I regularly buy stuff on the internet. You can compare prices from behind your computer, and the item is delivered on your doorstep a few days later. I had way more problems with items bought in regular shops. So shopping on internet is easy, convenient, and (most of the time) cheap. But is it safe ?
When buying stuff on internet, there's a small amount of time where the buyer is quite unprotected. It is between the time of payment, and the time of receiving the item. At that time, there's nothing much you can do but wait, and trust the seller has sent the item to you. This gray area of time turned black for me last week.
I was browsing Ebay for a second-hand smartphone, when I found a Nokia N96, and decided to bid for it. To my surprise, I won the phone. So I payed, emailed the seller the shipping address and waited for it to arrive. Three days later, however, I noticed the seller had removed his Ebay account, and that was a warning flare that went of in my mind. I decided to request Ebay for the seller contact data, like phone number and address. I quickly found out these were fake, and decided to write one last email to him, saying that if I hadn't received a confirmation email by him the next day, I would contact the police. That didn't work, so I quickly noticed the cops, and filed a dispute at Paypal.
All I know is that the thief goes by the name of Christian Collard, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'm pretty sure this data is correct. The rest I leave for the police to figure all out to their amusement. Paypal offered an insurance of 66% of the artifact, so I hope the damage will be limited.
The next safety tips are free of charge : when buying stuff on Ebay, watch out for these points, which might ensure a more safe transaction :
- only buy from a seller which has lots of positive feedback. This ensures you're buying from someone more trustable.
- always pay with Paypal, and look out for items with a Paypal insurance which covers the buying price
- always contact the seller before paying. That way, you're sure his email account is at least correct