E-Bay? E-Bull? E-Bunco?

Read about the latest e-Bay scam and shake your head and wonder. It’s still true today: A fool and his money are soon parted. READ THE FINE PRINT, PEOPLE. And don’t expect e-Bay to bail you out. They constantly downplay the scope of fraud going on there. But it has to have gotten worse, especially since they (ostensibly in a move to “protect” their users — from what I don’t know) no longer allow unfettered contact between one user and another. You have to “ask seller a question” and his e-mail identity is protected; yours is not.

And of course, if you’re a buyer faced with a “non-performing seller,” you’re left twisting in the wind. Yet “non-performing bidders” (who used to be called the less-politically correct “deadbeat bidders”) were villified. Nothing has changed. And nothing probably will. The bottom line is unless you can afford to toss [insert bid amount here] out the window driving down the street, don’t bid!

And for heaven’s sake do your homework. Why pay $119 for a flatbed scanner on e-Bay that you can find at Best Buy for $89. (Do you really think that kind of thing doesn’t happen?)

Look at the seller’s feedback. If he’s developed a pattern of scamming or for whatever reason appears to be “circling the drain,” don’t bid! If you ask him a question and he doesn’t reply, don’t bid!

Because I’ve found out one thing on e-Bay: Even if it’s a hard to find item, don’t despair. Another one (or even that same one!) will be along in another month or two. Just sit tight and don’t be so eager to snap up the item that you lose all sense of reason. And this (it goes without saying, but apparently, judging from the article, I still need to say it again!): IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.

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