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Virtual Toy Chest's
Guide to Buying Toys Online

Many of us have purchased toys online, and just as many have gotten ripped off. Here are some helpful hints to protect yourself from online fraud.

(1)Obtain a written description of the item that you are going to purchase and its condition
All sellers should provide this information on their website or auction listing. If the information is not listed, consider e-mailing the seller to obtain the information. If the seller is legit, he should be happy to post a description, as he is trying to sell his toys.

(2)View digital pictures of the items that are for sale
This lets you evaluate the condition of the items, so as not to rely soley on the seller's written description. If the seller does not have photographs or they are in any way inadequate, ask for them or request he post new ones. Again, if the seller is not a crook, he should be happy to provide the pictures.

(3)Always create a contract with the seller
Never send someone money, or trade toys without a contract.

(4)Obtain the seller's contact information
It is important to obtain the seller's name and address, if you need to contact him for any reason. Their telephone number is also a useful piece of information.

(5)For large purchases consider using an escrow service
The service, which is operated by a third party, holds the payment and goods in a trust until the payment is clear and the condition of the goods is confirmed. This prevents sellers from accepting payment and never deliveing the goods. The only downside to escrow services is their cost. They generally cost at least $20.00. This makes them uneconomical for small purchases.

(6)Always have the seller insure the package
If the package does not arrive, or if the items are damaged in shipment you can be reimbursed. Also ensure that the seller packs it properly as well, otherwise if the items are damaged the insurance company will deny the claim.

(7)Never pay in cash
Always use a tracable form of payment such as a money order, check, or online payment.

(8)Do not give your credit card number to an unreputable seller

These tips protect you from the common forms of online fraud. However, you can never be too careful. Trust your instincts, if something about a transaction does not strike you the right way it may be best to stay clear.

Copyright 2004 Virtual Toy Chest
All rights reserved.