- Read the feedback. There's a very low likelihood that you'll encounter someone dishonest or whose products are bad, but you should check out what other shoppers have said. Comments and reviews are also great sources of information on the products themselves — how else will you know which body lotion people are crazy about?
- Use Paypal. That way, your credit card number never goes to the seller or over any unsecured lines. Also, if you receive an item that's not as described, you can put in a claim with Paypal to get your money back.
- Request samples. This one is particularly key if you're thinking about buying foundation or concealer, because the colors can vary widely and photographs aren't always accurate. Just email the seller. Most of them should be open to sending you small samples, especially if you're willing to pay postage or a nominal fee. It's not a waste of your time, either. When I first began purchasing on Etsy, I bought some stuff that looked nothing like it did on the site and had no way of returning it. Which brings us to . . .
- Ask about the return policy, and try to get a guarantee. When you're buying products sight unseen, there should always be an easy return or exchange option. Check out the seller's return policy, and if it's not on the site, feel free to ask about it.
- Be vocal. If what you got wasn't what you ordered, don't just write it off as a loss. All it takes to remedy the situation is a couple of emails. First send a note to the seller explaining the situation, and then, if you don't get the response you were looking for, go to the feedback. Often, a seller is much more open to dealing with your claim if you make your dissatisfaction public.