Captain Obvious' Guidelines For Buying and Selling on TT
1) As a buyer, do not send cash, do not pay with PP balances or pay through PP using your bank account.
Pay with a credit card if at all possible. Be extra cautious when buying or selling big ticket items; $200+.
Scammers like the bigger deals.
2) As a seller, if payment is received via PP, only ship to PP confirmed addresses with online tracking/ proof of delivery.
Insurance is usually a good idea. PP generally requires signature confirmation as proof of delivery for goods sold for over $250.
Avoid local pickup for goods paid for via PP as PP only recognizes online delivery verification as proof of delivery. Therefore, only accept cash for local pick up deals.
3) Trust your instincts. If you are getting a bad vibe, act accordingly. If the seller or buyer seems evasive, or if the deal seems too good to be true, there is probably a reason.
4) Avoid international deals. Be doubly cautious if dealing with someone outside the USA.
5) Avoid deals with minors. Almost all of the problems have been with posters who are 25 and under (especially 22 and under.)
6) Completely avoid international deals with minors. The rate of problems with such transactions seems extremely high.
7) As a buyer, agree with the seller on a shipping schedule and a shipping method BEFORE paying. Agree on tracking and insurance, etc. Don't leave it entirely up to the seller.
8 ) Deal only with known sellers and buyers. If someone has no references, or very few references, be extra cautious.
9) Communicate; confirm payments, shipping and receipt. It only takes a minute to send a confirming email to keep the other party comfortable.
10) Do your homework and due diligence up front. Ask questions, get detailed descriptions and good pictures, check out the other persons references, email address and TT profile.
11) As a seller, don't overstate the condition of the merchandise. Just because you want to sell something, doesn't mean you get to enter a different reality than the rest of us. Take a thorough look at what you are selling and describe it accurately. Avoid terms like pristine and mint since they have become trite from misuse. Use terms such as like new, excellent, very good, good, fair, poor; simple terms everyone can understand. Clear pictures and very accurate detailed descriptions save much grief. As a buyer, always be somewhat skeptical of descriptions and cautious about the lack of pics from certain camera angles. A seller's 9/10 may be more like your 6/10. (I have purchased more than a few "mint condition" rackets that were very good to good condition 7/10 rackets.)
12) If using PP, familiarize yourself with PP's terms regarding buyer and seller protection. The devil is in the details. PP "protection" comes with lots of technical twists and turns. You are probably not as protected by PP as you might assume as many have discovered the hard way.
13) If you have a bad experience with someone, post what happened so others are forewarned. Be factual and fair not emotional and histrionic. Don't be afraid to leave bad feedback if it is truly warranted as you will probably be saving someone else from dealing with an idiot. (The best indicator of a poster's future behavior is their past behavior.)
Conversely, don't leave unwarranted negative feedback lest you appear to be an overly picky, Boy Who Cried Wolf, nightmare to deal with buyer. (Jeremy said the racket had 6 paint chips and it really has 7; The grip was more worn than I expected; The seller said the racket was an 8/10 and I think it is only a 7.5/10, etc.) Unless you have been clearly scammed or substantially lied to about the condition of the racket, don't be so quick to go into bad feedback mode. Don't make a big deal about small things or you will make yourself appear so petty that others will be hesitant to deal with you. (If I posted negative feedback every time a racket deal didn't go perfectly, I would be leaving negative feedback more than 50% of the time.) However, if you feel someone has scammed you, or attempted to scam you, or if you feel a seller has purposely left out substantial details about a racket, a factual account of the transaction will serve as a warning to others. (Good examples are a buyer says I never got the racket even though the tracking says it was delivered or a racket has a small crack that was "never noticed" by the seller. In both cases, the other party may be being truthful but the circumstances are somewhat suspect.) Leaving bad feedback involves some judgment so try to be reasonable about doing so. If you are not certain, neutral feedback will usually suffice just as well; it isn't as condemning and still serves as a warning to others.
14) As a seller, treat money orders like personal checks. (Make sure the piece of paper clears before sending out the merchandise.
It can take 3 to 4 weeks for a check or money order drawn on a foreign bank to truly clear. Yet another hazard of international deals. Stateside, USPS money orders are the best because you can cash them at the Post Office.) As a buyer, never agree to send wire transfers.
15) Trades seem to have a very high rate of problems, especially international trades and trades with minors. Be very careful with whom you trade.
16) Take the time to read a few of the the train wreck reference threads. Besides the sheer entertainment value of such threads, they provide excellent case studies on what not to do.
In summary, follow a few simple, common sense procedures and you will minimize problems. The people who get taken on TT always wish they had been much more cautious after they realize they have been scammed or misled. Learn from their mistakes.
Last edited by Fearsome Forehand; 02-02-2010 at 09:05 AM.