Ebay and scalping

The big event in Australia this year is the cricket, apart from the Ashes, this is as big as it gets Australia V India. This year will be huge news, and not just because of the cricket action on the field.  This year the news includes scalpers and in a big way as well.

 If you go through ebay listings for ‘cricket tickets’ then you will see there are over one hundred listings (116 as I write this article).  Currently CA (Cricket Australia) is trying to get ebay to stop the resale of tickets while ebay has refused, stating the fact that it is not illegal.

Meanwhile the Australian Government has said that it may bring in laws to force sellers to display the identity numbers of the tickets while selling them; this is so CA can cancel the tickets if they wish (or any other promoter that sees their tickets being sold on the Internet).

Ebay has stated that they only facilitate a market place and cannot be held responsible for any items that are traded on their site.

So what does all this mean?  Ebay’s motto seems to be Caveat emptor, which is Latin for “let the buyer beware”.

For buyers this is a scary thought, you would think that if you bought a ‘Louis Vuitton’ handbag then that is what you will get, but the amount of fakes from Asia is astounding.

As a seller you need to overcome this obstacle.

 The ebay feedback system is the method that ebay claims stops dodgy sellers; but this can be easily manipulated by those with a good understanding of how it works.

The biggest problem with the feedback system is that you get feedback for both sales and purchases, so a person with a large feedback score may have never sold an item before.

Who benefits from all this?  Those with good customer service!  I’m not referring to those with a high feedback score; I’m talking about repeat customers.

If you believe that the Internet is a faceless marketplace that needs no personal touch then you will be missing a lot of sales; even though you can’t see your customer face-to-face there is still email with which to communicate with.

Treat your Internet customers well and they will return, just as in real life.

17 scams aimed at ebay users

Did you know that there are seventeen scams aimed at ebay users?

I know that from personal experience as I used to sell collectible card games for two years on ebay.  The amount of fraud emails I received was astounding, around three to four each day!

The problem with ebay scams is that the ‘enemy’ is all around.  Scammers were the easiest to spot, some buyers were trying to trick me, other sellers were trying to harass me but the worst was ebay and their constant changing of the rules.  Heck, even Paypal is not your friend when you read the fine print of their contract.

So what is the best way to guard against scams?  Knowledge.  I do run a website at www.thebestscams.com which goes through the main ebay scams (and a lot of other scams) while James Elliott wrote a book that goes into scams into a lot more detail.

For now lets concentrate on the 17 ebay scams.
First we must look at Phishing emails, this is when people send you emails that seem to come from a legitimate source.  In this example a phishing email would seem to come from ebay themselves while it’s actually coming from scammers.
If you click on this email you will be taken to a web site that LOOKS like the real ebay site but it isn’t.  The best advice I can give here is DO NOT CLICK on a link in an email, type www.ebay.com into your web browser.

Scammers will try hard to get your account details, especially if you have a score over one hundred.  I have seen a scammer make over thirty thousand dollars in one weekend with an ebay account that had over one thousand feedback points on it.

Scams by other ebay buyers include shill bidding, retracted bids, postage cost rip offs, change of address, fake refunds, feedback extortion, early offers, allegations of price fixing and ‘items damaged in the mail’.
I remember the first time I explained ‘feedback extortion’ to a group of people and the two ladies in the group laughed at me, they couldn’t believe that it would actually happen.  I said that it’s happened to me twice.  They were both about to go on ebay so they did listen to what I had to say.

Scams by other ebay sellers include auction interference, linking to web sites off ebay, fake price guides, trading assistant scams and false allegations.

The current ebay system is so far behind scam reports that if an account has 3 warnings against it then the account is automatically suspended!  Sounds good in theory but you must remember that scammers have hundreds of accounts working at any one time, with these they can lodge a ten complaints against a legitimate ebay seller instantly and have them suspended for up to two weeks.
The irony is that the seller, who is now suspended for two weeks, has paid lots of fees to ebay while the scammers never pay fees. 

Other scams include fake wire transfers, the Powerseller scam (I fell for this!), second chance offers, drop shippers and distributors.

If you don’t know what any of these scams are then I would advise you to look them up on the Internet (www.thebestscams.com has a full rundown of them all) before you start trading on ebay.

An Introduction to ebay

One of the big buzzwords in the media and the Internet at the moment is the word ‘ebay’; but what is ebay?  Simply put ebay is an international auction site where people put their collectibles on and the potential buyers bid on the item.

Well that’s how it was in 1995 when it all started but now it has grown.

These days we have the option of buying an item outright if the seller puts a price on it that they are willing to accept (and therefore avoiding the problems of an auction, mostly waiting a week for the auction to finish before the item is paid for).

 It’s not only about collectibles now either, with an estimated 104 million listings at any one time you can be sure that any item that you are looking for will be there.

I remember looking for a comic book that my brother and I had a huge fight over, we were 10 & 12 respectively; now, 15 years later, we look back and agree it was a funny time.  So we went onto ebay to find a copy; straight away we found 2 copies (which we promptly bought for $1 each) – we bought both copies so we didn’t have another fight over who owned it!

 The question I get asked most is ‘Can I make a living on ebay?’ and I always give a diplomatic answer about how you only get out what you put it.

Ebay is not an answer, it is a business tool.

It took me 5 years to learn that lesson, ebay is a tool like any other tool you use in business.

From a personal example, I had a plumber friend who made his living unblocking drains with a tool called an ‘eel’.  He could do the other things that plumbers do but concentrated on this one tool.

So yes, you can make a living by using one tool (ebay) but diversification, and using many tools, makes sure that not all your eggs are in one basket.