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Precautions when buying something from an individual online?

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Yes, PayPal is probably your safest option, but consider the risks carefully before completing the transaction.


I would pay out of pocket for insurance if it is available and the seller isn't including it. If the seller can't prove it was sent, PayPal will refund you. However, if the seller can prove the item was sent to the correct address, you probably won't see any money back.


Have you seen pictures of the item? If an item arrives not as described, you can file a claim and it will probably be found in your favor, but PayPal will make you return the item at your own expense. (Ask me how I know this. :glare:)


Paying by credit card funded PayPal may provide you with a little extra protection. If you don't like the outcome of a PayPal claim, you may be able to file a chargeback with your credit card company. However, there's no guarantee that your cc will find in your favor, and you run the risk of angering PayPal. They may respond by closing your PayPal account.

Edited by jplain
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