Helpful Practices

Thank you for visiting We believe you will have a positive experience on this site, however, we must remind you to use caution at all times. Though most people you will encounter are genuinely interested in a rewarding exchange for both parties, there is always the possibility that unscrupulous individuals could misrepresent themselves in an attempt to take advantage of your good will and potentially, your wallet.

General tips to all users:

• Above all, use your common sense and trust your instincts. If something about a deal or the other party involved seems suspicious or unbelievable, don't continue the transaction unless you can address your concern to your satisfaction.

•To prevent identity theft, never share valuable personal financial information (such as social security or bank account numbers) with parties online.

•Only use secure payment methods that provide some protection in the event you are defrauded. Never send or accept money by wire services as most offer no payment protection (you should be suspicious of those who suggest that method of payment).

•Escrow or online payment services can be a good alternative if needed, however, beware of fake sites that might pose as legitimate. Check out any site you might use thoroughly and if you're unable to identify its security features, use another payment method. E-mail messages are not a secure method to provide payment information.

Tips for buyers:
• Know who you're dealing with. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems.

• Know exactly what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Know what it will cost. Factor shipping and handling - along with your needs and budget - into the total cost of the order.

• Pay by credit or charge card, for maximum consumer protections.

• Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates.

• Print and save records of your online transactions.

Tips for sellers

• When describing your item and its condition, state whether it's new, used, or reconditioned.

• Anticipate questions buyers might have and address them in the description of your item or service.

• When possible, include a photograph of the item.

• If selling long-distance, specify who will pay for shipping, and whether you'll ship internationally.

• State your return policy, including who's responsible for paying shipping costs or restocking fees if the item is returned.

• Respond as quickly as possible to buyers' questions about the item you're selling or the terms of the sale. If you accept credit card payments from the buyer directly, bill the credit card account only after you've shipped the product.

• If a buyer insists on using a particular escrow or online payment service that you've never heard of, check it out by visiting its web site or calling its customer service line. If there isn't one, or if you call and can't reach someone, don't use the service. If the service claims to be affiliated with a government agency, that's a sign of a scam.

• Before agreeing to use an online payment or escrow service, read the terms of agreement. If it's an online payment service, find out who pays for credit card charge backs or transaction reversal requests if the buyer seeks them. Examine the service's privacy policy and security measures. Never disclose financial or personal information unless you know why it's being collected, how it will be used, and how it will be safeguarded.

• Don't use an online escrow service that does not process its own transactions, but that requires you to set up accounts with online payment services. Legitimate escrow services never do this.

• Check with the Better Business Bureau, state attorney general or consumer protection agency - where you live and where the online payment or escrow service is based - to see whether any unresolved complaints are on file against the service. But remember that a lack of complaints doesn't guarantee that the service has no problems.

• Look Out for Fraudulent Checks or Money Orders - Sometimes, your bank may not alert you that a fake check or money order has been returned until after you have shipped the merchandise. If you are suspicious about a check because it is written by a third party or for any other reason, call the person who wrote the check to verify that they have authorized it. If you receive a check or money order for an amount that exceeds the successful bid, and the buyer asks that you wire the excess funds back to him or to a third party, do not wire the money. Instead, return the check to the buyer, and do not ship the merchandise.

• If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that's not possible, call the bank the check was drawn from and ask if it is valid. Get the bank's phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the person who gave you the check.