How to Avoid Getting Scammed on eBay (Even if You’re New)

If you want to avoid getting scammed on eBay, you need to be a smart buyer. If you’re a regular eBay user, you’ll already know it’s a great place to buy and sell some fantastic and often unique products. Where else could you buy a hundred widgets, designer clothes and used retro games consoles all on the same site?

But any seasoned eBay user will tell you that for every good deal, there is probably a bad one out there. It’s a buyer’s market, but with a big dollop of ‘buyer beware’.

So how do you avoid getting scammed – even if you’re new to the eBay game. Keep reading to find out my tip-top tips!


Avoid Getting Scammed on eBay – Jim’s Top Tips

The first thing you should do is research. No matter what you’re buying, you need to know everything you can about the product and the seller. Key things to look out for are:

  • A volume of positive feedback. Don’t settle for less than 99% positive. The market is big enough for you to go somewhere else and avoid the risk of 1 in 100 sales going badly.
  • Plenty of quality photographs of the product. You want to see the item from every possible angle. If you can’t see a part of the product, ask the seller to send you a photo of it. If they don’t, walk away.
  • Look at the seller’s history. What have they sold in the past? Was it similar? Are they a trader or just someone having a clear out. Are their prices consistent with the market rate or are they waiting for a sucker like you to come along.

Once you’ve done some background research, it’s time to really look at the product and read the description. The trick to reading a description is to look between the lines. What are they NOT saying about the product? Are they being open about any defects or damage on a used product? Are they trying to pass it off as in better condition than it is? If you suspect they are, don’t take the risk. Your instincts are probably right.

Finally, a good rule of thumb is this: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. About 12 years a go I bought what I thought was a piece of designer clothing. When it came it turned out to be a cheap knock off. I’d thought I was getting an absolute steal, but instead I overpaid for a piece of junk.

‘Too-Good-To-Be-True’ deals could also be illegal. Thieves use eBay to offload stolen goods. Electronics, bikes and mobile phones are easy targets. If you think you’re getting an unbelievable deal, you probably are!

Summary: Avoid the Scam But Have Fun

Be smart with your money. If you think it’s too much of a risk or you have a ‘funny feeling’ about a seller, leave the sale. Once you hit ‘Bid Now’ you’re committed. When you’ve won and the dreaded buyer’s remorse kicks in, it’s too late.

That said, bidding (and winning) on eBay is immense fun. I’ve been doing it for years and have made some epic trades. Avoid getting scammed but have a blast. That’s the Jim Miller way!

Happy bidding.



Jim Miller

Jim has been buying and selling on eBay for over 15 years! He's sold (and bought) some weird stuff and still uses it to buy all kinds of deals. When he's not cruising online bargains, Jim likes to write and help others spot a bargain and make money.

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1 Response

  1. September 16, 2016

    […] before you get carried away, remember to exercise caution and shop smart. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably […]

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