By Christopher O’Riordan
The online marketplace has exploded in recent years, with more and more items being bought and sold from e-stores such as Amazon, Ebay, DoneDeal and more. However, while purchasing or selling goods online can be much faster and more convenient that running down to the local shop or market (you don’t even have to get out of bed), there are some more risks involved.
We’ve got five top tips if you’re thinking about doing some online trading.
1. Follow the guidelines
Few people seem to do this, but take the time to read the terms and conditions, as well as any buying or selling guides that might be provided. Ebay, for example, has several handy product selling guides, including topics such as seller protection and how to deal with unpaid bills. And remember – different site, different rules.
2. Reputation management
If you’re buying online always opt for sellers or marketplaces with a good reputation. And, of course, if you are a trader, the foundation for a good business is a good reputation, particularly on sites like Ebay, where you’ll be judged on review ratings. Check seller review and, if possible, the length of time they have been a seller.
3. Protect your personal details
Generally speaking, you don’t have to give out much or any personal information if you’re buying in person. Be careful of what information you give out online – only provide the minimum necessary to complete a transaction. Consider using an office address (ask for permission first) or a service like Parcel Motel instead of your home address.
4. Safe delivery and sale completion
If you’re buying or selling larger items in particular – like a car or washing machine – you may have to pick it up or drop it off yourself. Make sure to meet in a public place, and let family or friends know where you’re going and how long you think you’ll be. Even better, bring someone along for the spin.
When buying online, PayPal is one of the most secure methods of doing so. If you really want to protect yourself, consider using a 3V card in conjunction with a PayPal account – these are prepaid vouchers that can be used anywhere VISA is accepted. You’ll get a VISA number, a CVV2 code, and an expiry date. If you want to complete the transaction in person (which might allow for more wiggle room on the price), pay by cash or bank draft, and make sure you get a receipt. For sellers, don’t be afraid to count any cash you might get.