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How Internet Escrow Services Work
Associated Press

A sampling of how Internet escrow services work:

A buyer and seller enter into an online business transaction.

The buyer sends a payment to the escrow service — via credit card, personal check, money order or cash.

Money is placed in a bank escrow account and held there until it's available — i.e.: five days for a personal check to clear, two days for a money order. Credit card purchases can be expedited immediately.

The service tells the seller to ship the purchased item within 48 hours to the buyer.

The buyer usually has 24 to 48 hours from the time the item is received to look it over and accept or reject it.

If accepted, the service releases the payment to the buyer.

If the transaction is canceled, the buyer must return the merchandise to the seller. The money is returned only after the item is received by the seller.

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