At Addison’s, we are not only dealers -- we’re also collectors ourselves. Purchasing any expensive item from a dealer you do not know can be worrisome, but it needn’t be. Below, we will show you the best, easiest, and only real way to protect yourself against dishonest dealers, scams, and items not being as described. Protecting yourself is much more simple than many people realize, but first, it is important to understand the truth about “protection,” “guarantees,” and other promises we often encounter as online buyers.
THE TRUTH ABOUT GUARANTEES
The first step to safe online shopping is to understand that while most online book-dealers are honest, it is still important not to be lured into a false sense of security. The assurances of “protection” given by trade organizations auction sites, or payment processing services are typically more like promises, made in good faith, that those companies and organizations will make some effort to convince the seller to give refunds for items that are incorrectly described or otherwise undesireable. They do not, and realistically cannot, guarantee that the buyer will get his or her money back -- they can only guarantee that they will expel or discipline a member if they do not refund the buyer's money. In truth, only the seller and the seller's bank have access to the seller's bank account; thus, only they can refund your money.
When one reads the fine print of the various “consumer protection” policies offered by most third parties, one realizes that, when it comes to getting your money back, there is no real purchase protection at all. Worse, some of these organizations do not even publish their policies for the consumer to read in the first place! It isn’t because they just forgot to post the policy -- it is because they do not want you to see it! The policies of many of these businesses and organizations mostly function to protect the reputation of the business or organization while also limiting their financial liability to the consumer.
The point is this: Don't ever base your security on the promises or guarantees of third-party retailers, auction sites, or trade organizations. They all claim to offer the "best" protection -- so logically, that means all but one of them have already told you at least one lie! Luckily, you don't have to trust them, nor do you have to trust the seller...all you have to do, is pay by credit card....
HOW TO TRULY SHOP EASILY AND WORRY-FREE
There is only one thing the buyer needs to be sure they either get what they pay for, or they get their money back. That one thing is a simple credit card. You don't have to trust a seller -- you just have to pay them using a method that will hold them financially accountable. If you pay by credit card, it does not matter if the seller is a Square Trade member, or a Mafia member. If you pay by credit card and your item is received either damaged, not as described, is found not to be authentic, or is never received at all, your purchase is secure. Not only that, but if a merchant steals your card information and makes fraudulent charges, you are still protected.
Simply follow these steps when making an online purchase:
-- Do not buy anything unless a considerable description, and preferably a photo, is offered. To claim that an item is not described, there has to be a description in the first place! Ask the seller to provide a more detailed description and photo.
-- When you make a purchase, print and/or save the item description, photos, and any additional description the seller may have provided by email in answer to your enquiry.
-- Pay only by credit card. Do not use checks, bank drafts, wire transfers, or debit cards. If paying a seller through a credit card payment processor such as Paypal, your purchase is also safe-guarded so long as you fund the transaction with your credit card rather than with your checking account.
If you follow these steps, you are protected regardless of whether or not the seller is honest. The reasons are simple. Unlike most third-party businesses or trade organizations, credit card companies have actual access to a merchant’s account. When a dispute is filed, the card company immediately takes the disputed sum out of the merchants account and holds those funds until the dispute is resolved. Disputes can normally be opened over the phone in a matter of minutes. The credit card company will require that you first contact the seller about a return before opening a dispute, and they will require that you return-ship the item (whatever that item may be).
Credit card companies resolve disputes very objectively. They have no reason to favor the buyer over the seller. They deal with such disputes every day, and they know when they are dealing with a dishonest person, whether a buyer or a seller. Of course, if you do encounter a dishonest seller and have to file a dispute, you will have the annoyance of filling out a few forms, return-shipping the item (in most cases), and waiting a month or so for the process to take place. But in the end you will not lose any money -- and this beats trying to get your money back from a third party business or organization that will require the same hassles, send you in circles, and then produce nothing for you in the end except an apology and their deepest regrets.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE....
We decided to post this page due to a recent experience we had with an online purchase. If the above seems like we are speaking from experience, then that is because we are. We recently encountered a problem which required us to dispute an item we purchased online. The credit card dispute process (described above) worked very well, just as advertised. But in reality, we've made hundreds of online purchases and have never had a problem. And the simple truth is, when it comes to book-dealers specifically, we have never had a problem. Most dealers are honest and knowledgeable, and the few who are not are typically very easily identified.