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Safety Centre

Buying with confidence

Everything you need to know to keep safe when buying on eBay – what to look for in a seller’s Feedback, choosing the best payment method for you, understanding listings and descriptions and ensuring safe delivery.

Alert: Avoiding scams

eBay Money Back Guarantee only covers eligible transactions that are completed ON eBay.co.uk and paid for with PayPal*. If a seller 'promises' you eBay protection or eBay Money Back Guarantee, but you aren't buying the item on eBay and/or the seller asks you to pay using another payment method, walk away. Learn more about avoiding fraud.

Common warning signs:

  • A great deal that sounds too good to pass up
  • Seller can't meet in person for some reason (e.g. they are overseas for work or they left the vehicle with a 'local delivery company')
  • Seller claims to have made arrangements with an 'eBay Financial Centre' or eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection Program. (eBay Motors VPP is only available on eBay.com.)
  • Seller requests payment by instant cash transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram. (These payment methods aren't permitted on eBay.)
  • Seller requests payment via bank transfer to an eBay bank account. (eBay does not ask buyers to pay into our bank account.)

* Some exclusions and coverage limitations apply. Find out more about eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Feedback

  • Always check a seller’s Feedback Profile prior to making a purchase – their detailed seller ratings (stars) show the level of service you can expect
  • Be more cautious if they’ve received negative Feedback recently
  • Check Feedback they’ve received for items similar to the one you’re interested in

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Payments

  • When possible, choose PayPal – you are likely to be protected by eBay Money Back Guarantee if your transaction is eligible.
  • If you decide to collect your item in person and can see what you’re paying for, you can consider using cash (but don’t carry large quantities)
  • Report listings that offer PayPal as a payment method but exclude PayPal in the item description
  • Don’t be fooled by sellers who claim their PayPal account isn’t working or have other excuses why you shouldn’t use PayPal
  • Don’t be fooled by ads or sellers who ask for down-payments to 'reserve' an item (particularly cars) – fraudsters have no intention of returning your down-payment
  • Be cautious if the seller is asking you to send money via bank transfer for a high-priced item such as a vehicle that you haven't inspected in person
  • Never send money via Western Union, MoneyGram or other less secure methods
  • Always complete your transaction on the eBay site – otherwise, sellers can operate outside of eBay rules and policies and you won't be eligible under eBay Money Back Guarantee.

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Listing Description

  • Watch out for under-priced items and expensive items where the seller offers free delivery – if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Be extra cautious with Presale items (e.g. concert & event tickets) – check the seller’s Feedback and selling history before purchasing and don’t leave Feedback until you actually receive your purchase
  • Watch out for strange item descriptions – they’re often an indicator of a fraudulent listing. Common warning signs are:
    • Differences between the location of the item on the listing page and in the item description
    • The item description language differing from the seller’s country
    • The item description reading as if it’s been translated by an automated translator
  • If you suspect a listing is fraudulent or inappropriate you should use the Report item link on the listing page
  • Don’t buy prohibited items and always report these listings to eBay

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Safe delivery

  • Make sure you understand delivery costs and the estimated delivery time for your item before making your purchase
  • Some sellers give a choice of delivery services – if you’re item is unique or fragile, consider choosing a more expensive delivery service
  • Some services provide information on the delivery progress of your item – if you choose this type of service, the seller should provide a tracking number so you can check this
  • If you have any delivery problems you should contact the seller
  • Learn more about dealing with delivery problems

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