Auction Audacities – Ways People Scam Online Auction Users

You can find just about anything on eBay these day’s a random browse brings CDs, clothing, cars, and skin to your computer screen. That’s right, I said skin. One man recently auctioned patches of his body to advertising companies, who tattooed their logos on to him. EBay isn’t the only site for surfers bit by the auction bug. There are literally hundreds of sites on the web where you can sell your useless crap and use the money to buy someone elses useless crap. It’s a flea market if I ever saw one-just online. And hey, it’s not all junk. You can find some great deals on auctions sites.

One problem: People are getting scammed, which turns them off to these types of sites altogether. Of course, security is bound to be an issue whenever the Internet and money are involved, but with online auctions, individuals are in control, not corporations who are more trustworthy with business transactions. 99 times out of 100, the relationship between auctioneer and buyer will go smoothly, but just in case, here’s the top five ways users will scam you. Don’t become that minority who walks away from a deal having lost both money and item.

1. Phony Users. I don’t know what the reason is behind it, but some users will bid on items when they never have any intention of purchasing it. Your auction will be over, and the user will cancel his auction membership and disappear-and there’s not much you can do to stop him. Most auction sites charge a fee to sell items, so not only do you still have the unwanted item on your hands, but you also have lost money trying to sell it.

One way to prevent this from happening is to closely keep track of you auction. When the auction closes, take note of the second and third runners up. That way, if the winner bails on you, you can contact the others to see if they are still interested in purchasing the item from you. At some sites, you also have the option of only accepting bids from confirmed users-these are bidders who have either won and paid for items in the past or who have their own auctioneer’s account set up with the site. Check the guidelines, because every site is a little different on their definition of “confirmed buyer.”

2. Stolen Credit Cards. If you own a business and choose to accept credit cards, be careful about how you do this online. When a user pays with a stolen credit card, it may take a few days for the rightful owner to realize it’s one. Guess what? You won’t get the money for your item, which is already in the mail-as good as gone.

Credit card payments are tricky, and I don’t recommend using them unless you own a business with an online website that has credit card payments available. If not, call the credit card company. The name and address that the user provided for shipping should be the same name and address on the card. Companies are glad to check their records for you-it saves them time and money when their cards are stolen. If it doesn’t match up, decline the card and ask for payment in another way.

3. Shipping and Receiving Scoundrels. Whether you’re the buyer or seller, you should be cautious about the exchange of money and goods. Users can easily take your money or item and disappear without sending you what you’re due.

In most conditions, it is the buyer’s responsibility to send payment first. If you’re using a personal check to pay for an item, date the check two weeks from the day you send it. That way, if the seller never sends the item, you can cancel your check before its cashed. The best choice, especially for larger items, is to use an escrow service. These companies act as a go-between for buyers and sellers.

Check with the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Reports before selecting a service to make sure they aren’t scamming both buyer and seller by disappearing with the item and the money, both at once.

4. Check Bouncers. As with stolen credit cards, buyers can easily scam sellers by sending them checks that are no good. You receive the payment and mail the item, but when you go to cash the check, you find out that it is worthless. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot-use a third party service instead.

Third party payment services, the most popular of which is paypal, allow people to create free online accounts to transfer money. Using a bank account or credit card, you can send and receive money almost instantly, which prevents users from stealing your stuff. This is the best option for payment after an online auction.

5. Identity Thieves. As with any online service, you need to be very careful with your personal information to prevent identity theft. These crooks are getting very sneaky, often the e-mails or messages you receive from them look and sound very official. As people are getting more web-savvy, so are cyber criminals.

Use a well-known auction site that you trust. These sites should never ask for information like your social security number. Most of the time they won’t be the ones trying to scam you. Other users will use their company name to send e-mails demanding such information. If you get something in your inbox that looks fishy, forward it to the company or give them a call, and professionals there can tell you if it’s legit. These sites will also never ask for your user name and password in an e-mail, so beware of claims that this information is needed.

Use common sense. The information you share online should be limited and you should always take preventative measures to protect yourself. Sites are only as secure as their users, so if you get scammed, most times you only have yourself to blame. Before signing up with any auction site, check their policies. Knowledge is the key to keeping your online transactions protected so that you can buy and sell all the personal property, goods and services you want. Before long, that green and orange polka-dotted couch will be yours.

Benefits of Buying Office Furniture at a Liquidation Auction

If you are considering redecorating your office, no doubt you have already considered the expense as well. Purchasing office furniture is one of the larger expenses that most businesses have to face, but there are ways for you to save money. Rather than purchasing new furniture, there are benefits to purchasing pre-owned furniture through a liquidation auction. When you consider the benefits to purchasing secondhand furniture, it becomes clear that it is a choice that you should contemplate as well. Here are some of the top benefits of purchasing used furniture for your office through liquidation auctions. There is no doubt that it will help to steer you in the right direction.

Cost – the most obvious benefit of purchasing anything through a liquidation auction is the cost. This is especially true when it comes to office furniture, because you will get a significantly lower price when you purchase used furniture at an auction. The amount that you save is going to depend upon a number of different factors. You will need to consider the age of the furniture and its current condition. You also need to consider the popularity of the auction house, because multiple bidders on a piece of furniture will drive up the cost. Regardless of the type of auction you choose, however, you will find that you are saving money by using it.

Quality – When most people think about used office furniture, they may think about furniture that is broken down and worn out. Although there may be some areas where that is the case, liquidation auctions typically provide you with quality furniture at a more reasonable price. A company usually sells all of its assets through a liquidation auction. They are not getting rid of the office furniture because they are trying to purchase new furniture; they have already gone out of business or are in the process of doing so. Some of the furniture that you can purchase through a liquidation auction is going to be very high quality and in excellent condition.

Convenience – Depending on where you purchase new office furniture, it can be quite inconvenient. The store may have samples available to look at when you purchase new furniture, but there are some cases in which the real look and feel of the furniture is left to your imagination. Once it comes delivered to your location, it is going to need to be assembled and put into place. You will not find that to be the case when you purchase office furniture through a liquidation auction. It is already fully assembled and comes to your location, ready to work for you. If it is disassembled, you have the convenience of seeing the furniture put together before you purchase it through the auction.

As you can see, there are many benefits of buying office furniture through a liquidation auction when you compare it to purchasing new. When you count the cost and consider the convenience and the quality of the furniture that is available, it is obvious that using a liquidation auction is the best choice.

Industrial Equipment: 5 Benefits Of Online Auction Sites

If you are planning to buy industrial equipment online, try out online auction sites as they offer a lot of benefits. Nowadays, whether it’s a toothbrush or heavy machinery, we can buy everything online from the comfort of our homes. Given below are some of the main benefits that you can enjoy if you choose to buy your desired machinery at an online auction. Read on to know more.

1. Convenience

Convenience is the number one benefit of using an online auction. It doesn’t matter where you live. All you need to do is place your bid. Since you can search for your desired machinery online, you don’t need to leave your house. You can do your research whenever you have time to find out the required information.

2. 24-hour Access

Another great benefit of online auction sites is that you can place your bid at any time of the day or night. You may think it’s not a big deal, but it’s a great benefit. Timezone won’t be a hurdle in your way, which means you won’t miss out on an opportunity just because you live in a different timezone than the seller.

3. Instant Feedback

Instant feedback is another benefit you can enjoy if you choose to use an auction site. It can be painful to find out if your offer was accepted. If there are a lot of offers, you may have to wait for several days for feedback. If you do your business on the Internet, you can enjoy instant feedback.

4. Budget-Friendly

If you are on a budget, you can save plenty of time and money by using an auction site. Since buying industrial equipment is a huge investment, you have to shop around to make sure you choose the right type of machinery. If you choose to buy online, you won’t have to travel to a lot of shops.

This is a huge benefit, especially if you are going to import the machinery from a far away destination where you can’t go because of your busy schedule.

You can save a good deal of money by reducing your traveling expenses. Now, you don’t need to spend on gas and roadside dinners.

5. Variety

When we buy something, we tend to choose from a variety of that product. This makes it easier for us to get exactly what we want. This is another huge benefit that you can enjoy if you head to an online auction site to buy industrial equipment.

Since online searches don’t take more than a few minutes per day, you can easily find out what you need without spending a whole day. On auction sites, you can choose exactly what your business needs. All you need to do is use the filter feature wisely.

The Takeaway

So, these are 5 benefits of buying your desired industrial machinery at an online auction. Just make sure you choose a reliable online auction and use the filter feature to see the list of relevant machinery only.

Analysis of Reverse Auctions and the Hardware and Software Components Thereof

Unlike some technologies that have sprung up for business use in the recent years, reverse online auctions is not at its core a technology, but rather an amalgamation of a plethora of technological subsets, both hardware and software. Reverse online auctions is a concept, a business process, that utilizes technology to facilitate the exchange of money and supplier contracts at the lowest possible price while still taking into account many other factors that may affect a business deal and prohibit it from reaching its potential success level. Reverse online auctions can be broken down into two components: hardware and the hardware vendors and software and the software providers.

First, the issue of hardware is paramount. If the current IS implementation of a company cannot handle the increased load of database calls and other integrated systems, then the client-side software provided will be of little use. The minimum software requirements for a server run by the company for the auction software are Apache Web Server, PHP 4 to 5, and a SQL database. Though Apache is the most resource intensive application on this list, it is one of the least resource intensive applications available as web server software. Existing servers can be used for the hardware as long as they are able to support the Linux operating system. However, if the software is being purchased on demand from a vendor, then the only hardware needed is a computer that can run the Windows operating system.

On the software side, multiple vendors sell the components needed to establish a connection to an online marketplace and offer contracts to suppliers. One of the largest suppliers of software as a service (SaaS) is Procuri. Procuri offers bundle packages for both suppliers and buyers, each available on demand. This software combines to form the backbone which allows for the completion of a reverse auction online. There are relatively few steps from signing up with Procuri to completing a successful auction. First, a financial management software package is implemented which allows a budget to be made for the auctions. Next, suppliers are found by listing the auction in Procuri’s marketplace and then evaluated using the sourcing software package. Next, the auction takes place, each subsequent supplier bidding lower than the previous supplier in order to win the contract. This allows for incredible cost savings for the company that listed the contract, though it is disputed how much these savings apply when all factors are considered. At this point, contract management software is used to ensure that the contract remains permanent in a digital environment and easily accessible for approval and renewal. Lastly, the supplier management software suite allows companies to audit their suppliers based on the claims that were set forth when the contract was created. This allows for corrective action to be taken quickly and effectively while alerting both the supplier and the buyer that an issue has arisen.

It is easy to think of this entire process as simply online reverse auctions, though there is much more underneath the surface than can be initially grasped. Like every new technology, studies constantly conflict about the benefits of using it; some, like Fortune Brands, claim savings of over 18 percent, while others debate if these savings, when they do exist, serve as a detriment to company/supplier relations and negatively impact the future of the business. As this technology is studied more heavily, businesses will eventually be able to see both sides of this argument clearly and make an informed decision about whether this technology is cost-efficient and prudent to use in their industry.

‘Fair Warning’ – 7 Legal Risks of the E Auction

Online auctions (or e auctions) are big business and can catapult the regional auction house onto an international stage with access to new and dynamic global markets.

Companies such as eBay have added all kinds of auction capabilities to their websites in order to attract users and add excitement. But running an online auction – an auction which is held over the Internet – raises many legal issues both for the seller and the buyer.

This article looks at ways to mitigate the organisation’s risks which come from adding an auction to a company’s website. The information does not constitute legal advice and organisations considering an online auction should always seek expert opinion.

1. What kind of auction?

You might think that an auction is a sale where buyers bid the highest price for an item and the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer confirms the deal. This English auction is the most common type, but there are others and each carry their own legal risks and responsibilities, including:

  • Vickrey auctions – the highest bidder obtains the item at the price offered by the second highest bidder;

  • Dutch and Yankee auctions – auctions formatted to handle a situation in which a seller wishes to sell multiple, identical items;

  • First-price sealed-bid auction – a single bid is made by all bidding parties and the single highest bidder wins, and pays what they bid. The main difference between this and English auctions is that bids are not openly viewable or announced as apposed to the competitive nature which is generated by public bids;

  • Reverse auction – where the roles of buyer and seller are reversed. Multiple sellers compete to obtain the buyer’s business and prices typically decrease over time as new offers are made. They do not follow the typical auction format in that the buyer can see all the offers and may choose which they would prefer. Reverse auctions are used predominantly in a business context for Procurement.

  • Bidding fee auction, or penny auction requires customers to pay for bids, which they can increment an auction price one unit of currency at a time

2. Bidder terms and conditions

Sophisticated auction websites such as eBay publish several policies that cover the variety of goods intended for auction. Less sophisticated sites will still need to carry bidder terms and conditions which include:

  • the method by which bids will be processed;
  • how winning bids will be handled;
  • how winning bidders will be notified;
  • the use of “reserve” prices (a secret price below which no bid is accepted); how disputes between bidders will be addressed;
  • how merchandise and payments will be shipped;
  • refund and return policies;
  • information on fees, membership eligibility requirements, and feedback mechanisms;
  • which country’s jurisdiction and laws will apply.

The rules may also include a list of prohibited items due to their potentially hazardous or unlawful nature (e.g., firearms, chemicals, or fireworks). Some countries may also prohibit certain products, such as France’s ban on the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

The European Distance Selling Directive does not apply to online auctions so bidders acting in a private (rather than a business) capacity do not have the right to a cooling of period, as consumers generally do when purchasing products ‘at a distance’.

3. ‘Sale of goods – as seen’

Offline, items are sold in auction ‘as seen’. Companies that are auctioning off their own goods (as opposed to merely creating a forum for third party transactions) should be particularly aware of the legal issues that auctioning specific items may pose, such as rare wine which may be subject to pricing or shipping regulations. Similarly, although companies may be tempted to describe their goods for auction with glowing words to encourage bidding, they should bear in mind that all the rules, regulations, and laws which govern the conventional sale of goods still apply.

4. Privacy

Most auction sites require that users, both bidders and sellers, register before participating. The registration process usually involves collecting some user information, including name, address, phone number, etc. The auction site owner should publish and adhere to a “privacy policy” regarding how it collects and utilizes user information online. This includes compliance with the EU cookies rules in EU member states as well as Data Protection.

Auction rules do vary significantly in other countries, so companies may wish to limit participation to their own country. However, if you do allow those in other countries to participate in online auctions, you must be aware of international privacy laws and regulations.

5. User feedback

Following the lead from eBay, many auction sites now provide a feedback mechanism through which registrants can provide post-transaction commentary about other users. This user “feedback” is meant to keep the bidding process open and honest, and to allow customers to communicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the seller and its goods. However, user feedback has already become the basis of at least one libel lawsuit, in which one car retailer sued another, alleging that the defendant had posted false and defamatory feedback.

Companies should incorporate rules concerning the content of user communications in their web site terms and conditions (not the same as bidder terms and conditions) as well as expressly disclaim all responsibility and liability for user-provided content.

6. Website terms and conditions

Website terms and conditions govern visitors’ use of your website. It covers issues such as legal notices, ownership of intellectual property, use of hyperlinks and disclaimers.

A “clickwrap” agreement requires the users to view the agreement and click “I Agree” or some similar wording before gaining access to the site or a feature. Terms and conditions are usually accessible through a link at the bottom of the home page of the site and do not require viewing or consent. Although many companies opt to have terms and conditions rather than clickwraps because of their more user-friendly nature, as between the two, clickwraps are more likely to be found to be enforceable in court.

7. Money laundering

In a cash high business, you have to take a zero tolerance attitude towards money laundering. Not only will the regulators come down heavy on an organisation that doesn’t have sufficient controls in place to prevent money laundering, but it also doesn’t look good from a commercial and professional standing.

And finally…

Auction companies tend to outsource the online part of their operations to hosting companies such as i-bidder. Not only does this ensure that expertise and service is consistent, but the auction company will also get access to a wider market as well as Internet savvy customers. All in all, professional auction houses will always ensure that customers have a safe and enjoyable browsing experience when bidding online.

What Are the Benefits of Selling Assets Through Liquidation Auctions?

There are times when it is necessary to make pretty tough decisions as far as our business is concerned. Try as you might, there may come a time when it is necessary for you to exit the business and to do so without merging it, selling, it or passing it on to another individual or entity. When it comes time to exit the business, you are going to need to develop an exit strategy that is well thought out and follows along with a plan that will benefit you to the greatest extent possible. One part of that plan may be selling some of your assets through liquidation auctions. Why is it a good idea to do this?

Before I begin to discuss the benefits of selling your assets through a liquidation auction, it’s important for you to understand that there may be other options that are available. It is always a good idea to discuss any exit strategy with your attorney as well as your accountant before you make this type of move. There may be legal ramifications that are associated with the closure of your business that you have not considered. Your accountant will be able to help you with any financial problems or questions that you may have so that you can exit the business with the least amount of financial impact on your personal lifestyle.

It is also a good idea for you to take a good look at your assets and the inventory that you have available. While it certainly is true that using a liquidation auction is going to be the easiest way for you to sell off your assets, there may also be some items available that would be better sold elsewhere. This is also something that you can discuss with your accountant to determine if there is going to be any financial or other benefit to you when selling those items.

Among the specific benefits of using a liquidation auction, one that is certainly going to be considered is the convenience of doing so. It is likely that you are dealing with a very stressful situation while you are closing your business and the last thing that you would want to do is to add a lot of stress along with it. Using an auction allows you to put the majority or perhaps even all of your assets on the auction block and to have them taken care of in that way. There is still going to be some sorting that will be necessary on your part, but if you don’t have to worry with the stress of selling those items individually, you will fare much better.

There are also additional benefits that should be considered because they can help to relieve you of some of the stress of the situation and to allow you to fully liquidate your assets. Included among those benefits is the marketing that is available to allow you to reach a much wider audience. There is also the certainty that the items are going to be sold and many full-service auctions have a regular following which may be looking for exactly what you are offering. So if the time is come for you to close your business, consider using an auction to liquidate your assets for the financial and stress management benefits that are available.

An Ebay Auction Businesses With A Twist

Who would ever have thought that eBay would become such a household name. eBay is not only the largest auction site, but also the largest marketplace in the world and their worldwide presence is unrivalled by any other website. eBay managed to built itself a reputation the world over as the place to come and find whatever you may be looking for. Regardless of what it is – somewhere in the world someone will sell it. Along with this reputation, eBay managed to do what ruined many of the early e-commerce sites, which was to build trust and confidence amongst their customers. On Ebay, people are willing to spend and the confidence they have in Ebay's payment and delivery system is reflected in their sales. With this in mind, starting an eBay auction business can be a highly lucrative venture for you.

One of the things that make eBay the success that they are, is that they offer virtually any person the opportunity to plug into their business. By opening your own eBay store you can get instant access to a huge client base – which is the very crux of doing business online.

Many entrepreneurs starting their own online businesses fail by not attracting enough customers to their website. Competition online can be fierce and website traffic has become a commodity. By starting your own eBay auction business you can eliminate this problem to a large extent. Starting your own eBay store is incredibly simple and inexpensive and you can just plug into Ebay's proven payment system without any difficulty or lengthy application and approval processes.

If this sounds too easy then hold your horses. Anybody who owns and runs a store can tell you the one simple truth: it's hard work! Running your own eBay store is no different and along with success can come a lot more 'hassle'. Dealing with customer issues, inventory and shipping orders can soon become a full time job. Although the profit potential is big, an eBay auction business is still hard work and many online entrepreneurs are trying to escape a full time job without sacrificing a full time income.

There is a slight twist on the theme though and out of the frustration of dealing with al the typical hassles that comes with owning a store, many entrepreneurs turned to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing became popular in the mid 90's and to this day it forms a huge part of online businesses and websites like Amazon rely almost entirely on affiliates. The fact that eBay offers a very generous affiliate commission on the sale of products opened up a new avenue for those who want to benefit from eBay without the usual hassles of running an online store.

By starting your own affiliate store you can start an eBay auction business without actually selling anything. By simply promoting certain products in your 'virtual storefront' you can direct customers to the most appropriate products and earn a commission for the sales that result from your referral. Although the profit margins are a lot smaller than if you were to run your own eBay store, the amount of work is a lot less. In fact, you can set your affiliate eBay store on autopilot and pretty much let it run itself while you keep earning commissions.

Residual income is a very powerful concept and one that the internet absolutely allows you to plug into. Most people today earn 'linier income' which means that they exchange time for money. Residual income on the other hand means that you do work once and it continues to work for you and earn money for you. This is the realm of the rich and with the internet it is within your reach.

The idea however, is to not be enslaved by a job you hate and to create the life you desire. Regardless of your preferences you can make money from home and with an eBay auction business anyone can do it. Whether you sell your own products or whether you sell other people products, eBay offers you the opportunity. It's all a matter of taking action and making it work for you.