Is eBay Safe? How to Stay Safe on eBay – For Buyers and Sellers

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Maybe, you are looking for some more information regarding eBay’s safety before making a purchase on the platform, or you just want to know if it’s safe to sell on eBay for the average seller out there. Well, no matter what side of the trade you are, you have only one question on your mind and that is…

Is eBay Safe for Buyers and Sellers?

The question that is on everyone’s mind is that if eBay is safe or not. Now, this question has multiple answers depending on who is asking. So, we are going to provide an answer for everyone who’s asking.

  • For Buyers – eBay is very safe. Their platform combined with PayPal’s protection is one of the safest places for buyers to purchase anything. However, there are still precautions a buyer must take to ensure safe buying on eBay.
  • For Sellers – Not as safe as it is for buyers. Sellers need to do their due diligence before selling anything on the platform since eBay almost always sides with the buyer when things go wrong.

So, first of all, let’s see how buyers can make it safe and secure every time they purchase something on eBay.

How to Safely Buy on eBay

eBay is one of the best places to buy some amazing stuff at very affordable prices, but you need to be very careful with it.

When it comes to buying on eBay, most of the time you are not dealing with a big business or brand instead you are dealing with some individual seller selling the stuff.

There’s nothing wrong with individuals selling on the platform, but that means you need to be extra careful in order to avoid getting ripped off.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind to avoid getting ripped off on eBay.

If it’s too good to be true, it really is.

If you see an offer that sounds like one of the best deals on the planet then you are probably looking at a scam. A PS4 for $50? The latest iPhone for only $100? Yeah, that’s definitely a scam.

Now, not all offers are going to be a scam, but if there is an offer with such an unbelievable price tag then you need to do your research to understand what’s going on. Maybe, try to find the seller’s ratings to understand whether the offer is real or just a scam.

Researching the seller on eBay

When you land on the perfect deal, don’t just immediately press the bid button. You need to do our proper research otherwise you might run headfirst into a bad deal.

Researching the seller on eBay

Make sure that you read up everything about the seller before you commit to a purchase.

Check the seller information which is on the right side of the current bid.

eBay Feedback Profile

Click on the number next to the seller’s username. It will take you to the seller’s feedback page.

Buying from sellers who have 100% positive feedback rating for the last 12-months is a great way of ensuring almost perfect odds to never run into any scams.

However, there are many sellers with slightly lower ratings that are completely genuine and honest in their dealings.

Read the complete item description

This is one major issue that leads to people falling into obvious scams. Most buyers just look at the pictures of the item and hit the buy button. However, some scammers just put up pictures of a complete item (for example, an Xbox), but in the description, they clearly state that it’s only a Box of the Xbox console.

It’s not an outright scam since they are mentioning what they are selling, but it’s still deceptive tactics. It often misleads impulse buyers into buying a box instead of the real thing.

Read the complete item description

So, always check the complete item description to see if you are getting exactly what you want.

Never accept offers to deal outside of eBay

This one should be common sense. If you are on eBay to buy an item then all your dealings should be on eBay using the tools provided by the platform. If the seller asks you to send them money directly outside of eBay for a cheaper deal then you steer clear of that because, in case of a scam, eBay will not be able to help you recover your money. Never deal outside of eBay with an eBay seller. Ask them to carry out all their proceedings on the platform to ensure both your safety.

How to Safely Sell on eBay

If you are a seller, then eBay is definitely not so safe for you. For this, I recommend that you do your due diligence before selling any items on eBay. First of all, you need to research all the common scams running on eBay.

Research about the scams that are related to whatever you are selling. If you want to sell gift-cards then it’s better you choose some other place to do so because it’s one of the easiest ways to get scammed.

A potential scammer will buy the gift card from you, use it, and then claim that it didn’t work and eBay will always side with them in almost 99% of the cases.

The sole reason why it’s so difficult and risky to sell on eBay is that eBay wants to make its platform safe and straightforward for the buyers with their Money-back guarantee.

Here’s how you can stay safe when selling on eBay.

Keep all the delivery and shipment details handy

If a buyer claims they didn’t receive an item, it’s the seller’s responsibility to prove that they actually shipped the items especially when the seller is dropshipping on eBay. The seller has to upload the tracking number that that clearly shows the delivery was successful to the buyer’s address, and if the order total was over $150 then it also has to show a sign of confirmation.

If the signature of confirmation is not available because the delivery man forgot it or whatnot then you are out of luck because eBay will side with the buyer. However, if the signature is there or if the delivery shows delivered (under $150) then eBay will mostly side with the seller.

Ensure your product listings are accurate

If the buyers receive the item but feel unhappy with it, then they have 30-days to return the items. However, they can not just return the item for being unhappy with it; they need a legit reason for return which can be anything like broken items, mismatched descriptions, wrong images, etc.

If they can prove that you mislead them with false images or deceptive descriptions, then they will win the dispute. So, you need to make sure that all the details on your product page are original. You need to show the images of the actual product in its original state.

How long does eBay hold seller funds?

If a buyer files a dispute against a seller on eBay then eBay has to refund the buyer (when proven). So, in order to successfully reimburse the buyer, eBay needs to get reimbursed from the seller. For this purpose, they hold the money for new sellers for a certain period.

This way, eBay has the seller’s funds in their account so they can refund the buyer when an issue arises. They put a hold on new sellers’ accounts until the sellers accumulate a decent number of positive ratings and have a proven track record of positive selling feedback.

Payment holds on eBay occur mostly because:

  1. You are a seller on eBay for less than 90 days
  2. Your feedback score on eBay is lower than 100
  3. Your rate of customer disputes is quite high
  4. You are selling in a high-risk category like tickets, travel, gift cards, computers, electronics, phones, etc.

Related Article:
eBay Global Shipping Program
Best Things to Sell on eBay
Etsy vs eBay


So, as you can clearly guess, if you are a buyer then you are pretty much safe when buying on eBay, but you still need to do your due diligence when making a purchase.

However, if you are a seller on eBay then you need to carefully monitor all your dealing to avoid any unwanted surprises. If you want to stay safe on the platform then you need to carry out proper research whenever dealing on eBay.

Have any personal experiences on eBay that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below and let us know!

Dilawar Hussain

Dilawar Hussain is a professional blogger who loves gaming, technology, and ecommerce. He spends his time testing new strategies, hacks, and tricks to help the ecommerce community.

One Response to Is eBay Safe? How to Stay Safe on eBay – For Buyers and Sellers

  1. John tafoya says:

    Buyers need to look at where the seller live. EBay will make money on postage, so most of the time, they will show you listings that will cost you much more because the seller lives across the country far from you. Always try to find free shipping or a seller closer to you to save on postage. Remember the seller makes nothing on postage, but EBay does, 10% of total on the invoice including postage. Nice scam for ebay.

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