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Spotting Fakes and Frauds on eBay

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/20/2006 | Home Based Business
Fake items abound on eBay, and it takes much effort not to be duped by scammers who peddle these wares. There have been many painful stories relating how a seemingly legitimate item turned out to be either fake or defective.

It is possible, however, to avoid these scams if one is careful and vigilant. Buyers should be wary of any purchase over eBay, and should take steps to ensure the authenticity of the item and to make sure the item is in reasonable condition.

Be Vigilant

Buyers should take the initiative by doing plenty of background research. They must learn as much as possible about the products before bidding on them. If the seller provides pictures of an item, they should not be taken at face value. Comparison of these pictures with the real item helps in this regard.

Many sellers will use pictures from manufacturers that do not represent the item they are actually selling; buyers should ask the seller for actual pictures of the item. If the seller balks, buyers should refrain from bidding. Collectors items, autographed memorabilia, and historical artifacts are common items that are misrepresented on eBay.


Familiarize yourself with the various bodies that certify respective items. For example, reputable merchants of autographed sports memorabilia should include a COA (certificate of authenticity) from a trusted third party. Counterfeit or misrepresented items should be reported to eBay. When buying on eBay Motors, one may have an inspection service double-check if the seller is accurately representing his automobile.

Look at the Feedback

One should analyze the feedback rating of a seller. Analyzing feedback is another helpful exercise to prevent scams. Sellers who have an established history of credible sales are usually helpful and professional to deal with. Negative feedback should be a red flag as to whether one should pursue a trade with the person. The same thing applies for those who do not have feedback ratings at all.

Buyers must be careful however, since it is possible that a scammer has hijacked an account that has positive feedback.

Buyers should make sure they have read the entire product description on its eBay listing. Things to look out for are disclaimers, damages, current item condition, years of use, and others. If this information is not specified, it would do well for the buyer to contact the seller regarding such.

The Price Theory

If the price for an item is too good to be true, it probably is. Auctions that carry outrageously low prices should be taken skeptically.