Tech

Is EBay Safe? Yes, but their Protection Tends to Favor Buyers

  • eBay is safe thanks to its Money Back Guarantee, but some experts are critical to the protections in place for sellers on the site.
  • eBay has been around for over 25 years and has developed some robust protections for buyers and sellers in its history.
  • You can buy and sell on eBay with confidence taking advantage of its integrated protections and taking other security precautions.
  • Visit the Insider Technical Reference library for more stories.

As the second largest online sales site on the Internet, eBay it’s one of the oldest commercial websites ever around. It was founded in the fall of 1995, a few months after Onsale.com, the first online auction house.

With age comes maturity and security, but wondering about the safety of using eBay is a valid concern. Both buyers and sellers often wonder about the relative safety of using the site.

eBay is relatively safe to use

The good news is that the use of eBay, especially as a buyer, is considered safe. The site has implemented a variety of protections over the years, so the simplest problems that plagued early eBay customers decades ago, such as fraud, are now a thing of the past.

Daniel Foley, cybersecurity manager for Halcyon London International School and director of Assertive Media, said it is generally a safe bet for buyers. “Defective products, scams, items that arrive“ not as described ”and other problems are all covered by eBay’s broad buyer protection program,” he said.

woman packing boxes with laptop and phone

If your eBay order arrives in a “not as described” situation, you can request a refund.

Emilija Manevska / Getty Images


Foley said that if a seller refuses to accept a return request, eBay will often resolve the case in favor of the buyer and compensate for the loss, while account termination, fines and other restrictions may be imposed on the seller.

But eBay protection is not so robust for sellers, said Aaron Bossig, former eBay seller. “I stopped selling on eBay about five years ago because eBay changed its feedback policy to offer no incentive or security to the seller,” Bossig said. In particular, he noted the change in society in they do not allow sellers to leave any negative or neutral feedback for buyers as a reason for his departure from the platform.

EBay protection for buyers

Over the past 25 years, eBay has implemented and strengthened its protection for buyers in an effort to make the site feel like a safe selling environment. Today, buyers are largely protected through eBay Refund Reimbursement.

The eBay Bank Refund Guarantee covers most transactions on eBay. Excluded items are specifically identified as exempt and generally fall into categories such as automotive and real estate. If there is a problem with an order, the buyer is eligible to receive a full refund from eBay for the full purchase price plus any shipping costs the buyer has paid. Most of the time, the buyer also needs to return the unsatisfactory item to the seller.

In addition, buyers are protected when they do the following:

  • Buy an eligible item using an eBay-approved payment method, such as PayPal.
  • You pay for the item in a single transaction (you cannot make multiple payments).
  • Pay by clicking the “Pay by” button on the eBay invoice page or by clicking the “Pay Now” button on the eBay item page.

If there is a problem with an order, buyers can make a claim on it EBay Resolution Center within 30 days of delivery (or the estimated delivery date from eBay).

EBay protections for sellers

Sellers are also offered some protection, although many sellers argue that it’s not as robust as what eBay offers buyers.

shipping box of the store owner with the laptop in store

eBay offers protections for sellers and buyers.

Mascot / Getty Images


Here are the types of protections eBay offers sellers:

  • Negative responses given by “abusive” buyers can be challenged and removed. Abusive buyers are individuals who make false claims, ask for things that are not listed in the original listing, abuse messages, bids, or returns, or refuse to pay for items they have agreed to purchase.
  • If the buyer damages a product and returns it, the seller can deduct up to 50% of the value of the item from the refund.
  • Sellers may be refunded listing fees for an item that a buyer has won the offer, but has chosen not to buy.
  • If an item arrives late to the buyer for reasons beyond the seller’s control, eBay may remove negative feedback for the transaction.

As a seller, you should become familiar with it the rules and protections that eBay offers to sellers. “Before you sell, ask yourself,‘ I know what to do with a buyer who does not pay‘? If you said no, you shouldn’t even sell it on eBay, “said Kevin Parker, a cybersecurity expert and co-founder of vpnAlert.

How to stay safe on eBay

eBay can be a perfectly safe retail and auction environment, but like any online business, you need to be careful and take precautions.

Safety tips for eBay buyers

  • Never take a conversation or transaction off the site. They are protected only by eBay operating within the virtual boundaries of the site, so they ignore the requests of perhaps unscrupulous sellers to complete a deal elsewhere.
  • Read the full product description and item details. Make sure you understand exactly what is on offer, and its current situation. Watch out for misleading phrases or descriptions that imply things without being explicit.
  • Consider the seller’s assessment. Each seller has an evaluation that indicates how many evaluations they have received and their overall feedback percentage. Sellers with few ratings or low ratings are less reliable than sellers with thousands of happy buyers, of course.

Safety Tips for eBay Sellers

  • Write a detailed and accurate description of the product. Be sure to include photos you’ve taken yourself, showing the current status of the article.
  • Use PayPal. Strictly integrated into eBay, PayPal facilitates the demonstration of a complete verification track and transaction history, to ensure payments are complete, and tracks fraudulent buyers.
  • Keep all documents and documentation. Be sure to keep shipping receipts so you can test how and when you ship the item.

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