The cost of computers and related equipment can add up quickly. This is especially true for business owners who must keep entire departments stocked with the equipment needed for people to perform their jobs. You can save considerable money purchasing refurbished computer equipment from online auction sites if you follow some basic safety precautions. These sites also make an excellent alternative when it comes time to sell computers and electronic supplies that your employees no longer use.
Understand the Risks Before You Proceed with a Purchase
Hackers are everywhere, and unfortunately, online auction sites are no exception. You need to be aware of them as well as sellers who try to take advantage of inexperienced buyers. Here are some common pitfalls to be aware of in each category:
- Paying for an item and never receiving it
- Receiving an item that differs substantially in features from what the seller described or is in worse condition than you expected
- Providing information to a buyer or seller that he or she uses to commit identify theft
- Paying an overinflated price for an item due to lack of research or receiving a computer or equipment that’s a knockoff from the brand the seller advertised
- Receiving emails that appear to be from the auction site or the payment processor requesting sensitive information so the sender can open new accounts in your name
- Someone takes over your auction account and runs up massive charges
Using common sense while transacting online can prevent you from becoming a victim in most of these situations. For example, don’t pay for an item with a personal check or provide any more information than necessary to the seller, auction site, or payment processor. Make sure that you research any refurbished computer that you’re considering buying. This ensures that you know what it should look like and the features it should include. Additionally, always be suspicious of any email that doesn’t address you by name or that asks you to click on something within the email to update your personal information.
Best Practices Before Making Your First Purchase
eBay might be the most well-known online auction site, but it’s far from the only one. It’s important to investigate several sites to make sure you get exactly what you want at the most reasonable price. Before you dive in and place a bid, select a few items you’re interested in to gain a better understanding of how bids work and the last-minute strategies that people use to come out on top at the end of the auction.
Before you register an account, take the time to read each site’s terms and conditions. It might not be exciting reading, but it lets you know exactly what to expect in terms of fees and other pertinent details. This includes protection for you as a buyer if the transaction does not go the way you anticipated.
When establishing your profile, choose an anonymous name that gives no hint to your identity. Stick to the basics and never provide any more information than the site requests. Perhaps the most important thing you can do on each auction site that you register for is to select a strong password. Most sites have their own requirements, such as a certain number of characters and a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
To ensure your safety, go beyond what the site recommends and choose a password at least 10 characters long. Choose a different password for each auction site and leave out any identifying information such as your name, the names of family members, your data of birth, or other significant dates.
When paying for an item, it’s safest to use a payment processing site like PayPal. This disguises your banking or credit card information from the other party and still ensures that he or she receives payment and you receive your item. Using checks, money orders, wire transfers, or credit cards directly for an online purchase is often just asking for trouble.
Invest Time in Research
We mentioned above how important it is to research the refurbished computer or other electronics equipment you want to buy to ensure you’re getting the best value and that disreputable sellers don’t take advantage of you. It’s equally important to research the sellers themselves. Be sure to study the seller’s profile, and if it’s a company, look up its reputation online. Don’t take the bait if a seller wants you to complete the transaction off the auction site with the claim you can save money. You’re also left without the protection the site offers its buyers.
By taking the time to investigate the product and the seller, as well as follow our other tips, you’re much more likely to have a positive experience with online auctions.
IT Xchange has opened its own bulk auction site that runs over 48-hour time periods. We are trusted by thousands of companies after 20 years selling recertified equipment to the reseller community. An account executive will personally handle your information and price out a shipping method of your choice if you win a lot. Contact us to learn more.