A Few Tips on Safer Classifieds Buying

Discussion in 'Parts for Sale' started by Jay, Sep 18, 2008.


Have you been stung by a bad seller online before?

  1. No, never had a bad experience.

    27 vote(s)
  2. Only lightly.

    16 vote(s)
  3. Yes, moderately stung.

    8 vote(s)
  4. Big time.

    8 vote(s)
  1. Jay

    Jay Admin

    I'm not sure on how helpful this will prove as there are so many ways of parting fools with their money but I'll do my best. Please add any helpful tips you can people.

    I think it's wise to point out the risks of buying via a forum bulletin board. It's surprisingly easy to scam people with the aid of this great internet invention. You don't have to know them, meet them, buy them a drink or prove much to a 'victim'. With the right cover story and the wrong morals the average muppet can make off with our money reasonably easily.

    They can be traced in most cases with their electronic footprint but it can be a long drawn out battle to recoup your hardearned.

    The lesson in this is to be wary people. Very very wary.

    Now, I've bought a lot of stuff online in this fashion. I'm not ashamed to say I've been stung more than a few times and in this I have learned the hard way.


    It is always a risk, make no mistake about that, but you can reduce the odds of being a victim:

    Shopping around
    - Registered/Approved traders offer better protection nearly everytime
    - Stick with recognised/established faces as they are more reliable
    - Always review previous feedback from their previous customers

    Agreeing a deal
    - Always establish the condition of the goods before agreeing a sale
    - Get as much information as possible such as address/mobile number

    Delivery tips
    - Collect in person if possible as it has serious benefits
    - Pay a little extra for insurance if getting things by post
    - Get a tracking number where possible
    - When the item arrives examine and trial fit it immediately

    - If there is a problem contact the seller immediately via private channels
    - Use a mature approach when dealing with a dispute no matter how angry you feel
    - Some payment methods offer backup, investigate these asap
    - Do not depend on a forum board backing you up as disclaimers are usually in place
    - Remember to leave detailed feedback for others


    Hopefully one or two of these might help someone in future. Above all be careful - it's a scary jungle out there.

  2. gv1.3

    gv1.3 Admin

    very good advice Jay. I have to say that in all my time online Ive never bought something and not had it turn up. On several osccassions its taken a very long time - a td04 I bought didnt arrive for 9 weeks! I really didnt expect to see it arrive at that stage.

    Ive mainly bought from traders on here and the transactions have always been very smooth and the delivery time has often surprised me!
  3. 1998glanzav

    1998glanzav Paid Member

    Good post Jay. Some sound advice!
  4. Jay

    Jay Admin

    Cheers lads I scanned the net for a guide but found nothing of use. Well worth a few moments of anyones day. Especially given the number of cases recently.

  5. y3Lo

    y3Lo Registered User +

    good advice, is a shame to see it happening more often on the site, but what can you realy do? it's all about trust. luckily iv not had any bad dealings on the site, and hope it stays that way.
  6. Starlet_Sam

    Starlet_Sam Moderator, Regional Area Reps Supervisor & Gay Car

    The main thing to remember is that most policies we can put in place fairly are going to be reactive, being proactive isn't really an option.
  7. gv1.3

    gv1.3 Admin

    I agree Sam, there was talk in the chatroom about limiting selling only to paid members and its true that the majority that have caused problems recently were unpaid members but would that really fix anything?!
  8. Gryzor

    Gryzor Administrator

    Its the old story. Buyer beware
    Most of the time this forum is self policing but knowledge is power and threads like king of ... go a long way to stopping peps buying junk.
  9. Starlet_Sam

    Starlet_Sam Moderator, Regional Area Reps Supervisor & Gay Car

    If I was of the criminal mindset I guess I'd happily pay 10€ to get my scummy mitts on 100's.
  10. Gee

    Gee Paid Member

    Good advice Jay.

    Might be an idea to avoid purchasing from abroad also, unless they have good feedback and are a registered trader.

    A lot harder to get you money back when the person is based abroad.
  11. A2KLAU

    A2KLAU Paid Member

    I have to admit everytime I've bought off forums I've not had problems, but I tend to either buy from sellers who are close by or for less valuable things and pay postage.

    One thing that would put hoax sellers off would be to suggest sending a courier to the address with which the item is located to pick up. Once you have the address with where the item is located then pay.

    I've actually traveled to pick things up before, but I useually try and turn the trip into something, like recently I went from Birmingham to Manchester to pick up an exhaust system, it allowed me to check it out there and then and can hand over cash which suits the seller anyway. I made the most of being there as I went to visit my friends up there and had a free stay out of it :)
  12. affy

    affy Paid Member

    well what if you tried all that and still you cant do anything

    i think thre should be some sort of reassurance from the sellers themselves, something like before they advertise they should submit a form to the modz, signing a declaration that they have tested the good and will offer to take them back if they turn out faulty

    i know its probably ridiculous or time consuming but if you can create some kind of form that before they hit the advertise button it automatically directs them to another page where they should complete some options, which then means if the goods trun out faulty or they dont show up then they can be dealt with on the site as those froms will be sent to the modz,

    probably mad idea but hey am thinking bout everyone and if we keep getting more bad feedback between ourselfs and the site itself then in the world of browsing through forums or newcomers it wont look so good and coming from another forum myself this forum is superb and things like this are really helpfull and will definatley improve things so many thanks Jay :)

    talking from past experience lol :)

  13. Gryzor

    Gryzor Administrator

    I don't think the signed decl. will stand up.
    The main problem is the sellers can remain anonymous, any sales could require that the seller gives there full name, address, contact number and email as part...
  14. Elaine

    Elaine Paid Member

    I think this is a catch 22 though Gee

    I bought my Turbo from a not very well know person on this site who lived aboard and the sale could not have gone more perfectly. Excellent communication through out and when the turbo arrived it was much better than I ever expected…

    Bought my coilovers from a very well respected member on this site and there complete s**t had nothing but issue with them

    I have seen the increase in bad selling going on with in the site and it’s a very difficult thing to control. I think these steps that Jay has drawn up are a very good guide. But at the end of the day if you’re not buying from a trader it really is pot luck if they are turn out ok
  15. A2KLAU

    A2KLAU Paid Member

    It is a good idea though, i.e when you put a thread up it takes you to like a disclaimer type page, like the I've read and understand the terms and conditions thing and click here to get teh thread sent to the mods for listing up. This would mean the seller is now in a legally binding contract, however this is still legally binding between the forum and seller I believe, and if things went bad it will be the forum who would be the middle person, just like how eBay/Paypal disputes are sorted out, and will create tons of hassle for the mods, unless between the mods there are maybe more of them and there are strict guidelines they all agree on with how cases are dealt.

    There is a fine line getting this right.. its very difficult I know, sad as it sounds but I've been wrecking my brain since yesterday reading this and thinking of ways to improve on the situation and help out in anyway I can. But if i do think of anything I'll be posting it up for you guys to see if its a good idea or not.
  16. Jay

    Jay Admin

    A sales charter is something that we simply cannot offer. The moderation of such a system is too great. I have a team of enthusiasts, not baliffs. Adding a third party into private sales is a wonderfully bad idea.

    It's a path we cannot go down.

  17. Gee

    Gee Paid Member

    Yeah I see what your saying.

    For example, if two sellers were selling the same items, one person abroad and one in the UK I would go with the UK person.

    Even if the persons item selling abroad was a little cheaper.
  18. gv1.3

    gv1.3 Admin

    I know this is a serious thread but that comment made me laugh.

    Ultimately any classifieds section is totally open to abuse and as with all things on here we have thought long and hard about our options and for this one there just doesnt seem to be any fix. There are pretty much two options ban all private sales or allow them.

    We can limit who can sell with maybe a large post count but then people just spam to get to that number. We can limit it by the amount of time you have been a member - this is currently 30 days, could make that 6 months if you think it will do any good?

    It would be a huge shame to see the classifieds section go as I have gotten great bargains from it in the past as I am sure others have too.

    Jays advice above is pretty solid. I mean if a guy who is a member for a month with 51 posts comes on and says "I am breaking a car" and he is offering items cheaply you should really not get caught up in the excitement and start offering your money out to someone you have no idea about.

    I was thinking that we could possibly make it a requirement that EVERY person who wishes to sell on here opens a sales feedback thread about themselves and much like ebay reminds buyers to leave feedback for every sale they make.

    Ultimately be very very cautious who you buy from... if something looks too good to be true it generally is!
  19. Dingle

    Dingle Paid Member

    Ive brought a few things off people on here and sold a few things never had a problem. Gee said it on another thread commuincation is they key not bullshit. Saying youve posted summat when you havent, people need to be more up front, i personally dont mind waiting that little bit extra for a delivery if your informed of the situation

    my final word would be treat people how you would want to be treated, dont be so easy to take somebodys money. We all work hard for our cash, losing a few £ or a couple of hundred £ is shit either way
  20. A2KLAU

    A2KLAU Paid Member

    I think the system already seems to have discouraged some, where you have to make over 50 posts and also be a member here for a month. This already has detered the ones who want to make a "quick buck" because its not so quick anymore. Secondly the need for admin approval before the thread is created is a good thing! It filters out some more crap.

    It does boil down to communication and trust. I've always asked for seller's phone numbers and postcodes, purely so that I can speak to the seller to see what type of person he is and to finalise the smaller details and easier to ask questions etc etc, and postcode so A) I can google map to see where they are and if I can go pick it up, and B) if it does go sour at least I know where I can look for them or have someone who can trace and find out whats happened.

    Actually continue from this, would it be possible for something like the requirement to list the sellers postcode before a thread is listed up? Problem I do see with that is privacy. I wouldn't want my postcode to be listed up on public forums, but would there be a way that only admins/mods will know and not general public? But that still doesn't stop a hoaxer from passing off a fake postcode or someone else's postcode to just pass this test..

    I'll keep thinking..

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