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eBay Mistakes to Avoid
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By KenAtPcs
March 13, 2007

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I received 4 "Important Message from eBay Loss Prevention Department" emails this weekend, pertaining to magazine subscriptions that I purchased from a single seller back in January. eBay has closed their account, and I am out about $25. It could have been worse, of course.

I got sloppy -- complacent. After more than 10 years on eBay, this is the first time I've ever been completely burned. I was lulled into a false sense of security by the following:

1. The seller had a stellar record. Feedback > 9000, with a 99.9% satisfactory rating (or so; I forget the exact figure). Was in business for several years.

2. Magazines take time to start delivery, even if you order directly from the distributor. This seller said to allow 8-12 weeks for the first issue, which seemed reasonable. So, I waited.

3. The seller was very responsive. They sent an auto email to acknowledge payment, and a few days later, sent another email to say the information had been transmitted to the publisher.

Here's what I did wrong:
1. I bought a Symantec product which had a rebate. The rebate arrived in the form of a debit card, instead of a check (as they used to do). I used the debit card to pay via Paypal. I don't even have the debit card # anymore, since once it was used up, I threw it away.

So lesson #1 -- Use credit cards only. You can always initiate a chargeback if you don't get the merchandise.

2. I waited. And waited. And waited. Instead, I should have simply called the magazine's customer service # and verified that they had received my information. When I did that today, I was told that when the information is transmitted to them (electronically, of course), it goes immediately into their database. So, while it may indeed take 6-8 weeks before getting the first issue, I should be able to verify the information much faster.

Lesson #2 -- Verify, don't wait until it's too late. (You can't file a Paypal claim after 45 days. I'm about a week late.)

3. Don't buy multiple items from the same seller if you've never bought from that seller before. That may not apply to everything, but it certainly applies (IMO) to something like magazine subscriptions.

I probably made more mistakes, but those are the ones that guaranteed I was out $25. Live & learn (relatively cheap lessons, I suppose).

Ken


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