What should Internet buyers know about Online Auctions?

Buying and selling at Internet auctions can be a lot of fun and financially rewarding. To get you started right, here are 8 tips on how to make online auctions work for you.

1. Read all the help information before you start.

Even if you are the type of person who never reads the instructions, listen to me on this one. Online auctions are a lot more complex than they look.

2. Start small.

For your first few purchases, buy something inexpensive that you understand completely, like a CD. Don't start by buying something complicated like a computer.

3. Watch out for fraud.

Online auctions are the biggest single source of fraud on the Net.

4. Make a budget, and stick to it no matter what happens. Don't allow yourself to get carried away.

5. For expensive items, use an escrow service (a third-party company that acts as a middleman).

Before you bid:

6. Check out the seller.

7. Make sure you are buying the right item.

If you need, say, a part for a computer, make sure the item you are looking at will work with your computer. Don't depend on the seller for technical support.

8. Check availability and prices.

Lots of items that are sold at auctions are also available at stores.

For more help with buying on the Net, as well as a large variety of other interesting topics, see my book Harley Hahn's Internet Insecurity.

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