In the wake of recent discussions about buying and selling, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on how to avoid disappointment and getting ripped off. I'm posting this as a working draft, and if others have suggested edits, I'm soliciting all advice in order to make this a better document. When it's ready, perhaps the Bartenders may see fit to move it to the Classified forum and pin it. Advice for Selling: The higher the value, the more care and caution you should exercise. Be as detailed as possible in your listing. Know the definition of words that you're using, and use them correctly. If you don't know or aren't sure, be honest about that. If someone offers a correction for your listing, accept it graciously, seek confirmation, correct the record, and give credit/thanks where due. At a minimum, you should include the following information in your listing: Maker, model number or name, size, color, measurements, condition, price, terms of sale. Additional information is always appreciated: age of the item, how long you've had it, any repairs or modifications you're aware of, who they were performed by if you know, whether you're the original owner or not, any interesting trivia about the maker, model, previous owner (for example, if they were famous, or used the item professionally, like a racing or police jacket). Take good, clear photos, in good light, with good focus. If you can take good photos with your phone's camera, great, but if not, consider using a "proper" camera. If you have things like tripods, backdrops, lighting, etc., use it. Often it's not necessary, but good photos help sell your stuff more than anything, and investing a little time into doing it right will help you sell faster, and get the full value out of your stuff. Camera and screen technologies both replicate colors imperfectly. If the color of your item is difficult to capture in photos, mention this, and try to describe in words how it's different. Take accurate measurements. Offer to take additional measurements if a prospective buyer asks, but try to provide all the usual measurements up front. Know how to take the measurements correctly. Take photos showing how the measurement was obtained, to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. Strive for accuracy in your descriptions. Do your homework and research what you have if you're not sure what it is. If you don't know and can't find information any other way, you can ask questions on the appropriate forum and someone who knows more likely than not will tell you. Be complete and honest in your assessment of the item's condition. Document the condition of your item, using good photos, close ups as necessary. Use video if you need to. I recommend to use "Upload a file" and host the images directly on the forum, rather than use an external host like photobucket. Images on external hosts tend to disappear with time. You set the price. How you do this is up to you. Price the item at a value that you're happy to sell it at. Everything has its price, and the value of a thing is what someone is willing to pay for it. For any item, there's a range of values that are reasonable. Pick a reasonable price. If you want or need to sell quickly, price it lower. If you want to get all the value out of the item, price it higher and be prepared to wait. If you are willing to negotiate, pad your asking price a bit, and know what your bottom price is. If your prices are firm, say so up front. If you're willing to negotiate, you can say "reasonable offers considered". If you're open to trades, say what you're looking for. Basically, help your buyer get to closing with less questions and negotiations. Deal with prospective buyers on a first-come, first-served basis. This avoids putting pressure on buyers to close a deal on a desirable item before the terms of sale can be fully ironed out and agreed to. Removing this time pressure helps to enable both buyer and seller to feel comfortable with their agreement. Respond to all buyers, answering any questions they may have, and let them know if you're already in negotiations with someone else. If you don't close the sale with the first buyer, follow up with the next buyer. Know who you're dealing with. Our reputations as forum members can go a long way toward building trust. But anything can happen. You are always assuming some risk. Even if your buyer is totally honest, things can get damaged or lost in shipping. This is why shipping insurance exists. Shipping insurance doesn't cover theft after delivery. Theft after delivery claims are all but impossible to verify, unless the recipient has security cameras. Even then, I suppose someone could fake video of a thief stealing a package who is actually a trusted accomplice, or the buyer themselves, masked or disguised. Terms. How are you willing to accept payment? Where are you willing to ship? How quickly is payment due? How quickly do you promise to ship once payment is received? How will you package it? Will you accept a return and under what conditions? State this up front in your listing, and/or discuss it during negotiations. Make sure your buyer understands and agrees. Payments. Understand how the payment system you agree to works. Most of us use PayPal, but there are other methods. PayPal friends/family avoids fees and once the money is sent, the sender has no recourse to Buyer Protection claims. This advantages the seller. PayPal Goods & Services incurs fees and makes Buyer Protection claims possible. For this reason most sellers prefer Friends/Family transactions, and often ask the buyer to cover the transaction fee, if needed. As a seller, I've always allowed the Buyer to choose the method they're comfortable with, and most buyers have opted to save the fees and forego the Buyer Protection. I haven't had a problem to date. In part, because I try to follow the advice I've given above, but also because I've always been fortunate to get to deal with good people. Packaging. Package the item well. A sturdy box protects better than a poly bag. A plastic barrier will protect the item inside the box against moisture. Use adequate padding if the item is delicate. Fill void space in the box to avoid the item jostling around and getting marred or broken. Don't cram an item into a too-small box in order to try to save on shipping. Seal the box properly with adequate packaging tape. Shipping. Affix the shipping label properly with adequate packaging tape or other appropriate adhesive. Double check the address is correct, legible, and printed in non-soluable ink. (Inkjet printers use water-based ink that will smear and blur if exposed to water. Cover it with tape to protect it, or use a laserjet printer. If hand-writing the address use an indelible ink pen and write very clearly.) Double check the weight is accurate. Buy adequate postage. Buy adequate insurance, or accept the risk of not doing so. Once you have payment, shipping insurance is really protecting the buyer, so offer them the opportunity to decline it, and make sure they understand the risk. Require a signature for delivery acceptance. Treat the buyer as you would wish to be treated, and you'll have far fewer problems. But also act in such a way that if the buyer turns out to have bad motive, you are minimizing your risk at each step. Mostly this means not shipping until you have secured your payment, and if you are exposed to a potential buyer protection claim, documenting everything pre-sale as much as possible, to the point of paranoia. Post sale, if you had a good experience, mention it publicly on the site. This helps the buyer establish a reputation and enjoy smooth transactions with other sellers.