Online auction fraud ranks first among the types of complaints New York state consumers make about the Internet to state and federal officials. According to a recent statewide survey by Consumer Reports WebWatch, the Internet integrity division of Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, 27 percent of New York state residents who have ever used an online auction Web site, such as eBay or Amazon, have experienced a scam or deceptive practice -- 32 percent of eBay users were scammed.
The survey, which focuses on online fraud, was commissioned by Consumer Reports WebWatch, which evaluates the credibility of Web sites and advocates for consumer-focused Internet policy and governance. The full report is part of Consumer Reports' free Online Security Guide, which has launched to coincide with National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Common Complaints of Online Auction Users
Eleven percent of users of online auction sites reported that they never received the goods they bid on, making it the most common complaint. Additionally, seven percent of survey respondents who received their goods said that they were not in the condition that they expected. Other common complaints included not being told a key detail about the item before it arrived (7 percent) and being sent an item of lesser value than the one they actually bid on and won (7 percent).
"Online auctions are great for bargains, quirky merchandise and collectibles, but you need to know what you are doing," said Beau Brendler, director of Consumer Reports WebWatch. "Con artists, rip-off specialists and sophisticated criminals can catch you at every step of the process, from bidding to payment to shipment."
"Using online auction sites is just one of the many ways that consumers can get stung online," said Jeff Fox, technology editor, Consumer Reports. "Our free Online Security Guide offers consumers tips, tricks, and advice for protecting themselves from a variety of Internet threats -- there's even a new animated video and an interactive quiz to teach consumers about e-mail scams."
Other survey highlights include:
Online Auction Sites New Yorkers Use the Most
Avoiding Online Auction Sites