OpenBazaar is a program that connects buyers and sellers directly in order to exchange goods and services for Bitcoin. OpenBazaar is not a website or organization and there is no central authority that controls trade on the decentralized network. This is how you can use OpenBazaar with no marketplace fees, no data collection, and no censorship; there is no middleman involved at all.
Because OpenBazaar has no central authority, there’s no one to kick scammers out of the platform. However, OpenBazaar users are given several tools to make their trade more secure.
First, buyers can leave reviews on vendors. If a vendor has multiple negative reviews, you should be wary. Also, consider contacting a vendor before making a purchase to confirm they are responsive, both within OpenBazaar and through other means they may provide, such as email.
Next, buyers can choose to use escrow for transactions to help protect their payments. Instead of paying Bitcoin directly to the vendor, you can choose a moderated payment, which goes into an escrow account that can only be accessed then two out of three parties in the trade agree. The buyer and vendor are the first two parties, and they mutually agree to the third party, called a moderator. If the trade goes through normally, then buyer and seller both agree to release the funds and the vendor gets paid as normal. If something goes wrong and either party opens a dispute, then the moderator will step in and provide dispute resolution, releasing the funds to the winning party.
This moderation system means that - as long as the moderator is reliable - scams should be entirely avoidable. It’s important to pick a moderator that is trustworthy.