Consumers can buy and sell pretty much anything online. Cars, firearms, jewelry, electronics, fine art – all of these items can be found with a simple Google search that will yield results on any number of auction and classified ad sites. Anymore, finding what you want to buy is the easy part – it’s protecting against potential fraud and misrepresentation that has become the new hurdle. There are two steps that should never be skipped in today’s online marketplace: inspections and financial protection with online escrow.
As we’ve touched on before, the blessing and curse of online listings is that anyone, anywhere can create an ad. While the vast majority of the listings that you’ll find online are legit, there are always those who seek to take advantage of anyone they can. The easiest way to protect against misrepresentation in online listings is to schedule an inspection with a neutral third party.
Companies like WeGoLook.com have become the gold standard for individuals who aren’t able to inspect a potential purchase in person. WeGoLook will work with any potential buyer to schedule a time for one of their lookers to visit, inspect, and report back exactly what they found. These types of on-site visits can be anything from a quick once over with a few photographs, to a detailed, customized inspection that covers any must-see aspects of the item up for sale. Once you’ve seen the notes, photos and video from a thorough inspection conducted by a neutral third party, you can rest easy knowing that the listed ad does, indeed, match the real life item.
So, now that you’ve seen an inspection, how can you safely transmit or receive purchase funds? The protection services on many popular auction sites often have limits on the transaction amount that they will guarantee protection for, and these same services are heavily weighted in favor of the buyer. Online escrow companies like PaySAFE have created a safe, neutral payment processing platform that protects both buyers and sellers equally.
With PaySAFE, both buyer and seller must both approve the same purchase agreement, which is easily reviewable at any point in time of the transaction. Purchase funds are then wired to, verified by, and held with PaySAFE until the buyer has proof that the item has been shipped, saving buyers the risk of sending payment and hoping their item arrives. Once proof of shipping has been provided the release of payment is approved, and purchase funds are wired directly into the seller’s bank account of choice. This type of payment process protects sellers equally in that all purchase funds are verified and held upfront – completely removing the risk of non-payment, insufficient funds, fraudulent checks and credit card chargebacks.
For any consumer buying or selling high value items online, there really is no greater combination of protection than inspections and online escrow. By first confirming the authenticity of a listing with an inspection, and then transmitting funds with escrow, any online transaction can be secured from start to finish.
For more information about safely buying and selling online, see our posts about the types of online auctions and how they work, buying and selling cars online, and the benefits of escrow in B2B transactions.