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emilewski: Looking for input on Bricklink transaction

emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
edited June 2013 in Buying & Selling Topics
I just got a Bricklink order for a large $240 set from someone in the US (as am I). They have zero feedback and it is a new account. If I put on insurance and signature confirmation and if it is a paypal verified address, am I covered against fraud? Everyone has to place a first order sometime but this is a big set to be scammed out of. (As in "Hey Paypal, they sent me a large paperweight, refund all my money back" regardless of insurance and signature confirmation). Advice?


  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    I would personally take extra precaution, although not quite sure what measures. When I joined bricklink as a buyer, I made a few small orders to get started and build up my feedback.
  • LegobutterflyLegobutterfly Member Posts: 488
    ^ this. When I first joined my orders were small, and think largest has been about £30 to date. It's hard as everyone does have to start somewhere but it's a large set and amount of dollars to lose if the person is not honest. It's a tough one, but perhaps chat with paypal and see if they can make any recommendations?
  • indigoboxindigobox Member Posts: 470
    @emilewksi you could see of they have any feedback on other sites to help reassure you.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,384
    edited May 2013
    Everybody has to start somewhere, and if it was a low value order then I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and go ahead with it. But a high value order with no feedback already in the bank ? I'd be extremely wary. As suggested above, if they've built up feedback on eBay etc. then that might help. Otherwise no, for me.
  • alexwilalexwil UKMember Posts: 369
    Agree with what everyone else says, also, if you do go ahead, may I suggest you take photos of the items that you are sending, before and after packaging.
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    ^ My understanding is that photos would not go anywhere with word that I shipped what I photographed vs their word that I scammed them and Paypal will always side with the buyer.

    What about requesting that they pay by money order or check? I ship once cleared. The risk is then on them and not on me as the seller if they want to go forward with it.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,033
    As you said; insurance and signiture conformation is a must. As far as asking them for payment in Money Order, I think that's a good idea, however you have to word it nicely if this was not in your Terms. Just explain it nicely that you feel nervous about the transaction because of the 0 feedback and the history of scammers on eBay and Bricklink. Also mention to them that you will fully insure the package for the safety of both of you. Hopefully they will understand, but they may not agree. I would also suggets to add it to your Terms that you reserve the right to cancel orders from low or negative feedback buyers, or to request payment in Money Order.

    BTW, Paypal doesn't always side with the buyer. I have had one case where the buyer claimed they never received the package and just sending the tracking info was enough to close the case because it showed as delivered. The package wasn't even insured.

    I think taking pictures is a good idea. I'm pretty sure that I read about a case in the Bricklink forum where the pictures indeed helped in deciding a case in favor of the seller in a Paypal dispute.

    I would also suggest you ask this question on the Bricklink Forum. The sellers there are seasoned to deal with stuff just like this and coudl probably offer some other suggestions as well.
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 182
    Just curious, how much positive feedback does a new user need to have before they are trusted? I've been buying mostly small orders, with a few larger ones sprinkled in and have about 30 positive feedback responses.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    ^30 is plenty in my opinion.

    The feedback/order size ratio is one to be taken case by case. I have had brand new buyers on feeBay and BL make considerable orders and all has gone well. In most cases, I simply initiate contact to get a feel for their seemingly sudden need for a pricey toy, and I make sure to emphasize the terms of my returns policy. If you can find diplomatic enough wording, you can be quite forthright in your own motives for wanting to be clear and communicative. Let's face it: sometimes when the Lego itch first erupts it needs a really good scratching. Just be cautious, cover your a$$, and try to communicate any reservations with the buyer.

  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    Thanks for the input from all. The store policy about negative/low feedback buyers is in my store terms now. ;) I have dealt with new zero-feedback buyers before without issues, it is just that this is a big set. I will initiate contact and see how it goes.
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 861
    Keep us posted!
  • bluedragonbluedragon United StatesMember Posts: 491
    I sold 2 large sets on bricklink to a buyer with feedback of 1. We exchanged a few emails and he agreed to mark his PayPal payment as gift, which was my insurance policy. This was a recent transaction and the packages are still sitting in customs but I think I am covered no matter what. You could suggest this to your buyer and hopefully he will trust your history of positive feedback.
  • brickgrrlbrickgrrl Member Posts: 6
    My first bricklink purchase was a $120 cafe corner. (And boy, do I kick myself for not buying a Market Street, but I was just getting over my dark ages.)
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 440
    By the way, will really paypal take a buyer's reason "they sent me an empty box" as a valid reason for a refund?

    I mean, it's your word against his, and there is no way to protect yourself against that. Do they really do it?
  • cardgeniuscardgenius Member Posts: 153
    Outside of eBay, I think PayPal only requires proof of shipping. I sell shrimp online and have had a few people file claims cause the shrimp arrived dead(buyer chose 2-day instead of overnight which is no guarantee) and all PayPal ever wants is proof that I shipped it.
  • SpicySpicy Member Posts: 25
    Good to hear you added a policy for that. I've only auctioned a few doubles of toys on eBay, and if not for a tracking number one of my buyers would have swindled me out of money once. Paypal has sided with the seller when they're not in the wrong. :3
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    Update for any interested. I sent a nice email asking some shipping questions and nicely raised my concerns and suggested the couple of alternate payment methods. I received a reply this morning requesting to cancel the order because they missed my box description on the listing (box is so-so). I note that the address in BL for him is in MN but his email address is from Azerbaijan. A non-issue in any event. Thank you everyone for your replies and advice!
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Seems as though you may have avoided a scam.
  • BeavBeav Member Posts: 303
    Thought I'd ask here instead of a new thread, I'm buying an expensive figure from a seller with zero feedback.

    I'm going to ask for insurance, but if they can't they don't insure it am I covered through PayPal if it doesn't arrive?
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,642
    Yes, but there are complications if the seller sends you "something" with tracking and try to convince Paypal he did actually send you the item(s). It is then your words against his.
  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    I've had only one problem with bricklink and I've placed over 100 orders. Bought a sealed Mos Eisley for $80 from a seller with no feedback, he provided pictures and answered all my inquiries. I knew it was too good to be true, but I really wanted the set and decided to gamble. Made the payment, waited for two weeks and noticed the seller received a negative > scam alert. I contacted the seller and received no reply. Also spoke with the other member that placed the order (he bought a $750 sealed UCS death star) and we decided to file a claim with paypal. In a week we both got our money back from paypal.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,248
    ^ Buying from a 0 feedback seller especially when they're offering something that looks too good to be true is a whole different issue from selling to someone with 0 feedback. Its good business for everyone on Bricklink to want more people to buy from the site and that will only happen with new people coming to it.

    I've sold big sets to 0 feedback buyers with no problem. Let them know that you'll only ship to the paypal address and as long as they pay and you provide tracking proving it was delivered you should be covered.
  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    The heat is killing me, I've actually read the topic wrong.

    Indeed, a whole different issue; also sold to a few new members with no problems. A few of them actually bought expensive sets, mainly parents trying to get retired sets to make their children happy for holidays that somehow found their way to bricklink. As long as you ship registered shouldn't be a problem.
  • BeavBeav Member Posts: 303
    Thanks guys, they included insurance, I sent payment through PayPal for goods or services, I've saved all emails between us and taken screenshots.

    I've done all I can to protect myself.
  • BeavBeav Member Posts: 303
    Ok, the Bricklink store I ordered from has been temporarily put on hold "for info". Obviously now I'm worried. The seller sent me a tracking number, but on the Royal Mail site it can't find it.

    Has anyone else had a similar issue with Bricklink stores being suspended after an order, is there anyone I can contact about it?

  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    You should probably contact the bricklink admin to see why the store is on hold.

    Where did you buy the item? From what I've noticed Royal Mail doesn't track registered letters, you should check it with the origin post.
  • BeavBeav Member Posts: 303
    Cheers, I'll contact one of the admins.

    I bought it from a seller based in Hungary, a country I've never had any issues with in the past. But the zero feedback and now this has made me really think it's a scam.
  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    Try checking the code here:
  • BeavBeav Member Posts: 303
    vitreolum said:

    Try checking the code here:

    Thanks a million for that, it recognises the code and it comes up from Budapest, and that the item was registered, then sent yesterday.

  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    No problem, glad I could help. :)
  • BrikingBriking Dorset, UKMember Posts: 751
    Just spotted #10190 MS for GBP 490 and a new #10182 CC for GBP 380 by the same vendor on Bricklink, Toysbuddystore (Maintained by hotbricksales). Then I realised it's only been open since October 5th, has Zero feedback and only accepts payments by Bank Transfer, Money Order, or Western Union Transfer.

    Is it just me, or is there a whiff of fish in the air?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,313
    There are probably 10 new listings like that every day on BL.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    @Briking -Personally I would not buy from a brand new seller unless I communicated with them first. It's still no guarantee, but it would make me feel better, or I would trust my gut.
  • NellyNelly Member Posts: 77
    I would like to take a few steps back, regarding selling to a buyer with zero feedback. Would it make a difference to have them send funds as a gift via PayPal? That way they are not making a 'purchase'? In that way maybe they would not be eligible for any protection.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ They can send a "gift" payment using a stolen credit card, they can accept the fees. The payment would be charged back and since it was a "gift", you'd have no seller protection at all.

    I only accept gift payments from someone I know.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^^Just sold a decent sized SW set to a 0-Feedback seller on BL last week. Didn't think I could get suitable assurance anyway I swing it, so just went with Buyer paying for full insurance (~$5 for $220 value) with shipping costs. That way, if anything goes wrong then we both come out of it okay.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    edited October 2013
    On Sunday my wife got a 3+ pound(1,600 grams) 1,200 piece order from a new member right here in our own state of Pennsylvania and charged the exact shipping amount and the guy said that the shipping was too high and refused to pay it... He said that he had made many orders on Bricklink (despite having Zero feedback) and said he was never charged that high of an amount... I think the shipping total was $7... I told her not to pick orders that large for new buyers prior to sending an estimated shipping/Order total... Live and learn... I told her to email the guy and tell him that she would ship it for free since it was already picked and bagged... He paid right away and she shipped and insured it and the total was over $10...

    I place a 500 gram(a little over a pound) order for $50 form Holland last week and was Charged $46 for shipping including a $7 fee to cover paypal expenses...

    How much are Paypal fees in Holland..?
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    ^I blame Bricklink more than anything for that. The fact that you have to blindly go into a transaction not knowing the exact shipping is ridiculous.

    Yeah, you can try to figure it out, but reading some store terms can sometimes be loopy, mostly because there is no consistency across the platform. Any store can do/charge/overcharge anything they want.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,313
    You can always ask a seller for a shipping quote before submitting the order, sending them a link to your cart contents.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    @tensor, they actually did say that the shipping would be a minimum amount of 25 euro, but I never even noticed it when I placed the order.. I have ordered hundreds of times from European sellers and never had a shipping price that high, so I just took it for granted that everyone was on the same page as far as reasonably charging for shipping went... In fact I placed an order that exact same day from Magic Magnus in Germany and the order was 3x the weight and cost and he only charged me under 10 euro for shipping, so when I got the invoice for the other one for the much smaller order I was shocked.. I was going to cancel the order, but in their store terms they said that orders could not be cancelled because of the high shipping cost... I don't mind so much that I got burned with the shipping as much as the 5 euro for Paypal fees and the extra 1 euro for picking the order...
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