Internet Auctions

Over the last 10 years internet auction sites have provided millions of people with an easy way to buy and sell unwanted goods from the comfort of home, this type of shopping is becoming more popular, but beware, problems may occur.

Many people who advertise goods for sale on an auction site are private sellers, but unfortunately, as with most legitimate areas of business, criminals have now turned their attention to fraudulent schemes on internet auction sites. Despite the fact that the vast majority of internet auctions run smoothly, there are thousands of people fall victim to fraud every year.

Enjoy the convenience of purchasing from an internet auction site, but be sensible and beware of the risks.

How does it Works?

Remember you are not buying from the auction site itself, so the site will not have to accept responsibility if things go wrong with the goods you have purchased. The site is merely acting as a facilitator for the transaction between the seller and you.

Initially the seller will put the details of the item or items they wish to sell on the website. You the buyer will then make an offer for the goods, and then the person with the highest bid at the end of the allocated time for the sale wins the auction.

The winning bidder will then be contacted by the seller to make arrangements, for payment and delivery of the goods

Tips for safe shopping

Check out the goods. Check the description of the goods including the price and the model etc. If it is a one off or collectable item confirm its authenticity.

Check out the seller. Most auction sites have feedback comments of the seller from previous buyers. If you are not sure about anything, email the seller. A genuine seller would welcome any questions.

Before you bid. Set yourself a maximum bid. Check what form of payment the seller will accept. Check any postage costs. Is the seller in the UK?

Your legal rights

If you have purchased your item from an auction sale ie via bidding then you do not have the right to cancel or any rights covered by the Distance Selling Regulations. But if the item was purchased on a "buy now", you may have rights, but only when the seller is acting as a business.

If you do have a problem with something you have purchased from an internet auction, initially try to resolve the matter with the seller. If you can't, then contact the auction site and go through their complaints procedure.

Alternatively for further advice on resolving the matter contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.