For some, it feels like they've won something instead of buying it. But for others, it can lead to paying more than the item is actually worth.
Buying things online can be a quick and easy way to equip the kids for back to school. But experts warn you also put yourself at risk of online scams. Some practical advice can save you; rule #1; never send cash.
"If somebody asks you to pay in cash or use something like Western Union, it's just a red flag that they're trying to scam you," says Todd Kent, Technology Director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
Some web sites use services like PayPal to facilitate payments. It keeps the seller from seeing your credit card number but protects you if the product arrives broken, or not at all.
"Make sure to check for the little security logo or a lock in the browser bar," says Kent.
Rule #2 - If buying local, meet in person.
"Buying items in a local classified can give you the opportunity to see it before you buy it. "
If you do meet the seller insist on meeting in a public place, and let a friend know where you're going.
And finally, read the terms and regulations of each site you're bidding on. Some sites won't get involved in resolving a problem you have with the merchant. But ebay.com offers a resolution center in case a solution is not reached.
Ebay.com and amazon.com ranked highest for their massive inventories and ease of navigation.
Users should be sure to read the terms and regulations of online sites thoroughly.