The American multinational e-commerce corporation known as eBay has been in operation since 1995 when founder Pierre Omidyar brought the world of auction sales to the internet through its website. Since then, eBay has grown into a multibillion-dollar business that operates out of over thirty nations. In addition to serving as an online auction site, it also serves as an Amazon-like shopping experience with the "Buy It Now" option. As successful as this company has been, it has not been without running into its fair share of controversies as its name has been included often as a platform where not every buyer and seller is as ethical as they should be. As hard as eBay tries to maintain the fairest trading platform possible in the form of e-commerce, the human factor remains as that one variable that continues to put snags into what would otherwise be a perfect system.
Rolex SA has been in the business of making watches since 1905. As far as wrist-wearing timepieces go, owning a Rolex seems to be the equivalent of owning a piece of an elite social status pie so few people are able to achieve. The trademark of Rolex, aside from the crown that is featured on their watches, is bringing forth some of the world's priciest and most coveted watches of all time. As Rolex's reputation seems to be as exquisite as the watches they produce, the downside is there is a multitude of pretenders who do what they can to come as close to bringing forth their own brands as Rolex knockoffs. In many cases, these measures are done so people who don't have a fat enough wallet to afford a genuine Rolex may be able to afford the next best thing. However, there are also many cases where Rolex knockoffs are designed with every intent to fool the consumer they are buying the real thing instead of a carbon copy that may look the part but isn't quite the same.
For as long as people have engaged in any form of commerce, even long before the internet was first introduced to the public, there have been ethical merchants who deal with their customers honestly as well as dishonest merchants who will stop at nothing to make a fast buck at the consumer's expense. Prior to the internet, at least any deal performed between the buyer and the seller would place the buyer into a position to physically see and touch a product before agreeing to make a purchase. However, even in that regard, unless the buyer knows every little detail to look for, the potential to become victim to a scam is still enough where even the buyer beware mentality isn't always foolproof. Now with the internet, and a surge of e-commerce sites that have followed eBay's coattails, the luxury buyers had over sellers in this regard has been taken out of the equation. In fact, long before the likes of eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, and Etsy grew into the giants they are today, very few consumers dared to trust any online store to do business with. It didn't help matters when some court cases between a plaintiff and defendant would air their ugly laundry on made-for-television programs and eBay's name would get dragged through the mud. Although eBay directly was not at fault with whatever scam it was that caused an argument to go public, it was still their platform such conduct would be made, which did not paint a good picture of trustworthiness where the company itself is concerned. While eBay has always had a buyer beware statement issued on its website, not everybody reads it. Due to the number of court cases that have erupted between two parties who used the eBay e-commerce platform to conduct business, eBay has since taken a far bigger stand against fraudulent activity, but even in this regard, they can only do so much. As careful as eBay is to screen sellers, their system is not perfect. Sadly, many ethical sellers have found themselves on the receiving end of a hasty judgment call by the community standards team of eBay while many unethical sellers continue to slip through the cracks. Until eBay resolves this one issue, the threat a buyer may encounter whenever doing business with a seller still remains.
Rolex on eBay
When visiting the main page of eBay, then entering Rolex as a search, you will see a page full of listings of products that match your search criteria. From there, as a buyer, you will be scrolling to find that perfect watch you're looking for. You will find a list loaded with offers suggesting the watch brand is brand new, as well as a list that offers them as used in various conditions. Although it is said pictures say a thousand words, the manipulations that can come about with a program like PhotoShop now put the authenticity of those pictures in question. This is a reality. Even in publications such as Auto Trader and newspaper classifieds, sometimes the pictures shown don't always match the actual product being sold. Sellers who are really good at what they do, including dishonest ones, know pictures (and now videos) are a really good way to capture the interest of a potential buyer. Hey, since this tactic has worked for years as television commercials, why would it not work on the internet? Advertising has the biggest presence on the internet and is unavoidable, even if you have prevention measures in place to stop ads from interfering with your internet viewing experience. Whether the intention is good or bad, sellers who list their items on eBay are naturally doing so in hopes a buyer will become interested enough to either place a competitive bid on it or buy it outright, depending on how the offer has been set up. With highly coveted items such as Rolex watches, there is no shortage of buyers and sellers of this brand. For buyers looking for something specific, such as a certain generation of Rolexes from a specific series, the ability to narrow down the search is always available on the left side of the page listing. When going over that list, you can pick and choose if the watch you're looking for is gender-specific, material-specific, model-specific, size-specific, and year-specific. There are also choices a buyer can make between new and used, color preferences, shipping options, and even the watch's location. Furthermore, if it's the buyer's preference to spend a certain amount for the Rolex they seek, the option to narrow down that search perimeter is there as well.
Bid or Buy
There is also a purchasing format an interested buyer can choose from. If the competitive nature in you wants to place a bid, the Auction option, which relieves the headache of a potential bidding war that could become a long, drawn-out process. On average, there are about five hundred listings of Rolex watches in the Auction category while in the Buy It Now category the number has been known to go as high as fifty thousand. There is also a category titled Accepted Offers, which serves as a good research tool to see how much the Rolex watches have been selling for. Is the watch you seek on eBay in that list? If so, what did it go for? For you, as a buyer, it makes a good frame of reference to work with should you go view that same type of watch among the listings where it may be available. However, be careful should that Rolex watch you're eyeballing happen to be available on eBay, whether it's from the Auction category or Buy It Now. Is it real? If it is, there should be a registration number. As for the listing and the asking price, does it seem realistic enough, or is it too good to be true? Regardless of whether it seems realistic enough or not, a cross-reference check is highly recommended before proceeding. The last thing you want to do is buy at the spur of the moment out of excitement, only to realize that dream watch you just paid good money for has turned out to be a nightmare. When cross-referencing, don't just look up information about the Rolex watch that's been listed. It would be wise to look up any information you can about the seller. Unless you can verify without doubt the seller is on eBay for legitimate reasons, you have to face the possibility you could be dealing with a possible scam artist.
Look For Blue
What helps to distinguish the difference between sellers who have yet to establish themselves as legitimate and those who already have is to look at more than just the credentials of the name and its claims. Are there any flags featuring a hollow star that says Top Rated Plus? If yes, then you are likely dealing with someone who has proven to be a reliable seller, at least according to the number of ratings and sales it has received. You will know this when you scroll the mouse over a listing that has the blue flag with the white star on it. Should you see one, hover the mouse over it and it will show a blue box of the key information you can read before deciding if you wish to click on the Learn More link or not. You will find listings that have the Top Rated Plus feature included already have an established rating of being trustworthy enough to do business with. There is also, in blue, a small circle that features a white checkmark inside. This means there is an Authenticity Guarantee, letting the buyer know the item listed is legitimate. The watch has been inspected by a professional who is an expert in the trade of being able to tell the difference between a real Rolex watch and a counterfeit. However, even in this regard, make sure the company selling the authenticated watches is worth your time and money. Not all of them are.
Watch the Stars
While not every rating should be taken at face value, most of them usually are honest enough to help determine whether or not a seller is worth a buyer's attention. In addition to looking out for the blue, also keep an eye on the gold stars. Like most other online e-commerce sites that exercise the option to leave reviews and star ratings, eBay does the same. Among the Rolex listings featured on eBay, there will also be some listings that will see that five-star rating associated with an item and its seller. From there, how many stars do you see? Is it a perfect five out of five? If so, how many of them are there? If it's just one, be wary. Is that really an honest review, or was it done by someone who is out to boost a seller's reputation as a means to win customers? If there are a large number of reviews, at least a hundred of them, this is a more trusted number to go with than just one or a few. Naturally, the higher amount of stars a seller has from the highest amount of reviewers the better. Numbers like this, combined with any of the blue highlights such as Top Rated Plus and/or Authenticity Guarantee, should serve as a clue the seller of that Rolex watch you may be interested in is worth your time and money.
There are sponsored listings on eBay, paid for by advertisers who want to stand out from the rest of the crowd. While it seems a seller who is willing to fork out money to stand out from the crowd may come across as legitimate, sometimes they're not. Even on top search engine sites that have ads plastered at the top of the front page, not all of them are brought forth by a legitimate seller who is as ethical as they come across. Scammers know how to sell too, and they know their craft well. So in this regard, don't blindly believe a sponsored listing, whether it's on eBay or anywhere else for that matter, is worth your attention. Again, unless there's any Top Rated Plus and/or Authenticity Guarantee attachments to that seller's listing of the Rolex watch, regard it with extreme caution. Buying a Rolex watch, even if it's the cheapest money can buy, is worth way more than just a loaf of bread.
Ready to Buy
Let's say you have found that ideal Rolex watch and you're confident enough to at least place a bid on it. Just like shopping for any other product from an e-commerce website, the moment you click on the item of interest you are taken to a page where you either have the option to place a bid on it or buy it outright. The instructions for either option are clear enough to follow. From there, it's a matter to decide what method of payment you wish to go with.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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