Byte Me Article 341 – Who Can You Trust

28th October 2017

Minimise Risk of Buying Online

This week we focus on the security and loyalty risks associated with computers.  As the reliance on technology increases so does our need to trust that the information that we put into a computer will not fall into the wrong hands.  It is not that long ago any important transactions and dealings were mostly done face-to-face.  With the advent of the Internet and advances in technology the face-to-face transaction is rapidly diminishing.

We are now doing important transactions with people that we have never met and in many cases people that we will never meet, as they could be on the opposite side of the world.  For instance the vast majority of computer users will now have purchased goods from EBay and in many cases these goods are from overseas.

The question with any of these transactions – “can I trust the other person to do the right thing”.  In the case of EBay there is a seller & buyer rating system that gives previous customers the ability to ‘rate’ their experience with these people.  So if you are serious about selling wares on EBay then this rating system is not taken lightly.

In the case of not only EBay but also many other online transactions we have now seen a company called PayPal emerge as an intermediary money handler and arbitrator all in one.  They take a percentage of the sale from the seller and offer the buyer a level of protection if the purchased wares are not as described in some way.

PayPal can arbitrate between both seller and buyer and can even offer full refunds in the case of a duped buyer.  PayPal is not restricted to EBay transactions and is now one of the payment options for the vast majority of online shops.  I have found this service to be brilliant and can recommend it as adding a great amount of security to any online purchase.

One of the more recent ‘online market places’ is Gumtree – which is essentially another EBay albeit with far less checks and controls.  The PayPal system is rarely available for Gumtree purchases and this places more emphasis on being surer about the sellers’ authenticity.

If you are looking a purchasing an item through Gumtree then there are still a range of checks that you can do yourself for a greater level of security.  These checks will vary with the purchase price of the item and where it is physically located.  If you are picking the item up in person then you have the right to veto the deal if upon inspection you find the item significantly different to described.

If you are getting the item posted or shipped then you are most likely paying for it up front in full and this is cause concern.  Whether buying or selling, do not proceed with this sort of transaction without at least talking to the other party over the phone.  If they are not able to talk over the phone then find another party that is.

To further be sure of their genuine intentions enquire about the reasons for sale and ask for further photos or service history.  If this item is of higher value and in a different town or state then either ask a friend to look at it for you or an independent 3rd party that can do an appraisal of its worth. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

For more advice and assistance from Kerr Solutions, like and follow us on Facebook