When buying things online, there are certain guidelines you can follow that will make the process not only easier, but also hopefully safer. Here are some tips in buying safely at Sebule.com:
When you initiate communication, ask a lot of questions. Asking for photos or details about the history or condition of the item is expected and important. Do not give out too much personal information at this initial contact. If the individual is a scammer, any personal information you give out is risky. Try to schedule a phone conversation to establish credibility before you meet to exchange money for goods. If at any time the seller is evasive, or if you feel uncomfortable, go with your instincts and look elsewhere for the product you need.
The best way to pay for and receive your time is to meet in person. Depending on a seller to ship an item is always risky. Plan the meeting in a public place, during the day. Bring someone with you who can provide a measure of safety. Your child is not a good choice, but your spouse or a trusted friend would be. Let someone else know where and when you are meeting the seller. Share any contact information you have on the seller with that individual in case something goes wrong.
Excuse yourself if you start to feel uncomfortable during the meeting.
Do not pay for the item before you have had a chance to inspect it thoroughly. Know what to look for before you arrive. If you are buying something of high value, research the market value and the different qualities you need to look at before your meeting. It can help to bring copies of similar listings to show the seller you know what the value is. Always see the item before you buy and sure you have checked the condition carefully in good lighting. If you are buying a vehicle, ask to have it inspected by a trusted mechanic before you make the final decision on the purchase. Pull a vehicle history report and ask for service records or other receipts from repairs. Also, arrange for a test drive. Always check that the vehicle is registered in the seller’s name. If you are buying an animal, ask to have your veterinarian check the animal prior to purchase, or look at its veterinary records. If the item was misrepresented in the listing, walk away. You are under no obligation to make a purchase.
Always pay in cash to protect you and the buyer. Personal cheques, Ria, Moneygrams and Western Union transfers are not a good idea. Never exchange your bank or credit card information with a seller.
If you are making a large purchase that does not lend itself toward cash payment, use a bank cheque to protect yourself and the seller. This will give your payment credibility for the seller, while protecting your bank account information. You may need to meet a second time to provide payment since you will need to be certain that you want to buy the item before ordering the cashier’s cheque. Never give out personally identifiable information, like your Social Security number or credit card account. Sometimes a contact you meet at sebule.com will have a valid reason for requesting this. To get around this, pull a current credit report on your own, strike out your Social Security number, or any other important information that you feel will not affect the transaction and offer this instead.
NB: Trust your instincts if you start to feel uncomfortable in any way. Walk away if the seller seems suspicious. There are always other items available.