Safe Online Shopping Tips

The cost of baby gear and children’s items can accumulate, and as a result many savvy shoppers have turned to the internet for deals. Thanks to the household computer, families can purchase everything from clothing to furniture quickly and easily. There are thousands of websites to choose from, but not all sites and sellers are equal. We’ve compiled tips for safe online shopping: how to make sure transactions end satisfactorily and what to do when they don’t. We’ve also listed local sites for buying and selling goods.

As a Buyer:
Know the Reputation of the Seller – On sites like Ebay or Etsy, check out the feedback and scores left by buyers for the sellers. Finding a reputable seller on Buy/Sell boards on Facebook or Craigslist can prove more challenging; in these cases, ask other buyers for recommendations.

Know the Item – Products in high demand run the risk of being copied, and an uninformed buyer could purchase a knockoff instead of the real thing. Be aware of specific details that will help verify the item’s authenticity.

Pay with Credit Card or PayPal – When purchasing an item, pay with a credit card or through PayPal when possible. If the item received is unsatisfactory, it’s easier to get a refund through these channels. Keep in mind that PayPal has a time limit for filing a complaint. Credit cards time limits may vary. If cash is the only acceptable payment, inspect the item thoroughly before handing over hard-earned money.

As a Seller:
When selling an item, avoid having buyers come to your home if possible for safety reasons. Ideally, meet in a central, public place during the daytime. If it’s unavoidable, try not to be home alone.

Have the buyer pay with a credit card or through PayPal. Do not accept money orders as these are easily forged. A common scam is for a buyer to send a seller a large sum of money via money order. The buyer will then ask the seller to cash the check and refund the money. Once the fraud is discovered by the seller’s bank, the seller is held responsible for the withdrawn funds and any corresponding “bounced” check fees.

As a Buyer or Seller:
Know the buyer’s and/or the website’s policies regarding the ability to file a complaint. Some sites place the entire responsibility for the transaction on the individuals; other sites have structured forums for mediating disputes. Sites like Ebay and PayPal have time limits, and the clock typically starts ticking the day the purchase is made.

Look for Items Locally
Craigslist Long Island

Nassau Suffolk Buy Sell Facebook Group - Send an email to the administrator at NassauSuffolkBuySell@groups.facebook.com if interested in purchasing new and gently used baby and children’s items.

Report an Issue
Craigslist: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/feedback
Ebay: http://ocs.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?CustomerSupport

 

By Rachel Minkowsky

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