At first glance, selling and buying items online would appear to be as easy as sending an email or downloading a song after a few clicks of the mouse. But with the rate at which several online auction and shopping websites pop up and disappear, and the growing number of bidding frauds done online, one can say that online auctions are getting to be risky undertakings.

The popularity of auction and shopping sites trivialized the issue of security against fraudulent transactions. As online companies such as eBay continue to pile up on customer complaints of varying degrees, online sellers, buyers or bidders should enter into online transactions with a discerning eye, and armed with at least the basics of online auctions.

Essentially, there are two parties to an auction. One is the seller, and the other one is the bidder. They come to an agreement as to the purchase of the item involved by one party from another. For the seller, the main motivation is the amount of the maximum winning bid. On the other hand, the bidder’s motivation is the item subject of the auction. While it involves different transactions, both are exposed to the risks attendant to online transactions.

Tips For The Seller/Auctioneer

A good auction site must have good traffic, because the wider the user base, the greater chances for the item to be sold. One must also look out for the clear-cut privacy and disputes policies and procedure in case of a botched transaction. Fees and commissions must be laid down in black and white, and it must offer a reliable payment method such as escrow or Paypal. Be professional. From writing a background about your item to doing the sales pitch to interested buyers, make sure that you get your terms and conditions of sale with clarity to avoid misunderstanding. Make yourself available for queries online via Skype, YM, AIM, or YM because people will always transact with people who have good communication lines. After-sales does not mean the end of a sale transaction because a sale is perfected by delivery of the item to the buyer or winning bidder. Follow a closed sale and shipping of items with an email or phone call, or make yourself available for follow-up inquiries.

Tips For The Buyer/Bidder

An online buyer/bidder has more reasons to exercise more caution and proceed with any online sale with greater prudence. The rising number of fraudulent activities in many online businesses is enough reason to be more vigilant and take extra care before we part with our cash or pay with credit or debit card. Always be on the safe side by always checking on the seller’s reputation or feedback, which are usually provided by online auction sites. While one cannot be sure if your bid price is the right price, at least have an idea on how much is the going rate for the item that you’re bidding for. You can do this by checking out final winning bids for similar items in other auction sites. Do not hesitate to call or email the seller if you have queries. Make sure that the seller is giving sufficient information about the item being auctioned. One indication that the seller is hiding something is when the information is given in deceptive or confusing language or in very small prints. Last but not the least; do not just cast aside your second thoughts. If you sense something dubious, don’t waste another second on it.