|Top Online Auction Myths|
by: Gillian Meier
MYTH: It is more expensive to buy something in an auction than traditional shopping.
You can usually pick up a great bargain at an auction. The Internet is full of online auctions websites where you can snap up a number of very special deals. You are more likely to get a bargain price when purchasing an item on auction than if you were to buy it from a traditional store. The seller does not have any significant running expenses and is therefore in a favorable position to reduce the margin substantially from what he would ordinarily have to mark-up in the interest of remaining profitable, after having to hire warehouses or store fronts and pay employee salaries.
Find out when the best times are to pick up bargains. Some auction websites offer special promotional days where you can pick up a great deals on items with no reserve price. If you have done your homework and have established the actual market value for the item then you will be in a better position to compare this value to the seller's asking price. This also helps in ascertaining whether or not the item is authentic and further assists you in identifying if the seller is trying to bait you with an overly attractive offer on goods that are not up to scratch or alternatively if the seller is trying to rip you off by over charging on the market value.
MYTH: Online shopping is not safe.
Submitting credit card details online has a bad reputation from a security perspective but in truth, a credit card is an ideal method of paying for online purchases. The option to dispute any transaction processed on your card provides you with the ideal safety net. Should the seller fail to deliver purchases, buyers are able to request a reversal of the transaction following an investigation carried out by their bank. Security should not be a concern, provided the user knows what to look out for.
Most reputable websites where online transactions are concluded take a very proactive stance on e-security. Such websites stake their reputation on ensuring that they invest much time, hard work and serious capital into building a secure and safe platform in which their users can trade in confidence.
A secure site will use encryption technology to scramble sensitive information which you submit. The only people who are able to unscramble this encryption are the users, by accessing their account with their unique password, username and/or other access codes required. You can easily identify a secure site by looking for the following; check the url, when a url reads https//: etc the "s" in the url will only be displayed on a secure domain, ordinarily the url will begin with http//. Another sign of a secure site is a picture of a closed padlock viewable at the bottom of the web page you are looking at, and finally an unbroken key also illustrate that the site is secure. Provided you are shopping from a reputable site with the above security policies in place your credit card details should be secure.
MYTH: Seller's are not reliable and should not be trusted.
Most authentic and reliable auction websites encourage their users to 'rate' one another. Ratings are dependent on actual experiences that users have while buying and selling on the website. Buyers can rate sellers based on seller service and product quality, and sellers rate buyers on the ease of the overall transaction experience and the speed and manner in which payment was received. Before buying and selling, you can view the ratings of other users to help you make an informed decision. This way auction websites are able to guard against buyers and sellers who may have a bad history of transaction and it aids in promoting the basic value of honesty. Some online auction sites also recommend the use of an escrow agent. An escrow agent facilitates payment and delivery of purchases between buyers and sellers. A buyer pays for purchases to the escrow agent who in turn contacts the seller confirming receipt of the required funds. The seller is then requested to ship the item while the escrow agent holds the payment in trust for a specified escrow period. Once the buyer confirms satisfactory receipt of their goods, the payment is released to the seller and the transaction is concluded. Essentially an escrow agent acts as an agent on behalf of the merchant and the customer ensuring both parties are protected.
MYTH: You can only buy second-hand goods on auction.
This is a common misconception regarding online auction websites. Many online shoppers assume that because the items are listed as auction items, they must be second hand or "jumble sale" items that the previous owner (the seller) is trying to get rid of or can no longer afford. As it would turn, many auction websites report that the percentages of brand new items being sold far outweigh the second hand/ refurbished items.
Most auction websites offers a range of new, secondhand and refurbished products across various categories as great bargains. Ensure that you know if the product you are looking at buying is a brand new, secondhand or refurbished item before you add the item to your shopping cart.
bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online shopping marketplace. Visit http://www.bidorbuy.co.za for more information.
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