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Keeping safe when buying and selling online

Article about: There are plenty of these in ebay and

  1. #1

    Default Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Hi Guys, I have been giving some thoughts to helping people buy and sell more safely online.

    The internet has revolutionised how we buy and sell our collectables. It can be a wonderful resource, but there are real dangers and pitfalls. Hopefully most of these can be avoided with a little care.

    Prices: First, the asking price. Most items have a known "market value". This will more or less be the same from dealer to dealer. So if you see an item for sale, which you know would usually sell at, for example, $1000 and this one is advertised at $500, you need to start asking questions? Why is it too cheap? Is there something wrong with it? Or is the seller a con man trying to make a sale to someone who thinks he might be getting a bargain? If the seller knows all the correct collector terminology to describe the item, but not the true value, you need to start asking "Why"?

    Photos: Are the photos clear and show the details you need to see? Nowadays digital cameras are cheap and most mobile phones can take a good picture. If the pictures are poor, ask for more. OK, some people are bad photographers but poor photos can often hide problems. Next and more importantly, does the person actually own the item and are the photos his? Photos can be stolen online and then used to front a fraudulant sale! If the person is selling multiple items, but all the photos are taken on different backgrounds this must raise questions as to why? Always ask for more photos and taken from a certain angle. A good idea is to ask for a picture taken on today's Newspaper. A good honest seller will do this if they wish to make a sale. If the person cannot or will not do this, walk away from the deal.

    Methods of Payment: It may seem blindingly obvious, but sending cash to a total stranger is not safe! But people still do this. There are various ways of paying online electronically. Some are safer than others. Make sure you know the pros and cons of the different systems. Find these out before you hit the send button! Generally speaking funding a purchase via a credit card funded account will give you a bit more protection should the item fail to arrive. Different countries have diferent rules so I cannot go into too much detail here. Some payment companies refuse to allow their systems to be used to fund WW2 German items. If the item is a high price, why not use an Escrow service? This is where a third party holds the item until the money is safely sent.

    Also if the person wishes the payment to be made to another person and not themselves and who they claim to be, walk away from the deal. Don't take chances.

    One other point: don't let your guard down even if you have dealt with a person sucessfully in the past.

    Communication: Good communications are key to a good safe transaction. Keep records of all emails and PM's. Talk to one another on a regular basis. Why not ask for a phone number, if possible a land line and not a mobile? If there is any delay or you are going to be away or offline, make sure you let the other person know. If you say you are going to send something on a certain day and then miss the post, tell the person. Better to admit you missed the post than lie. If dealing with someone who's English is not good, why not ask a friend to help by writing to them in their native language?

    Postage, Insurance and Customs duites: State exactly how you want the item shipped. If you want it tracked and traceable ASK for it and be prepaired to pay for it. Make sure the seller knows exactly what kind of service you want and expect. The same goes for full and proper insurance.

    Now, none of us like giving money to the Govt. It is human nature. But don't ask a seller to state an item is worth $10 when it is worth $1000 to try and avoid Customs import duty. You cannot insure something for $1000 and then ask the seller to lie on the customs forum. If it goes missing in the post, you wil only get the low declared value! If you want to do things "on the cheap" and people do, just remember this? How much money can you afford to lose? Because if the item does get lost in the post, that is what will happen. Both your money and item will be gone.

    One other thing to bear in mind. There are restrictions on the import and export of both WW2 German and Soviet items in different countries. Make yourself aware of any trade restrictions.

    Packaging: Some people do great packaging, but don't just assume they will. Ask for the item to be packed to your statisfaction. A German metal badge dropped into a padded envolope alone is not good enough.

    Feedback: This is useful, but do not place too much trust in this. It is a tool nothing more and not any kind of cast iron guarantee. I have seen sellers with 100% positive feedback who sell fakes and are not trustworthy! Ask questions about the person. Do your homework on them. If they are selling on the forum, and they have never even made a single post, you need to ask yourself if this person is genuine? But having said that, just because someone is "known" poster on the forum, it does not make them instantly trustworthy.

    Finally, use your common sence. If you have any doubts or concerns, do not send any money! If you see an item for sale and you are not sure about the originality of the item, start a disscussion about it on the forum. This is allowed within the forum rules. I know sometimes people are scared to do this. They worry that someone else might jump in and buy the item and they might lose out on getting it. But better someone else buy it, than end up buying a fake. Don't be too proud to admit you need help. Some people specialise in one particular area of collecting. Why not ask their advice via a PM? But please bear in mind many people get lots of PM's asking for help and cannot always reply. Be polite and don't just expect their help as a right. Thank them if the do assist.

    One last comment. Don't forget the old ancient Roman saying: Caveat emptor! Buyer beware!

    I hope these few thoughts are helpful and that I have not frightened anyone too much?

    Cheers, Ade.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Great advice Ade!

    many thanks

    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  3. #3

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    yep follow the above advice and you will not go far wrong.

    I trade on the web all the time, and my advice to anyone when buying a bargain item thats very rare,

    "If it sounds to good to be true, then its a ------" fake, scam, or fraudulent.

    "Now, I've designed this like a collapsing bag ! "

  4. #4

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Well put Ade,
    There are so many fakes about, and it's not just us militaria collectors who are suffering. With all collectible sales there is now a very unsure 'purchaser', simply because the fakers are very skilled in their deception.
    PS: I havn't managed to get hold of Pete to ask him about the history of the pics yet, will let you know when I have some info.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Thanks Guy

    Cheers, Ade.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Very good advice Ade! Thanks for taking the time to post it!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Ade do we have a thread in the forum about sellers/members on the market place? If not we can start one so that other members/buyers know who to deal with and who are not recommended.
    Title could be '' Trusted sellers on the market place ''
    Looking for the photo albums of Leutnant Emil Freitag, 3. / G.R. 377

  8. #8

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    It's entirely up to Ade and the other Mods but from experience these threads turn in to bun fights which very often turn sour and are usually the result of a misunderstanding or poor communication/language differences, most of which can be resolved by a mediator at worst. There is the odd deal that goes wrong but all too often someone's reputation can get trashed for no good reason. Read the opening post in this thread by Ade, stick to what you know and who you know. Read the last point he makes and take note.
    If you trust a stranger enough to send him/her your hard earned cash then you need to be 100% certain it will work out. If not - don't!

    Looking for LDO marked EK2s and items relating to U-406.....

  9. #9

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Hey Adrian, the thing is that you can never be 100% sure as you cannot predict the outcome. You always have to risk even a little IMO.
    Looking for the photo albums of Leutnant Emil Freitag, 3. / G.R. 377

  10. #10

    Default Re: Keeping safe when buying and selling online

    Well said Adrian, I'm interested in anything German from WW11, unfortunately being retired I can't afford to buy anything, but search I do for that genuine bargain which others have missed, so I thought you'd all like a laugh over the latest finds, and there's plenty out there.
    Item one--A genuine Kriegsmarine stamped pocket watch from U Boot U25. [It did look genuine but U25 was sunk with all hands of the coast of Scotland]. [wonder if it's wasserdicht]
    Here's a good one--Genuine Kimakazie? pilots watch. [maybe it self destructs if it goes near anything American]
    And lastly--Shoulder boards worn by Field Marshall Goering. [A must buy surely] Caveat emptor!.

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