This page contains an exhaustive list of eBay tips that every beginner person should take the time to read. This page covers everything from how to buy, sell, become a powerseller, prevent fraud, and much more.
The list of links below contain the main contents of this page (if you want to jump-to a specific section):
- How to Buy on eBay Online
- How to Sell on eBay Online
- Tips for Great eBay Listings
- eBay About Me Page
- How to Boost Sales on eBay
- How to Add Video to eBay
- How to Become a Powerseller eBay
- How to Prevent Fraud on eBay
If you are a bargain hunter, then you will definitely want to take advantage of the great deals you can find on eBay®! To start shopping & saving money, simply go to www.eBay.com & set up an account. It is free to have an account, free to shop around, and free to buy items (except for the actual cost of the item of course).
Setting up an account is simple. Just click on the “register” link on eBay.com, enter your information (choose an eBay® user I.D., enter your name, address, email, etc.), and confirm your registration by clicking on the “confirm account” link in the email that eBay® sends to your email account. Once you register for an account, you can start by shopping & looking at listings.
Also, before you start searching or buying items, you may want to read our preventing fraud section to ensure you don’t get scammed.
Searching for Items
To start searching for items on eBay® , enter a keyword into the search engine & hit “search.” It will then bring up all of the items listed on eBay® with the keywords you entered. You can then browse through the various listings.
Also, you can sort your searches based on price (low to high, etc.), time the listing has left, or locations closest to your zip code. This can help you to narrow your search & try to find the best deals.
Once you find an auction that you are interested in, always read every description carefully. Make sure that is it is the proper condition, size, shape, color, format, etc, that you want. If you are ever unsure about something, always contact the buyer before placing your bid.
Also, take time to understand how much the shipping will be, and how long it will take for it to be shipped as well as the payment terms. I would estimate that 90% of the problems buyers have with an auction is the fact that they do not take the time to actually read what they are buying first. They then get the product & are unhappy (and usually blame the seller) because they did not read the entire auction.
Also, take time to look at the seller’s feedback rating. If he or she has a poor percentage, then you may want to quickly browse a few of the recent comments.
Bidding & Buying Items
Once you have found an auction you are interested in, carefully read the entire auction, asked the seller any questions you have, and checked the feedback rating, you are ready to place your bid or “buy it now.”
To place a bid, simply click on the “bid now” button in the auction. You will then be taken to a page where you can enter the full amount you are willing to pay. It is best to wait until the last minute to place your bid to avoid getting outbid by another buyer.
Also, bid in random amounts. For instance, most people will bid a whole dollar amount ($5.00). To try to ensure that you are the winning bidder, enter a random amount ($5.37). When you place your bid, make sure to enter the full amount that you are willing to pay for the item. You will only have to pay that much if the auction reaches that amount.
If the auction is a “buy it now,” then you will not have to worry about bidding & you can immediately buy the auction. Once you win the auction, you must pay according to the terms of the auction. Most sellers will accept Paypal® , money orders, or checks. It depends on the seller and some sellers may only accept one payment method.
Always make sure to pay as soon as possible for your item. There is no point in waiting several days before sending payment. You should try & pay immediately, or at least within 1 day. Also, NEVER place a bid unless you intend to pay. This costs the seller money and time, and you will likely get suspended from eBay if you do this.
Completing the Transaction
Once you have submitted payment, wait for the seller to deliver the product. If the buyer delivers the product as advertised in a reasonable amount of time, you should go ahead and leave them a great positive feedback. As a buyer, it is your responsibility to leave feedback first. For eBay® feedback etiquette, keep reading. If there are any problems with your purchase, always contact the buyer first to try & resolve any issues.
Starting a Seller’s Account
Not only is eBay® a great place to shop for deals & save money, but it is also a great place to sell your items! Whether you sell your own personal items or upgrade to a business, eBay® is a great place to make extra money. So how can you start selling on eBay®?
To start selling on eBay® you will need to upgrade your buyer’s account to a seller’s account. To do this, all you need to do is put a valid credit card on file with eBay®. You may also need to provide a checking account number as well for verification purposes. Once you have done this simple step, you are able to start selling goods online.
After you have upgraded to a seller’s account, you will need to think about what kind of payment methods you will accept, what items you are going to sell, how you will ship items, etc.
You can accept various payment methods online. You can accept Paypal®, money orders, wire transfers, cash (if picked up locally), personal check, or cashier’s check. To avoid fraud & speed up payments, I would recommend you use Paypal®. Paypal® is free to sign up for, and only charges you a fee when you accept a payment (usually only 2.9% of the transaction + $0.30). Paypal® will allow you to receive payments immediately so you can ship the items out. Also, you can transfer the funds from your Paypal® account to your checking account free. For more information or to set up your free Paypal® account, go to Paypal.com.
Selling Your First Item on eBay
Once you have upgraded your account and decided on how you will accept payments, you are ready to sell your first item. Before selling, however, you should browse eBay’s® selling policies to make sure that the item you are selling is allowed, and also review the selling fees you will incur once you list your item.
When you have familiarized yourself with eBay’s® fees & policies, you can list your item. This is a simple process & eBay® will allow you to choose your selling format (auction, fixed price, etc.), select a category, choose your price, insert pictures, describe your item, enter shipping information, & enter payment information.
You can choose to have either a fixed price auction format (buy it now), or you can start the item at a low price & allow bids. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, with fixed price, you can sell items quicker & accept payment immediately.
The downside of fixed price listings is that you might have made more money if the bidding had gone higher than your fixed price. With bidding you could get more money than you expected with your item. However, you will have to wait until the auction ends to receive payment, and there is always a chance that the buyer will not pay or the bids may not get as high as you would like.
Both methods are great, and it really depends on the type of item you are selling. For instance, for a normal item, I would sell at a fixed price. For a rare or antique item, an auction may be the best.
After selecting your auction format, you are ready to choose your category. Some categories are obvious, and some may be difficult to decide on. If you are ever unsure on which category to choose, use eBay’s® category selector. Just enter the keywords & it will show you the categories that similar items are listed under.
Now you are ready to make your title & describe your item. Choose words in your title that are relevant to your listing. Also, always try to fill the entire title section with good keywords.
When describing your item, always clearly state exactly what it is you are selling, the condition of the item (new, used, etc.) the color, shape, size, brand, and anything else that is relevant. Be sure to include things like when payment needs to be received & how, shipping terms, if you accept returns or not, etc. Take the time to think about all of these factors & put it in your listing.
After you enter the item’s description & title, you are ready to enter price details & add pictures. Think carefully about your price. For an idea of how similar items have been selling, you can check completed listings. Also, in this section you will be able to insert a picture. If you are planning on selling items frequently, you will want to invest in a digital camera if you do not already have one. You can usually buy an inexpensive one that will do the job for around $30.00.
Take a great picture in a well-lit room. Be sure to show the item from any necessary angles. Then simply upload the image from your digital camera to your computer.
To add the picture, just click on the picture button and it will bring up the photos stored on your computer. Then select the correct image & it will add it to your listing. You can also add additional pictures to your auction. You can either pay $0.15 per picture for eBay® to host it, or you can host it yourself for free. For information on how to do this, check out our HTML Codes section.
After this, you can add any features you want (bold, highlight, etc,), select your shipping rates, enter payment information, and submit your listing. This part is very easy & eBay® walks you through the steps. You just have to fill out the necessary information. For information on how to estimate shipping, check out our shipping articles.
After you have submitted your listing, you can monitor your item in your “My eBay®” section. Simply log in & you can see the current price, how much time it has left, etc. At this point, it is just a matter of waiting until someone buys or bids on the item.
Completing the Sale
After someone buys your item you are ready to accept payment, make a package, & ship it out. If you had a “buy it now” auction, then the buyer will pay immediately. If it was a bidding auction, you will have to send the buyer an invoice at the close of the auction. To do this, log into you eBay® account & click on the “send invoice” link beside item under the sold section.
Once payment has been safely received, you can package the item & ship it. For detailed information on shipping items & printing labels, check out our shipping articles.
After the buyer received the goods, he or she should leave you a feedback first. This is not required, however, and up to 60% of buyers may never leave a feedback comment. However, if a buyer does leave a feedback you should always leave a comment back. You should never leave a feedback first as a seller. It is the buyer’s responsibility to leave feedback first to indicate receipt of the goods.
Now that you know the basics of how to sell on eBay, you can learn some great tips on making better auction listings.
Follow these simple tips and you too can have great looking auctions every time!
1. Always clearly and fully describe your item! This will make the buyer more confident if he or she knows exactly what they will be getting. Include things such as size, color, condition, shipping price, type of payment, if you accept returns, etc. Basically, make sure to include anything the buyer could want to know. This will also reduce the amount of questions you will get.
2. Always use a font size that will be easy to read. Also, break your description up into many short paragraphs instead of one long continuous paragraph. This makes reading the auction much easier.
3. Use colors in your auction, and try to add some HTML Codes or use Templates to make a professional looking listing.
4. Always add a great gallery picture. This is easy, only costs $0.35, and will likely help your auction sell. Also, make sure the picture is clear enough & large enough to be easily noticed.
5. Add additional pictures in your auction if necessary. For some items, one picture may be all you need. But for some items, you may want to show the back or side view. In this case, the more pictures the better. Remember, you can add pictures for free by hosting your own pictures online & adding the html code to the auction. For more information on how to do this, check our HTML Codes section.
6. Clearly state your shipping policy, how it will be shipped, and the price. You can either charge a flat rate, or you can use eBay’s® shipping calculator so that the buyer can calculate shipping. Either way, make sure the buyer can understand all of the costs before buying.
If you will follow these simple 6 tips, you can have a great, professional looking auction every time!
Now that you know the basics of selling & how to create a great looking auction listing, what are some ways that you can increase your sales online?
If you want an easy way to help boost your eBay sales & make your customers or buyers feel more comfortable purchasing items from you, you should consider creating an “About Me” page.
An “About Me” page on your eBay account will give you an opportunity to let potential customers know more about you or your company. It allows you to talk more about yourself, family, hobby, interests, business, and much more! It is kind of like a Myspace for eBay!
If you sell anything on eBay, you should definitely have an “About me” page even if you are not a business. This will help you increase your sales by increasing buyer confidence & you can promote your items for sale on your “about me” page.
eBay About Me Pages
To create an eBay “About Me,” you should log into your eBay account. You can find the about me link on your account.
Once you have found the page, you can create your own unique “Me” page. What should you write about? You can tell your buyer’s something about you or your business. Say things that can help promote your products, & instill buyer confidence.
Try to make people feel as if they can trust you & they will give you their business. If you are unsure about what to write, take a look at other people’s about me pages. Many people will include a picture of themselves (and sometimes their staff/family members), talk about their experience, policies, hobbies, personal interests, and much more. It is also a good idea to talk about the products you sell. This is a great way to let potential buyers see the “human” side of you (as opposed to the unseen digital aspect of the internet), while at the same time boosting your sales.
Take the time to write out a “sales pitch” and anything you want to include about yourself and/or your products. Also, gather any pictures you want to use. When you have everything you want, log into your eBay account & click on your account options, or go to the “help” link on your eBay page & enter About Me. You can also use the link in the paragraphs above to access the About Me section.
DON’T forget to add some neat HTML codes to your About me page so you can do things such as show your current auctions, feedback score, & more. The link below has a page with all the ABOUT ME html codes. We also have some FREE About me Page Templates that you can use to easily copy & paste into the about me page section & then simply add your own material.
Okay, by now you should have mastered all you need to know about creating an eBay® sellers account, creating a great looking auction listing, and you listed your first items for sale online. But…sales are a little slow, and you want to know how you can speed up your sales. No Problem! Just follow these simple tips on how you can increase your sales online on eBay®!
First, make sure you have followed all of the tips on the “Listing Tips” section above. This will ensure that your have a great, professional looking auction which will almost always help your sales.
Use good relevant keywords in your auction’s title. You should include the brand name, what the item is & any alternative names it may have (for example: bathing suit/swimwear). This will ensure that buyers will be able to see your listing when searching for these keywords. Also, always list your item in the appropriate category. Remember, some buyers will search based on keywords, and some will just browse categories. By doing both, you are increasing your chances of selling your items.
Cross promote your items. Include a hyperlink in your auctions to your other items for sale. This can help generate more traffic to your other listings & increase your overall sales.
Take advantage of free auction tools such as auctiva’s rotating display of your items for sale. You can insert this for free in your auction, & this will give buyers an opportunity to see your other listings as well as click on them. For more information, go to auctiva.com. .
Offer shipping discounts or bonuses if buyer’s purchase more than one item. Also, throw in free gifts from time to time for more expensive items. This can help stimulate sales.
Bundle non-popular items with popular items. If you have had trouble selling a particular item, use it as the free gift as mentioned above.
Having trouble selling a large quantity of items? Maybe you should consider selling the entire lot. There are plenty of buyers out there looking for items on eBay® to sell in their “brick & mortar” type stores.
Insert a link or picture that will allow the buyer to “watch your item.” This will place your listing in the buyer’s account. They will then see your listing when they log in, and it will increase the chances of a sale.
List several auctions at the same time. By doing this, you will increase your overall traffic, especially if you are using a tool like auctiva or placing links or pictures to your other items for sale. Basically, this is like getting more traffic or “hits” to your listing because if a buyer looks at one auction, they will see all of your other auction’s also.
Take advantage of eBay’s® extra selling & promotional tools. Adding bold, highlight, featured, or home page features will greatly increase your chances of a sale. Of course, these features do cost extra, so you should only use them if the benefit will exceed the extra cost.
These tips will greatly increase your traffic (or hits) to your Online auction, which in turn will greatly increase your chances of a successful sale!
But wait… want to know how you can become an eBay® Power Seller?
Not only can a video help to boost sales, but inserting a video in your auction can be better for both the buyer & seller.
It is great for the buyer because he or she can actually listen & watch the product or service in more detail. Using video can be great for the seller because it makes the auction or web site stand out. So what are the benefits of adding a video to your auction or website, what can you do with your video, and how do you do it?
Benefits of Adding Video
In today’s competitive marketplace, you must find a way to rise above the competition in order to ensure success. Putting a recorded video in your eBay auction listing or web page can be a great way to do this. Why? When you add a video your visitors can see the product or service you offer on a whole new level. You can communicate things that written words just cannot describe. They will be able to see the product in 3-D mode, and you have the opportunity to “sell” the product or service to them.
People sometimes get bored just reading auction after auction or website after website. Instead, give your customers a break & allow them to set back & watch while you demonstrate the product or service you are offering for sale. Video is THE tool to help you achieve this new level of communication.
What Can You Do With Video?
With video, you can show them the product in 3-D mode. You can let them “see it in action.” This can be an incredible selling point. You can even add live testimonials, demonstrations, examples and much more. Also, when you actually speak in a video it is much more persuasive & effective than just a regular “typed” sales pitch.
How to Insert a Video
If you decide you are interested in adding a video to your eBay auction or website, then you will have to learn the technical steps involved. There is a great (and cheap) eBook instruction guide on the subject that shows you how you can easily create your own video & place it in your auction at no additional cost to you.
You will not have to pay hosting fees, you don’t need your own website, and you DON’T need expensive equipment. All you need is a simple digital camera (it doesn’t even need a video feature), and a connection to the internet (which you should already have if you are reading this). That is it! Learn more about adding video to eBay, blogs, and more.
If you are just starting out selling on eBay®, then you may be asking yourself: What is an eBay® PowerSeller? Why would I want to be a PowerSeller & what are the benefits? How can I be an eBay® PowerSeller & Fast? These are all great questions! We will try to address all of them starting with:
What is an eBay PowerSeller?
An eBay® PowerSeller is a member that has met all of the necessary criteria in order to be considered a PowerSeller. The minimum criteria are listed below:
Maintain eBay® community values, including honesty, timeliness and mutual respect
Average a minimum of $1000 in sales per month, for three consecutive months
Achieve an overall Feedback rating of 100, of which 98% or more is positive
Have been an active member for 90 days
Have an account in good financial standing
Comply with all eBay® listing and marketplace policies
Achieve a minimum of 4 average monthly listings for the past 3 months
PowerSeller program eligibility is reviewed every month. To remain PowerSellers, members must:
Uphold eBay® community values, including honesty, timeliness, and mutual respect
Maintain the minimum average monthly sales amount for your PowerSeller level
Maintain a 98% positive total feedback rating
Maintain an account in good financial standing
Comply with all eBay® listing and marketplace policies
Maintain a minimum of 4 average monthly listings for the past 3 months
There are 5 different levels of PowerSellers on eBay®, and they are based on monthly sales averages.
What are the Benefits of Being an eBay PowerSeller?
First off, being an eBay® PowerSeller is Free! You will receive an email invitation from eBay® once you have met all of the necessary criteria above to become a PowerSeller.
Why be a PowerSeller? Some of the great benefits of joining the program include: Prioritized Email Support, You will receive a FREE Welcome kit with your new eBay® PowerSeller Certificate, opportunities to network with other PowerSellers, Special offers from both eBay® & businesses that eBay® works with, plus access to new suppliers, & more!
Furthermore, you have the eBay® PowerSeller symbol displayed by your eBay® user ID, to let others know about your high level of sales & accomplishment (which in turn can increase your sales).
What is the Fastest Way to Become a PowerSeller?
Of course, you will have to meet all of the requirements listed above to become a PowerSeller, but here are a few tips to speed up the process so you can be a Power Seller in the shortest amount of time possible:
1. Gather enough merchandise to sell, so that you can make at least $1,000 in sales for 3 months straight. You can sell anything you want as long as it is in compliance with eBay’s® selling policies. Most people that have gone on to have huge eBay businesses & have became PowerSellers by starting out with items from home that they no longer wanted or needed (that’s how I started)! In fact, I would estimate that the average person has at least $1,000 worth of items they could sell.
2. If you have not yet reached a feedback rating of at least 100 comments, then you should be more aggressive with your buyers. For instance, send a thank you letter with each product you sell or email the buyer after the transaction is completed asking them to leave you a positive feedback & you will do the same. Remember, many buyers will never leave feedback, so you may have to request for them to do so.
3. Of course, pay all of your eBay® fees on time & follow all of eBay’s® selling policies. This sounds simple, but it is a very important step.
If you follow these basic steps, you can become a PowerSeller within the 3 month time period it usually takes. It is a great accomplishment, and it is definitely worth it!
Now that you are on your way to being a Power Seller, here are some tips & information about Feedback Etiquette. See: how eBay feedback system works.
Also, you will definitely want to check out the article on how to ship items you sold through eBay as well, as it contains numerous tips on shipping and saving money on materials.
When buying or selling items online (either on a website or an auction site), you must take the necessary precautions to prevent fraud.
There are several types of scams online that could affect you whether you are buying or selling goods, or even if you simply respond to an email or browse web pages. Below we will first discuss common scams, & then explain how you can avoid them and see to it that the scammers get busted! SO MAKE SURE you click on the link at the bottom of this page to find out some tips on how to avoid the following fraudulent activities.
Common Online Scams
Scam # 1 Phishing Scams
A phishing scam (pronounced fishing) is a where someone will try to get your personal information (passwords, credit card numbers, etc.) by sending you a spoof email, creating a fake auction listing, or by any other means they can try & trick you.
The way that email phishing works is they will send an email that looks 100% identical to the company’s email that they are imitating (like Paypal®, eBay®, a credit card company, etc.). They will say something like “Your Paypal® account is being suspended” or “You have money in your Paypal® Account,” etc.
Basically, the email will have a link inside that says Paypal®, but when you click on the link you will be taken to a web page (that also looks identical to Paypal’s® website). This website, however, is not Paypal’s® website. When you “sign in,” the scammer will get your password & then he or she will be able to get into your account & steal your money. They will also sometimes send a question, or anything to try & get you to click on any link in the email so they can get you info.
Again, these look 100% real, even have similar subject, and the link may even contain the word of the company-so watch out. This same type of scam is also common on auction sites.
Basically, the scammer will create a bizarre or crazy auction that will get your attention. When you go to click on the auction, however, it will pop up a window asking you to sign into your auction account. During this scam, it is a fake web page that looks identical to, say, eBay’s® sign in page. Again, they will get your information, steal any personal information that they can, and then proceed to use your auction account to make even more fake listings so they can continue the scam. They can do this “phishing” type of scam by imitating any popular website or company.
Scam # 2 Selling Scams
While the majority of online sellers are legitimate, there are some people that think can be sneaky & create a fake auction, website, or classified ad to scam you (in nearly all cases, however, the scammer will be caught). This is a simple case where you buy something & never receive it. Basically, the scammer will place an item at a great deal to lure you in, and then he or she will accept payment & you will never hear from them again.
Scam # 3 Nigerian Scams
This type of scam usually happens when you are selling an item. The scammer will contact you (most likely by email) & tell you that they really want to buy a particular item from you. They will then go on to tell you that they are even willing to pay you the full price, or even much more than the full asking price. They will then proceed to send you the full payment (which is fake) later asking you to send the rest of the money back or to hurry & ship the item. They usually either send a fake Western Union payment, fake check, fake money order, or some other fake method of payment. You will probably not even know the payment is fake, and the banks will even cash the payment & give you the funds (but they will be contacting you in about a week or two to let you know that it was fake). The scammer will then scam you by either persuading you to send the item, or send them some of the payment back (which will not be fake). So in essence, they send you a fake payment, and get either real money back, or the item you are selling–leaving you with the bill.
Scam # 4 Buyer Scams
There are several versions of this scam. Basically, a buyer buys something from you & either pays you with fake funds, or claims that they “never received” the item in order to attempt to get the product for free. Also, they may try to persuade you to send the item to a suspicious address or they may request a C.O.D. A COD is a service provided by the United States Postal Service & stands for “collect on delivery.” Never do a COD because the buyer could give the postal worker a fake check or money order.
All of these methods are considered fraud, and when caught, the scammer will have to face serious consequences. These are just a few of the most common scams facing the internet today. Of course there are others & scammers will be use different versions & techniques of the same scams so always watch out.
More Tips to Prevent Fraud
1. Never, Never, Never give out your personal information to an individual. Only make purchases online through secure, well-known payment processors such as Paypal® or Google® Checkout, etc.
2. If you ever receive an email from either a company or an individual, never respond to the links in that email-PERIOD. Simply close the email & then log into the secure website to answer any questions or to see if there are any issues that need to be resolved. Emails are often used to steal people’s information by placing links that are incorrect, but identical to the site they are imitating.
3. If you ever receive a window asking you to “sign in” to a website (such as eBay®), never ever sign in unless you are 100% sure you are on eBay’s website. Even then, I would recommend that you close the window, go to eBay’s® (or website’s) home page, then sign in to your secured account. Then you can go & look at auctions.
4. Never buy an item or bulk of items from a seller that seems suspicious. Remember even honest sellers can get his or her account hacked into & stolen. So even if the seller looks legitimate, always be cautious. Use only your credit card for making purchases online through a secured payment processor such as Paypal®. Most credit card companies can offer protection against purchases that are fake or never received. Also, make sure that you will be covered with “buyer protection policy” on the site you make your purchase on. Also, if you are making a large purchase, ask for a physical address with home phone number first so that you can call to verify the transaction or company. That way, if the scammer does not deliver the goods, you can use the home phone & address to track him or her down & recover your funds.
5. If anyone offers to pay you too much for an item, or tries to get you to ship via C.O.D. or to an invalid address, it could be a scam. Only ship to verified, Paypal® Confirmed addresses. This insures that you will be covered from any potential fraud. Also, always make sure that the payment has been received & is in your account before ever shipping a product. If you accept money orders or checks, never send the item until it clears, even if the buyer is upset about waiting a week or two.
6. Only buy within a secure site. If a seller (or buyer) is trying to get you to make a purchase outside of a secure site, never do it. Not only could it be a scam, it is also against most site’s policy. For example: you have an eBay® auction & a buyer or seller is offering to buy an item outside of the auction.
7. If you ever ship a package to someone, always get at least Delivery Confirmation or make sure it is traceable in some way. Some companies will trace the package & request signature, and some only do this for an extra fee. But as a seller, always get at least Delivery Confirmation to prove that you shipped the item.
8. Use common sense. Even though most scammers are very clever, if it sounds too good to be true–It probably is!
How to Stop Scams
1. Forward any suspicious or fake emails to the appropriate authorities. For example, if you get a fake email that looks like it came from Paypalï½®, forward the email to Spoof@paypal.com. They will then work to disable the website that the scammer is using. If the email was from eBayï½® or another online site, then log in & contact customer service or the fraud department to let them know as soon as possible. The same goes for any fake auctions that try to get your information. Report them immediately to the appropriate authorities.
2. Keep records of any email addresses, account names or websites that the scammer tried to use. This information can be extremely helpful in catching the scammer & bringing them to justice.
3. Alert the proper law enforcement or online fraud authorities about any scams that you run across. They can work to not only catch the scam artist, but also to educate the general public about any new scams.
Although buying online is relatively safe, always take the proper steps to reduce your chances of getting scammed. Also, remember that not everyone is out to scam you. I have dealt with many transactions (both buying & selling) that have turned out perfectly! Just always keep up your guard, be honest, and you should be able to avoid these common scams.
I personally have received several scam emails pretending to be Paypal® or from people on eBay® trying to convince me that they are a “wholesale company” or that they could pay me X amount of dollars for an item. I just laugh & forward these to the proper authorities. Also, I am lucky enough to have family in law enforcement, so I make sure to forward all scams I come across over to them.