eBay Auction Inquisitor
If you purchase and sell items regularly on eBay you surely had your share of auctions that did not go as well as intended. Most of the times it's just items that are send with delay or money transfers that go wrong. Sometimes however you run into fraudulent content which can be easily recognized by experienced eBay users while beginners may have a hard time distinguishing between legitimate auctions and those that are not.
The eBay Auction Inquisitor analyses auctions for the user. The user has to provide an auction id which is visible on every item page on eBay and the program will analyze the auction and the seller running 25 tests.
This includes seller sale history, seller feedback, Return Policy, Payment and Feedback Tests.
A list with results of all tests is generated and presented to the user with a final analysis that displays passed, unclear and failed tests. What I really like about the software is that it is easy to use. The only user input that is required is the item id.
The report is well structured and adds some well placed advise; for example it gives the advise to compare the previous sold items with the item currently on auction to make sure the seller did not sell inexpensive items and switched suddenly from cheap to expensive ones. The latter could be an indicator of something fishy going on, for instance that a hacked account is being used by criminals.
Experienced sellers probably do not need the Auction Inquisitor but it is definitely a nice addition to new sellers, especially when it comes to buying expensive items on eBay. The tool is available for Windows and Mac OSX
Auction Inquisitor can be downloaded from the developer website. The program has not been updated since 2008, which could indicate compatibility issues with recent versions of the eBay marketplace.
Update: The application is no longer available, the developer website has been abandoned. Probably the best thing that eBay users can do right now is to vet sellers manually when they are interested in auctions.
Here are some pointers:
- The seller's feedback rating and percentage of positive feedback is displayed on each eBay auction page.
- You can click on the feedback count to display information about the number of positive, neutral and negative feedback the seller received in the past 12 months.
- The very same page highlights other information of importance, for instance the date the user became an eBay member.
- Check the photos to find out if they are stock images or (likely) taken by the user. You can run searches for the image on image search engines to find out if they have been used before on other sites.