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OReilly dont get burned on EBay mar 2006 ISBN 0596101783

Don'tGetBurnedoneBay
ByShaunaWright
...............................................
Publisher:O'Reilly
PubDate:March2006
PrintISBN-10:0-596-10178-3
PrintISBN-13:978-0-59-610178-7
Pages:174

TableofContents|Index

LotsofbookstellyouhowtobuyandselloneBay.Butwhatifsomethinggoeshorribly
awry?Doyouhavetochalkituptoa"lessonlearned,"lickyourwoundsandmoveon?
Notachance.Don'tGetBurnedoneBayoffersrelevantlessonsbasedonreal-lifestories
postedoneBay'sAnswerCenter.Withsharp,wittyrhetoric,veteraneBayuserShauna
Wright(co-founderofthepopularwebsiteWhoWouldBuyThat.com
(www.whowouldbuythat.com),showseBayveteransandnewcomersalikehowtoavoid
thosenastyscenarios,andhowtopullthemselvesoutofthemuckifthey'vealreadyfallen
in.
Sixentertaining(andhair-raising)chapterscoverrealproblemsthatpeoplehave
encounteredwithbidding,payment,shipping,packaging,dealingwithothereBayers,and

copingwiththeeBaysystem.Thisbookisforanyonewho'severusedeBay,becauseeven
veteranbuyersandsellersoftendon'tknowtheintricaciesofeBay'sandPayPal'srules.
Don'tGetBurnedoneBaywillleaveyouwell-informedandbetterprotectedfrompotential
pitfalls.Thebook'sextensiveglossaryandnumerousin-depthsidebarsalsomakethebook
usefultopeoplewhohaven'tyettakentheplungeintoeBay.


Don'tGetBurnedoneBay
ByShaunaWright
...............................................
Publisher:O'Reilly
PubDate:March2006
PrintISBN-10:0-596-10178-3
PrintISBN-13:978-0-59-610178-7
Pages:174

TableofContents|Index












































Copyright
Preface
Introduction
AudienceforThisBook
OrganizationofThisBook
ConventionsUsedinThisBook
We'dLiketoHearfromYou
SafariEnabled
Credits
Acknowledgments
Chapter1.Don'tGetBurnedonBidding
Section1.1.Don'tActLikeANewbie
Section1.2.WhenSellersGoBad
Chapter2.Don'tGetBurnedonPayment
Section2.1.PayPal:ReadtheFinePrint
Section2.2.MoneyOrderMayhemandChaoswithCashier'sChecks
Section2.3.PersonalChecks,Cash,andOthers
Chapter3.Don'tGetBurnedonPackaging
Section3.1.Don'tUseInadequatePackaging
Section3.2.Don'tUseOddorPotentiallyEmbarrassingPackaging
Section3.3.WhentoTakeSpecialPrecautions
Chapter4.Don'tGetBurnedonShipping
Section4.1.ProsandConsoftheMajorShippers
Section4.2.InsuranceIssues
























Section4.3.ShippingandHandling
Chapter5.Don'tGetBurnedbyOthereBayers
Section5.1.SavetheDramaforYourMama
Section5.2.What'sYourPreference?
Section5.3.BewareofFakesandFriends
Chapter6.Don'tGetBurnedbyScammers
Section6.1.WhentoBeAfraidofYourEmail
Section6.2.WebofLies
Section6.3.TheSwitcherooScam
Glossary
AbouttheAuthor
Colophon
Index


Copyright©2006O'ReillyMedia,Inc.Allrightsreserved.
PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica.
PublishedbyO'ReillyMedia,Inc.,1005GravensteinHighway
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March2006:

FirstEdition.

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ISBN:0-596-10178-3
[M]


Preface
Introduction
AudienceforThisBook
OrganizationofThisBook
ConventionsUsedinThisBook
We'dLiketoHearfromYou
SafariEnabled


Introduction
Inearly2005,myfriendDrueMillerandIreceivedanemail
fromSarahMilstein,anO'Reillyeditor.Throughaconvoluted
seriesofcontacts,she'dgottenournamesaspeoplequalified
towriteadifferentkindofeBaybooknota"howto"manualper
se,butsomethingcombiningpersonalstorieswithtake-away
lessons.DrueandIhaveawebsitecalled
WhoWouldBuyThat.comthathadthevoiceSarahwaslooking
for.Ibelievethewordusedearlyonwas"snarky."(Accurate,
that.)
Drue'sscheduleultimatelydidn'tallowhertoparticipateasan
author(wesnaggedherlaterasatechreviewer),butIwas
game.WhatfollowedwereseveralconversationsbetweenSarah
andmyselfaboutwhatexactlywewantedthisbooktobeabook
that'sfuntoreadandextremelyinformative.That'swhatyou'll
findhere.
Thestorieswithinthisbookarealltrue,recounted(usuallyon
themessageboardsineBay'sCommunitysection)bythe
peoplewhoexperiencedthem.Minorartisticlicensehasbeen
takenwherenecessary,andallnameshavebeenchangedto
protecttheinnocent,theignorant,andtheguilty.


AudienceforThisBook
ThisbookisforyouifyouhaveaworkingknowledgeofeBay
(justenoughtogetyouintroubleifyoudon'tknowwhatto
lookoutfor).Inthisbook,you'llgetinformationinawayyou'll
rememberrealstoriesaboutrealpeople.Aftereverystory,I'll
tellyouhowtoavoidthatsituationor,ifyou'realreadyneckdeep,escapeit.
Evenifyou'realong-timeeBayer,I'mfairlycertainyou'llcome
awayfromthisbookwithafewnuggetsofwisdom.Asan
example,I'malwaysamazedatthenumberofexperienced
sellerswhoroutinelyacceptpaymentsviaPayPalyetdon'tknow
thepoliciesPayPalhasinplacetoprotectthemagainst
frauduntilit'stoolate.
Ifyou'renewtoeBay,thisbookisalsoforyou.Itmaybeabit
moreadvancedthanyou'rereadyforrightnow,butifyouread
ityou'llavoidthetrapsmanypeoplefallintosimplybecause
theydon'tknowanybetter.IcertainlywishI'dknownwhat'sin
thesepageswhenIfirststumbledontoeBaybackin1998!


OrganizationofThisBook
Thisbookissometimesaimedatbuyersandsometimesat
sellers.Here'sabriefoverviewofwhat'sinthebook:

Chapter1,Don'tGetBurnedonBidding
Thischaptergivesyouinformationaboutcommonbidding
andcommunicationerrors,shillbidding,andbidhistories.

Chapter2,Don'tGetBurnedonPayment
Chapter2walksyouthroughPayPal'srules,UnpaidItem
Disputes,moneyorders,andWesternUnionwiretransfers.

Chapter3,Don'tGetBurnedonPackaging
Thischaptertalksaboutinadequatepackaging(what
packagestouse,whatnottouse),andgivestipsforwhere
tofindmaterialsandwhentouselocalpick-up.

Chapter4,Don'tGetBurnedonShipping
InChapter4,learnaboutmajorU.S.shippers,international
shipments,insurance,andcustoms.

Chapter5,Don'tGetBurnedbyOthereBayers


Readaboutfeedback,eBay'sSellerPreferences,
counterfeits,andsellingforothers.

Chapter6,Don'tGetBurnedbyScammers
Chapter6providesinformationaboutphishing,account
take-overs,identitytheft,escrowscams,andbuyerscams.

Glossary
There'saglossaryattheendofthebookwhichexplains
someofthetermsIusethroughoutthebook.Veteran
eBayerswillknowthemalready,andwhileIdon'twantthe
eyesofanyoneless-experiencedtoglazeover,Ialsodon't
wanttospendalotoftimeinthemaintextdefining
standardterms.Plentyofothertomesserveasasortof
"eBay101,"butthatwasn'tmygoalhere.


ConventionsUsedinThisBook
Thefollowingtypographicalconventionsareusedinthisbook:

Italic
Usedforglossarytermswhentheyfirstappearinachapter.

Constantwidth
UsedforHTMLtags.

Navigation
Arrowsareusedtosignifynavigationpaths;forexample,
AdvancedSearch Members FindContactInformation
meansthatyoushouldgotoeBay,clickAdvancedSearch,
selectMembers,andthenchooseFindContactInformation.




We'dLiketoHearfromYou
Pleaseaddresscommentsandquestionsconcerningthisbookto
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http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/dgbebay
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Credits
MicheleFilshie(editor)istheeditoroffourPersonalTrainers
(anotherO'Reillyseries)andassistanteditorfortheMissing
Manualseries.Beforeturningtotheworldofcomputer-related
books,MichelespentmanyhappyyearsatBlackSparrowPress.
DrueMiller(technicalreviewer)isawriter,designer,andavid
collectorofmid-centuryglassware,vintageclothing,andreally
badclownart.Since1998,Druehasboughtandsoldmany
itemsoneBay,bothforherselfandforothersasaneBay
"TradingAssistant."DruewasalsotheDirectorofResearchat
AuctionDrop,thefirstnationwideeBaydrop-offservice,where
shedevelopedinternalprocessesandtrainedstaffontheartof
sellingoneBay.Sheisalsotheco-creatorof"WhoWouldBuy
That?",aweblogofweirdeBayauctions
(http://www.whowouldbuythat.com).DruelivesinPittsburgh
withherhusband.
DavidA.Karp(technicalreviewer)haswritten10power-user
booksavailablein9languages,includingthebestsellingeBay
Hacks:Tips&ToolsforBidding,Buying,andSelling.AneBay
fanaticandacompulsivetinkerer,Davidservedastheeditorof
PayPalHacks,andhasbeenspottedteachingclassesatthelast
feweBayLive!conferences.Contacthimatebayhacks.com.




Acknowledgments
Thisbookwaswrittenunderthepowerofmore12-packsof
FrescathanIcancount,duringmanylatenightswith"The
DailyShow"humminghappilyinthebackground(thankyou,
JonStewart).Frequentbreakswerenecessarytofeedatleast
oneofthefourfelinemouthsinmyhome.
ThisisnotmyfirstwritingprojectI'vebeenwritingaslongasI
canrememberbutitismyfirstbook.Icannowsafelysayit's
notnearlyaseasyasitlooks.I'llresisttheurgetothankthe
academy,buttherearesomefabulouspeopletowhomIowe
myutmostgratitude.
ToSarahMilsteinandMicheleFilshie,myverykindandpatient
editorswho(bonus!)getmytwistedsenseofhumor.Without
themI'mcertainIwouldn'thavebeenabletonavigatethis
processsuccessfully.
TotheregularsoneBay'sAnswerCenterboards,whogaveme
theknowledgethateventuallybecamethisbook.Theyknow
moreabouteBaythanmostpeoplewilleverforget.
Tomyco-workersKyleAlegrete,JoniBeyer,RyanandRacquel
Cosare,DebbieGarabato,BryceHatch,CarolLussier,Esteban
Tahmazian,andDanielVanBelle,whokeepmesaneinan
insaneplaceandcanalwaysmakemelaugh(especiallyat
myself).
ToPableauxJohnson,amany-timeauthorandoneofthe
funniestpeopleIknow,whoforyearshassaid,"Youhavea
bookinyou.Writeit."
ToCharlesRhodes,whowasfirstaneighbor,thenafriend,and
isnowoneofmyclosestconfidants.


ToDrueMiller,mylong-timepartnerincrimewithwhoma
seriesoflatenightemailssparkedtheideafor
WhoWouldBuyThat.com.
ToLeslieHarpold,mydearestfriendandmentor,whotruly
believesI'mcapableofanythingifonlyI'dgetupoffmyass
anddoit.
ToTimPowell,theEtheltomyLucy,whohasseenmeatmy
mostinsaneandlovesmeinspite(ormaybebecause)ofit.
Tomyparents,PatrickandLiendaCarter,whohavealways
encouragedmetotryeverything(andaresureI'mgoodatit
all).
Andfinally,toMitchHerron,whoforsomereasonhasspentthe
betterpartofhislifethinkingI'mthemostbeautiful,brilliant
womanintheworld.Maythespellneverbebroken.


Chapter1.Don'tGetBurnedonBidding
BiddingoneBayisnothingshortofanartform.Anyonewho
tellsyouotherwiseshouldbeinformedhispantsareonfire.
Contrarytopopularbelief,punchinginsomenumbersisn'tall
thereistobidding.Whatshouldyoulookforwhenselectinga
seller?Doesbiddingearlyhaveconsequences?Howcan
mistakesbecorrected?Canyouspotshillbidding?Andhow
muchisthatdoggieinthewindow?
There'sadefinitelearningcurvefortheentireprocess,and
peopletendtomakealotofmistakesonthewayup.
Unfortunately,thesemistakesaren'twithoutconsequencethey
cancostyoutime,money,frustration,andpossiblyevenyour
eBayaccount.
Oh,stopfurrowingyourbrow(Botoxisoneofthefewthings
youcan'tbuyoneBay).I'mnotgoingtoletthathappentoyou.
Forewarnedisforearmed,asthesayinggoes.




1.1.Don'tActLikeANewbie
EntiretomescouldbewrittenaboutrookiemistakesoneBay,
butwhowouldreadthem?Thenewbiesaretoobusymaking
themistakes,andtheveteransaretooexperiencedtobother
readingaboutthem.Nevertheless,eBaypoliciescanbevery
intricateandtheymanagetotripupbothsubsetsofeBayers
withalarmingfrequency.

1.1.1.BeingOutbidDoesn'tMeanYou'reOffthe
Hook
Lisa,anavidBeatlesfan,ranacrosstheholygrailofFabFour
collectiblesatinof"MargoOfMayfair"BeatlesBathTalcfrom
1964inperfectlyunblemished,mintcondition(Figure1-1).Lisa
wassoexcitedthatsheimmediatelyplacedseveralbids,even
thoughtheauctionstillhadtwodaysleft.Noneofthebidswere
highenoughtobeatthecurrenthighbidder'sproxy,soshe
dejectedlywentbacktobrowsing.
Loandbehold,someoneelsewassellingtheexactsamething
andthatauctionhadonlyafewminutestogo!Lisajumpedinto
thebiddingfrayandemergedtriumphant.
Thenextday,shereceivedanoticefromeBaystatingthehigh
bidderonthefirstauctionretractedhisbid,puttingLisainthe
lead,andtheauctionlaterclosedwithherasthewinner.She
wasthenonthehooktopayforbothauctions(and
contemplatingasecondjob).

Figure1-1.Thehallowed"MargoofMayfair"
Beatlestin.Whoknew40-year-oldpowdercould
besoexpensive?Buytwoandthey'reevenmore


expensivebookends!

1.1.1.1.Avoidit!
Lisa'scolossalerrorwasbiddingontwoidenticalitemsatthe
sametime.Allbidsareliveuntiltheendofanauction,sobids
retractedbyanotherbidderorcanceledbythesellercanput
youbackinthelead.
Whenyouseesomethingyouwanttobuy,addittoyourWatch
List(foundonyourMyeBaypage)andbidclosertotheendof
theauction.Thisgivesyouthechancetoresearchitorbrowse
forsimilaritemswithouttyingupyourmoneywaitingforan
auctiontoclose.

Note:KeepinmindthatfewitemsoneBayaresorarethey
won'tshowupagain,sodon'tfallintoa"nowornever"trap.
SearchcompletedauctionsontheAdvancedSearchpage


(linkedfromthetoprightofeveryeBaypage)toseehowmany
timessomethinghasbeenlistedinthepast30days,andhow
muchitsoldfor.
IfyoufindyourselfinLisa'ssituationandthesecondauction
hasn'tclosedyet,youcanalwaysemailtheseller,explainwhat
happenedandaskhimtocancelyourbid.Keepinmindhe
doesn'thavetoacquiesceandmayevenrefuseoutofspiteif
heseesyou'vealreadywonanidenticalitem.Sellersdon'tlike
peopletreatingbidsasthoughtheygointoa"shoppingcart"
fromwhichtheycanberemovedlater.

1.1.1.2.Escapeit!
Ifyou'rethebuyer,there'sonlyonewayoutofthissituation:
begfortheseller'smercy.
Politelyexplainwhathappenedandaskifhe'dbewillingto
cancelthedealifyoupayhislistingfees(whichvarydepending
onhowtheitemwaslistedanditsfinalsellingprice).He
certainlyisn'tobligatedtoagreebutiftheauctionattracteda
lotofbids,hemaybeabletoquicklyselltheitemtoan
underbidderthroughaSecondChanceOffer.
Butshouldthesellerrefusetotakepityonyou,bepreparedto
eitherpayfortheitemoracceptanUnpaidItemStrike(afew
ofthoseandeBaykicksyoutothecurb).Youmayalsoreceive
negativefeedbackfromtheseller.

Note:Ofcourse,youcanalwaysgettheitemandthensellit
yourselfoneBay.Morethanafewitemsonthesitearethere
becauseofapurchasingmistake!


1.1.2.CheckandDouble-CheckYourBids
BobplacedabidonaCoachwalletheknewhiswifehadbeen
coveting.
Thestartingbidwas99centssoheenteredaproxyof$10at
least,that'swhathethoughtheentered.Lateronhe
discoveredhe'daccidentallyenteredanextrazero,makinghis
actualproxy$100.
Alast-minutebiddingwarbrokeoutbetweentwootherbidders,
neitherofwhomoutbidBob'sproxy,andtheauctionendedat
$76.Bob'swifewasthrilledatthegooddealhegot.He
considereddivorce,butquicklysurmiseditwouldbemore
expensivethanthewalletforwhichhewasobligatedtopay.

1.1.2.1.Avoidit!
eBay'srulesallowthebuyertoretractamistypedbidaslongas
thecorrectamountisimmediatelyrebid.Fordetails,gotoHelp
AtoZ R RetractingaBid(Figure1-2).Bidretractions
arealsopermittediftheseller'scontactinformationisinvalidor
theitemdescriptionsignificantlychanges.
Retractionsarenotpermittedifyoujustchangeyourmindand
nolongerwanttheitem.That,however,isavalidreasonfor
divorceinmoststates.Incaseyouwerewondering.

Figure1-2.Thishandy-dandyformletsyou
retractabidifyouhaveareasoneBaydeems
valid.Useitsparingly,ifatall.Theconfirmation
pageyou'reshownwhenplacingabidistherefor
areason,skippy.


1.1.2.2.Escapeit!
Rememberthis:biddersretractbids,sellerscancelbids.
Althoughthereareveryexactingrulesfortheformer(see"The
12-HourRule"sidebarlaterinthischapter),asellercancancel
abidatanytimeandforanyreasonshelikes.
SoifyoufindyourselfinapositionlikeBob's,youcancertainly
emailtheseller,pleadyourcase,andaskhertocancelyour
bid.Sellershearallkindsofsobstoriessoshemaynotbe
willingtohelpyou,butit'sworthashot.
Besuretoaskbeforetheauctionends,asbidscan'tbe


canceled(orretracted,forthatmatter)afterwards.


The12-HourRule
BidshieldingusedtobeahugeproblemoneBay.Itinvolvedonepersonusing
twoIDstosimulateabiddingwar,whichartificiallyraisedthehighbidonan
auctionanddiscouragedothersfrombidding.Intheauction'sfinalseconds,all
thebidsfromoneIDwereretracted,leavingtheotherIDtowintheauctionata
verylowprice.
Inresponsetotheproblem,eBaycameupwithextremelyspecifictimingrules
forretractions.Ifyouplaceabidbeforethefinal12hoursofanauction,
retractingthatbidretractsallthebidsyou'veplacedontheitemthusfar.
Ifyoubidduringthefinal12hoursofanauction,thenyoucanretractonly
withinonehourofplacingthebidandonlythatbidisretracted.Bidsplacedprior
tothefinal12hourscan'tberetractedatallduringthefinal12hours.
The12-HourRule(asit'softencalled)alsoappliestosellersbecauseauctions
canbeendedearlyonlyiftheyhavemorethan12hoursremaining.Thiskeeps
sellersfromendingauctionsatthelastminutesimplybecausebiddinghasn't
goneashighastheywant.
Itmayseemlikeacomplicatedsystem,butthe12-HourRulehasvirtually
eliminatedbothproblems.

1.1.3.NoOneWantsYouasaPenpal
EdenjoinedeBayandinherfirstweekbidonmultiplebottlesof
St.John'sWort.Shewasoutbidatthelastsecondapractice
knownassnipingoneveryauction.
Shebegansendingnastyemailstothepeoplewhooutbidher,
accusingthemofworkingwiththesellerwhomustsurelyhave
knownwhatherhighproxy(maximumbid)was.Aftertheother
biddersreportedhertoeBayformisusingthemailforwarding
system,Eden'saccountwassuspended.


1.1.3.1.Avoidit!
WhilelettingEdenwinoneofherauctionsmighthavebeenin
theinterestofpublicsafety,theContactMemberfeature
shouldn'tbeusedbythebuyerorsellerforanypurposebutthe
facilitationofatransaction.WhatEdendidisconsidered
"harassment."
Furthermore,it'simpossibletoseeanotherperson'shidden
proxyunlessit'salreadybeenexceeded.Keepinmindthat
snipersaren'tguaranteedtowin.Thehighestbidalwayswins,
nomatterwhenit'splaced(see"TheFineArtofDecodingBid
Histories"sidebarlaterinthischapter).

1.1.3.2.Escapeit!
Dependingontheviolationthatcausedit,anaccount
suspensionmaybetemporary.Itcertainlydoesn'tbenefiteBay
tolosepayingcustomerssothey'lloftentrytoworkwithyouto
getyouraccountreinstated.Ifyouwantredemption,you'lldo
what'srequired.
Thegoodnewsisthatsuspensionsarerarelyimmediateor
unforeseen.You'llgetatleastoneemailwarningthatdetails
youroffenseandtellsyoutoknockitoff.Heedthewarningand
you'llbefine.Ignoreitatyourperil.

Note:Keepinmindyou'renotpermittedtoregisteranewIDor
useanotherexistingIDwhileyou'resuspended.

1.1.4.MonitorYourSpamFolder


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