider insuring your item.
Be cautious of unsolicited offers.
For further information or to file a complaint, go to www.ic3.gove
Recent charges against CU student Mary Rebecca Munyon, a senior psychology major, may lead some to wonder how safe eBay purchases really are.
Munyon and her boyfriend were arrested earlier this month after Boulder police became aware of several internet complaints filed on the Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3.
The couple is suspected of having scammed eBay buyers out of about $11,000, according to Boulder police.
One of those complaints was made by a college student in New Mexico, said Cindy Taylor, consumer affairs director at the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. The student did not respond when contacted for comment.
Other students, however, did express unhappiness with past eBay purchases.
“I bought a 65 dollar text book from half.com (a division of eBay) and it never came,” said Courtney Ricci, a junior integrative physiology major.
“I contacted the seller several times with no response and then filed a claim with customer service,” Ricci said. “I never heard from customer service even though they said that they would contact me.”
Dex Ballard, a freshman at Front Range Community College, made a more expensive purchase.
“I bought a Sony laptop that was advertised as having a variety of features but when I got it, the docking station which held the components necessary for performing the features, was not included,” Ballard said.
“It was both a scam and negligence on my part,” said Ballard. “At the bottom of the screen in small font was printed ‘docking station not included’ and I didn’t see it until after the transaction was complete.”
eBay does not provide a phone number but does provide live on-line help. This help, however, refers customers to a policy or an e-mail contact that does not respond, Ricci and Ballard said.
In spite of his frustrations after receiving the laptop, Barrard remains optimistic about the services eBay provide.
“I have made several purchases on e-bay and have only had one bad experience,” said Ballard, who recently purchased a car on eBay. “I will continue to use the site because of the positive experiences.”