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eBay Explained

eBay is one of the safest places to trade online. To ensure you have a great experience, follow the 5 simple steps below.

eBay's Security Centre was developed to provide you with all the help you need to trade safely on eBay. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the available advice and resources and most importantly, use your common sense.

Go to the Security Centre

A member's feedback rating is their reputation on eBay. Each time you buy and sell successfully, your trading partner will leave you positive, neutral or negative feedback with a comment on how you conducted yourself during the transaction.

Whether you're placing a bid or you've successfully sold an item, reviewing your trading partner's feedback about previous conduct on eBay can give you a good idea of what to expect in the transaction.

Learn more about Feedback

If the seller has an About Me page or an eBay Store, you have even more ways to learn about your seller before you buy. Simply click on the  or  icon in the Seller information box.

Learn more about your trading partner

One of the most important aspects of purchasing an item on eBay is being sure about the item you want. Knowing the condition of a used item, the authenticity of a collectable or an item's model number are important factors that can have a huge impact on price. You can always check a Completed Items search to review other similar items that have been sold and at what price. Learn more.

If you are unsure about the item you are about to bid on or buy, ask the seller a question. A good seller will always welcome enquiries. You can also email previous buyers about their experience with that seller.

To ask a question simply click on the 'Ask seller a question' link in the seller information box on all item pages. The seller will then be sent an email with your question and will respond directly. Learn more.


Use a safe method of payment. Sellers on eBay offer a variety of ways to pay, so choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

PayPal is the safer, easier way to pay and get paid. When you use PayPal, your financial details are never shared with anyone else. PayPal is free for buyers and cost-effective for sellers. Learn why 8 out of 10 international items sold on eBay get paid with PayPal1 .

Additionally instant cash wire transfer such as Western Union or MoneyGram are not permitted on eBay.

Learn more about paying safely

In the unlikely event that a transaction does not proceed as planned, PayPal's Buyer Protection Programme is designed to protect buyers.

Enjoy peace of mind when you use PayPal for your eBay purchases. PayPal's Buyer Protection Programme covers you for the full purchase price of your eligible eBay item plus its original shipping costs2 if you don't receive it or if it's significantly different from what the seller described. Learn how to ensure your eBay purchases are covered.

Plus, PayPal protects you in many other ways to safeguard you against fraud and identity theft:

  • Data Encryption – strongest commercially available
  • 24/7 transaction monitoring by over 2,000 anti-fraud agents
  • Cutting-edge fraud technology
  • Financial information is never shared

Learn more about how PayPal protects buyers.

Although rare, if misuse is suspected, eBay users are encouraged to report it to our dedicated Trust and Safety Team.

1 eBay study of South East Asia seller activities - Jan 2009
2 In the case of a significantly-not-as-described claim, it's the buyer's responsibility to pay for return shipping costs, if necessary.