Thousands of ordinary people sell on websites like Amazon and eBay – myself included. Unfortunately, it is not as safe or profitable as many think. In fact, scams and other problems are widespread on almost all sites that allow individual sellers. I dealt with the occasional issue from time to time when I first started selling. A few scammers did manage to steal a few items away from me without payment. Nowadays, I employ some effective and simple methods to protect myself. It is impossible for sellers to avoid problems all the time but mitigating the chances is very possible.
The Real Problem
Amazon and eBay are very similar in a key way that sellers cannot stand. For any transaction, leverage is given to the buyer against the seller in so many ways. Both companies offer “Buyer Protection” programs that allow for a lot of manipulation and fraud to occur. A lot of people take advantage of the system, which means that sellers often become victims rather than buyers. In recent years, this very problem has driven many sellers away from these sites.
For instance, let us pretend that a buyer purchases a television from some seller on Amazon or eBay. The seller then accepts payment, ships the item to the purchaser, and expects everything to be just dandy. In some unfortunate cases, a seller might receive an e-mail a few days later that a buyer has opened an “item not received” or “item not as described” case. This normally means that a buyer wants to return an item, but it occasionally means that a liar is about to take advantage of the system. To summarize, the customer might make up a story about the item not working or something. There are certain ways that a person can get his or her money back and still keep the item even if it is actually perfectly fine. In the end, the seller loses a lot of money, and the buyer gets away with fraud.
Creating A Solid Defense
A year ago, I fell for the same type of ploy, but I was only selling a few items of high value. I lost a few hundred dollars to one or two individuals that created false cases. One stated that the item never arrived while the other said it was described improperly. For the first one, I was selling on Amazon, which does not consider delivery confirmation as actual confirmation of delivery. On the second occasion, I happened to be on eBay, and the customer got his money back by sending me an empty box with a tracking number. Both companies ruled against me in both instances, so the purchasers received their money while I ended up with nothing.
To combat the possibility of any of this even occurring, I use various methods to create a solid defense. For starters, I use signature confirmation on any purchase over $50.00 even though most sellers reserve it for orders over $200. Also, I utilize buyer restrictions on eBay to help ensure that only legitimate individuals can purchase my items. On Amazon, that is not exactly possible, but I can cancel orders if I do not trust them. I obtain insurance for all items that I ship and pack items so that they cannot possibly be damaged on transit.
Do My Methods Work?
So far, I have not had any problems selling on eBay or Amazon since the two incidents that I mentioned earlier. A person cannot create a false buyer protection case by stating that they did not receive an item because I use signature confirmation. For “item not as described” cases, I have not had one recently, but the item would have to be shipped back to me in most cases before a refund would be issued. In reality, I would block the transaction from going through and debiting my checking account if I truly believed that I should not give a refund for some reason.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of other sellers out there that are not as careful with their transactions as I am. Sure, I do go a little bit overboard with my security measures, but I refused to get scammed by someone again. It does cost a little bit extra to always use signature confirmation and great packaging materials though. Without a doubt, customers seem to really appreciate the extra safety measures and precautions. I have no problem with satisfied buyers, but these extras are meant to protect myself from profit losses above all else. For other sellers, I recommend that you be extremely cautious selling online because the risks are definitely out there.
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