Here's what you need to look out for when shopping online

Melbourne woman warns of buying goods from other users online

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Buying and selling goods to other people online is becoming more and more popular, but a Melbourne woman found out not all websites and apps are created equal.

When shopping for something specific, there are numerous websites and apps where you can buy and sell your goods, so when Jeanine McGrady was looking for a window unit air conditioner, she turned to eCRATER.

"I was doing some research and eCRATER got a really good rating, so I decided to do business with eCRATER," she said.

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McGrady said she ordered the Homepointe Mechanical Window Air Conditioner, paid the $100 fee and wanted the item shipped to her home.

She then contacted the seller, who said it would be shipped in four to nine business days, according to McGrady's email chain.  

It's been two months since she placed the order.

"Unfortunately, I have not gotten the air conditioner," McGrady said. "I don't have the money for it. I don't have anything to show for it."

McGrady said she filed a complaint with the website.

Eventually, eCRATER responded.

"(The) merchant's store has been disabled by our risk team," a company representative wrote in an email to McGrady. "We do take further actions with the merchants, but we do not discuss these actions with anyone other than the merchant."

McGrady said the incident left her feeling violated.

"I feel violated," McGrady said. "I think how many others have had this experience and how many millions of dollars have they duped people out of."

Attorney Steven Kramer said all sites and apps are not created equal.

"You buy at your own risk, and if you're online, that risk is amplified," Kramer said. 

He did have some tips for best practices, though.

"The best sites facilitate transactions between sellers and buyers and give them advice on how to protect yourself how to avoid scams," Kramer said.

Obviously, many people buy things online every day and never have a problem, but before purchasing on any app or website, especially from other users, you have to read the terms of use, according to Kramer.

"And you're looking for buyer protection," he said.   

Some apps and websites have clear and concise money-back guarantees. eCRATER does not.

In an email to news 6, a representative pointed out that transactions go directly between the merchant and the buyer.

"Buyer protection would be through your payment processor," the company's website also states. In McGrady's case, the processor was PayPal.  

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McGrady said eCRATER is passing the buck.

"This is how they run their business. It's shoddy at best," she said. "They allowed the seller to be on their website, to use their home base to sell their products out of. I think that they have to assume responsibility," she said.

McGrady filed a dispute with her bank card. Both eCRATER and Paypal said it is up to McGrady's bank to refund the money.

News 6 is still working with McGrady in an effort to get results and get her money back.

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