eBay Inc. is an American Internet company that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the notable success stories of the dot-com bubble; it is now a multi-billion dollar business with operations localized in over thirty countries. eBay expanded from its original “set-time” auction format to include “Buy It Now” standard shopping; shopping by UPC, ISBN, or other kind of SKU, online classified advertisements (via Kijiji or ebay Classifieds); online event ticket trading (via StubHub); online money transfers (via PayPal) and other services.
If you want to buy a product from this shopping website you have to be a member. If not already you have to register, which is very easy. After registering you have to link your paypal account with your ebay account. A paypal account is like an online bank account, you register in the same way as ebay and after following some credit checks you are asked to link your bank account and debit card for verifiaction purposes.
To add a bank account you press on the “profile” tab and then on the subtab “Add a bank account”, there you are asked to provide your bank’s branch name, bank account and sort code. After confirming all the above details paypal sents two small deposits under £1 to your bank account in a period of 3 days. What you have to do to confirm that you own the bank account is simply check your statement for these two small deposits. Once they are there you are asked by paypal to provide these two small deposits in the system to get verified.
In a very similar way you can link your debit/credit card with paypal. This time an amount of £1 is charged to your card with a 4 digit code which again you have to provide in the system. You can also verify your address by receiving an automated call from paypal to your landline number. You will be given a four digit code which you have to enter to the paypal account for the final step of verification.
These may sound like a lot of things to do but actually the steps are very simple. You may think that is a bit too much in order to buy something from ebay but actually doing all these steps provides security to both buyer and seller in the case that something goes wrong.
Most ebay sellers recommend paypal as a method of payment because it is fast and the seller gets his money immediately. Other payment methods may be accepted depending on the seller but they take more time and effort to complete the transactions.
If a buyer is interested in a specific product from ebay, he/she can simply use the “buy it now” option for the item, complete the payment process and wait for the item to arrive. He can also bid on a product if it is an online austion. The last bidder with the higher bid wins the product. If more details are needed on behalf of the buyer he/she can contact the seller by sending him an email through the website or by phone if a number is provided.
Now in the case that you receive the product and is not as described there are a couple of things that the buyer can do. First he/she can contact the seller explaining the situation. If the seller responds he may ask you to return back the item to be replaced or you may be given a refund. That is not always the case. A seller may not respond and if you have paid a lot of money for something then you have to find your way out of this. Giving negative feedback to the seller which is not good for his reputation is one thing but you still have to get your money back. Paypal is the solution for this. To not complicate things you have to do a few steps with Paypal and open a “dispute” for the specific item. The seller will be contacted by paypal and they will try to resolve the issue for you. In the case that you win the dispute you will get your money back from paypal, requiring that you completed the payment through Paypal and not anything else.
When buying from sellers on ebay is always good to check their seller profile for feedback and rescent transactions. Top rated sellers are recommended and you will see that they have thousands of transactions with good positive feedback. A seller moves his way up the selling ladder by getting stars according to his sales, at the beginning a yellow star is given to the seller, as sales increase the yellow turns into blue and so on. The higher distinction is to become a top-rated seller.
It is good to note that ebay is not only for buying, you can also sell your personal or unwanted items. Be carefull not to over do it though because there is a limit on the items you can sell under each category and if you exceed those limits some really frustrating restrictions may come your way either from ebay in the form of not being able to sell in a particular category for a month or from paypal in the form of limitations. By limitations we mean that paypal performs checks on the rescent sales that you have made and is asking for explanations of where you found the items and so on. It may also ask for suppliers details and contact information and in the case that you are selling your own stuff may be frustrating because you have no such information and you may get your paypal account limited for that.
In a few words if your paypal account becomes limited and you can not restore it back to a full working order then it will stay limited forever and any money in the paypal balance will be available to withdraw after 180 days from the day the account was limited. Paypal says that this is done to minimise fraud and make ebay a safe buying and selling community.
Obviously there is a lot more besides buying on ebay and most people are not aware of them, especially when paypal gets in the way leaving many people frustrated and angry.