Online Auctions

Online auctions are one of the hottest new shopping experiences around. You can buy and sell almost anything online. I equate this to going to the world's largest flea market. At this market you will wander the virtual booths. You will find junk, kind of junkie stuff, collector's items, and maybe some hard-to-beat deals. However, prepare yourself! Understand the potential hazards inherent in online auction participation. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the value of the items you bid on, payment options, policies and procedures for the auction that you are participating in. Many of the sites will set up a personal page for you to track the status of your bids. Remember the rules of the auction site. Be advised that many state laws require you to follow through on your bid. Happy Hunting and Bidding!

Judy's tips:

Refer to the FTC: Let the FTC help you understand the potential hazards of online auctions. Visit their site and read their consumer alert: "Online Auctions: Going, Going, Gone".

Pay by credit card: Should you encounter a problem during your transaction, call the credit card company immediately. They may be able to offer you some assistance.

Check the shipping costs: You sure do not need to buy a $10 item that will cost $20 to ship.

Know the seller: If you are unable to feel comfortable with the seller's identity, do not buy.

Establish the warranty and service policy pertaining to your purchase: This also means that you should know in advance the procedure for correcting a problem.

Keep a paper trail: Retain copies of the item listing any correspondence entered into. This will support any future claims that may need to be filed.

Too good to be true? Maybe it is not true, do not bid if you feel that there are risks involved.

Does the site have proxy bidding?: Some sites will automate the bidding process by letting you establish a maximum, then the proxy service, alerts you (email) when you have been out bid and with the intent that you will up the bid. They all operate in a slightly different fashion and bear many cutesy names such as Bid-Buddy, Bic-Click or BidButler.

Know if and what the return policy of the auction site consists of: Some sites offer insurance. Should you encounter a problem: contact the site. A complaint dealing with fraud and bad transactions can also be registered with the FTC at 202.382.4357 or their web site.

Use an escrow agent when large purchases are involved.
As of this printing, the site offers $250.00 insurance against fraud. Check to make sure it is still an offer. You will find collectibles, flea-market type items, etc. at this site.

The place for art lovers.
The auction site that pays you to shop. When you reach have reached a certain amount ($20 at this writing) will send you a check. The site directs you to participating merchants and alerts you to extra dis-counts.

This is an award wining site. eBay provides free insurance to make you more secure and comfortable with the auction trading.

Egghead Auctions
You will find PC hardware and software at this auction site.

First Auction
Have you ever visited the Home Shopping Network and enjoyed it? Well, First Auction will also rank high with you. You will find an array of furniture, clothing, jewelry, food, etc.

The site for computer and office equipment.

Pro Music Exchange
Musical instruments are a speciality at this site.
At, you decide the price you wish to pay for something, post a bid. You will then see if anyone will accept the bid. The site offers travel resources such as airline tickets, hotel rooms. There are home mortgages, automobiles and ever so much more to buy.

Sporting Auction
If you are looking for sporting goods and equipment visit this site.

Wide range of computer products.
This site is for users to go to, not post items for sale.

Yahoo! Auctions
You will find toys, collectibles, flea-market type items at this site.