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Checklist for online auction bidding

Bidding and buying at an online auction is fun. Often you'll find a great deal on exactly what you're looking for -- all without even leaving your home.

 
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Before you enter the auction cyber hall, double-check your safety with these bidding and buying guidelines.

Before placing a bid

  • Research the item. Compare costs on other auctions and at brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Research the seller.

    • Contact the seller to confirm the item's condition and authenticity.

    • Look for discrepancies in the listing.

    • Get the seller's physical address and phone number. Confirm this information by calling.

    • Ask the seller for delivery information. Be wary of significantly delayed delivery time.

    • Ask the seller about warranty and return policy

    • Clarify shipping charges with the seller

    • Learn about the site's insurance and fraud protection policies

    • Be wary of items sold "as is."

    • Find out what payments the seller will accept.

    Ready to bid

    • Only bid on items you intend to purchase. If you win the auction, you're obligated to pay.

    • Decide what your top bid will be and stick with it.

    • If possible, pay with a credit card because of the coverage provided.

    • Insure your item.

    • Print out all photos and descriptions of item as well as any e-mails you exchange with the seller.

    • If you run into problems, try to work it out with the seller. If you can't resolve the dispute, contact your credit card company and the auction site. If that doesn't work, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

     

     
    -- Posted: Nov. 19, 2003
       

     

     
     

     

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