Auctions: Secrets of Success
you're looking for a collectible or thinking about selling that treasure you discovered in
the attic, an Internet auction may be just the thing for you. Since their first appearance
in 1995, Internet auctions have become one of the hottest phenomena of the web.
Yet despite their growing popularity among buyers as well as sellers, many people don't
understand fully how Internet auctions work, the different kinds of auctions available and
- perhaps most importantly - how to take part in them without being ripped off.
Internet auction fraud is on the rise, with an increasing number of consumers
complaining about sellers who deliver their advertised goods late or not at all, or
deliver something far less valuable than promised. To help make Internet auction
transactions as smooth and successful as possible for everyone involved, the Federal Trade
Commission offers these tips:
Identify the seller and check the seller's
Do your homework. Be sure you understand what
you're bidding on, its relative value and all terms and conditions of the sale. This
includes the seller's return policies and who pays for shipping.
Establish your top price and stick to it.
Evaluate your payment options. If possible,
pay with a credit card to ensure the most protections if something goes wrong. If the
seller doesn't accept credit cards, consider using an escrow service.
Provide an accurate description of the item
you're selling, including all terms of the sale and who will pay shipping costs.
Respond quickly to any questions bidders may
raise during the auction.
Contact the high bidder as soon as possible
after the auction closes to confirm details of the sale.
Ship the merchandise as soon as you receive
A new Federal Trade Commission publication, "Internet Auctions: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers,"
offers more information about Internet auctions.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER