I routinely see people who got burned by purchasing a DNA kit from EBay, Amazon, or a deal site, usually it’s AncestryDNA kits, but it can happen with 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA), FindMyPastDNA, LivingDNA, or MyHeritageDNA kits as well.
I am not saying don’t purchase from EBay, Amazon. You can buy from EBay, Amazon, or a deal site, but ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, activate the test as soon as you receive it. EBay, PayPal and Amazon are pretty good about refunding your money if you timely notify them there was a problem with the kit. The problems tend to be somebody already used the kit number to activate it, or the kit was purchased with a stolen credit card. The other problem is when the company or seller hypes it as a kit from one of the main companies, but it turns out to be from a different company.
The above applies to anything you purchase online as well as in-store local purchases. I purchased several cell phones years ago on EBay. Most were as advertised; a couple I couldn’t activate because the owner, who may or may not have been the one selling the phones, had reported them as stolen. Because I tried to activate the phones as soon as I received them, I was able to get EBay to refund my money and they did it pretty fast.
Even if you go with some “deal” site, you have options that are time limited. A reputable deal site should refund your money within a reasonable time frame. A less reputable site may deny or delay refunding your money. In those cases, contact your financial institution and fill out the paperwork to get your money refunded to your account. However, there is a time limit on how long you can wait when pursuing this course of action. Your financial institution may only allow 60 days from the time your card was charged to get your money back. That’s why it is imperative that you activate the test as soon as you get it. Plus, if it takes too long to get the kit to you, you may want to consider doing a charge back if it’s close to the 60 days, or however long your financial institution allows.
If you send it in the kit without activating it, it can sometimes take 6 – 8 weeks before you get notice the kit is invalid. It’s usually faster than that, but when you factor in how long it took the kit to get to you, especially if you forwarded it to another family member who lives out of the area, you may miss your window to get your money back.
Personally, I have no problem ordering from EBay, Amazon, or most deal sites for any DNA kit. In general, Ancestry has made it clear that if you order from Amazon or another site, and it’s not from their official page on the site, Ancestry won’t refund your money. I often see AncestryDNA or one of the other major DNA company’s kits on EBay for $45 – 55. Some may be scams, but others are people who purchased kits they did not use for various reasons.