New Yorkers Report High Rate of eBay Fraud

Survey says 1 in 4 online buyers have been scammed.

by staff writer
- Oct 01, 2008

More than one in four New Yorkers who have used an online auction site describe being defrauded in some way, according to a survey by a consumer watchdog organization. Among those who used eBay, the number rises to one-third.

In a newly released survey, Consumer Reports WebWatch reports that 27 percent of New York state residents who have used sites like Amazon or eBay experienced some type of scam or deceptive practice.

"Online auctions are great for bargains, quirky merchandise and collectibles, but you need to know what you are doing," says Beau Brendler, director of Consumer Reports WebWatch. "Con artists, rip-off specialists and sophisticated criminals can catch you at every step of the process, from bidding to payment to shipment."

The consumer advocacy group polled more than 2,000 experienced Web users in New York. Of those users, 52 percent used eBay the most, 45 percent used Amazon and 21 percent used Overstock. The top complaints included:

  • 11 percent—Item never received
  • 7 percent—Merchandise not in expected condition
  • 7 percent—Key detail about item not disclosed
  • 7 percent—Received item of lesser value than the one paid for

Only 12 percent of respondents said being scammed has soured them on online auctions altogether. But 20 percent said they would no longer buy certain types of goods in online auctions. Almost 40 percent said that, as a result of their experience, they would do more research on sellers before bidding.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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