Recently, given the large number of transactions gone wrong, myself, Bud, SteveI, Diredesire, Fearsome Forehand, and others have decided to write up a user's guide to trading and buying on TTW. The following is what I have come up with.
Please add your own insights, advice, and tips to make TTW a safer place for transactions!!!
Eventually, Diredesire will create a sticky merging all of this together.
Well, here's what I wrote:
So You're Thinking About Trading or Selling on Talk Tennis Warehouse?
Before you read any further, read this following thread. It contains vital information that you NEED to know. It should clear up some confusion that you have.
Now, normally, this thread wouldn't be necessary. TTW has been up and running for more than a decade now, and for most of the time, scams and problems were almost unheard of. We traded and sold based on trust. We trusted each other, each others ratings, each others listings. Back in the earlier days, scams were unheard of.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case today. While most transactions will not result in you getting jipped, more and more of them are. Here are some helpful tips that I hope you implement. They should give you a slight edge.
1.Check references. Check references. CHECK REFERENCES!!!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. We have a section on the forum dedicated to references. Use it to your advantage! If somebody has a lot of positive references, then you can be pretty sure that making a transaction with him/her will be safe. You can be relatively certain that you will receive your rackets, strings, or money in a timely manner, and the equipment will be as it was listed. If somebody negative references, or simply doesn't have references at all, BE ON YOUR GUARD! Be intelligent, and protect yourself with the following.
2.Unless making a transaction with somebody with many positive references, NEVER USE CASH. Money orders, checks, and Paypal are acceptable forms of payment on the boards, but they are NOT the most secure method of payment. The best way is for you to pay using your credit card. That way, if your deal goes south, you can just pick up the phone and call your credit company and reverse the transaction. This protection is not inherent in money orders or in checks. Paypal does offer this sort of protection, but it is less secure. An “intelligent” scammer can easily remove the money from a Paypal account after payment. Paypal is also notoriously slow. Do yourself a favor, and pay using a credit card.
3.In all transactions, make sure that you secure some kind of personal information. Get the other person's phone number in addition to his/her address and name. Always make sure that you have multiple ways to contact the other person. We understand that things might come up. Maybe Verizon decides to knock out your internet for a few days (hey, it happens). When this kind of thing happens, you want to have some other way to reach the person you're transacting with. It also makes tracking down people a LOT easier in case the deal goes south.
4.If you insist on using Paypal and are planning to be transacting using a large amount of money, you can protect yourself by getting all of the other person's information. Request that the seller send you a small amount of money using Paypal ($1 will suffice). This gets you the seller's information, and helps protect you. Later, when you're sending your payment, you can just return that $1 payment.
5.CONSTANT COMMUNICATION! Keep the other person notified of everything. Keep in touch, answer those emails, call back. A lot of things can be avoided if you just keep in contact with the other person. Again, we understand that things may come up. Maybe your brother suddenly becomes very ill. Maybe your grandmother dies. It happens, and we can understand. But when it happens, tell the other guy. Don't leave him hanging.
6.When shipping anything, get tracking. For the most part, getting tracking doesn't cost anything in addition to shipping fees (if you're using a carrier like Fedex or UPS). If you're using USPS, tracking usually costs an extra quarter. A tracking number can erase a LOT of problems that might come up in a transaction.
7.When trading, whomever has fewer references should ship first. This should be more or less common sense- if you have no references, we don't know if we can trust you. This makes things a little more secure for everybody involved.
This should give you some help. If you think you've been scammed, first contact the person you're transacting with. If he/she doesn't contact you within 24 hours, tell the TTW community IMMEDIATELY!!! Post a negative reference immediately. Tell us your story, and we may ask you for more information. Do NOT immediately post the person's personal information. Sometimes, a “scam” is just bad communication, and doesn't warrant the posting of personal information. You'll be able to tell when it's warranted to post personal information- most of the time, we'll tell you.
If you're sure you've been scammed, things depend on the method of payment. If you took my advice and used a credit card, call up your credit card company and get the payment canceled. If you paid using cash... you're out of luck. If you used Paypal, open a Paypal dispute IMMEDIATELY. Post the person's personal information in your reference, and we'll help you as best as we can. We cannot guarantee anything, but you'll find that we are a fairly tight knit community, and we'll do our best to help one another out.