About Online Auctions: What You Need To Know
1. Avoid offers that require payment in cash. If you pay by credit card, make sure you use a secure connection when transmitting account information.
2. Contact the seller by e-mail first. Ask any questions you may have about the goods or services offered. If you do not get a response, reconsider placing a bid.
3. Read any comments posted by previous buyers, and avoid those who have high negative ratings. Many auction services have a rating system that lets you evaluate a seller before making a purchase.
4. Fully understand the terms of the sale before you agree to purchase anything.
5. Only buy from vendors who are fully registered with the auction site. Some con artists e-mail unsuccessful bidders, claiming to have the goods you failed to win in the auction.
6. Use a credit card: whenever possible, not a debit card, a wire transfer, a check, or cash. Credit cards protect you from loss when other methods of payment do not.
7. If you believe you have been defrauded by a seller, first report the incident to the management of the Web site. Many online auctions investigate complaints about selling practices.
8. For more tips about specific types of online scams and transactions, visit the Consumer Protection section of the Federal Trade Commission.
9. If you have a complaint about an online business transaction, you can file a consumer complaint with The Office of the Attorney General or call (800) 252-8011.
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