how's ebay work.. sounds like a shenanigan.

whats the deal with ebay? from what I can tell its like you send somebody the money and they’ll send you the stuff. And their punishment if they burn you is they get a bad reputation from their username… I don’t know… and I don’t have the time to look up how it works… but couldn’t they have it so a 3rd party would hold the goods and when they get payment ship it out? Not sure how it works but don’t have all day to look these types of things out… I don’t know… but just seen something about somebody posting the brooklyn bridge for sale… and earlier this week something about geldof flipping out… Not sure but they need the 3rd party thing… like some place needs to hold the goods and once they get payment ship it out. Hey if somebody isn’t doing that… maybe some super rich dude can start a site that does… cause this ebay stuff sounds like a shenanigan. And if you buy something and get burned… it doesn’t sound like you can return it… what a mish-mash.

What you’re describing is known as Escrow, and it is used for some higher-priced transactions.

However, for most everyday purchases, between choosing a seller with good feedback and using Paypal Buyer Protection / your credit card’s money-back guarantee, the risks aren’t that great.

but nobody can start like an ebay site with escrow… + add return capabilities… even if it means the escrow company might lose… gotta pay the seller first eh… so yeah… that’s how u beat ebay. And I know how u beat walmart too… but that’s for next time kids… … but can’t do nothing about it right now… now can I… and why’s that now kids… well because I’m not the trillionaire I’m supposed to be… otherwise I’d setup these types of businesses.

I think you’re trying to address a problem that doesn’t exist; sure, someone could take your money and run, but overwhelmingly in general, they don’t - a good feedback rating (based on the sale of items similar to the ones you’re buying) is reasonaly safely indicative that they won’t.

Why hold the goods in escrow when it’s just as easy to do it with the cash? What would be the advantage of goods in escrow?

Thanks for sharing.

Wait; I’ve got an idea for a place where you could just walk in and select the goods you want from a wide choice of items, pay for them on the way out and just take them home! I can’t believe nobody’s thought of it yet!

But what would stop this place just taking your money and not letting you leave with the goods, huh?

I don’t know, some people just don’t think their bright ideas through.

rewindforward, please put your reply below the text you are quoting. Putting it above is extremely annoying and makes you look stupid.

I’m not sure it’s his formatting that’s doing that…

It isn’t helping, anyway.

And to be fair, I’ve noticed a few others around here making the same dumb mistake.


Money? What money? You didn’t give us any money.

I use eBay for a lot of shopping, and sometimes selling, and I have never paid for anything that wasn’t sent. Some of the stuff wasn’t good, but in that case there was never a problem with sending the stuff back for a refund, even from sellers who say they don’t do refunds. Started out in mostly antique and one-of-a-kind stuff, but since then I’ve shopped there for all sorts of things.

It’s true that there is a lot of crud offered. Some areas are riskier than others, like the current hit movie DVDs described as genuine American for $2.50, or “Prada” bags that start at $1.00 each. I tend to avoid electronics too, but not always. There are sellers with years’ worth of good feedback who stand behind their products.

I’ve not used for any eBay purchases, although I’ve told a couple of sellers that I wouldn’t buy otherwise. (Ignored me, and for some reason eBay cancelled both those auctions and banned the sellers later. Coincidence? Not hardly.) It’s actually the money that’s held in escrow. It isn’t released to the seller until the buyer actually receives the stuff and confirms it’s what was ordered. No documented delivery, or no confirmation from the buyer within the specified time period = seller gets no money. It’s slightly more hassle, and the person who wants the protection pays the service a fee, so it’s not worth it for small sums of money. It’s also important to use a real escrow service, as there are scams there. is trustworthy. Googling for services with good reputations is informative.

Bad feedback may not faze the fraudsters, but it means a lot to people who want to deal honestly and fairly over the years.

Full disclosure: I have no financial connection whatever with eBay,, or PayPal. I always like to speak well of people and companies that have dealt honestly with me. :slight_smile:

I’ve dealt with a few jerks on eBay, but I treat everyone great as a seller, I’ve never been ripped off as a buyer, and never had negative feedback left for me. Good communication throughout the transaction is a key to successful dealing on eBay, and frankly, if I had to deal with another party who wrote like the OP, that would raise a red flag for me immediately that I had a problematic person to deal with.

ditto…someone who is asking in 2005 how e-bay works should not be on e-bay anyway. I am not an e-bay regular, but I have always found my sellers to be really good. They e-mail when they ship and follow up to make sure it got there and that you are happy with it, etc.

BTW, I know how to rip off Blockbuster…sign up for a membership and ‘rent’ a movie and keep it! Forever! That’s how you get them! Ha hA! This is my finest moment ever!

Then just do the same again the next day, and the day afterwards, and so on! - what’s to stop you, eh?

Why so? It’s not like everybody on the planet has already used e-bay. What is the percentage of the american population, for instance, that used it at least once? Should the other forget forever about using it? And if they do use it, how are they supposed to know how it works, what are the potential risks, etc…?

I don’t really know how e-bay works, either, except for having read some threads here about it. I don’t know how to fix a car, either. I never bought anything at auction, despite auctions having been around for centuries. Should I refrain from ever buying on e-bay/ participating in an auction or, if I do, refrain from asking questions to knowledgeable people?

Honestly, the first time I heard about e-bay, I immediatly thought, like the OP, “There’s no real guarantee. There’s no way to even tell if the items actually exist. The risk of scam is way too great with such a scheme”. It’s not like there aren’t any scammers on the net, and if you’re unfamiliar with e-bay, why wouldn’t it make sense to be worried about buying from total strangers items that you can’t even look at? Indeed, e-bay has “SCAMMER’s PARADISE” written all over it at first glance. If there was a straightdope-like crowd that had never heard about e-bay and was asked about a similar scheme on the net, I’m pretty confident they would advise against using it.

Ok, now that I’m done berating the OP :wink: I have a couple of questions about eBay:
[li]How easy is it to scam the feedback system? Is someone who has an apparently good record always a good risk?[/li][li]What is eBay’s business model? How does the site itself make money?[/li][/ul]

Like any website they do have ads on the site.
But mainly they charge for the posting of an item (very minimal charge but they do make up for it in volume) and they do collect a small percentage of the selling price (again, a very small percentage but they make up for it in volume).

Feedback isn’t just a number, it’s a list of comments from other users. So you can check not only what the rating is, but who rated that user. If someone has a perfect rating but it’s based on feedback from 5 people all in the past week who themselves have no ratings, that’s highly suspect. If the 5 feedbacks are spread over many months and come from people who themselves have good ratings, it’s a safer bet.

Another possible scam is identity theft, i.e. stealing someone’s eBay password and using their account. You can sometimes spot this, e.g. when a user hasn’t used eBay in a year and suddenly lists a dozen high-priced items. (Though sometimes there’s legitimate reason for doing this too.)

The listing itself gives you a good idea of whether the listing is for real. Some listings have no photos. Some have photos and description lifted from the manufacturer’s web site. These are highly suspect.

Also if in doubt, ask the seller some questions. Questions a legitimate owner of the item should be able to answer.

It’s simple: they charge money to use it. Only to the seller though, so the buyer doesn’t need to worry about it.