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How to make sure you (as a seller) don't get scammed?!

DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,079
edited February 2015 in Buying & Selling Topics
Hi everybody,
seeking quick advice,i (based in Germany)just sold a Town Hall via Bricklink to a buyer (UK) with zero feedback. What can i do to make sure this is no scam? He's paid via paypal and of course i will send the package insured/tracked,but besides that is there anything i can do to make sure that in case the buyer wants to scam me i can prove that i did everything right? For example,if he files a paypal-claim is there any proof besides the post-office receipt that i should have at hand?
I've made several transactions worldwide but somehow this one makes me cautious...
Thanks for any advice in advance!

Comments

  • CupIsHalfEmptyCupIsHalfEmpty CanadaMember Posts: 547
    To the best of my knowledge paypal only insures the seller if you have signature confirmation of delivery.

    The other issue I could see arising is box condition. town halls are becoming very expensive so the buyers might be more picky about condition. I would make sure the buyer is aware of any flaws on the box.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    PayPal payment as 'gift' because the buyer can't force a refund.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,285

    PayPal payment as 'gift' because the buyer can't force a refund.

    Sounds like the buyer has already paid. In any such case, I doubt the buyer would agree for fear of a "reverse scam". It could also get diggydoes a negative feedback. You never know how a buyer could react to a seller asking them to pay via a method that offers them no protection.

    Insure the package and get a tracking number. Ship it using a reputable shipping service (no idea what that is in Germany). Take pictures and maybe even a video of you packaging it up and you shipping it at the post office. Anything helps if things were to go sour.
    madforLEGO
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    yep missed the 'paid' part.
  • DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,079
    Thanks for your input so far!
    Well the box condition is flawless so nothing to worry about that! I'll def.make sure to wrap the set in bubble-foil and use a sturdy outer box.
    I've asked the buyer (before he paid)to use the "send as gift"option,but he didn't wanted to and i understand that...
    I'm just not sure if taking pics/shoot a video of me packing the box is of any interest if a biyer files a paypal claim? Never had this happen so not sure what paypal asks for.
    I'll use dhl which is a pretty reliable shipping service with full insurance.
    Well in the end i hope my feeling proves me wrong here
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    Check the address on google maps street view, it won't necessarily tell you much but gives you an idea of where it is going. If it happens to be a business address you may be able to get some details and can try calling and asking for the person. Although they may find that a little creepy :)

    I recently sold a Haunted House on eBay, and for the first time in my 8 years of selling on there I actually cancelled an order off of my own back. The buyers eBay and PayPal account were created that day (PayPal account was obviously non-verified) the buyer sent me message as soon as they bought and paid for the item asking me to let them know the tracking number and the exact time it was sent. A few other things raised alarm bell's so I decided to cancel and refunded the money.
  • wayneggwaynegg Texas,USAMember Posts: 394
    Even with a reliable shipping service, paypal will refund if the buyer claims to have never received. Even with delivery confirmation. Nothing, aside from signature confirmation, will fully protect you. Spend the little bit extra for it instead of learning the hard way as I did. I was cheated out of $20. I'm comfortable in assuming you have much more on the line.
  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 444
    When selling online I tend to talk (skype or email) a lot before a deal is in place. You get a good idea of how things are going. You will both have something in common so a skype chat will not be awkward... (Assuming you both are collectors...) If skyping you can show the box etc.
    Gifting is sensible on low value items, not really when you ordering something via a shop. I would need to speak to the seller and etasblish a rapport bofore trust is etablished.
    Do you know somebody in the UK that you could post to? Then the buyer could pay cash.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    Gosh, as a buyer there's no way I'd accept a request for a PayPal payment as 'gift' or put up with a prolonged email/skype interrogation.
    cheshirecatmsandersmatticus_bricksPitfall69monkey
  • msandersmsanders Member Posts: 935
    I thought I would offer my advice. Like others have said as a buyer I wouldn't pay by gift option, especially with such a large amount (and I would be suspicious of any seller asking for me to do that. I would have cancelled the order straight away so I'm surprised that they are still going through with it). I've done gift option on this forum before but only for small amounts. In any case, in your situation the buyer said no, which I think is expected.

    As long as you are sending the parcel with SIGNED for delivery and you have the proof of postage, you have nothing to worry about (except if the item gets damaged in transit so make sure you insure it for the WHOLE amount).

    I recently had an issue with someone on eBay. I parted out a set and sold on eBay. I used Royal mail recorded delivery (signed for). The buyer claimed non-receipt of the items, however Royal Mail tracking showed it had been signed for. Paypal closed the case in my favour straight away once I provided them with the proof of postage certificate and they used this to see that it had been signed for.

    I did my own investigation into the issue and as it happened the item was signed for by the Concierge in their building block (the buyer live in a block of flats). I managed to contact the concierge directly and they said that the item had been collected from them, two days after the buyer opened up a non-receipt case against me. The buyer still managed that they didn't have the item but the concierge said that only the occupiers of the flat would have been able to collect the item. I told Paypal this, and they didn't seem to care - all they needed was proof of postage and proof of delivery.

    If your buyer claims that they didn't receive the item, but you have proof of postage AND proof of delivery, you should be fine. As I said, make sure you insure the item for the whole value just in case it gets damaged (make sure you have lots and lots of photos showing it was pristine in your hands. Take photos of the seals as well for the date).

  • LegoTTLegoTT Member Posts: 479
    I mean, I consider myself a top notch buyer, but have never purchased anything on BrickLink. Once that time comes, it will be frustrating if I can't buy anything because of the lack of feedback. I wonder if sending someone to my eBay account to see feedback would help...

    I would just say that there are a lot of good people out there without BrickLink feedback. You'll be fine.
  • Thanos75Thanos75 Member Posts: 1,117
    With high value sets where people are putting a premium on the condition of the box you need to be careful. I used to sell comics on ebay and with comics condition is everything. Look out for people buying your " mint " box and then saying the one you sent wasn't as described and sending you back a damaged box while keeping the good one. Hard to defend yourself against that.
  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 444
    If you read the forums on Ebay you will see that a SIGNED for service is not enough. You also need to trust the buyer will not scam you, which is the risk of selling. With signed for the buyer can claim it has not arrived, when all they have to do is pick it up from the depot. Once the refund comes through they go and pick it up. This has happened to others. Not sure what happens once the item has been picked up, if you the seller gets refunded or not.
    Having a conversion with a buyer does not have to be an unpleasant experiance @mountebank.... You can even discuss Lego... Often the buyers are looking for one perticular set etc. When I buy on Gumtree, it often goes to 10-20 emails and a couple of phone calls. I find staying under 10 emails hard.
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    ^Its unrealistic to say you have to have a conversation with each buyer to found out if they are a trustworthy or not.

    What if you sold 30 items in a day, do you request Skype with each one?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,227
    Norlego said:


    Having a conversion with a buyer does not have to be an unpleasant experiance @mountebank.... You can even discuss Lego... Often the buyers are looking for one perticular set etc. When I buy on Gumtree, it often goes to 10-20 emails and a couple of phone calls. I find staying under 10 emails hard.

    That is Del-boy style haggling for a job lot with someone selling from their home often for collection only. Bricklink is quite different. If seller wanted to have a 20 email conversion or a couple of phone calls before they will sell to me, then they've lost the sale. Similarly if a buyer needs that much communication before ordering or paying, then they're blocked from buying. Fortunately I have never encountered either on BL.
    dougtsPitfall69pharmjod
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    LegoTT said:

    I mean, I consider myself a top notch buyer, but have never purchased anything on BrickLink. Once that time comes, it will be frustrating if I can't buy anything because of the lack of feedback.

    I wouldn't worry about it. I started buying on BL a bit over a year ago; I had no feedback there or elsewhere and had no problem buying. Granted, I was paying with PayPal; I imagine sellers are more wary of new users paying by physical means (if anyone even does that anymore).
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,401
    I know everyone has to start somewhere. We all had zero feedback at one time. It doesn't mean that they are going to scam you. I tend to worry more about the location of the seller/buyer than the feedback. Although, knowing that people are leery about a 0 feedback score, I would have found someone with good feedback to purchase such an expensive item for me, then build up my own score :)
  • Stvoyager04Stvoyager04 Member Posts: 117
    When I started using Bricklink I placed several small (less than £10) orders about 5 if I recall correctly to get a some positive feedback. I did this knowing I was eventually going to order a Cloud City.

    I had no problems with the Seller, even when I asked for the set to be shipped to a relative living in America (the seller was also in America) to save on shipping costs (to the UK). The Seller, rightly insisted on full insurance, as much as anything due to the price of Cloud City as strange shipping request. The transaction went through without any problems and we both left positive feedback.

    I've never done any selling but would have completely understood if the Seller had cancelled my order.

    I guess sometimes you have to have a little faith - not everyone with little to know feedback is bad.
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    LegoTT said:

    I mean, I consider myself a top notch buyer, but have never purchased anything on BrickLink. Once that time comes, it will be frustrating if I can't buy anything because of the lack of feedback.

    I sometimes sell on eBay, and if the item is expensive I will never sell it to a buyer with 0 or low recent feedback. Just as I wont buy an expensive item from similar feedback seller. No offence here, but trust is earned in my books. Some people won't mind taking the risk though, just not all.

  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    ^So say you sell to a new ebayer with zero feedback, you just refund him?
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    I normally put in the description asking 0 feedback not to bid, and low feedback to contact me first. But only if the item is expensive (or alive, sometimes I sell fish/marine corals!)
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,509
    Can you stop any scammer from ripping you off? No. Just like you cannot stop every thief, but what I have found to reduce the chance is to:

    -Ensure you are very descriptive of your item and your policies in your listing. I find many people likely get scammed because they do not take the time to detail everything about their item and how they ship, condition of item, etc. they assume the picture does the talking, or worse yet, a catalog entry from eBay explains the item. Big no-nos IMO.
    -Take GOOD pictures of the item to post in the listing. What you see is what you get. It benefits you, as that is the item you sent and you can see in the photo the box is in good condition and seals are still sealed, etc. It benefits the buyer because they see what they are getting, as opposed to silly catalog entries that does not accurately show the item IMO. People use these and then complain when a 'scammer' say the item does not match the description and wonder why money is leaving their paypal account.

    -Pack the item well. Always use new or good used condition boxes (and it does not hurt to note that in the listing either) as too many shlubs use brown shipping paper or worse yet, flimsy boxes, or already well used/damaged boxes to save a buck then wonder why someone is trying to 'scam' them saying the item was damaged when it arrived. Maybe it arrived damaged due to your sloppy packing choices.

    -Use a good delivery service. I know everyone has their opinion as to who is great, and you ask 3 people who their best shipper is and you'll get three different answers. I think you want the one that will not hassle you much if something does go awry.

    -ALWAYS get tracking AND Insurance: In the US at least, Insurance is the responsibility of the SELLER, not buyer, to buy. You are protecting yourself, not the buyer of the item. I consider it mandatory in ANYTHING I sell that ships, and also use tracking numbers as well and I see people wisely note this in their listings. This thwarts many of those 'I did not get it' people, also you can see if the package is 'stuck' at a site on its way still. If it is a pricey item then ensure you use the Signature confirmation, per eBay rules.

    -For eBay, do not accept local pickup: Sorry but if I cannot adequately prove you got that item in case of an eBay and paypal disputes, I will not accept it that method of delivery.

    Do these steps cost you more in time and money? Sure, However IMO it is far worth it to try to avoid scammers as I think scammers prey on those that seem to not give two craps to accurately describe and document their item and policies when selling something. Take the time to accurately and completely explain the item and your terms in the listing. At least on eBay and US, if you do this, I think eBay/Paypal will more often be on your side in a dispute. I think you also get more buyers if you take the time to really show you care about selling it as well (and do ont look like a scammer selling good either)
    dougts
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,401
    The "Global Shipping Program" really messed me up when it was first implemented. I did not realize you were automatically "opted in". I had 2 buyers purchase my Black Pearls I had listed; one was from Ireland with 5 feedback and one was from Australia with 0 feedback. I quickly contacted both of them and explained my mistake. The guy from Ireland responded to me immediately and was very understanding. After a few email conversations, I decided to ship him the Black Pearl. He was delighted. The woman from Australia never contacted me back, so I went through the steps to cancel her order. She finally responded 5 days later, but explained she never used ebay before and didn't know anything about taxes and what to do. I honestly didn't feel like dealing with her. I told her to just help me cancel the order and I apologized profusely. It took about a 2 weeks to cancel the order. She had know clue what she was doing or how to use Ebay. I know it was my mistake to begin with, but I didn't want to deal with the frustration had anything happened after I shipped out the order.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,509
    Pitfall69 said:

    The "Global Shipping Program" really messed me up when it was first implemented. I did not realize you were automatically "opted in". I had 2 buyers purchase my Black Pearls I had listed; one was from Ireland with 5 feedback and one was from Australia with 0 feedback. I quickly contacted both of them and explained my mistake. The guy from Ireland responded to me immediately and was very understanding. After a few email conversations, I decided to ship him the Black Pearl. He was delighted. The woman from Australia never contacted me back, so I went through the steps to cancel her order. She finally responded 5 days later, but explained she never used ebay before and didn't know anything about taxes and what to do. I honestly didn't feel like dealing with her. I told her to just help me cancel the order and I apologized profusely. It took about a 2 weeks to cancel the order. She had know clue what she was doing or how to use Ebay. I know it was my mistake to begin with, but I didn't want to deal with the frustration had anything happened after I shipped out the order.

    GSP is the only way I ship overseas. It protects you far more than not using it IMO. All I need to do is get it to the GSP center and they take it from there. The cost to the buyer to get it from there to their location is worked out between eBay and the buyer. If there is an issue and the item arrived at the distribution center then the buyer needs to go to eBay, not me. I love having this as an option, but then again I never shipped overseas before because of potential issues (that and how many people would buy and item only to cancel the transaction when I would send them my quote).
    I would recommend that over shipping overseas outside of that program, but that is just me.
    BrickDancerlego007dougts
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,401
    ^Yes, I think the GSP is gr eat, it was just that is was new, I didn't know how it worked yet and I did not know I was automatically opted in. Now that I know that I love that is an option in case I want to use it :)
    madforLEGO
  • vitreolumvitreolum RomaniaMember Posts: 1,406
    It seems I've been extremely lucky so far, I've sold a ton of stuff to 0 feedback buyers (including SSDs and such) and never had any problems whatsoever.
    Andor
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    Does anyone know how the GSP deals with returns, say Not As Described (maybe damaged in transit)? I'm after what happens in practice rather than what ebay's La-la-land version of it might be.
  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 444
    I have only used GSP once as I was rolled in. A French guy bought a scanner part and paid the full price even though it was on a high price with offers allowed. I was sure he had bought the wrong part so emailed him in English and got French emails back. Not the easiest transactions, but it appeared he knew what he was buying so I posted it. Never heard from him again. I opted out as I dont want the hassle of somebody ordering a part that does not fit their equitment.
    @SuperTramp It would be great news if I sold to 30 people in one day, but not likely to happen. I prefer to sell to fewer, but with larger orders. I dont tend to speak to buyers via Skype as I get upfront payment, so not possible to scam me. (Very few of my buyers use Paypal.)
    @madforLEGO Why not accept cash on collection for Ebay orders? If you get cash in hand, the buyer cannot complain to Paypal/Ebay. For Ebay sales I prefer cash on collection, as the deal is done that day. With Paypal you have to wait 180 days to be certain.
  • msandersmsanders Member Posts: 935
    Norlego said:

    If you read the forums on Ebay you will see that a SIGNED for service is not enough. You also need to trust the buyer will not scam you, which is the risk of selling. With signed for the buyer can claim it has not arrived, when all they have to do is pick it up from the depot. Once the refund comes through they go and pick it up. This has happened to others. Not sure what happens once the item has been picked up, if you the seller gets refunded or not.
    Having a conversion with a buyer does not have to be an unpleasant experiance @mountebank.... You can even discuss Lego... Often the buyers are looking for one perticular set etc. When I buy on Gumtree, it often goes to 10-20 emails and a couple of phone calls. I find staying under 10 emails hard.

    I've not read the forums but I'm surprised by this. In this situation I always call Royal Mail/courier and they do their own investigations. They will always talk to their local delivery office who can confirm whether the item has or hasn't been collected. If it's not been collected then I contact the buyer to say it's waiting for them.
    cheshirecat
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,509
    Norlego said:

    I have only used GSP once as I was rolled in. A French guy bought a scanner part and paid the full price even though it was on a high price with offers allowed. I was sure he had bought the wrong part so emailed him in English and got French emails back. Not the easiest transactions, but it appeared he knew what he was buying so I posted it. Never heard from him again. I opted out as I dont want the hassle of somebody ordering a part that does not fit their equitment.
    @SuperTramp It would be great news if I sold to 30 people in one day, but not likely to happen. I prefer to sell to fewer, but with larger orders. I dont tend to speak to buyers via Skype as I get upfront payment, so not possible to scam me. (Very few of my buyers use Paypal.)
    @madforLEGO Why not accept cash on collection for Ebay orders? If you get cash in hand, the buyer cannot complain to Paypal/Ebay. For Ebay sales I prefer cash on collection, as the deal is done that day. With Paypal you have to wait 180 days to be certain.

    Pretty sure they can still pay you via paypal, but ask for local pickup if you offer it. In any case the buyer and seller protection is there for a reason. In any case, it is something I do not do.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,097
    Don't sell. Just build. :smile:
    NorlegoAndorMordoor
  • DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,079
    Little update,
    i took pics from the packing process,wrapped it nicely into bubblefoil,chose a sturdy box and made sure there is not to much space so the set could move around in the box and that it sits not to tight so that bumps from outside hit the inside. Choose fully insured/tracked/signed for shipping! I guess i did everything i could?! Taking a video of myself passing the package over at the post office counter seemed a bit over the top to me,so let's see if everything turns out well...fingers crossed!
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