Potential risks of buying online

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by aok1425, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. aok1425 macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2004
    I'm thinking of buying a used iBook from one of these chaps on the boards, but I'm a little worried of the possible risks. How can I not get ripped off? Did you guys use Escrow? Is it possible that the iBook might work at first, but then stop working a couple months after?
  2. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    If it stops working after a certain amount of time then it's your problem, not his. If it comes with a warranty then your good, if not it's your risk. Personally I like to do all purchases online via credit card so I can refute anything if something went wrong. But on the otherhand, I have the befefit of having acess to a credit card machine at our business to do those transactions. You can always consider PayPal.

  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    > You can always consider PayPal.

    PayPal is a convenience (albeit an expensive one for the seller at about 5%). It has the advantage of verifying for the seller that the buyer has sent money. The buyer on the other hand has little or no protection from PayPal. If the product never arrives, the buyer can place a claim. But if the seller has drawn out the money and closed the account, the buyer is SOL.

    If the product arrives but is not as described, or is defective, PayPal will refuse to get involved in any way, and you're on your own.

  4. Romulan macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2004

    I'd be very skeptical about using an Escrow service. There are hundreds of fake ones on the net. I almost got ripped off on a 15 inch powerbook this way. Make sure you only use the original www.escrow.com. Do your research on whatever site they want to use, and you should be fine. Hope it works out for you! Good luck.
  5. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    I can't tell you as a buyer because I only buy from reputable web sites, but I can tell you having sold many things here on MacRumors that once you have created a reputation for yourself as an honest guy, it's pretty easy to get a reference from someone you sold a product to in the past - ask for refs.
  6. cmvsm macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2004
    Wouldn't Do It

    I'm not so sure that I'd buy a computer online. Maybe parts and pieces, but never an entire system, especially a laptop or monitor. Even with a credit card, Paypal, etc., you are still placing your money, time, and frustration at risk if you have any issues what so ever.

    Just the piece of mind of knowing if you have a problem and buy locally, you know you have a place to go. Better to spend the extra couple of hundred and have this piece of mind then know when something does go wrong you may have a hard time dealing with the company or individual, and on top of that, having to deal with shipping the system off and getting it back..no thanks!
  7. raynegus macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    I'd read this before using an escrow service.

    I got ripped off once and now I'll never send money to some stranger. What's wrong with the apple store ?
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Here's one. It starts with a PM, then a AIM conversation, then a phone call... a friendly chat is a good way to tell if someone is a fake. Paypal is too. :rolleyes:

    A picture is always the best way... its an excuse to buy an iSight!
  9. moot macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2004
    in the great Asian wonderland
    Yep, its all about reputation. Research lots about the seller. If that person has been around for a long time then that's a start. They are not just suddenly going too start to rip someone off. Ask around, especially if that person has sold something before. Maybe look for recommendations from satisfied customers.

    There are bad people but dont go around suspecting everyone. Most of us here are honest. (I hope ;) ) Anyway if you're really worried, dont do it. There must be somewhere near you with used macs.

    One last thing, try to get something with Applecare. That will provide some sort of safety net if your iBook dies after a month.
  10. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    If the product arrives "not as described," the buyer can get a chargeback immediately. That's the scam of choice for fraudulent buyers. If they're not returning a defective product to the seller (meaning a second, defective unit and not the good unit that the seller sent), they're fraudulently claiming the item is "not as described."

    I don't know if PayPal charges Canadians more, but for me the transaction fee is 2.2% + $0.30.

    PayPal charges back first and hardly asks any questions later, and the process for reversing a chargeback is difficult. What I do is offer PayPal but at the same time give incentives to pay by other methods. The reason I do this is PayPal auctions bid up higher.
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    >If the product arrives "not as described," the buyer can get a chargeback immediately.

    Hmm. Your experience is different from mine. I was ripped off by an EBay seller who advertised Adobe software as full version, unregistered and showed a photo of the box, but delivered CD-R's with handwritten labels. As soon as I chose "Product not as described" at Paypal, the web for said that "PayPal does not get involved, take it up with the seller", and then locked me out for any other complaint on that transaction.

    Here is their written policy at https://www.paypal.com/row/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_buyer_complaint

    "The Buyer Complaint Policy does not apply to claims that a product was received but is not as described by the seller."

    Now PayPal does have some eBay buyer protection insurance, and it does cover "goods that are significantly not as described" but it is highly restrictive in which transactions qualify, so although the auction may display a PayPal protection logo, essentially the only sellers it covers are the honest ones :

    " 1. The seller's eBay feedback rating is at least 50;
    2. At least 98% of the seller's eBay feedback is positive. The percentage calculation for this purpose includes feedback from repeat users, and therefore may be higher than the unique positive feedback percentage displayed on eBay;
    3. The seller is a member of PayPal in one of the following countries: U.S. Canada Germany U.K.
    4. The seller has a Verified Premier or Business PayPal account;
    5. The seller's PayPal account is in good standing."

    Remember: Both eBay and PayPal are in the business of collecting commissions, which they do whether the sale is good or bad. They are not in the business of protecting you from frauds, and their efforts to do so IMO are the minimum to maintain a positive public perception of their services.
  12. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The fee they charge us for transactions <$3000 is 2.9% plus $.55. In addition, there is a $.50 fee to withdraw your money from your PayPal account. And when you transact in foreign currencies (US$ vs CAN$ - most auctions are in US$) PayPal takes an additional 2.5% commission on the exchange for each transaction.

    So an auction of US$100 would cost us $5.95


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