"Had The Winning Bid, did you?"

Had The Winning Bid, did you?

You arrive at an online auction and are eager to
start bidding. You start looking at the
descriptions and pictures of items you are
interested in. Then the bidding

Wow! The excitement! You are now bidding on the
item that you really *must* have. When the
bidding ends, you are notified that you have the
winning bid! My, how excited you are! You send
your payment through Paypal or by mail. You can't
wait to receive the item! After all, it is a
*must* have item!

You wait anxiously for the mailman to deliver
your package. You can't wait everyday until he
delivers the mail. You run to the mailbox as soon
as he leaves. This goes on for weeks! Now it's
been months. It *never* arrives.

Don't feel that you are the only one that has
experienced this. In 1999, consumers lost more
than $3 billion to Internet fraud [National
Consumer League]. People never received what they
purchased or the merchandise they did receive
wasn't what the seller had described.

What do you do now?

First, contact the person selling the
merchandise. Mistakes *do* happpen. Be sure to
keep a copy of the correspondance [mail or email],
between you and the seller.

Didn't get anywhere with that approach?

**Complain to the on-line auction site. Be sure
you can give them proof of your payment and have
copies of any correspondance between you and the

**Check to see if the site offers a dispute
resolution service. This service works for you,
the buyer.

**Most online auction sites have some type of
insurance program. Ex- eBay will cover up to
$200, minus a $25 deductible if you don't receive
your item or receive items that don't live up to
their description.

If you feel the seller is operating his auctions
dishonestly, send an email to the security staff
of the auction's web site. They *will*
investigate! The sellers account with the auction
can be cancelled in this situation. You can also
file a complaint with the Federal Trade
Commission [FTC]. You can complete a complaint
form at: http://www.ftc.gov

You can protect yourself when bidding at online
auctions by using services that have been around
on the internet for a while--eBay--Yahoo. R-E-A-D
the site's buyer protection policies. Do they
offer insurance and dispute resolution services?
Find out what other purchasers are saying about
the seller. Use a credit card to purchase. You
will have more protection and can cancel a
transaction up to 30 days after purchase. You may
also want to check out an escrow service for
expensive items.

Using an escrow service can save you money in the
long run, especially if you have a large amount
of money at stake. Insurance at auctions only go
up to a certain amount. An escrow service acts as
a middle man. You set-up the escrow account and
deposit the money that you and the seller agree
on. The escrow service will let the seller know
that the money is there and then the item is
shipped. If you are satisfied, the escrow service
releases the money to the seller. If you aren't
satified, let the escrow service know and return
the item to the seller. You money will then be
returned to you, minus the escrow fees for
handling the transaction.

Using these techniques will help you have more
confidence when bidding on merchandise at

Happy auctioning!!

About the Author

Jane Fulton is owner and webmistress of:
http://janes-place.com janes-place is dedicated
to helping newbies. If you are new to the internet,
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